Fergie and Andrew ‘Determined’ to Stay at Royal Lodge After Her Cancer Diagnosis

Two cancer battles in under a year have left Sarah Ferguson and her ex-husband Prince Andrew determined not to surrender their prized asset and home, Royal Lodge in Windsor.Published Jan. 22, 2024 5:55PM EST exclusiveToby Melville / ReutersSarah Ferguson and Prince Andrew are “not going anywhere, and are more determined than ever” to stay in their vast home

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Two cancer battles in under a year have left Sarah Ferguson and her ex-husband Prince Andrew determined not to surrender their prized asset and home, Royal Lodge in Windsor.

Tom Sykes

exclusive

Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York and Prince Andrew, Duke of York in 2src15

Toby Melville / Reuters

Sarah Ferguson and Prince Andrew are “not going anywhere, and are more determined than ever” to stay in their vast home, Royal Lodge, in the wake of her new skin cancer diagnosis, friends of the couple have told The Daily Beast.

A friend of Sarah’s told The Daily Beast: “When you are not well, you just want to be at home, and that’s where the duchess is now. Her recent health scares have only made them value Royal Lodge more than ever. The children and grandchildren can visit, there is room for everyone to stay. The idea that they are going to throw all that away, after everything they have been through in the past few years, is absurd. They are not going anywhere, and are more determined than ever not to move out. Why should they? It’s their home, and Andrew signed a lease long enough to see them out.”

The duchess’ malignant melanoma was only identified after dermatologists carrying out reconstructive breast surgery after her breast cancer spotted suspicious moles. Tests, which only came through days after Christmas, revealed one mole was malignant. She has received treatment, is being monitored by specialists, and is currently “resting with family at home,” she revealed Monday in an Instagram post.

Andrew leased the 100-acre Royal Lodge estate from the Crown Estate in August 2003 for a period of 75 years. This means that the lease is set to last until 2078, and his children can inherit the lease after his death.

Under the terms of the lease, according to documents published by the Crown Estate, Andrew, who committed to spending £7.5 million ($9.5 million) would not be entitled to automatic compensation if he terminated the lease any time after 2028 (when 25 years of the lease will have run).

A friend of Andrew’s scoffed at reports that King Charles could persuade him to leave saying: “Andrew is a savvy businessman. He is not just going to give away an enormously valuable asset that also happens to be his home. He doesn’t have much in his life anymore, but he does have Royal Lodge, and it keeps him busy.”

The couple, who divorced in 1996, still live together at Royal Lodge, albeit occupying different wings of the vast, crenelated property in Windsor Great Park that was formerly the home of Andrew’s notoriously extravagant grandmother, best known by her title of Queen Mother. Charles has reportedly tried to encourage Andrew to move out of the property, allegedly citing concerns over maintenance and security costs.

Sarah Ferguson attends the Royal Family's Christmas Day service at St. Mary Magdalene's church, Britain December 25, 2src23.

Sarah Ferguson attends the Royal Family’s Christmas Day service at St. Mary Magdalene’s church, Britain December 25, 2023.

Chris Radburn/Reuters

However, many believe the real reason he wants them to go is that the king thinks it looks bad for a disgraced royal who no longer works for ‘The Firm’ to be occupying a lavish property, and wants the house given to Prince William and Kate Middleton instead.

William and Kate currently live in a four-bedroom home on the Windsor Estate called Adelaide Cottage, a quaint Gothic property that was once the home of Peter Townsend, who famously had an affair with Princess Margaret. Their friends say they are quite happy living there and have no wish to move.

After Sarah’s skin cancer diagnosis, which she revealed this weekend, the prospect of them leaving the property, however, seems more remote than ever. In her Instagram post Monday, Sarah pointedly referred to being at “home” which is thought to refer to Royal Lodge.

Andrew’s camp have pushed back strongly at apparent efforts to pressure them to move out, saying that Andrew’s lease entitles them to stay there.

Intriguingly, senior courtiers to the king have also sought in recent weeks to dampen expectations that the couple would be forced to move out by briefing that the couple have a lease with the independent Crown Estate, not the king.

A similarly soft line was promulgated by the king’s trusted biographer Robert Hardman, who said in a new book, The Making of a King: King Charles III and the Modern Monarchy, that Charles is not, contrary to some reports, actively seeking to evict Andrew from the palatial home. Hardman said that as long as Andrew can afford to maintain the property, he will be permitted to stay there.

It seems inevitable now that they will just formalize it within a few years and remarry. They live in the same house, they spend all their time together…

Friend of Sarah Ferguson and Prince Andrew

Hardman also wrote that some insiders “fear for [Andrew’s] mental well-being.”

Omid Scobie’s recent book Endgame claimed that Charles had at one stage been “in tears because he was afraid for Andrew’s mental health.”

Some of Andrew and Sarah’s friends believe they will eventually remarry. One told The Daily Beast recently: “It seems inevitable now that they will just formalize it within a few years and remarry. They live in the same house, they spend all their time together, they adore the children, they don’t ever argue.”

A reporter at the London Times wrote after Christmas that Sarah’s late father, Major Ronald Ferguson, once told them: “Those two never wanted to get divorced. It wasn’t them. It was that family.”

Others, however, have poured cold water on the idea. Andrew Lownie, a historian and biographer who is publishing a biography of Andrew soon, previously told The Daily Beast he thought it was unlikely they would ever actually remarry because to do so would inhibit Fergie’s ability to continue working in the private sector.

He said: “I don’t think she wants to get remarried to him. She’s very happy with the current arrangement where she has all the benefits of being in the royal family without any of the restrictions.”

Representatives for Sarah and Andrew have been approached for comment.

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