The Duchess of York was forced to leave Balmoral yesterday after the Duke of Edinburgh turned up early for his summer holiday, it has been claimed.
Prince Philip has always refused to be under the same roof as Sarah Ferguson since her divorce from Prince Andrew in 1996.
He is said to blame her for having embarrassed the Queen and the royal family.
Some had hoped their appearance together at Princess Eugenie’s wedding last year had signalled a sign of forgiveness.
But Balmoral sources said the Duchess, who arrived on Thursday night, had to unexpectedly leave for London, sparking speculation within the royal household.
She was spotted catching a British Airways flight at nearby Aberdeen Airport yesterday afternoon.
The Queen began allowing the Duchess to join the annual family gathering at Balmoral about six years ago.
But an insider told the Daily Mail: “In previous years the duchess has left the day before the Queen’s husband arrives.
“This year he arrived yesterday, several days earlier than expected, which is rather strange, so the duchess left.”
She was expected to spend up to a week with Prince Andrew and their daughters Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie at the castle.
Rumours have been swirling for months that the divorced pair – who remain good friends – have rekindled their romantic relationship.
Prince Andrew is understood to have flown to Aberdeen on a private jet on Tuesday while Fergie took a commercial flight on Thursday.
A royal insider previously told The Sun: “Prince Andrew and Sarah are at Balmoral as guests of the Queen and are expected to be there for a number of days.
“They will be joined by their daughters for some of the holiday.
“It’s not the first time they’ve been there as a couple in recent years but it’s significant because of all the rumours about them getting back together.
“The Queen wanted them there as a family and it’s very much her giving the private nod of approval.”
Fergie and Prince Andrew wed in 1986, separated in March 1992 and five months later she was pictured having her toes sucked by Texan millionaire John Bryan in Saint Tropez.
On the morning the photographs were published, Sarah Ferguson was staying at Balmoral with the rest of the royal family.
Fergie hastily left the Scottish holiday home in the morning and drove the 50 miles to Aberdeen airport with her children and nanny.
After four years of separation, Sarah Ferguson and Prince Andrew officially announced their decision to divorce in May 1996.
She has retained her title ‘Duchess of York’ but ceased being a Royal Highness.