What The Crown Doesn't Show You About Prince Andrew And Sarah Ferguson's Marriage

When we think of the fourth season of The Crownwhich is streaming on Netflix, it's safe to say that we naturally think of the most dominating storyline — Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer, their engagement, marriage, and predictable demise. But what some people might not know from The Crown's storylines alone is that the 1980s featured another very high profile royal relationship, wedding, and marriage between Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson (commonly referred to as Fergie).

It's true that Spencer stole the press's attention, but that didn't stop Fergie from accomplishing her own name and reputation. And given that Prince Andrew had already been known for his rambunctious behavior and troublemaking tendencies, people caught on to their relationship like wildfire in the United Kingdom, the United States, and the world. 

So although the fourth season of The Crown really only features one noteworthy scene with Prince Andrew and Queen Elizabeth, and only introduces Fergie in a cameo appearance, it should be noted just how much their relationship and subsequent separation altered the royal family. So buckle up, because here is what The Crown doesn't show you about Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson's marriage.

Only briefly mentioned in The Crown, Andrew dated this actress before marrying Fergie

The most consequential scene of The Crown that showed the audiences a bit more of Prince Andrew, though not of his relationship with Sarah Ferguson, took place in Season 4, Episode 4, entitled "Favourites." The queen gets it in her head that she has to find out which child of hers is, in fact, her favorite and engages with all of them to answer her questions. 

When chatting with her son Andrew — who certainly comes across in the show as a bit crude and very unaware of consequences — the queen is thrown by his statements about his recent fling with actress Koo Stark. He tells his mother (in the show, that is) that Stark had recently starred in a film called The Awakening of Emily, which features a 17-year-old evading sexual predators. 

Now as noted by The Cut, Andrew and Stark did date in real life and what isn't really shown to evolve on screen was their 18-month relationship. The two spent a good deal of time together and have remained close throughout their adulthood. But the scene in The Crown when Andrew discusses the sexual antics of an underaged girl might have been intentional and a nod to his alleged involvement with Jeffrey Epstein (via the Independent).

Prince Andrew and Fergie met when they were just 3 years old

There's been a lot of debate about The Crown, its accuracy, what was put in and what storylines were omitted, and one of the details that slipped through the cracks was just how close Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson were in their early lives. 

As noted by The Washington Post, the Prince and Fergie met when they were just 3 years old — it's as if their eventual wedding was in the cards from the moment they were toddlers. Where did they meet, you might ask? Not daycare, not nursery school, but on the grass beside a polo field (silly you for thinking anything else). "Doesn't everybody?" Fergie's mother, Susan, asked the interviewer about where her daughter met the prince. We can safely say that no, we've never met a prince of the United Kingdom on a splendid spring day at the polo fields... 

But it might not come as a surprise as to just how much polo was a part of the Fergusons' lives. Fergie's father played with Prince Philip, Andrew's father, and was the polo manager for Prince Charles. Fergie's mother, Susan, eventually left her husband for an Argentine polo player. It all comes back to polo.

Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson were seen as the complete opposites of Charles and Diana

The fourth season of The Crown, which has a lot of people upset, focuses on Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer, their marriage, and their eventual decline. What is not as included in the storyline is just how much Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson — who got married in 1986 — were seen as direct opposites of the other royal couple. 

The Crown depicts the differences in personality of Charles and Andrew behind closed doors, but the reality of the 1980s for the royal family and the way the press covered the two couples was not nearly as included in the show as it could have been. As noted by The Washington Post in 1986, "The aristocratic and remote Diana, princess of Wales, may be the principal royal object of adulation these days, but Fergie is someone who seems to inspire in her countrymen the same kind of cozy warmth as does Queen Elizabeth herself." 

The Post also noted the couples' dynamics — on one hand, Fergie and Andrew were playful — he was even spotted once trying to force his wife to eat cream puffs. Charles, on the other hand, made comments about Spencer which reportedly, in part, triggered her eating disorder (via People). Very different.

Before dating Prince Andrew, Fergie was linked to a motor racing manager

Unlike Diana Spencer, of whom The Crown gives a fairly detailed background, viewers of the show do not get a close look at Sarah Ferguson's life before becoming a member of the royal family. She had quite the exciting personal life before being linked to Prince Andrew that certainly deserves some attention. 

As noted by The Washington Post, Fergie's first serious relationship was with a stock broker, Kim Smith-Bingham. Through that relationship, she met car racing manager Paddy McNally and started her second notable relationship. McNally was 22 years older than Fergie, but that didn't stop them from going on extravagant holidays, skiing trips, and Grand Prix races. The two were together for three years, but Fergie eventually gave him an ultimatum. He admitted that he never had intentions on marrying her and so they called it quits. 

It seems from the account published in The Washington Post that Prince Andrew was, in fact, Fergie's rebound. Imagine that, getting out of a three-year relationship only to bag a prince. Not too bad.

