Style that still lets the bride shine...
London - They have always been the closest of divorcees - and now the Duke and Duchess of York may have rekindled their romance.
Friends say Prince Andrew and his ex-wife Sarah, both 53, have found love again, almost two decades after their marriage ended.
The duchess, who has continued to live at Royal Lodge in Windsor with the duke, issued a strongly worded denial following reports they were a couple again.
But friends have described them as so close that many believe a re-marriage is on the cards.
One said: “Mark my words, they will remarry. It is only a matter of time.”
The appearance of Sarah at Balmoral earlier this month only fuelled the speculation about the strength of their relationship. Both Andrew and Sarah joined daughters Beatrice, 25, and Eugenie, 23, for a weekend at the Queen’s Scottish Highlands retreat.
It was Sarah’s first invitation back to the castle since 1992 when newspaper photographs were published showing her “financial adviser” John Bryan sucking her toes. She was staying at Balmoral at the time.
Despite her divorce and subsequent exclusion from the Royal Family’s inner circle, the duke and duchess have always remained on friendly terms. Both have had other relationships, but friends said neither had found lasting happiness after their divorce in 1996.
The duchess was involved with Italian Count Gaddo della Gherardesca and most recently Norwegian tycoon Geir Frantzen, who owns frozen food company Findus. Andrew has been linked to several wealthy socialites, most notably Kazakh entrepreneur Goga Ashkenazi.
Friends have suggested that the couple’s continuing “bond” may have seen off their other relationships.
In 1999 the duchess told an interviewer: “There was no reason for Andrew and I to get divorced; there wasn’t another person in our lives to go to. We got divorced because I had to go out to work, and Andrew and I believed that it wasn’t right for me to be commercial while I was still in the Royal Family.”
Prince Andrew has continued to provide financial support for his ex-wife and in a 2009 interview he did not rule out remarrying.
“Do we have to be married?” he said. “Well, let’s put it another way, I can neither confirm nor deny the possibility. We have two great children. We still look after them.”
Some friends said they believed the couple might remarry. One said: “It wouldn’t surprise me at all. They are a wonderful couple together and, better still, pretty amazing parents.”
Another, who saw them recently, said: “There has always been this bond between them and they are incredibly close. It is, understandably, strange to some that they still live together so many years after their divorce, but they really do get on brilliantly and are hugely supportive of each other. Their biggest bond, however, is the girls.”
Another source said: “Balmoral wasn’t about them being back together, that was about the Royal Family recognising that she had tried to turn her life around and that they are still a family unit after all these years.”
A spokesman for the duchess ruled out a new relationship between the pair. He said: ”They continue to be joint parents and best friends and try to set the best example for the girls.”