For years they were rumoured to be sworn enemies, but behind the scenes Prince Charles and Sarah Ferguson have been hiding a close friendship that goes back many years. But even more sensationally, a royal insider has revealed to New Idea that the pair were once romantically involved.
‘Fergie and Charles were incredibly close before her relationship with Prince Andrew started, and it’s been a closely-guarded secret for decades that they had a wild fling,’ says the source.
In fact, the former brother and sister-in-law were so fond of each other that if circumstances had been different, they could have made a perfect royal couple.
‘The truth is that Fergie is absolutely someone Charles could have married.
‘He’s always loved her cheekiness and fun, and back in the day she really reminded him of Camilla – a woman he wasn’t allowed to marry.’
Sarah and Charles had known each other for most of their lives when they had a short fling before the Prince of Wales met Lady Diana Spencer and got engaged in 1981.
In fact, Sarah’s father Major Ronald Ferguson played polo on a team alongside Charles in the 1970s – and had worked as his polo manager – so their paths crossed frequently.
‘Fergie was always rumoured to be meeting up in private with Prince Charles – always in secret parts of the palace and the palace grounds.’
‘While many have said that they were just friends and nothing scandalous happened, there were many royal insiders and palace aides at the time who believed the pair were enjoying a romance.
‘And seeing as both of them were single, no-one really cared.’
When Fergie started dating Andrew in 1985, and they then announced their engagement in 1986, things between the new couple and Charles became understandably complicated.
‘Andrew could never handle the romance and affair rumours about Fergie and Charles, even though it was supposed to have happened well before they started dating. It made him wild with jealousy,’ says the insider.
And even when Sarah was embroiled in a series of sex and financial scandals, he supported his former flame.
‘When ‘toe-sucking gate’ happened, Charles was fighting in her corner.
‘And more recently, it was Charles who convinced The Queen to allow Fergie to attend Meghan and Harry’s wedding and even invite her to visit Balmoral for the summer.’
For the full story see this weeks issue of New Idea, on sale now.