Sarah Ferguson attended the funeral of the Queen today, the woman she has described as the "most incredible mother-in-law and friend".
As well as remaining close to the Duke of York and co-parenting their two daughters together, Ferguson also maintained a close relationship with Her Majesty, despite the romantic separation from her son.
Following the death of the monarch, the former royal shared a touching message paying tribute to her former mother-in-law, saying she'd been left "heartbroken" at the news.
"She leaves behind an extraordinary legacy: the most fantastic example of duty and service and steadfastness, and a constant steadying presence as our head of state for more than 70 years," Ferguson wrote on her social media channels, alongside an image of the Queen on the balcony at Buckingham Palace.
She went on to acknowledge that Her Majesty "has given her whole life selflessly to the people of the UK and the Commonwealth," before emphasising how much the Queen meant to her.
"To me, she was the most incredible mother-in-law and friend. I will always be grateful to her for the generosity she showed me in remaining close to me even after my divorce," the former Duchess of York continued.
"I will miss her more than words can express."
The touching message wasn't the only time Ferguson had hinted that she had remained close to Her Majesty, after her separation from Prince Andrew.
In an interview with Harper's Bazaar, before the Queen's death, she described how she still "loves and admires" the monarch, despite separating from her son more than 20 years ago.
"The Queen and I always got on well, still do," she said. "I uphold everything Her Majesty represents, has given up her life for. For her country, she's selfless to the grave."
And just last year, Ferguson expressed her gratitude for the monarch while appearing on an episode of the Tea with Twiggy podcast, describing the Queen as her "greatest mentor" and the "person who believes in me."
"I absolutely admire the incredible way Her Majesty is so modern... and how flexible, and how understanding, and how forgiving and how generous," she said.
"I think to myself that, honestly, my mother-in-law has been more of a mother to me than my mother."
A special bond
Thanks to her father's career as a former cavalry officer, Furguson grew up around horses, one of the Queen's great loves, so the pair reportedly bonded over their shared interest, and, according to Vanity Fair, the former Duchess of York occasionally accompanied Her Majesty on private rides.
As well as a mutual love for horses, the duo also shared an interest in corgis and it has been reported that alongside her ex-husband, Ferguson will take care of the Queen's beloved corgis following her death.
Watch: Queen's children and grandchildren walk behind coffin at funeral
Prince Andrew and his former spouse gave Her Majesty two of her favourite breed of dogs just last year after her late husband, Prince Philip, died in April 2021, in a bid to lift her spirits.
"The corgis will return to live at Royal Lodge with the Duke and Duchess. It was the Duchess who found the puppies which were gifted to Her Majesty by the Duke," a source told BBC News.
"The Duchess bonded with Her Majesty over dog walking and riding horses, and even after her divorce, she would continue her great friendship with Her Majesty, by walking the dogs in Frogmore and chatting."
Over the years, Ferguson has repeatedly shown her respect for the Queen, having been famously spotted partaking in a deep curtsy following the Queen's arrival at certain events such as Royal Ascot.
And on several occasions the former Duchess of York has also appeared happily conversing with Her Majesty in the royal box.
Of course, over the years, there have also been some signs of the Queen's approval of her former daughter-in-law, most notably, perhaps, at her wedding to Andrew back in 1986.
Unlike many of the tiaras worn at royal weddings, which are often loaned from the royal collection, the Queen and Prince Philip were said to have gifted the bride the York tiara, a glittering, diamond headpiece designed by Garrard.
As it was her personal property, rather than a loan, Ferguson continued to wear the statement piece during her visits to Australia and Canada, and even after her divorce from Prince Andrew.
Fergie also wore the extravagant headpiece to Elton John’s white tie ball in 2001.