Sarah Ferguson has opened up about her controversial public image, saying she’s finally ‘free’ of ‘self-sabotaging Sarah.’
Commonly known as Fergie, the mother of Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie, 61, who resides with her ex-husband Prince Andrew at the Royal Lodge in Windsor, has revealed in the September issue of Town & Country magazine that she still struggles with her body image.
Discussing her royal past, Prince Andrew’s ex-wife said she felt her late sister-in-law Princess Diana was always portrayed as a ‘saint’ while she was the ‘sinner,’ joking that she was seen as ‘bad Fergie’.
The author, whose new Mills & Boon novel Her Heart for A Compass is published on August 3, added that she is proud to still be in the public eye and has ‘forgiven’ her detractors.
And she said that she’s manage to overcome it by taking inspiration from the late Nelson Madela, saying: ‘One day I got up and thought, Mandela forgave his persecutors; surely I can forgive and move forward.’
The Duchess of York Sarah Ferguson, 61, pictured, told Town & Country’s September issue that she felt ‘free’ of ‘self-sabotaging Sarah’ even though she still struggled with the criticism she’s received over the years
The former royal admitted she still struggles with her body image after years of having her looks scrutinised in the press.
‘When they say you’re the “Duchess of Pork” or you’re “frumpy Fergie”, you start believing it,’ she said.
‘She’s still with me, that person who thinks she’s fat, ugly, and disgusting, and she still has to have her hair done to talk to you, but she’s now not so vocal.
‘The truth is, I am 61-years-old and I’m free of the self-sabotaging Sarah,’ she said.
Ferguson commonly known as Fergie, pictured with her dog, said she felt the late Princess Diana had always been portrayed as a ‘saint,’ while she was portrayed as a ‘sinner’
She made a comparison with her late sister-in-law Princess Diana, who had more positive press coverage, saying: ‘It was always that Diana was portrayed as the saint and I was portrayed as the sinner. Bad Fergie sold an awful lot of papers.’
This bad press only grew worse after the Duchess separated from Prince Andrew in 1992, which led to what is commonly known as ‘Toegate,’ where pictures of a topless Fergie having her feet kissed by Texan millionaire John Bryan were published in the press.
The photos, which were released when Eugenie and Beatrice were with their father at Balmoral visiting the Queen, are believed to be the reason why Fergie was shunned by the Royal Family.
Years later, in 2010, Fergie was caught up in a ‘cash-for-access scandal’ where she allegedly promised a businessman to arrange a meeting with Prince Andrew for the sum of £500,000.
Unbeknownst to the Duchess of York at the time, she was being taped by reporters from the now defunct New of the World tabloid. The Duchess later took legal action to clear her name.
She told the magazine her defamation attorney, Paul Tweed, told her: ‘I think you probably are the woman in the world who has had more bad front pages than any other.’
‘I took it as a huge compliment. I’m really proud that I’m still here,’ the Duchess said.
As a result of her royal fall from grace and her frosty relationship with Buckingham Palace, Fergie was not invited to her nephew Prince William’s wedding to Kate Middleton at Westminster Abbey in 2011.
However, the Duchess revealed she herself felt she wasn’t ‘worthy’ of attending the event, and left the country.
Queen of glamour. Fergie admitted she still felt ‘fat,’ ‘ugly’ and ‘disgusting’ but that her inner critic was not as vocal (pictured in a leopard dress)
‘I didn’t think I was probably worthy to go to their wedding. I took myself to Thailand, actually, to be far away from it so that I could try and heal,’ she said.
Peace was restored in 2018 when she was invited to Prince Harry’s wedding to Meghan Markle in Windsor, and later when the Queen and the late Duke of Edinburgh attended her own daughter Princess Eugnie’s wedding in Windsor in October.
She did not comment on the reportedly stormy relationship between her nephews following Prince Harry’s decision to step down as a senior royal in 2020.
However, she said Princess Diana, who died in 1997, would have been proud of her two sons and her grandchildren, Prince George, who just turned eight, Princess Charlotte, six, Prince Louis, three, Archie, two and Lilibet, who was born in June.
The grandmother and mother-of-two is published a new novel, Her Heart For a Compass, on August 3
With the latest season of the Crown focusing on the 1980s, the Duchess shared her surprise at the fact she was barely portrayed in the show.
‘Hello?” she said. “Where is Fergie?” revealing she contacted Andy Harries, an executive producer of the Netflix royal drama, offering some guidance.
‘I said to him, “Why can’t I help my character?”,’ she said, but her offer was declined.
The full interview is published in the September issue of Town & Country magazine
Now a happy grandmother-of-one, Ferguson, who has penned several children’s books since her divorce and enjoyed success with her Youtube series Storytime with Fergie and Friends in 2020 and 2021, hopes her new romantic novel Her Heart For A Compass will be a page turner.
This new tale, published by Mills and Boon on August 3, is set in Victorian Britain and follows the adventures of Lady Margaret Montagu Douglas Scott, a character based on Ferguson’s own ancestor.
While the story is fictional, Ferguson told Town & Country she put her own voice in each line of the book, which was co-written with Scottish romance author Marguerite Kaye.
‘Lady Margaret helped me become exactly the person who is talking to you right now,’ she said.
While Fergie stayed clear from raunchy scenes for her first opus, she teased that she might add some ‘bodice ripping’ scenes in a second book, jesting the sex-filled best-seller Fifty Shades of Grey would pale in comparison.
Speaking in the Town & Country feature, her friend and floral designer Eric Buterbaugh revealed Fergie was a friend people could always count on.
“[I was holding a dinner to celebrate my 60th birthday] It was during the time that Andrew wasn’t having the easiest go, but she was not going to miss it,’ he said.
‘She came up to London, and that just shows how she suits up for friends,’ he added.
‘I’ve always said she’s like a Labrador retriever: She likes everybody, and everybody likes her,’ he concluded.
Having suffered bad press for most of her public life, Ferguson, pictured, said she was proud of the fact she was still still a public figure
Duchess of hearts. Ferguson said she hoped her new novel, published by Mills and Boon, which is a romance, will be a page turner
Meanwhile, her daughter Princess Eugenie, who gave birth to her son August on February 9, applauded her mother’s carefree nature.
‘My childhood and adult life have been made better by the spontaneity of my mother. She has managed to always give us the most fun and incredible upbringing,’ she said.
‘No is not a word in her language, so whenever we have had a conundrum, Mum is able to empower us to see it out the other side,’ she added.