About Ronald Ivor Ferguson
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Major Ronald Ivor Ferguson (born on 10 October 1931 – died on 16 March 2003) was the father of Sarah Ferguson, former wife to HRH The Prince Andrew, The Duke of York. He is the maternal grandfather of HRH Princess Beatrice of York and HRH Princess Eugenie of York. Major Ferguson was polo manager, initially, to the Duke of Edinburgh and later for many years to the Prince of Wales.
Life and career
Ronald Ferguson was the second son of Andrew Henry Ferguson (1899–1966) and his wife Marian Louisa Montagu Douglas Scott (1908–1996), who was a first cousin of Lady Alice Christabel Montagu Douglas Scott, who became, after her wedding to Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester, The Duchess of Gloucester and an aunt-by-marriage of Queen Elizabeth II.. His grandfather was the Lieutenant-Colonel Lord Herbert Andrew Montagu Douglas Scott, son of Sir William Henry Walter Montagu Douglas Scott, 6th Duke of Buccleuch & 8th Duke of Queensberry and Lady Louisa Jane Hamilton. An elder brother, John, died at 10 years of age from peritonitis. He was born in London and grew up at Dummer Down Farm, his later home in adulthood, at Dummer, near Basingstoke in Hampshire. He attended Eton College and Sandhurst, and entered the Life Guards in 1952, the regiment of which his father had previously been Colonel. In 1954 Ferguson was promoted to Lieutenant and Captain in 1958. Ferguson retired in 1968 and was "granted the honorary rank of Major". During his career he served with the regiment in Germany, Egypt, Aden, and Cyprus.
Ferguson's first wife was Susan Wright. They married in St Margaret's Church, Westminster on 17 January 1956. They had two daughters: Jane Louisa, born on 26 August 1957, and Sarah Margaret, later the Duchess of York, born on 15 October 1959. They divorced in 1974. During their marriage the Fergusons were recognised society figures. The Major retired from his army career and his family moved to Dummer Down Farm which he inherited upon his father's death. It left him also more time to devote to polo, another of his passions. His interest in polo frequently brought him into contact with the Royal Family, and it was through this connection that his daughter, Sarah, met Prince Andrew.
In 1975, Ferguson married for the second time to Susan Deptford. They had three children, Andrew (b. 1978), Alice (b. 1980), and Eliza Charlotte (b. 1985, Basingstoke).
In 1987, Ferguson was entered as an officer (brother) in the Venerable Order of Saint John.
In 1988, while his daughter, Sarah, was married yet to the Duke of York, the News of the World printed a story about Ferguson's membership of the Wigmore Club, "a health club and massage parlour in London staffed by girls who, dressed in starched white 'medical' gowns, allegedly offered a la carte sexual services to members." He maintained that he had used the club "for massage only... and by that I mean a totally straight one" and as "a kind of cocoon where I could shut myself away for an hour and think". The controversy did not affect his marriage, however it led him to leave his post as Prince Charles's polo manager and his position at the Guards Polo Club. His rare media appearances were to defend his daughter Sarah and raise awareness of prostate cancer. In 1994 he published his autobiography, The Galloping Major: My Life in Singular Times.
Ferguson battled with cancer during the latter years of his life. He was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 1996, and also had skin cancer. In March 2003 he died, aged 71, of a heart attack at The Hampshire Clinic, Basingstoke, Hampshire, England. He was reinstated with the Guards Polo Club shortly before he died. The Princes Charles and Andrew were amongst the few who attended his private funeral.
Notes and references
^ Supplement to the London Gazette, 21 March 1952, p.1595 (Army number: 420839)
^ London Gazette, 28 October 1966, p.11793
^ London Gazette, 5 February 1954, p.1
^ Supplement to the London Gazette, 7 February 1958, p.840
^ Supplement to the London Gazette, 26 November 1968, p.1
^ Births England and Wales 1984-2006
^ London Gazette, 9 November 1987
^ a b "Major Ronald Ferguson", Daily Telegraph, 17 March 2003. Retrieved 22 August 2007.
^ Macmillan, London. ISBN 978-0333614549
^ Major Ron Ferguson dies aged 71
Major Ronald Ivor Ferguson's Timeline
October 10, 1931
August 26, 1957
October 15, 1959
Welbeck St., Marylebone, Paddington, London, England
March 16, 2003
Basingstoke, Hampshire, United Kingdom