Why Fergie will surely make the best grandmother in Royal history

After a serious rebrand, the Duchess of York is ready for another chapter. And she was born for it

A grandmother-in-waiting, Fergie on Instagram
The Duchess of York: a grandmother-in-waiting Credit: Instagram

The 20th century American writer Christopher Morley never met Princess Eugenie, but she could do worse than heed his warning. “It is as grandmothers,” Morley once wrote, “that our mothers come into the fullness of their grace.”

Princess Eugenie may or may not have thought her mother, Sarah, Duchess of York, came into the fullness of her grace several years ago. Somewhere between the international arrest warrant, being hypnotised on Oprah, and reinventing herself as a YouTuber.

Alas, news this morning that Eugenie, the 10th in-line to the throne, and her husband, former tequila dealer Jack Brooksbank, are expecting their first child means we – as a nation, as a people, as a human race – are in for a treat: Fergie will be starting another chapter. 

And ‘eccentric grandmother’ might just be the part she was born for. Here are just a few of the many, many reasons why...

She’s been in training for years

Well, months, anyway. How else do you explain her lockdown behaviour, reading bedtime stories for children (including homemade hats, animal noises, and one absolute insane afternoon in which where she just slowly wrapped some Frankfurters in pastry), setting up a charity to source luxury goods for hospitals, organising a wedding for Princess Beatrice in about a week, chatting to Peter Andre?

She’s been rebranding, ready to emerge as “woman in the conservatory who can make anything – a cape, a robot, a flan, a society dinner for 300 – with just an hour, some sticky-back plastic, and a couple of little helpers. It’s all part of the plan. 

Her Instagram’s about to go wild

Lately, Fergie’s Instagram has been dominated by photographs showing her proudly holding up some art she’s made, like some bananas with eyes drawn on them. Previously, though, she’s been the high-water mark of embarrassing parents on there. 

When Eugenie announced her engagement two years ago, her mother took to both Twitter and Instagram to post five personal photographs, each with a gushing caption and more hashtags than was ever necessary. Three of the snaps had stylised words pasted over them, petrol station greetings card-style, including a black-and-white image of Eugenie and Brooksbank staring at some trees.

View this post on Instagram

Total joy #engagement @hrhthedukeofyork 😁😁

A post shared by Sarah Ferguson (@sarahferguson15) on

Both wear the fixed smiles of young people who have been asked to stand still while Mum works out how to flip the camera off selfie mode. Over the top of the image, in ten different font sizes, the mother-of-the-bride had written: “A total embrace of goodness and joy. We love Jack and I am so excited to have a son, a brother and a best friend. Eugenie is one of the finest people I know and so together it will be pure harmony.” 

Plenty more where that came from.

She’ll spoil them rotten

“Vulgar, vulgar, vulgar,” was how Lord Charteris, the Queen's private secretary, famously summed up Fergie. That might have been on account of the reported £50,000 clothes-buying sprees, or the time an airline apparently charged her almost £1,000 for 51 pieces of excess baggage after a shopping trip in the US, or the toe-sucking, or the bankruptcy or – actually, it could have been for a lot of reasons. 

She likes to buy things, does Saz, and I expect her first grandchildren are going to be the beneficiaries of that habit. “Sorry Eugie I just couldn’t not buy them!”, she’ll say, arriving at their house with a French bulldog puppy in a miniature riding a miniature Peppa Pig-themed Range Rover.

Fergie and Andrew will soon be grandparents Credit: Getty

Stories/rebrand/mistakes

All those mad stories – infuriating the Queen, taking a $3m contract from Weight Watchers, saying she got a plantar wart after wearing a pair of Diana’s shoes, starring in her own reality show, inspiring the debut solo album by her Black Eyed Pea namesake… and then rising from the ashes and getting in with the Firm again – may have been a bit much for Eugenie and Beatrice. A bit close to home. 

Told to a wide-eyed grandchild, though, after a bit of burnishing and a dollop of poetic license? Legendary.

She’ll be lenient – or should be

Well, if she can put up with Andrew’s behaviour, she’ll probably forgive any misbehaviour on the part of a child. And if she doesn’t, they can always ask for an hour-long sit-down interview with Emily Maitlis for a Newsnight special in which they proclaim innocence.