Sarah Ferguson Refused to Sign a Confidentiality Agreement Following Divorce from Prince Andrew — Here’s Why

Sarah “Fergie” Ferguson, Duchess of York, had one very specific reason for declining to sign a confidentiality agreement after she and Prince Andrew, Duke of York, divorced in 1996. Ahead, learn why exactly Ferguson refused to sign the agreement.

The Duke and Duchess of York, both now 59 years old, met in 1985 (Princess Diana played matchmaker and invited Ferguson to a royal event so she could introduce the two) and married at Westminster Abbey in 1986. They smiled and waved at well-wishers and kissed on the balcony of Buckingham Palace five years after Prince Charles and Princess Diana began the royal wedding tradition

Sarah Ferguson, Prince Andrew
Sarah Ferguson and Prince Andrew. | Indigo/Getty Images

By 1992, Prince Andrew and Ferguson separated after their marriage suffered under the strain of the prince’s demanding naval career which meant he spent the majority of his time away from his family.

When they separated, Ferguson had basically been their daughters, Princess Eugenie of York and Princess Beatrice of York, largely as a single parent because Prince Andrew saw his family about 40 days a year.

Prince Andrew and Ferguson, who remain close friends to this day, officially divorced on May 30, 1996.

Why Sarah Ferguson didn’t sign a confidentiality agreement after divorcing Prince Andrew

When the couple separated in 1992, it was reported Ferguson stood to make 14.2 million GBP in today’s money or $17 million USD, according to Express. That is if she signed a confidentiality agreement as part of their divorce settlement. But Ferguson decided not to sign the confidentiality agreement, meaning she could speak about her marriage to Prince Andrew.

So, why did the Duchess of York chose not to sign a confidentiality agreement? She wanted to continue her career as an author and write a book about her marriage to Prince Andrew, something she couldn’t do if she signed a confidentiality agreement.

Sarah Ferguson
Sarah Ferguson. | MALCOLM CLARKE/AFP/Getty Images

In a 2008 interview, Ferguson discussed her divorce with BBC’s Michael Parkinson.

When asked about her and Prince Andrew’s divorce and why she didn’t sign a confidentiality agreement, Ferguson said she needed to work.

“Because, I suppose, I ran up a lot of debts and I needed to get out to work. You can’t be a member of the Royal Family and work in this country,” Ferguson said, to which Parkinson replied, “Is that why you got divorced?” Ferguson replied, saying she and Prince Andrew had their “differences.”  

Since her divorce, Ferguson has authored more than 25 books and continues to publish new titles.

Ferguson’s decision not to sign the confidentiality agreement led to a falling out between her and Princess Diana who had previously been friends. Princess Diana and Prince Charles also divorced in 1996 but the late royal chose to sign a confidentiality agreement as part of their divorce settlement, which meant she walked away from the marriage with a hefty sum of money.

Princess Diana didn’t speak to Ferguson for a year leading up to her untimely death in 1997 but according to the Duchess of York, the day before she died, Princess Diana had spoken with a mutual friend and told them she wanted to talk to “Red” or Ferguson.