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Why King Charles welcomed Sarah Ferguson back to the royal family after Prince Philip banned her

Sarah Ferguson made a very public return to the royal fold on Christmas Day with a smile on her face.

The 64-year-old joined her ex-husband Prince Andrew , King Charles and the rest of the family on their annual photographed walk to St Mary Magdalene’s church on the Sandringham estate — for the first time in more than 30 years.

Page Six is told that it’s King Charles, Fergie’s former brother-in-law, who is responsible for welcoming her back into the public eye.

Charles, 75, quietly invited Fergie, the mother of Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie, to Christmas lunch at the Norfolk estate in 2022, just months after he took the throne.

But it was this year’s significant walk to church services — alongside Queen Camilla, Prince William, Kate Middleton and their children, and a swell of other royals — that made it clear that Fergie is well and truly back.

Sarah Ferguson was all smiles while making a very public return to royal life on Christmas. AP
Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York, was invited to join the royal family on Christmas Day by King Charles — after his father, Prince Philip, spent years freezing her out. Shutterstock
Fergie and Prince Andrew strolled into the church at Sandringham, the royals’ Norfolk estate, behind King Charles and Queen Camilla on Christmas Day. BAV MEDIA / SplashNews.com

It was just like old times as the Duchess of York, looking chic in a green coat and hairband, collected flowers from well-wishers and greeted the crowds.

It’s an amazing turnaround. Fergie and Andrew divorced in 1996 but have lived together since around 2008. Nonetheless, she spent decades in the wilderness after she was caught trying to sell a journalist access to Andrew, not to mention a marriage cheating scandal — when she was photographed with her toes in another man’s mouth — that particularly horrified her late father-in-law Prince Philip.

Philip, who died in 2021, reportedly wouldn’t stand for Fergie being at public events with the family.

But, a palace insider told Page Six, “Sarah has always been close to the King [Charles] and is fond of him, and she has increasingly grown closer to the Queen [Camilla].

After a shocking few years amid the Jeffrey Epstein scandal, Andrew smiled as he left church on Christmas Day with his younger brother, Prince Edward, Duke of Edinburgh. UK Press via Getty Images

“She’s always been loyal to the family and has really not put a foot wrong in recent years. She’s never said a critical word and is always extremely loyal to the institution.”

In addition, Fergie has stood by Andrew throughout his sex-assault scandal.

Andrew, 63, lost his royal title and privileges after paying a multi-million-dollar settlement to Virginia Guiffre, one of Jeffrey Epstein’s accusers, who claims she was forced to sleep with Andrew, the Duke of York, when she was just 17. Andrew, who settled with Giuffre for a reported $12 million, has always denied the claims.

Said another well-placed source said: “Fergie is really the glue that holds the Yorks together.

Princess Beatrice and husband, Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi, attend the Christmas service at Sandringham. Samir Hussein/WireImage
Princess Eugenie — Fergie and Prince Andrew’s youngest daughter — at Sandringham with husband, Jack Brooksbank, on Christmas Day. AP

“She’s devoted to her girls and grandchildren and lives with the Duke day to day and has seen him through this difficult period, which has been appreciated by the wider family.”

Andrew now faces being named in another legal suit involving Giuffre and Ghislaine Maxwell on January 4, after a judge ordered that the papers could be unsealed — potentially publicizing more of Epstein’s powerful cohorts. But Page Six is told that the prince is not believed to be caught up in any fresh scandal.

Posting on Instagram over Christmas, Fergie made it clear she was happy to be back with the whole royal family, as she said: “We are enjoying each other’s company and feeling grateful today.”

Fergie has always remained close to King Charles and has grown closer to Queen Camilla, according to palace insiders. Zak Hussein / SplashNews.com

Friends are proud of how Fergie handled her breast cancer diagnosis and made the news public after having a mastectomy and reconstruction this year.

She’s now dedicated to ensuring that women don’t miss their mammograms.

“She has come to an acceptance that 50% of people in a room might like her and 50% might not, but that won’t stop her from putting her head above the parapet,” said one source who knows Fergie.

Prince William, Kate Middleton and their children — Princess Charlotte, Prince George and Prince Louis — walked with young cousin Mia Tindall on Christmas Day. Samir Hussein/WireImage

“Some people can shut the world out after [a cancer] diagnosis,” the source said, “but Sarah wanted to get something positive to come from it and she wants to show the importance of women being screened.”

Fergie is patron of the UK Teenage Cancer Trust and has her own charity, Sarah’s Trust, that has delivered aid to Ukraine and around the UK. 

Although Andrew paid Epstein accuser Virginia Guiffre (above, center, with Ghislaine Maxwell) a multi-million-dollar settlement last year, he has always denied wrongdoing. DOJ

We’re told she’s also in “advanced talks” to turn her first adult novel, “Her Heart for a Compass”, into a TV show and is writing a third novel for Harper Collins publishers.

“Sarah’s in a great place now,” said the Fergie source.