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It’s Over: Divorce Final for Fergie and Prince Andrew

May 30, 1996

LONDON (AP) _ Queen Elizabeth II lost one of her two troublesome daughters-in-law today when Prince Andrew’s divorce from the former Sarah Ferguson was declared final.

Princess Diana is still arguing about terms for her split from Prince Charles, though they’ve both agreed on a divorce.

Andrew and Fergie were not present when the decree was confirmed in the Family Division of the High Court, an automatic ruling six weeks after the initial filing.

She keeps her title of Duchess of York but loses the right to be called ``Her Royal Highness.″ She also collected a reported financial settlement of $3 million. Of that, $2.1 million was set aside in trust for the couple’s daughters, the Press Association news agency reported.

The divorce was confirmed in a statement by the couple’s lawyers: ``Henry Boyd-Carpenter, of Farrer and Co., and Douglas Alexiou of Gordon Dadds can confirm on behalf of their respective clients, the Duke and Duchess of York, that the decree absolute on their divorce has been granted today.″

Andrew, 36, the second son of Queen Elizabeth, married Fergie, also 36, in a lavish ceremony at Westminster Abbey on July 23, 1986. They have two children: Princess Beatrice, 7, and Princess Eugenie, 6.

Divorce has bedeviled the queen’s family. Her father acceded to the throne because her uncle, Edward VIII, wanted to marry Wallis Simpson, an American divorcee.

The queen’s sister, Princess Margaret, is divorced and so is the queen’s daughter, Princess Anne, who remarried seven months after her divorce.

Prince Edward, the youngest of the family, has not declared any intention of marrying his girlfriend, Sophie Rhys-Jones.

The ebullient Fergie loomed as the most embarrassing of the royal in-laws. Tabloid newspapers played up her boisterous behavior, her battles with overweight and her taste in fashion.

But the worst embarrassment came five months after the couple separated in 1992, when newspapers published picture of the duchess, wearing only her bikini bottom, frolicking with John Bryan, her American financial adviser.

Through it all, Andrew has been loyal and silent. It has been reported that Sarah and the children will live in converted stables near the home they used to share on the outskirts of London.

Her U.S. publicist, Howard Rubenstein of Rubenstein Associates, Inc. of New York, issued a statement today that said:

``The Duke and Duchess of York remain the closest of friends. They are dedicated parents and are committed to raising their daughters together. ... Today marks the end of a chapter in their family’s life and the start of a new one.

``It is the Duke and Duchess’s wish that their privacy, and that of their children, be respected, and that they can now be left to carry on their lives with as little intrusion as possible.″

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