Sarah Ferguson has said she was perhaps “the most persecuted woman in the history of the royal family” due to the media coverage she received after she separated from Prince Andrew nearly 30 years ago.
The Duchess of York told French magazine Madame Figaro that, despite the relentless coverage of her and the Duke of York’s marriage, it was in her DNA to stay upright.
“I was maybe the most persecuted woman in the history of the royal family, but I’m still here,” she said.
“The bruised reed that doesn’t break is in my DNA.”
Ferguson, also known as Fergie, told the magazine that the happiest day of her life remains 23 July 1986, the day she married Andrew in Westminster Abbey.
“As a teenager, I dreamed of becoming an Olympic champion in show jumping, not becoming a princess,” she said, referring to her love for horses and horse racing.
“And yet, the happiest day of my life remains July 23, 1986, that moment when I came to the end of the endless alleyway of Westminster Abbey alongside my sailor, my prince, my husband.”
However, Andrew’s duties as a naval officer kept him away from home for long periods of time, and the couple only saw each other around 40 days a year in the first five years of their marriage, according to Ferguson.
They announced their separation in March 1992. In August that same year, Ferguson became the subject of media scrutiny when the Daily Mirror published photographs of her sunbathing topless alongside an American financial manager, John Bryan.
After four years of separation, the Duke and Duchess announced their divorce in 1996. Since then, she has remained close to Andrew, with the pair living together in the Royal Lodge.
Ferguson told the magazine: “I loved him and I still love him today. I will stay by his side, because I believe in him, he is a good man.”
It comes as Andrew faces allegations of sexual abuse after he was linked to financier and convicted sex trafficker, Jeffrey Epstein.
The duke was accused of having sex with Virginia Giuffre, one of the most prominent accusers of Epstein, when she was underage at the London home of Ghislaine Maxwell, a close associate of Epstein.
Andrew has denied the claims and said he does not remember ever meeting Giuffre.
In 2019, Ferguson said it was “hard” to see “such a wonderful man go through such enormous pain” as the scandal unfolded.
“He is the best man I know,” she told Vogue Arabia at the time. “It’s just incredible what he has done for Britain, and it’s all nonsense, so I talk about familyhood and I’m very strong about it.”