Wedding of Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson

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Wedding of Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson
Andrew Sarah wedding 19860723.jpg
The Duke and Duchess of York on their wedding day
Date23 July 1986
LocationWestminster Abbey, London, England
ParticipantsPrince Andrew, Duke of York
Sarah Ferguson

The wedding of Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson was held on 23 July 1986, at Westminster Abbey in London, England.

Courtship and engagement[edit]

Prince Andrew, the third child and second son of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, and Sarah Ferguson, the daughter of Major Ronald Ferguson and his first wife Susan Wright, first met when they were children, but had not been romantically involved until they met again at a party at Floors Castle in 1985.[1] They began their relationship that very same year, after a party held at Windsor Castle in honour of the Royal Ascot races.[2] Diana, Princess of Wales, Andrew's sister-in-law, played a hand in matchmaking the couple,[3] and the two women later formed a strong friendship.[4]

Andrew proposed to Sarah on 19 February 1986, his twenty-sixth birthday.[5] Their engagement was announced on 17 March 1986. Andrew presented Sarah with a Garrard engagement ring made from sketches he had made. The ring has a Burma ruby surrounded by ten drop-diamonds. The mounting was eighteen-carat white and yellow gold.[6] Andrew's bachelor party was held at Aubrey House in Holland Park. It was attended by Prince Charles, Billy Connolly, David Frost and Elton John.[7]

Wedding ceremony[edit]

Sarah Ferguson in the Glass coach before the wedding
Combined coat of arms of Andrew and Sarah, the Duke and Duchess of York

Four months after announcing their engagement, Andrew and Sarah married on 23 July 1986, at Westminster Abbey in London. The Lord Chamberlain's office was responsible for organising the ceremony and guest list, while the royal household was left in charge of the reception.[8] Sarah made her way with her father Ronald from Clarence House in the Glass Coach, arriving at the church at 11:30.[2] The Archbishop of Canterbury Robert Runcie conducted at the 45-minute wedding ceremony.[1] As the couple exchanged vows, Sarah mistakenly repeated Andrew's middle name, Christian;[9] five years earlier, Diana, Princess of Wales, made a similar mistake by reversing the order of Prince Charles's names.[10] Unlike the wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana, Sarah chose to say the word "obey" in her vow "to love, cherish and to obey."[1] In keeping with tradition, the wedding ring was crafted from Welsh gold. The tradition of using Welsh gold within the wedding rings of the royal family dates back to 1923.[11]

Both Andrew's brothers participated in the wedding ceremony; Prince Edward was his best man, and Prince Charles read a lesson during the service.[1] The bridesmaids and page boys included Princess Anne's children Peter and Zara Phillips, and Prince Charles's eldest son Prince William.[11] Members of foreign royal families, as well as the U.S. First Lady Nancy Reagan were among the guests.[9] The ceremony featured many ceremonial aspects, including use of the state carriages and roles for the Household Cavalry.[11]

The Duke and Duchess of York left Westminster Abbey for Buckingham Palace in an open-top 1902 State Landau. Around 100,000 people gathered to witness the Andrew and Sarah's first kiss as man and wife on the balcony of the palace. After a traditional wedding breakfast for 120 guests at Buckingham Palace,[11] the married couple and some 300 guests moved to a party at Claridge's hotel.[9]

The 5½-foot-tall "marzipan and rum-soaked" wedding cake was supplied by the navy supply school HMS Raleigh.[12] They made two identical cakes in case one was damaged.[13] 100 cakes were offered at a competition held by the palace, and subsequently they were all donated to hospices.[8] 30,000 flowers were used to decorate the abbey, all of which were eventually also donated to hospices.[8][11] Albert Mackenzie Watson was chosen by Prince Andrew to take the wedding portraits.[14]


