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Sarah Ferguson heartbreak: Duchess struggled with ‘tough’ comparison to Princess Diana

Sarah Ferguson felt ‘inadequate’ next to Diana says expert

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Princess Diana’s reputation as an “English rose” made life within the public eye difficult for her sister-in-law Sarah Ferguson, a new documentary has revealed. The Duchess of York reportedly found it “very tough” being compared to the Princess of Wales, who was regarded as a fashion icon, whilst Fergie received less favourable media attention. 

Royal expert Julie Montagu told the Channel 5 documentary ‘Fergie and Meghan: Inconvenient Royals’: “All of a sudden, Diana became this English rose, she became the Princess that everyone wanted her to be.

“Fergie on the other hand was really cast aside.

“She is not suited to be a part of this perfect Royal Family.”

Lizzie Cundy, a television personality and close friend of the Duchess, continued: “Well Sarah always said it was very tough being next to Diana, because Princess Diana looked like a supermodel, did it with such charm, such grace, could just waltz into a room. 

“Whereas Sarah said ‘I was a bit of a calamity’, and it was tough because the press then compared them both.”

Princess Diana and Sarah Ferguson developed a strong friendship as teenagers and remained close after joining the Royal Family. 

Fergie was a guest at the wedding service of Prince Charles and Diana and was spotted several times with the new Princess of Wales in the early years of her marriage. 

In 1986, Princess Diana invited Fergie to accompany her to the Royal Ascot races, where she was placed to sit next to Prince Andrew. The two began a relationship, and were later married in July 1986. 

Despite the two leading a close friendship, their personalities were markedly different, with Diana coming across as shy and Fergie being loud and energetic. 

Whilst the press had described Sarah Ferguson as a “breath of fresh air” upon her marriage to Prince Andrew, the media scrutiny surrounding her relationship quickly became negative. 

The two women were constantly pitted against one another, and after gaining weight throughout the course of her marriage, Fergie was cruelly nicknamed ‘Duchess of Pork’ by the tabloids. 

Speaking about the abuse she received from the press, Sarah Ferguson said: “Now I’m used to it, but it’s very soul-destroying. One of the worst headlines said 82% would rather sleep with a goat than Fergie. It’s never left me. “

Following her separation from Prince Andrew, images of her sunbathing topless whilst having her toes kissed by an American financier were published by the Daily Mirror. 

As well as investigations into her financial troubles, Fergie was consistently subjected to media ridicule. 

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In 2019, she penned an open letter for Hello! magazine, writing: “Women, in particular, are constantly pitted against and compared with each other in a way that reminds me of how people tried to portray Diana and me all the time as rivals, which is something neither of us ever really felt.”

Princess Diana was also subjected to intense media scrutiny, with the press often reporting on her everyday whereabouts. 

By the time of her death on August 21, 1997, she was considered a global fashion icon and was the most photographed woman in the world. 

She and her partner Dodi Fayed were killed after her vehicle lost control in a tunnel in Paris, after they were relentlessly pursued by the paparazzi. 

In a touching tribute during her funeral, her brother Earl Spencer said “It is a point to remember that of all the ironies about Diana, perhaps the greatest was this – a girl given the name of the ancient goddess of hunting was, in the end, the most hunted person of the modern age.”

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