After getting married in 1986, the couple's marriage was fractured due to this reason

Sarah Ferguson and Prince Andrew's marriage did not last. The bond between them started to fracture due in part to Andrew's navy career and rumored infidelity on Fergie's part. She maintains that she didn't want a divorce and told Harper's Bazaar in 2007 that the split was "the most painful time" of her life. 

When asked what advice she would give to someone in her shoes (at the time that was Kate Middleton), Fergie had some choice words. "All I'd say is, no matter what, stay with your man; don't let him be taken from you," she said. "I married my boy, who happened to be a prince and a sailor, because I loved him — and still do — my only condition being, 'I have to be with you.' And two weeks after the wedding, the courtiers told Andrew, who thought he'd be stationed in London, 'You have to go to sea.'" 

Fergie said she spent her first pregnancy by herself, and the prince only spent ten days away from work when their child was born. "When he left and I cried, they all said: 'Grow up and get a grip,'" Fergie shared. 

All hope of the couple getting back together was crushed when Fergie was spotted with this man

The Crown Season 4 mostly deals with the royal family during the 1980s and ends in the year 1990. Although their marriage was on the rocks by that point, Sarah Ferguson and Prince Andrew didn't officially separate until 1992, and in one public move, she squashed all hope that the family and the public had about the two getting back together and reconciling their differences. 

As noted by the Daily Mail, Fergie was spotted in the summer of 1992 at a villa in the South of France with John Bryan, a financial advisor, but it was clear from their body language that they were far more involved than on a professional level. Paparazzi photos captured Bryan "sucking [Fergie's] toes" while she was laying out in the sun in a bikini — yeah, we'll let that sink in. And from there, it seemed like royal relationships were heading for the worst. Andrew and Fergie officially separated, Prince Charles admitted to his relationship with Camilla Parker Bowles, and Diana Spencer revealed to the BBC that she had an affair with Army officer James Hewitt. Yikes on yikes on yikes.

The demise of Andrew and Sarah's marriage was part of the queen's worst year

Season 4 of The Crown did a great job of setting up its audience for the demise of Prince Charles and Princess Diana's marriage, but theirs wasn't the only royal union that went down the drain. Charles and Diana officially split in 1992, Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson legally separated in 1992, and Princess Anne and her husband Mark Phillips divorced in 1992 — yikes, talk about a rough year. 

Harper's Bazaar noted that Andrew and Fergie's relationship wasn't the only one not to get the justice it deserved in The Crown, but Anne and Phillips' marriage wasn't included as it should have been. And honestly, it seems like each relationship and subsequent demise should have gotten fair shares in the show because they collectively led to the worst year in royal family history. As noted by The Washington Post, Queen Elizabeth II has referred to 1992 as an "annus horribilis," the Latin phrase meaning "horrible year." 

"1992 is not a year on which I shall look back with undiluted pleasure," she said during a speech.

During her marriage to Prince Andrew, Fergie helped Diana in a big way

The Crown does a number on covering Diana Spencer's life both before her time with Prince Charles and during their marriage — her struggle with bulimia is depicted, Charles' continued relationship with Camilla Parker-Bowles is consistently hinted at, and viewers see Spencer transform on screen. But a huge aspect of Spencer's life that is not included in the show like it could've been was the bond that Spencer had with Sarah Ferguson and how their friendship positively impacted her. 

As noted by the Los Angeles Times, from the year 1984 to 1986, Spencer went through a transformation from "a shy, awkward young princess into a confident, dashing young woman," and that "it was almost certainly the arrival of Sarah Ferguson on the royal scene that gave Diana a radically different perspective on life." The Los Angeles Times continued by reporting that Fergie gave Princess Diana the tools to relax and enjoy herself within her royal role and opened her eyes to the fun loving world with which Fergie engaged. Honestly, we wish their bond had been given more time on the screen.

You won't believe how many people watched Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson marry

In The Crown's eighth episode in Season 4, it is depicted that a feud between the queen and Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher completely snowballed the wedding festivities of Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson, and that the public was far more interested in the warring politics than the impending nuptials. But in actuality, the wedding between the prince and Fergie was a massive success, and not only did it have a guest list of 2,000 people, but it was watched by 500 million people around the world — yeah, not exactly the "no one cares about the wedding" message that The Crown gave its viewers. 

As noted by the BBC at the time of the wedding in 1986, thousands of people stood on the side of the streets to get a glimpse of Fergie as she arrived at Westminster Abbey. A-list figures like the United States' First Lady Nancy Reagan and Prime Minister Thatcher were in attendance, and Fergie stunned in her 17-foot-train gown. So while we love the drama of The Crown, the wedding definitely was a hit in real life.

Sarah Ferguson gained a following after her engagement to Prince Andrew

It's no secret that Diana Spencer was a fan favorite and garnered massive amounts of attention wherever she went — and The Crown does a great job of showing that — but Sarah Ferguson had her fair share of influence over the public. 

