Skip to main content

Before Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle, Princess Diana and Duchess Sarah Ferguson were the women to watch in the royal family. Both ladies entered into the British Royal Family in the 1980s when they were only in their twenties. Unfortunately, neither one of the women were prepared for royal life.

As a result, the People’s Princess and the Duchess of York found themselves bonding and leaning on one another for support in the midst of their chaotic lifestyles and eventual divorces. They had a long friendship that unfortunately ended in the middle of a feud at the time of Princess Diana’s death. Still, the women were as close as sisters for some time.

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

Were Princess Diana and Sarah Ferguson related?

Princess Diana and Sarah Ferguson were sister-in-laws, and they were actually related by blood as well. The ladies were fourth cousins. Both women are descendants of William Cavendish, Fourth Duke of Devonshire. Their mothers went to school together, and they had known each other since they were children.

Princess Diana’s parents divorced when she was a child, and she was sent to live with her father. Unfortunately, she and the Duchess of York lost touch for a time. However, they would reconnect again, just as Princess Diana was entering the royal family.

Inside Sarah Ferguson and Princess Diana’s friendship

Princess Diana and Fergie reconnected in 1980 when the princess was 19, and the duchess was 21. They made time to have lunch together each week as the princess prepared for her wedding to Prince Charles. Fergie was also in the audience for the future King of England and Princess Diana’s big day

When Fergie and Prince Andrew would begin dating a few years later, it was Princess Diana who helped the duchess navigate the many traditions and nuances of the British Royal Family. In her 1996 autobiography My Story: Sarah the Duchess of YorkFergie wrote, “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.”

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

Why wasn’t Princess Diana speaking to Sarah Ferguson before she died?

Though she spoke highly on the princess in My Story –the Duchess of York also insulted Princess Diana. She wrote that Princess Diana had generously given her several pairs of shoes, “and less happily her plantar warts.” The late princess was not pleased, and because the ladies already had a bit of a sibling rivalry going on, that was the last straw.

Toward the end of her life, Princess Diana told biographer Andrew Morton, that the Duchess of York “wooed everybody in this family and did it so well. She left me looking like dirt.” She even said that her ex-husband Prince Charles told her “I wish you would be like Fergie—all jolly.”

Fergie tried to reach out to Princess Diana after her book was published but they never reconciled. The duchess told Harper’s Bazaar, “I tried, wrote letters, thinking whatever happened didn’t matter, let’s sort it out. And I knew she’d come back. In fact, the day before she died she rang a friend of mine and said, “Where’s that Red? I want to talk to her.”

The duchess continued, “Because we were like siblings… we rowed. And the saddest thing, at the end, we hadn’t spoken for a year.”

Check out The Cheat Sheet on Facebook!