Prince Andrew was dressed in a ceremonial attire of a naval lieutenant, while Sarah wore an ivory-silk wedding dress designed by Lindka Cierach,[9] which had a 17-foot train,[1] and 20-foot-long veil.[11] Sarah, in her own words, "lost 26 pounds to fit into" the dress.[5] Her S-shaped bouquet featured "gardenias, cream lilies, yellow roses, lilies of the valley and a sprig of myrtle."[11][15] Sarah wore a floral crown for the occasion which was placed atop a diamond tiara that was given to her by the Queen.[16]

Best Man, bridesmaids and page boys[edit]

Best man

Bridesmaids and Page Boys:

  • Andrew Ferguson, age: 8 half-brother of the bride
  • Peter Phillips age: 8 nephew of the groom
  • Seamus Luedecke, age: 5 the son of Sarah's sister Jane Luedecke
  • Prince William of Wales age: 4 nephew of the groom

Musical selection[edit]

Organist & Choir Director: Simon Preston

Titles upon marriage[edit]

On the day of the wedding, the Queen created Prince Andrew Duke of York, Earl of Inverness and Baron Killyleagh—the first two titles were previously held by his maternal great-grandfather King George V, and grandfather King George VI.[18] By marriage, Sarah became Her Royal Highness The Duchess of York, Countess of Inverness and Baroness Killyleagh, also attaining the rank of Princess of the United Kingdom.[19]


The Duke and Duchess of York made their way to Heathrow Airport in an open carriage, with a paper mache satellite dish and sign attached reading "Phone Home" put there as a practical joke by Prince Edward. The Princess of Wales and Viscount Linley, Princess Margaret's son, placed a king-sized teddy bear inside the coach.[11] The couple boarded a royal jet, emblazoned with "Just Married" on the rear door, for the Azores Islands, and then spent their five-day honeymoon aboard the royal yacht Britannia in the Atlantic.[6]

Public reception[edit]

The BBC reported that 500 million television viewers tuned in to watch the wedding of Prince Andrew, Duke of York, and Sarah Ferguson worldwide. An estimated crowd of 100,000 gathered to see the couple's first public kiss as man and wife on the balcony of Buckingham Palace.[20] The wedding ceremony was positively received by the public.[1][21] The media frenzy caused by the wedding was called "Fergie Fever" by The New York Times.[14] A number of ceremonies and parties were held at different places by the public to celebrate the occasion across the United Kingdom.[1] The wedding was widely broadcast on television and radio in many countries, and news channels covered the ceremony in different languages.[1]

Guest list[edit]

British royal family and relatives[edit]

Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, the groom's grandmother

Princess Alice, Duchess of Gloucester, the groom's grandaunt by marriage

Ferguson family and relatives[edit]

  • Mr and Mrs Ronald Ferguson, the bride's father and stepmother
    • Mr Andrew Ferguson, the bride's paternal half-brother
    • Miss Alice Ferguson, the bride's paternal half-sister
  • Mrs and Mr Héctor Barrantes, the bride's mother and stepfather
    • Mrs and Mr. William Alez Makim, the bride's sister and her husband
      • Mr Seamus Makim, the bride's nephew
  • Lady Elmhirst, the bride's paternal grandmother
  • The Hon. Mrs. FitzHerbert Wright, the bride's maternal grandmother
    • Mrs. and Mr. Julian Salmond, the bride's aunt and uncle
    • The Lady and Lord Loch, the bride's aunt and uncle
    • Major Bryan Wright, the bride's uncle

Foreign royalty[edit]

Members of reigning royal families[edit]

Members of non-reigning royal families[edit]

Religious figures[edit]

Politicians and diplomats[edit]

Other notable guests[edit]



It was reported that Andrew's obligations as a naval helicopter pilot meant that they only saw each other 40 days a year. Sarah received criticism from the media about her weight, contributing to her stress and the couple's estrangement.[23] Andrew and Sarah announced their separation on 19 March 1992,[24] and divorced on 30 May 1996.[25]

