'A beautiful family moment of love': John Bryan speaks out about 'toe-sucking' Duchess of York photos

Sarah Ferguson was caught up in a photo scandal with John Bryan credit:Bang Showbiz
Sarah Ferguson was caught up in a photo scandal with John Bryan credit:Bang Showbiz

John Bryan clams the notorious photos of him apparently "sucking" the Duchess of York's toes was a "totally innocent beautiful family moment of love".

The 67-year-old businessman was famously photographed at a secluded villa in the South of France with Sarah Ferguson in August 1992, months after she had officially separated from Prince Andrew, but he insisted it wasn't a sexual moment but part of a fun "game" with the duchess' daughters, Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie.

He told the Mail on Sunday newspaper: "We were in a private villa with seven acres of land surrounding us to ensure our absolute privacy. The girls were tiny, just four and two. We were out by the pool and I was practising swimming with the children.

"Yes, Sarah was topless, but this was the South of France for heaven's sake. And we were in private – or so we thought. We're with the kids, having a great time. We used to play fun games, make-believe games.

"On this day we were playing 'Cinderella' and I said, 'Look, let's kiss Mummy's toes'. It was part of the game. I did it first and then I think one of the girls, probably Beatrice, did it.

"It was totally innocent; a beautiful family moment of love."

The financial adviser - who dated the duchess for four years and is still friends with her - has lashed out at the depiction of the scandal on the new series of 'The Crown', branding the programme's portrayal a "total fabrication".

He fumed: "I have a sense of humour about this but it's based on a lie. These lies go back three decades.

"Of course it didn't happen that way.

"My phone has been ringing off the hook with friends calling to tell me I'm in The Crown. In a weird way it's a great honour to be in the show. But if you go back 30 years, it's all based on lies. It's more serious. That's where the lies started.

"I don't want to be for ever known as 'Fergie's Texan toe-sucking financial adviser'. For starters, I'm from New York.

"I've let it all go for decades. Now all the mistruths are being repeated again. I've waited this long – now I'd like to have the final say."

John - who is battling bladder cancer - made an unsuccessful court bid to stop the photos from being published and he hit out at the royal family for failing to intervene or support his campaign.

He said: "The knives were out for Sarah at the Palace. Her separation from Prince Andrew had been announced that March.

"In my opinion my bid for an injunction failed at the High Court because of a lack of support from Buckingham Palace. They [the courtiers] should have done their job and should have supported what was right for the Royal Family, which was to support her.

"In the world of British law, the silence from the Royals when I fought to stop the pictures being published was a loud message that, actually, it was OK."