Sarah Ferguson's Invite to Royal Christmas is a Big Deal

It might be time to re-evaluate Fergie.

Sarah Ferguson Christmas 2023
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Like so many women of the '90s, Sarah Ferguson was torn apart by the press. Her looks, her weight, her every thought and movement was picked to pieces and used as entertainment fodder—a not uncommon practice brandished upon most famous women during that era. Which is why it's sort of nice to see her being welcomed back into the fold after decades away from public affiliation.

The Duchess of York and ex-wife to disgraced and title-stripped Prince Andrew, King Charles' brother, was invited to do the family Christmas church walk for the first time since 1991, signifying yet another change in royal appearances since the Queen died last year.

Sarah Ferguson Christmas 2023

(Image credit: Getty Images)

For those who may not know, Sarah was a lightning rod for controversy for most of her time in and out of the royal family. That's because, in 1992, while separated from her now-ex, Fergie had a relationship with John Bryan, a Texas businessman. The press printed photos of the two on vacation in St. Tropez where he was sucking her toes as she sunbathed topless. Though that may make people shrug today, back then the story caused a major uproar in the UK, and was one of many moments used by the press to paint Fergie as an unstable, inconsequential figure.

She had plenty of debts and made her own share of mistakes (selling access to Andrew, taking money from Jeffrey Epstein to settle her debts are not great!), but the response always felt a bit outsized when you consider why she maybe had to do these things, and all that the royal family covered up about Andrew.

Coincidentally (or maybe not), her invite comes on the heels of a judge ordering several documents—containing more than 170 names connected to Jeffrey Epstein in a defamation case brought against his conspirator Ghislaine Maxwell by Virginia Giuffre—be unsealed and made public. Giuffre was an Epstein trafficking victim to whom Andrew allegedly paid an estimated $14 million settlement over claims of rape and sexual abuse.

Listen: we're not so naive as to think this isn't some sort of press-based chess move the family is doing as they desperately try to return to the public's good graces, given the Andrew of it all, to say nothing of the seeming forever back and forth between the royal family and Harry and Meghan.

But honestly, there could have been a whole season of The Crown that focused solely on the way Fergie was battered and bandied about by the press and public. She was not as universally beloved as Diana, but how she was framed and handled by the press is no less controversial. And, if we had any sort of Christmas wish this year, it would be to find a lot more grace and understanding for one another.

Alicia Lutes
Freelance Writer

Alicia Lutes is a freelance writer, essayist, journalist, humorist, and screenwriter based in Los Angeles. She has written extensively on culture, entertainment, the craft of comedy, and mental health. Her work has been featured in places such as Vulture, Playboy, Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, MTV, Cosmopolitan, Rotten Tomatoes, Bustle, Longreads, and more. She was also the creator/former host of the web series Fangirling, and currently fosters every single dog she can.