Phillip Schofield defended by royal after This Morning saga

Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby at Royal Ascot

Smattering of public figures come out in support of Schofield

Sam Montgomery

By Sam Montgomery

Published: 09/06/2023

- 14:56

Sarah Ferguson declared that ‘nobody has a right to judge’ Schofield for his ‘unwise but not illegal’ affair with a young ITV runner

Phillip Schofield has been defended by Sarah Ferguson, with the royal saying everyone has made mistakes.

Harnessing the platform of her podcast Tea Talks, the Duchess of York, 63, likened the coverage of the scandal to a “huge game of Chinese Whispers” before professing that “we all have failings”.

Appearing on the podcast with guest businesswoman Sarah Jane Thomson, Prince Andrew’s ex-wife went on to criticise the “massive bullying to the point of extermination of the soul”.

Fergie preached: "I don’t believe that anybody has that right to judge and exterminate a person’s own beliefs.”

Sarah Ferguson

Fergie slams 'huge game of Chinese Whispers' surrounding Schofield saga


Schofield, 61, stepped down from ITV’s This Morning after rumours surfaced that he and Holly Willoughby were ‘barely speaking’ behind the scenes.

When it emerged that Schofield had lied about conducting a relationship with a younger colleague at ITV while still with his wife, Schofield resigned from ITV entirely.

He told The Sun that he and his former lover had met when the man was 15 and he was in his mid-50s, but alleged that the affair only started when the man was over-18.

While details emerge in dribs and drabs, Fergie has called for fans to be patient before jumping to conclusions: “Could everyone please take a beat or make a cup of tea before you judge another human being without knowing all the facts?
Phillip SchofieldPhillip Schofield described affair as "unwise but not illegal"PA / ITV

She added: “We don’t know the facts. We certainly don’t know what people get up to.”

The mother of two joins a chorus of dissenting voices including LGBT+ rights campaigner, Peter Tatchell, who said the outrage has “more than a whiff of homophobia” and actor Rupert Everett, who described the coverage “homophobic”.

Jeremy Clarkson recently described the treatment as a “witch hunt” and “weird”, for we as a society “casually roll our eyes when we hear that Leonardo DiCaprio’s new girlfriend is three and we even nod appreciatively when we learn that the age gap between Al Pacino and his pregnant girlfriend is 54 years.”

Also sacked for actions against a junior member of staff, Clarkson once punched producer Oisin Tymon in the face for being unable to source a sirloin steak after a day’s filming.

Sarah Ferguson with Prince Andrew

Sarah Ferguson married Prince Andrew at Westminster Abbey in July 1986


Likewise, the tabloid coverage of Fergie’s checkered past might well lend itself to the Duchess’ heightened empathy for Schofield’s treatment by the press.

Most infamously, tabloids sourced a photo of Fergie with her toes in the mouth of another man while still married to Prince Andrew.

The man, John Bryan from Texas, explained to the Daily Mail’s Richard Kay: “I wasn’t sucking her toes, I was kissing them.”

The Duchess of York also hit headlines for an apparent fling with Steve Wyatt in 1989, whom she met at Houston’s Grand Opera’s British Opera Festival.

Fergie’s association with Jeffrey Epstein has also proved a lightning rod for speculation, with Fergie admitting to accepting $18,000 from Jeffrey Epstein in a loan organised by Prince Andrew.

Sarah Ferguson married Prince Andrew at Westminster Abbey in July 1986, and the pair divorced in May 1996.

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