Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of
Sarah was born in London in 1959 to parents Major Ronald Ferguson and
his wife Susan. As a child she loved horse riding and won many cups and
shows. In 1972, her parents separated and her mother married for the
second time to an Argentinian, Hector Barrantes, then moved to South
After graduating from Queen's Secretarial College at
the age of 18, Sarah went to work in a public relations firm in London.
In 1985 she was invited to a house party at Windsor Castle to celebrate
Royal Ascot, and although she already knew Prince Andrew from
childhood, it was here that a romance developed out of their
friendship. After she accepted Prince Andrew's proposal in a Scottish
stately home, the couple were married on July 23, 1986, at Westminster
Abbey, with a billion people tuning in to watch the televised nuptials.
Sarah and Andrew have two children, Princess Beatrice and Princess
Eugenie, born in 1988 and 1990 respectively.
At first, the
exuberant Sarah was popular in the press and was frequently seen out
with her sister-in-law Princess Diana. However, she soon started to
receive criticism and, with a husband in the Navy whom she saw
infrequently, life became increasingly miserable.
She turned to
writing, and published a series of children's books about Budgie The
Helicopter. Despite their success, the Duchess found herself heavily in
debt as a result of her jet-set lifestyle. In 1992, she separated from
the Duke, just five months after photographs were published showing her
caught in a 'compromising position' with financial advisor John Bryan.
Although Sarah and Andrew divorced in 1996, they continue to share a
house together near Ascot and Sarah, who has been linked to Italian
aristocrat Count Gaddo della Gherardesca, describes her ex-husband as
her "bestest friend".
A decade ago, the Duchess' stock could not
have fallen any lower. Pilloried by the press, she was forced to cope
with a very public banishment from the royal family, on top of debts of
£4 million. But she has survived it all – and come
back stronger. She
is the US spokesman for WeightWatchers, has stood in for CNN's Larry
King when he goes on holiday, and fronts a publicity campaign for a
financial advisory company – no mean feat by any standards.
possible that Fergie is well aware of the extent to which her image has
been rehabilitated, since she recently brought out a book called
Reinventing Yourself With The Duchess Of York. Now that's what you'd
call a fairytale with a happy ending.