As noted by The New York Times, people both in the United States and the United Kingdom became obsessed with Fergie as it got closer to her wedding. People started selling apparel, watches, knick-knacks, and even Fergie-inspired perfume and by the time her wax figure was revealed at Madame Tussaud's museum, it was clear — "Fergie fever" had set in. "With Britain in the grip of 'Fergie fever,' in tabloid parlance, it sometimes seems that the forgotten man is Prince Andrew," The New York Times reported in 1986. Awkward. 

Fergie also gained notoriety when she announced that she had plans to keep her job as a graphic arts editor even after getting married. The decision resulted in a lot of support, especially from the feminist community. So unlike The Crown that keeps Fergie largely in the background, it's clear that she was her own leading lady.

Sarah Ferguson endured awful nicknames after giving birth to her and Andrew's first child

From Sarah Ferguson's early days on the royal scene, her weight was consistently commented on. While Diana Spencer's struggle with her weight and eating disorder was shown during the fourth season of The Crown, Fergie's struggle with similar problems was not a dominant storyline. And as noted by People, the criticism about Fergie and her weight only got worse as she began to have children — as a result, the public and the press came up with some horrible nicknames for her. 

"Toward the end of the pregnancy, when she had gained over 30 lbs. and struggled mightily to squeeze into her size-16 clothes, the Duchess of York might tastelessly have been dubbed the Duchess of Pork," People reported in 1988. Talk about awful. 

The magazine included that the United Kingdom was thrilled to welcome Prince Andrew and Fergie's first child, a princess. "There was dancing in the streets, laughter in the air and enough champagne corks popping to drown out Big Ben's bongs," People noted, but it's just sad to think that the same glorious joy wasn't afforded to Fergie and her recovering mama body.

Apparently, this member of the royal family thought Fergie was "pointless"

The Crown shows its viewers from its early episodes in Season 4 that Prince Philip had strong influence over his son, Prince Charles, and his relationship with Diana Spencer. But things did not stay polite forever, and, as noted by Elle, the dynamic between Diana and Philip took a turn when he sent her a series of strongly worded letters. 

As described by author Andrew Morton in his book about Princess Diana, she was on the receiving end of letters that said that her conduct and "irrational" behavior were to blame for her marriage's end. Philip told her that being a part of the royal family "involved much more than simply being a hero with the British people," and the letters left her "upset and infuriated." 

It seems as if Philip had a thing for sharing his thoughts with his sons' wives because he did the same thing to Sarah Ferguson. She shared with The Guardian that things did not stay peachy with Philip while she was married to Prince Andrew. "'Prince Philip said I was 'pointless,' and probably at the time he was right," she said. Talk about a blow to your self-confidence.

While separated from Andrew, Sarah Ferguson received this letter from Princess Margaret

It seems like letters were the go-to tactic to put another member of the royal family down, and the queen's younger sister, Princess Margaret (who had a tragic life story), sent a letter with choice wording to Sarah Ferguson regarding her behavior after she and Prince Andrew split. As noted by the Telegraph, Fergie sent a bouquet of flowers to the princess as a "goodwill offering," and got a handwritten letter in return. Princess Margaret did not leave much to interpretation. 

"You have done more to bring shame on the family than could ever have been imagined," she wrote to Fergie. "Clearly you have never considered the damage you are causing us all. How dare you discredit us like this." Ouch. 

The Crown's fourth season largely keeps Fergie in the background in the brief moments viewers do see her, but it's clear from the show and Helena Bonham Carter's portrayal of Princess Margaret that such a letter was not a deviation from her personality. "She couldn't pretend to be anything but herself, so in a way she was honest and authentic," Bonham Carter told Town & Country, "but unfortunately also incredibly rude."

During her divorce from Andrew, Fergie endured the cold shoulder from Prince Charles

The Crown's fourth season shows Prince Charles' personal life, his struggle to abandon his feelings for Camilla Parker-Bowles, and his turbulent marriage with Diana Spencer. But an element of his life that isn't nearly as picked up on in the show is his friendship with Sarah Ferguson, who eventually became his sister-in-law. 

When his own marriage was going up in flames, Charles reportedly stopped talking to Fergie and she publicly accused him of abandoning her. As noted by the BBC, Fergie said, "The Duke of Edinburgh does not need me. The Prince of Wales does not need me. They think I'm pointless, therefore why should they make the effort?" Doesn't leave a lot of room for interpretation. Fergie continued by saying that she had known Charles and Parker Bowles "all her life" and that she did not understand their cruelty towards her when she and Prince Andrew separated. "Why now — do they have to be so cruel?" Fergie said. "I really, actually, don't understand because I adored Charles." 

Whatever The Crown does leave out of its dominant storylines, one thing is clear — the royal family has had its fair share of familial messes.