Sarah Ferguson toe-sucking incident could feature in The Crown spin-off

Duchess of York toe-sucking incident could feature in The Crown spin-off

A Netflix producer teased a future series depicting ‘tawdry’ Royal Family scandals

Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York
The Duchess was photographed sunbathing while having her toes sucked by her financial adviser in St Tropez Credit: David Levenson

Netflix producers are considering a spin-off series from The Crown that could feature the Duchess of York’s infamous toe-sucking scandal.

‌Andy Harries, co-founder of production company Left Bank and one of the hit show’s executive producers, teased that future series about the Royal Family could include more of the “tawdry” scandals left out from The Crown.

‌Speaking on the Have You Seen? podcast, Harries said that many events were omitted as the show’s creators “took the high road,” but he added: “I think one day Peter [Morgan] or maybe other producers might reveal many of the stories which we decided not to feature.”

‌He used the example of the Duchess of York, 64, who previously distanced herself from claims she offered to advise the makers of the award-winning show on the development of her own character.

‌Harries said: “I think we have often taken the high road here. There are many examples where many of the Royal Family have been involved in very tawdry events which we have not covered. I’m thinking particularly, perhaps, of Fergie, who doesn’t feature heavily in the series.”

Toe-sucking incident

‌Asked by podcast host Peter Fincham whether these omitted scandals included the toe-sucking incident that she was involved in five months after her separation from Prince Andrew in 1992, Harries said they had chosen not to depict it.

‌The scandal included a photograph surfacing of the Duchess sunbathing topless while having her toes sucked by her financial adviser in St Tropez. It was an image that at the time was credited for her ejection from the Firm.

‌Biographer Penny Junor has said: “She was at Balmoral when those photographs came out. The family came down for breakfast and there was Fergie in this shocking scene and that was the end.”

‌Speaking about this particular omission from the series, Harries explained: “It wasn’t because it wasn’t a good or interesting story, but it was not central to the theme of the show... it was a side show and I think we have done well to avoid the silly sideshows.”

‌The producer added that there have been a few examples of “members of the Royal Family or the circle around the Royal Family” getting in touch with the executives of the show, such as himself or creator Peter Morgan, to advise them on its contents.

‌“Koo Stark rang me up,” he said. “She got straight through to me and offered her services. She was briefly a girlfriend of Prince Andrew.”

‌The American photographer and actress met Prince Andrew on a blind date in the early 80s and the pair had a relationship before he married the Duchess.

‌Harries stressed that the Netflix series, which has so far won 143 awards, was focused on the storylines of the more senior members of the Royal family.

However, he added: “Ultimately it’s Peter’s choice as to who says what in the show, of course it’s all Peter’s imagination which is fed through a very rigorous and well-researched structure.”

The producer explained that through the series, they have been able to provide “a very reasoned and smart way of looking at a lot of stories and put them in context.”

‌“Put them in context in terms of the role of the monarchy in life and in terms of the context in how they fitted at the time into British society,” he added.

The Crown finale

‌The last six episodes of the final and sixth series of the show will be released on Dec 14, after the first four aired last month.

‌The first part of the sixth series focused on the blossoming relationship between Diana, the Princess of Wales, and Dodi Fayed and the “devastating consequences” of their deaths.

‌Meanwhile, the final episodes will chart the family coming to terms with Diana’s death, the Queen’s Golden Jubilee, William and Kate’s budding relationship, as well as the progression of Charles and Camilla’s relationship, ending on the “uplifting” note of their marriage in 2005.

‌“The world and their wives have a view on it,” Harries said, reflecting on the ending of the decade-long mammoth production. “I think the volume of noise around The Crown, which seems to get bigger and bigger every series, is extraordinary.”

‌“Is our history a definitive version of history? No. It’s subjective like every version of history.”

‌He added that themes of The Crown finale are “grand” and that fans can expect it to “pull together a lot of the strands and themes” seen throughout the whole series.