Sarah Ferguson has been advised against sharing her online space with her ex-husband Prince Andrew when publishing pictures or updates of the corgis previously owned by the late Queen Elizabeth II. While the Duchess of York enjoys a good relationship with the public and has a loyal following on both Instagram and Twitter, she could “jeopardise” her reputation if she chooses to share a future post of the adored pets with the Duke of York, according to Roz Sheldon, manager director at online business reputation management agency Igniyte.
The expert told Express.co.uk: “It seems sensible that Prince Andrew and his ex-wife are to care for the late Queen’s corgis as he and his daughters gifted them to the Queen in 2021.
“Public perception of Sarah Ferguson has been pretty solid over the decades. An amicable split from Andrew (without going over-the-top with publicly defending him with his recent scandals) and a responsible co-parent who engages in philanthropic work – Fergie has good stock with the public.
“The cute pictures of the dogs were natural and were positively received on Twitter.
“The public are probably reassured that they are being well cared for by close family (bar one or two negative comments regarding Andrew).”
On October 15, the Duchess of York shared adorable pictures of herself lying in the grass while petting Muick and Sandy, the late Queen’s dogs.
One of these snaps was published on Twitter with a comment by Sarah reading: “The presents that keep giving..”
These dogs were given to the late Queen as a present by York family members to keep her company during Prince Philip’s last long stay in hospital and, eventually, after his death in April 2021.
Following the death of the late sovereign on September 8, the dogs returned in the care of the Yorks, a source revealed.
Ms Sheldon continued: “Photos or posts of the dogs with Prince Andrew however are a no no.
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“It could negatively jeopardise Fergie’s reputation, particularly if it appeared that they were using the dogs to deliberately improve perceptions. This would be extremely distasteful. Andrew should remain out of the public eye.”
Prince Andrew’s public image was hugely damaged in November 2019, after his now notorious interview with Newsnight entirely focused on his association with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.
A few days after the broadcast, during which his critics accused him of failing to demonstrate sympathy to the victims of Epstein, while many of his patronages announced they were reviewing or severing their links with him, he announced he was temporarily stepping down from public duties.
The Duke of York, who has not resumed his public duties since, also returned his royal and military patronages to his mother Queen Elizabeth II in January this year, after a New York judge ruled against a request by Prince Andrew’s lawyers to throw out the civil lawsuit brought against the royal by Virginia Giuffre.
Prince Andrew, who has repeatedly and firmly denied any wrongdoings, reached an out-of-court settlement with Ms Giuffre a few weeks later – a move which did not represent in any way an admission of liability on his behalf.
Since this settlement, the Duke of York has only made public appearances at events linked to his parents – including the memorial service for Prince Philip in March and the state funeral of Elizabeth II in September.
Last week, Ms Giuffre dropped her lawsuit against Alan Dershowitz, saying she “may have made a mistake” in claiming Epstein had trafficked her to the former Harward Law professor – who strongly and vehemently denied the allegations – two decades ago.
Upon dropping the defamation case she brought against the lawyer in 2019, Ms Giuffre said she was “very young” and in a “very stressful and traumatic environment” when she was around Epstein, which led her to wrongly identify Mr Dershowitz.
The high profile lawyer also dropped his defamation counter-lawsuit against Mr Giuffre.
Despite this development, Ms Sheldon believes Prince Andrew’s “personal reputation and credibility as a state figure will struggle to ever be realistically improved”.