Grab your fascinators and teacups because this weekend's royal wedding will be serving some piping hot tea.
Even so, all Brits in the know won't have their eyes on Eugenie, Meghan, or even Kate Middleton during the ceremony. No, their attention will be on the mother of the bride, Sarah, Duchess of York.
Sarah Ferguson, or "Fergie" as she is known, split from Princesses Eugenie and Beatrice's father Prince Andrew in 1992 (with a finalized divorce four years later). The couple's contentious divorce, followed by some blatantly sexist sex scandals in the '90s, caused a strained and often hostile relationship between Fergie and the rest of the royals. Case in point, while her daughters had prime seats by the Queen during Harry and Meghan's wedding, Fergie was relegated to a seat much further back of St George's Chapel at Windsor Castle.
Even during Fergie and Andrew's short marriage, brutal tabloid stories mocked her mercilessly, reporting on her alleged infidelities, and commenting on her lifestyle expenses. Some even fat-shamed her by dubbing Fergie the "Duchess of Pork." But it was paparazzi shots of American financial manager John Brian kissing the foot of a topless Fergie during a 1992 romantic weekend getaway that really pushed the royal family over the edge. Of course the tabloids had a name for that too: the "toe sucking scandal." After their divorce, Fergie's finances, celebrity appearances, and Weight Watchers affiliation were even more fodder in the press.
According to Vanity Fair, when Andrew's aunt Princess Margaret responded to a bouquet of flowers Fergie sent with a letter that read, “you have done more to bring shame on the royal family than could have ever been imagined.” And while the Queen has shown a modicum of kindness to Fergie by inviting her to Ascot and other minor royal functions, Prince Philip has reportedly remained hostile.
Beatrice and Eugenie have maintained a tight relationship with their mother, though, especially since Fergie and Andrew have remained friends and even live together at the Royal Lodge at Windsor, where Eugenie's reception will take place. Fergie, who has been very involved in planning the wedding, often shares photos of Andrew on her personal Instagram account.
With Meghan and Harry's modern and inclusive wedding, the royals have shown that the future of the monarchy is evolving. For their benefit, it's time they show that same respect to older members of their family.