The Duchess of York’s Toe Scandal
By 1992, the marriage between Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson (the Duke and Duchess of York) was faltering. The Duchess was with various men including Texan multimillionaire Steve Wyatt, while her husband was away on royal duties. They agreed to separate in January 1992, but in August 1992, surreptitiously taken photographs of John Bryan, an American financial manager — apparently in the act of sucking on the toes of a topless Sarah in Southern France — were published in the British tabloid The Daily Mirror.
The Duchess was at Balmoral with the rest of the Royal Family when the story broke. Prince Philip handed her a copy of the paper and quipped “there but for the grace of God go I.” (Notoriously picky Duke of Edinburgh liked Sarah as much as he detested Diana). The queen was less amused; the Queen’s private secretary told the Duchess that she might feel better if she left immediately to London, effectively banishing her from the royal household. She would never be reinvited back to Balmoral until 2008. The only feeble defense both Fergie and John Bryan could muster up was that he hadn’t been sucking her toes, he was simply kissing the instep of her foot.