The gurning exhibitionist: Fergie makes her presence known at Margaret Thatcher's funeral
Her friends say the former royal simply has an 'expressive' faceShe was also forced to deny texting at the end of the service

Rebecca English


23:11 GMT, 17 April 2013



03:47 GMT, 18 April 2013

She was a surprise addition to the guest list.

But Sarah, Duchess of York, made her presence known as she laughed, waved and grinned in a theatrical fashion as she greeted familiar faces inside St Paul’s.

Unfortunately for Fergie, her grimaces – friends say she simply has an ‘expressive’ face – were caught on camera.

Sarah Ferguson

Sarah Ferguson

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The former royal was also forced to deny showing a lack of respect after appearing to use her mobile phone at the end of the service.

Viewers claimed to have seen her texting after the coffin and family party, followed by the Queen, had left the cathedral.

The footage, in which the duchess can clearly be seen handling an object she is holding on her lap, was broadcast live on BBC1 and can still be seen on their iPlayer service.

The object itself cannot be conclusively identified as it is obscured by her handbag and a spokesman for the duchess insisted she was merely writing a note to herself.

But a flurry of viewers immediately took to Twitter, accusing her of texting. One, DianaInHeaven, said: ‘Fergie there, texting. Classy.’

Another, Royalist, added: ‘Was Fergie texting at the end there’

Her spokesman denied that she had been using her phone, claiming that she had already taken the battery out of it.

Friends were at pains to stress the duchess had not been invited to the funeral by virtue of her former role as daughter-in-law to the Queen but because she was a friend to Baroness Thatcher.

The pair forged their unlikely friendship after the then prime minister attended the duchess’s wedding to Prince Andrew in 1986.

They exchanged Christmas and birthday cards and met for tea at least once a year, even after her divorce from the Queen’s son.

‘She was there mourning her as a friend,’ said one. ‘She always had enormous respect for her warmth and wisdom. She would often pop around for tea, a chat and some sage advice when in town.’

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