After the couple's divorce, Sarah lost the style Her Royal Highness, becoming "Sarah, Duchess of York", and she was no longer a British princess.[26]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h "Prince Andrew's wedding". BBC. Retrieved 13 May 2018.
  2. ^ a b "Iconic weddings: Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson". Hello!. 11 March 2011. Retrieved 9 October 2012.
  3. ^ Cooney Fitzpatrick, Beth (7 January 2011). "Great Royal Weddings: Sarah Ferguson and Prince Andrew". Retrieved 9 October 2012.
  4. ^ Davies, Nicholas (2 July 1992). "Arrival of Fun-Loving Fergie Forever Changed Diana's Life". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 13 May 2018.
  5. ^ a b Keraghosian, Greg (23 July 2013). "July 23: Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson get married in 1986". Yahoo!. Retrieved 13 May 2018.
  6. ^ a b Flantzer, Susan (23 July 2010). "Wedding of Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson". Retrieved 22 February 2016.
  7. ^ Seward, Ingrid (4 April 2001). The Queen & Di: The Untold Story. Arcade Publishing. pp. 166–. ISBN 978-1-55970-561-5. Retrieved 1 December 2012.
  8. ^ a b c Cafe, Rebecca (26 April 2011). "How to organise a royal wedding". BBC. Retrieved 13 May 2018.
  9. ^ a b c d "On this day, 23 July – 1986: Prince Andrew marries Sarah Ferguson". BBC News Online. London. 23 July 2005. Retrieved 11 October 2012.
  10. ^ "On this day, 29 July – 1981: Charles and Diana marry". BBC News Online. London. 29 July 2005. Retrieved 11 October 2012.
  11. ^ a b c d e f g h Herman, Arthur (23 July 1986). "Andy, Fergie wed amid pomp; honeymoon starts with jokes". Retrieved 13 May 2018.
  12. ^ Hefa, Kiran (12 April 2011). "The Most Glamorous Royal Wedding Cakes Through History". People. Retrieved 13 May 2018.
  13. ^ "The Royal Wedding Cakes of History". The Royal Family. 1 May 2018. Retrieved 9 October 2018.
  14. ^ a b Lohr, Steve (18 July 1986). "'Fergie Fever', As Royal Wedding Nears". The New York Times. Retrieved 13 May 2018.
  15. ^ "Sarah, Duchess of York and Prince Andrew's 1986 royal wedding: A look back at the best photos (slide 2)". Hello!. 15 March 2018. Retrieved 13 May 2018.
  16. ^ "Sarah, Duchess of York and Prince Andrew's 1986 royal wedding: A look back at the best photos (slide 3)". Hello!. 15 March 2018. Retrieved 13 May 2018.
  17. ^ "Prince Andrew, son of Queen Elizabeth II". Westminster Abbey. Retrieved 13 May 2018.
  18. ^ Her Majesty's Stationery Office (23 July 1986). "Supplement to The London Gazette". The London Gazette. Retrieved 9 October 2012.
  19. ^ Ferguson, Sarah (2011). Finding Sarah: A Duchess's Journey to Find Herself. New York: Atria Books. pp. 234–235. ISBN 9781439189566. I had become Princess Andrew and the Duchess of York, as well as the Countess of Inverness and the Baroness of Killyleagh
  20. ^ "More information about Prince Andrew's wedding: The wedding day". BBC News. London. Retrieved 9 October 2012.
  21. ^ MacMillan, Ann (14 July 1986). "Andrew and Fergie frenzy". CBC. Retrieved 13 May 2018.
  22. ^ Missing or empty |title= (help)
  23. ^ "From outcast to US princess: Fergie at 40". BBC News Online. London. 15 October 1999. Retrieved 24 January 2015.
  24. ^ "On this day, 19 March – 1992: Andrew and Fergie split". BBC News Online. London. 19 March 2005. Retrieved 9 October 2012.
  25. ^ "Sarah Margaret Ferguson". The Retrieved 9 October 2012.
  26. ^ Her Majesty's Stationery Office (30 May 1996). "State Intelligence". The London Gazette. Retrieved 9 October 2012.

External links[edit]