Sarah Ferguson and the 'big toe' scandal: 30 years ago the hot summer of Fergie the redhead

It was 1992 when Oggi published photos of the Duchess with her lover. The queen trembled not knowing that even worse would happen later

  sarah-ferguson-scandal-today-35 The photo scandal of Today from 30 years ago Photo Video

“I wasn’t sucking her toes, I was kissing them!” , I wasn't sucking her toes, I was kissing them. The feet in question were those of Sarah Ferguson, to specify in the newspapers was the billionaire and her lover John Bryan. The era of scandal: 1992. Location: Bormes-Les-Mimosas, France - Photo | video

THE SCOOP OF TODAY - To publish the hot shots, exactly 30 years ago, it was precisely Today , on August 31. Of course the damage was done, whatever Bryan was doing. However, the 'toe-sucking royal scandal' was born, the scandal of the big toe, which would accompany the duchess in the following years. Of course Sarah was already separated from Andrea, but the official announcement dates back to a few months earlier, on 19 March. Furthermore, the Duchess was on vacation with her daughters. She highlighted Today at the time: 'Ferguson indulged in exaggerated effusions even for an ordinary mortal: with the aggravating circumstance of the presence of her daughters who will probably be taken away'. It didn't happen. More than anything else, the Duchess, already targeted for her over-the-top clothing and always compared to her sister-in-law Diana, was the object of further derision. To help her get out of the impasse was the scandal that involved Lady D, or the publication on the Sun of Diana's private conversations with friend James Gilbey in which he called her 'squidgy', something like shrimp.

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THE INTERVENTION OF LADY DIANA - Fergie will later say: 'I went to her room and thanked her for taking me off the front page.' To take the photos of Sarah was Daniel Angeli, famous paparazzo. Angeli initially denied, but recently in an interview with Gala magazine he admitted: 'The best shot of my career'. He then added: «It was done in the simplest way possible. I was on vacation in Deauville, a friend of Nice-Matin told me the exact place where she was. There were sidewalks that gave onto the house. I found a board where I could photograph the pool. I put the machines there and we just had to press a release cable to take the images ». And what images: in addition to those of the famous big toe, also a topless and a full nude. That Today decided to publish for Italy. 'We have never kept anything in the drawer', remembers the director Paolo Occhipinti now. 'Not even the photo of Gianni Agnelli diving naked ( taken by Sarah's own photographer, ed) '. He then recalls: «And no, the Royal Guards certainly didn't get there under the newspaper. The only one who got angry when she saw her photos in the newspaper was Caroline of Monaco who interpreted the concept of privacy a little excessively. ' He concludes: 'This type of photo was used to play down the monarchy a little'. Obviously, her majesty Elizabeth would have done without it, she defined 1992 as the a terrible year : he divorced Princess Anna, there was Andrea and then it was the turn of the crisis of Charles and Diana. Nothing compared to what happened later: from the death of Lady D to the Epstein scandal (and to think that at the time in Italy Sarah was considered the plague, Andrea the soft one).

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And today? Sarah, who divorced her husband in 1996, had an affair with the Italian Gaddo della Gherardesca and was banned from the palace for a bribe. But then she returned to the crest of the wave. Novelist, very lively grandmother. And with a great sense of irony. The same one with whom she had remembered years later the morning when the photos of the scandal were published in Great Britain. At breakfast with the whole family she found the Daily Mirror instead of the plate. And, as you said, «the porridge it became cold. ' God save Fergie
Lavinia Capritti