Rebecca Tyrrel: Fergie has explained that 'toe-sucking' incident


Tuesday 25 October 2011 17:23 BST

Who Knew that the Duchess of York's former financial advisor, John Bryan, was not in fact sucking Fergie's toes by a swimming pool in the South of France in August 1992, but licking her instep?

Many will regard this information as inexplicably belated, but almost two decades on, the process of historical revisionism is finally gathering steam. Allan Starkie, a wealth management specialist who holds the important title of 'informal adviser' to the perpetually skint Duchess, contributed to a recent episode of the upmarket documentary strand, True Hollywood Story (not quite sure where Hollywood comes in).

Starkie says of Bryan and the toe-job allegations, "He confided in me a number of times that he was actually licking her instep. The upward thrust of his tongue at one point did perhaps touch her big toe – but hardly pure toe-sucking in the real sense of the word". The Duchess, who was topless at the time (of the toe-job, not during the documentary), explains: "He was pretending to try the slipper on my foot and I was Cinderella... and I said, Oh, ha, ha, it doesn't fit because you are not the prince." Which doesn't quite fit either, as panto-pedants will appreciate.

Sadly, Fergie has made the opposite journey to Cinderella. She started out as a royal bride and ended up as a penniless problem, desperately flogging herself and her books, of which Finding Sarah: A Duchess's Journey to Find Herself, is but the latest.

Immediately after the foot incident, Fergie was banished to royal Coventry (ie, a lodge house at Balmoral), while her daughters (no need for the obvious gag about how they would be cast in this Cinderella story) feasted with the Queen and the rest of that gorgeous, entirely functional family up at the big house.

It could all have been so different. Princess Fergiana could have been a well-loved royal matriarch, taking her place at William's wedding earlier this year, rather than explaining how she came to be selling access to her ex-husband to a fake sheik from the now equally disgraced News of the World.

Instead, somewhere on the road to perdition, she became a bad royal bride named Allerednic, which may sound like a medieval princess in a Brothers Grimm tale, but is just 'Cinderella' in reverse.

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