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1992: Fergie and Andrew split
The Duke and Duchess of York are to separate, Buckingham Palace has revealed.

It ends days of speculation in the media that the couple were facing irreconcilable differences and that divorce proceedings had got under way.

A statement from the Palace broke with normal protocol and expressed the Queen's personal unhappiness over the matter, and detailed the Duchess's role in the split.

"In view of the media speculation which the Queen finds especially undesirable during the general election campaign, Her Majesty is issuing the following statement:

"Last week, lawyers acting for the Duchess of York initiated discussions about a formal separation for the Duke and Duchess.

"These discussions are not yet completed and nothing will be said until they are.

"The Queen hopes that the media will spare the Duke and Duchess of York and their children any intrusion."

The Queen was said to be greatly saddened at the second marriage among her children to hit troubles.

Her permission for a legal separation, or even for a divorce, is not constitutionally necessary, but custom dictates she is always consulted and her advice obeyed, as has been the case on this occasion.


Palace sources are also said to have revealed that from today the Duchess of York will no longer be undertaking any further royal engagements.

The decision is seen by Royal observers as an attempt to ostracise the Duchess after she initiated legal proceedings.

She is expected to lose many Royal privileges both before and after any legal decisions are taken, but the battleground is expected to be over her financial and living arrangements, and custody of the children.

If the separation proceeds to divorce, which will not be for at least two years, her title could change but until then she remains Her Royal Highness the Duchess of York.

Today's announcement comes on the sixth anniversary of the couple's engagement.

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The Duke and Duchess of York on their wedding day
The couple married in 1986

In Context
The couple were divorced in May 1996 but they have continued to remain close friends fuelling speculation they could one day remarry.

The Duke and Duchess have continued to have joint custody of their children.

Following the divorce the Duchess declared herself heavily in debt but she underwent several ventures, including writing, to get back into the black.

She is perceived to be more popular in America than in Britain and has worked in broadcasting in the US but also as an ambassador for the international group Weight Watchers after she successfully lost some extra pounds on the diet.

Prince Andrew, a popular royal, has been linked to many rich and famous women since the divorce.

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