Buckingham Palace usually comes to mind when people picture Britain’s royal family. In 1988, a shopkeeper named Jane Andrews, responded to a peculiar ad requiring a personal dresser for the Queen’s daughter-in-law, Sarah Ferguson. Even more strangely, Jane, an ordinary commoner with no educational credentials or social connections, acquired the elite position and found herself as Ferguson’s close assistant. She accompanied the Duchess to elitist parties peopled with royalty, celebrities and bluebloods. Despite a modest salary of only 18,000 euros, Andrews lived a newfound opulent lifestyle, and she was able to purchase a new flat in upscale Battersea Park.
But Jane Andrews wasn’t all that she appeared. Throughout her teenage years, Andrews struggled with various psychological problems, including depression, panic attacks, and an eating disorder. Since her childhood, Andrews aspired to leave her blue-collar roots behind. Her family’s debt led to a crushing development for Jane when her family was forced to move to a small townhouse in the blue-collar seaport town of Grimsby. At 15, she attempted suicide by overdose after her mother discovered she committed truancy. At age 17, she had an abortion, an experience she claimed to be traumatizing. As she reached adulthood, her ordinary exterior hid a highly troubled woman, an obsessive gold-digger with a quick temper, troubled past, and a deadly aspiration for a privileged lifestyle.
It wasn’t long before Jane became acquainted with Dimitri Horne, who at first was smitten with plain Jane. However it didn’t take long before Jane’s darker side reared its ugly head: Jane demanded more and more money and attention from him; demonstrated extreme jealousy and a quick, hair-trigger rage without provocation. Upon arriving home one evening, Horne discovered his suits and shirts had been slashed to pieces. Jane had pushed him to his limit and it was all he needed to sever ties with Jane, and although he wasn’t aware of it, to escape with his life. Horne’s rejection led to an attempt overdose, but Jane survived and was soon on the prowl for another wealthy partner.
Jane latched onto another wealthy male socialite, Tom Crissman. He immediately became Jane’s target: she’d had a taste of life at the top and was determined to stay there. Jane had no interest in love or “happily ever after“. She was strictly after “what more can you give me?” Had she been a decent sort, her motive might have been practical in obtaining a good provider for future children and a comfortable life. However, Jane’s pathology rendered this impossible. Worse, in 1995, Ferguson discovered that Jane stole 250,000 euros worth of jewels from the Duchess’ suitcases and Jane was promptly fired. Unable to cope with rejection, Jane came close to a mental breakdown.
In 1999, Jane obtained an impressive PR career for Claridge’s Hotel, but she was fired after only 2 months. She clung obsessively to Crissman more than ever and her unrealistic demands increased. After two years together, Jane set Crissman an ultimatum: either he marry her within 6 months or they were finished. However, Crissman met and became involved with another woman. In emails exchanged between the two, Crissman referred to Jane as a pair of “old slippers.” Once again, rejection made Jane see red. She initiated a violent confrontation with Crissman, finally bludgeoning him with a cricket bat and stabbing her lover to death in their bedroom. Weeks later while in hiding, Jane again attempted an overdose, but managed to survive, whereupon she was arrested by police.
In a classic twist, in 2001, Jane was tried at the Old Bailey courthouse. She was sentenced to life in prison for murder. In May 2012 at a parole hearing, Jane was judged to be dangerously unstable and unsuitable for release from prison for at least another year.