Sarah Ferguson was forced to sell an unusable £1.5 million gift from the Queen

The Queen's generous gift was heartfelt, but Sarah, Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie never got to use it

Sarah Ferguson and The Queen
(Image credit: Stefania D'Alessandro/Getty Images and Ben Stansall - WPA Pool/Getty Images/Future)

After her divorce from Prince Andrew, The Queen gifted Sarah Ferguson and her two daughters, Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie, a generous property, but the family never got to use it.

Sarah Ferguson may not technically be a member of the royal family, but royal fans and royal family members alike enjoy her company and often praise her character. The late Queen Elizabeth was no different, remaining close with her former daughter-in-law even after her divorce with Prince Andrew in 1996.

The Queen and Fergie reportedly would frequently spend time together as the pair shared many similar interests. This fact was put on public display the year after Prince Andrew and Sarah finalised their divorce, as the Queen bought Sarah and her two daughters, Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie, who were then aged seven and nine, a £1.5million home in Surrey.

The property, known as Birch Hall, was built in 1740, housed seven lavish bedrooms and is currently valued at the incredible price of £4,403,000.

Sarah Ferguson, princess Eugenie and Princess Beatrice

(Image credit: David M Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images for The Ned London)

Although this move was a clear and heartfelt show of support from her former mother-in-law, Sarah, Beatrice and Eugenie were never able to use the home and Sarah was soon forced to sell it.

Sarah reportedly refused to move into the huge home as she knew that keeping up with the huge maintenance costs would be unsustainable for her and her family. Ultimately, the home stayed empty for two years until it was sold for £1.5 million in 1999.

The sale of the property left no bad blood between Sarah and her former mother-in-law, who maintained a lifelong bond. Despite her separation from Prince Andrew, Sarah frequently praised and maintained support and dedication for his family.

Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie

(Image credit: Karwai Tang/WireImage)

While their set-up appears strange to many people, Sarah and Prince Andrew have been dubbed as “the happiest divorced couple in the world”, as the pair continued to raise their children together, enjoying family holidays and days out despite their separation. 

Over the years, many royal experts have commented on the pair's bond. Ingrid Seward, the Editor of Majesty Magazine, previously said that Beatrice and Eugenie "love that their parents get on so well.”

In an interview with the Daily Mail in 2018, Sarah said, “The way we are is our fairy tale. Although we are not a couple, we really believe in each other. The Yorks are a united family. We've shown it. 

"We stand up for each other, fight for each other. We're totally respectful of each other's position and thoughts and we listen to each other. Our children listen to us, too. And we sit around the table and have afternoon tea together. It's a very important part of our lives."

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News writer

Charlie Elizabeth Culverhouse is a news writer for Goodtoknow, specialising in family content. She began her freelance journalism career after graduating from Nottingham Trent University with an MA in Magazine Journalism, receiving an NCTJ diploma, and earning a First Class BA (Hons) in Journalism at the British and Irish Modern Music Institute. She has also worked with BBC Good Food and The Independent.