Did Princess Diana and Sarah Ferguson Really Get Along?

Princess Diana and Duchess Sarah Ferguson in hats
Princess Diana and Duchess Sarah Ferguson | Royally Fergie via Instagram

Something many people have questioned over the years is what the relationship between Sarah Ferguson and Princess Diana was like. It’s always been a hot topic since the two women each married and divorced the sons of England’s monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, and were seen as the rebels of the royal family.

In the ’80s, the Princess of Wales and Duchess of York joined the famous family and appeared to get along very well just like Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle do today. But Fergie and Diana’s relationship was much more complex than the Duchess of Cambridge and the Duchess of Sussex’s.

Here’s the answer to whether they were really best friends or bitter rivals.

They met long before they married princes

The princess and duchess were actually related and knew each other long before they met their princes.

In an interview with Harper’s Bazaar, Fergie revealed that she and Diana were both descendants of William Cavendish, Fourth Duke of Devonshire, which made them fourth cousins.

The ladies fell out of touch for some time but reconnected again when Diana was 19 and Ferguson was 21. They frequently went out to lunch together and had a lot in common so when Diana married Charles in 1981, she invited Fergie to the royal affair.

The future duchess would then visit her pal often at Kensington Palace and one day Diana decided to play matchmaker for her friend with her brother-in-law, Prince Andrew. Diana recommended Ferguson to the queen, who invited Fergie to a “dine and sleep event at Windsor Castle during Ascot week.” At dinner, Ferguson was seated next to Andrew and that’s when they began having a romantic relationship.

Sisters-in-law and rivals

Princess Diana and Duchess Sarah Ferguson
Princess Diana and Duchess Sarah Ferguson | Royally Fergie via Instagram

Five years after the Prince and Princess of Wales tied the knot, the world watched another royal wedding as Ferguson and Andrew said “I do” in a lavish affair at Westminster Abbey.

Diana and Fergie were now sisters-in-law and shared a bond few could understand. But despite being so close they were each still young and felt the enormous pressure of being perfect and fitting in with the royal family.

When Fergie came along she excelled at some royal pastimes and sports that the princess did not. This didn’t sit well with Diana who told her biographer, Andrew Morton, that Ferguson “wooed everybody in this family and did it so well. She left me looking like dirt.” The princess added that even Charles told her, “I wish you would be like Fergie–all jolly.”

However, there was trouble in paradise for both women and the anguish of being unhappy with their royal lives and marriages to their husbands brought them together again. The each separated from the princes in 1992 and went back to being great pals, going out for lunches again, and vacationing together with their children.

Things didn’t stay that way though.

The final straw

In 1996, Diana stopped speaking to Ferguson for good. The duchess has said that she had no idea why but many have speculated that the princess wasn’t pleased with some of the things Fergie wrote about her in her autobiography.

Princess Diana tragically died in 1997 and the two never made amends.

“We were like siblings … we rowed. And the saddest thing, at the end, we hadn’t spoken for a year,” Ferguson revealed.

Fergie still talks to Diana’s sons from time to time and even attended Prince Harry’s wedding to Meghan Markle in May 2018.

Read more: Why Did Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson Get Divorced?

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