Sarah “Fergie” Ferguson, Duchess of York, felt “unworthy” when she attended the royal wedding of Prince Charles and Princess Diana in 1981.
As a young woman in her twenties, before she and Prince Andrew started dating — their relationship didn’t begin until 1985 — Ferguson witnessed the royal wedding of the century at St. Paul’s Cathedral where Princess Diana concealed a perfume spill walking down the aisle and the groom forgot to kiss his new wife, which led to the tradition of kissing on the balcony at Buckingham Palace. Learn why Ferguson “felt unworthy” at the historic event ahead.
Long before she became part of the British royal family, Ferguson attended Prince Charles and Princess Diana’s wedding because of her close relationship with the bride. They met a year before the couple married and became fast friends.
In her 1996 autobiography, My Story: Sarah the Duchess of York, Ferguson recalled how she met Princess Diana, who at the time was still referred to as Lady Diana Spencer.
“Diana and I hit it off, and soon we were lunching together once a week,” she wrote according to Express. Not only did Princess Diana invite Ferguson to her wedding — the future Duchess of York was one guest among nearly 3,000 who attended the ceremony — she helped her with an outfit by supplying Ferguson with fabric.
“Diana invited me to her wedding, a very big deal, and thoughtfully gave me some material to make up into a dress – needless to say, I had nothing suitable,” Ferguson said in her book.
She continued, recounting what she remembered from July 29, 1981, the day of the royal wedding.
“I went to the ceremony on my own, in a very big car. I walked up to St Paul’s and in on my own – to Dome A, Row A, Seat 4 – and walked out the same way, nerves ringing at every step,” the Duchess of York wrote.
Why Sarah Ferguson ‘felt unworthy’ at royal wedding
It wasn’t the ceremony that left the Duchess of York feeling “unworthy” but another event that day: a breakfast held at Buckingham Palace after.
“Diana’s flatmates were all included for wedding breakfast at the Palace, but I had not been invited,” Ferguson wrote before adding, “My feelings were hurt – there was nothing like a grand occasion to make me feel fat and unworthy.”
Also excluded from the exclusive breakfast was Camilla Parker Bowles, now the Duchess of Cornwall. Prince Charles and Princess Diana invited 120 people including Nancy Reagan and Princess Grace, according to Vanity Fair.
Certainly, the snub made Ferguson question her friendship with Princess Diana and reevaluate how close they really were. In the end, the Duchess of York “stayed close to Diana” and didn’t let the snub get in the way of their friendship.
“I knew that she had very little social life. She never went out, never did anything except be bored,” Ferguson wrote about Princess Diana. The now-59-year-old continued saying that although she was “the most beautiful, perfect princess” it “came at a cost.”
“She was two years younger than I, and I strove to support and protect her as I would a younger sister – as I still do today, as a best friend,” Ferguson concluded.
The two had a falling out and weren’t on speaking terms ahead of Princess Diana’s death in 1997 because the Duchess of York refused to sign a confidentiality agreement when she and Prince Andrew divorced a year earlier.
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