Sarah Ferguson’s ‘Modest Gesture’ Not to Appear Disrespectful at Queen Elizabeth’s Funeral
- Sarah Ferguson attended Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral on Sept. 19, 2022.
- She sat in the second row behind Prince William and Kate Middleton at Westminster Abbey.
- Sarah Ferguson appeared to decline her daughters’ invitation to walk ahead of them.
Sarah Ferguson was among some 2,000 people who filled Westminster Abbey for Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral on Sept. 19. According to a body language expert, she made a “modest gesture” and declined an invite from her daughters to avoid looking disrespectful.
However, also in the second row, albeit across the aisle, sat the Duchess of York, 63. Prince Andrew’s ex-wife sat behind Prince William, Kate Middleton, and their two oldest children, Prince George, 9, and Princess Charlotte, 7.
Sarah Ferguson sat in the second row at Queen Elizabeth’s funeral
Much of the attention on seating arrangements at Queen Elizabeth’s funeral centered around Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. The couple sat in the second row behind King Charles III and Camilla Parker Bowles.
Sarah Ferguson rejected Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie’s invitation to walk ahead of them at the funeral of Queen Elizabeth
The Duchess of York opted to stay behind in what James called a “modest gesture” at Queen Elizabeth’s funeral.
“It turned out they were looking for Sarah, who had fallen back behind other guests,” James said. “There was a rather insistent urgency in the family’s gestures of waving their mother to not just join them but to walk ahead of them,” she explained.
The body language expert noted Beatrice appeared “especially anxious.” Meanwhile, the 34-year-old’s husband, Edo Mapelli Mozzi, “turned too, in an emphatic display of agreement and support.”
“It was a modest gesture but probably well-pitched to avoid looking as though she was disrespecting the queen’s wishes,” James said.
However, Sarah declined. Furthermore, according to James, she appeared to “fall further back in a gesture that suggested a total reluctance to push forward just because the queen was no longer with them.”
Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie may have played a role in Sarah Ferguson ‘slipping back into royal ranks’
The “once-banished” Sarah “seemed to have slipped back into royal ranks at the queen’s funeral service,” James said before noting it “looked very likely as though it was at her daughters’ instigation.”
The expert noted Sarah’s body language suggested she felt uncomfortable with the “huge upgrade” to second row behind the now-Prince and Princess of Wales.
James went on to recall how at Eugenie’s 2018 royal wedding, Sarah “scuttled nervously” to her seat. Meanwhile, the queen’s husband, Prince Philip, who died in 2021, shot her with a “cold glaze.”
“Beatrice and Eugenie have always been fiercely loyal to their mother and her total exclusion from royal life, even just in her role as their mother, must have been painful for them,” she explained.
“I will miss her more than words can express,” she concluded.