Prince Andrew cut short his summer break on the Queen’s beloved Balmoral estate this week – just days after Sarah Ferguson also left earlier than expected. The Duchess of York – affectionately known as Fergie – was believed to have departed as Prince Philip arrived, avoiding any awkward encounter with the Duke of Edinburgh. The Duke of York has been in the spotlight recently with rumours of a rekindled royal romance with ex-wife Sarah, with whom the Duke still lives despite their 1996 divorce.
However, it was before Andrew and Fergie’s 1985 meeting that he endured what he described as his "most frightening moment”.
Biographer Andrew Morton, in his 1983 book “Andrew: The Playboy Prince” delves into the prince’s role as a helicopter pilot during the Falklands conflict of 1982.
On May 25, Argentinian forces launched an attack on Prince Andrew’s ship, HMS Invincible, believing the prince to be on board.
However, tragedy unfolded as an Argentinian Exocet missile, successfully distracted off course from the Invincible, actually hit the British transporter Atlantic Conveyor, killing 12.
The Duke of York (Image: Getty)
Prince Andrew was a helicopter pilot in the Royal Navy (Image: Getty)
Mr Morton writes: “The giant Atlantic Conveyor was ripped apart by the Exocet.
“The 695 foot long container vessel ferried vital helicopters and supplies to the Task Force and was protected by the carrier group.
“For Prince Andrew, it was a day to dread.
“Throughout the entire tragedy he was airborne but utterly helpless to prevent the dreadful loss of life."
READ MORE: Royal feud: Andrew's crippling fears about Eugenie and Beatrice
Queen Elizabeth II welcomes Andrew home after the Falklands conflict (Image: Getty)