The pair – who split in 1992 after Fergie’s infamous ‘toe-sucking’ scandal and divorced in 1996 – have remained close friends for years, and even still live together at Andrew’s Royal Lodge in Windsor.
But the only way the divorced couple were going to be able to rekindle their romance was if the disgraced Duchess of York won over her harshest critic, Prince Philip – which she finally has.
Now palace sources tell New Idea that Fergie and Andrew are finally ready to go public with their new relationship – and will even attend Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s May wedding for their first outing as a reunited couple.
‘Fergie has been trying to work her way back into the royal house for years, so this is pretty amazing,’ says the source. ‘The duchess’ public image has been well and truly shattered after several public scandals – starting with the toe-sucking affair, right through to her being caught selling Arab businessmen access to Andrew for hundreds of thousands of dollars.
‘But in recent years, she’s really put her head down – working hard on various charities and building a strong friendship with Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall.
‘Now that Prince Philip has finally agreed to let bygones be bygones and allow Fergie back into the royal fold, it’s given
Fergie and Andrew the green light to go public with their romance. They’re already making plans to attend Prince Harry’s wedding together – they don’t want to steal the limelight, but at the same time they feel it would be a fitting moment for them to step out together.’
It’s no secret that Fergie and Andrew have had an unconventional relationship for years, meaning their rekindled romance will come as little surprise to many. As well as living together, the pair share a $22 million ski lodge in the exclusive Swiss resort of Verbier.
The couple also host regular family dinners with their daughters Beatrice, 29, and Eugenie, 27, at their home – carrying on like their 1996 divorce never happened.
‘I always think: “Have we really?” ’ the 58-year-old told Kyle and Jackie O when asked about their split and if she would ever get back together with Prince Andrew.
‘We’re divorced to each other right now. We’ve never really left each other.
‘I think about the happily ever after... I’m actually writing a book about that too. It’s just because in our fairytales, which we were brought up with as children, along comes the prince on a white charger. Actually, what if the real, true thing is to find yourself and to find peace and happiness within yourself ? That is where the true nurturing – the true castle is – it’s you. And then after that, see what happens.’
During a recent speech, the duchess made no secret of her deep affection for Andrew, revealing that they’re ‘such a happy family’.
‘He’s still my handsome prince, he’ll always be my handsome prince,’ she confessed. ‘It’s lovely that we are such a family and the story has a happy ending all the time.
‘In our every day, we really respect each other and we honour each other and it’s just lovely to have that sense of integrity to what we believe is right – to what is good – and compassion, love and kindness.'
She later added: ‘He is the greatest man there is. It was the finest moment of my life in 1986 when I married him. He is a great man, the best in the world.’
As well as working hard to rebuild her reputation, Sarah has also been working to win over her former father-in-law, Prince Philip – whose anger and disappointment towards her is common knowledge in royal circles. But in a strange twist, it’s believed Camilla has helped broker the peace between Fergie and Prince Philip after the two duchesses became firm friends.
‘Camilla really has brought Fergie in from the cold, and was instrumental in having her included in the Court Circular – meaning she can represent the royal family at official events,’ says a palace source.
‘Camilla knows what it’s like to have your reputation take a battering after her affair with Charles went public and fans of Diana turned on her. So she has a lot of sympathy for Sarah – and wanted Philip to know Fergie has turned over a new leaf and can be trusted again with Andrew’s heart.
‘Andrew and Fergie have both made mistakes – but they really want to grow old together. They think now is their second chance at a happily ever after.’
For the full story see this weeks issue of New Idea - out now!