The Heartbreaking Thing Princess Diana and Sarah Ferguson Had in Common With Their Childhoods
When they were members of the royal family Princess Diana and Sarah Ferguson shared a bond few could ever understand. But long before they married princes and started learning the ropes of life in the royal family, they went through a similar and truly heartbreaking experience when they were children.
What happened with their families when they were children?
Princess Diana’s parents, Frances Roche and John Spencer, Viscount Althorp (later the 8th Earl Spencer), were married in 1954 at Westminster Abbey. The couple though had a troubled marriage and Roche ended up leaving her husband to marry her lover, Peter Shand Kydd.
That decision led to a nasty custody battle and Diana’s mother was forced to give up her children.
In the documentary Royal House of Windsor, narrator Gwilym Lee spoke about Diana’s mom leaving when she was just a child and what Diana remembered about the moment.
“A witness to her parents’ acrimonious divorce, she and her siblings were the subjects of a bitter custody battle. As a result, Diana’s mother had to give up her children,” Lee said. “Diana later admitted she had been haunted by the crunch of the gravel as her mother departed.”
A very similar situation occurred when Sarah Ferguson was a child.
Fergie’s parents, Susan Wright and Ronald Ferguson, wed in 1956 and like Diana’s parents, they had their share of marital troubles. Also like Diana’s mother, Ferguson’s mom left her father for another man.
Wright decided to move to South America to be with her lover, a polo player named Héctor Barrantes. Royal expert Juliet Rieden noted that Ferguson was beyond devastated when her mother abandoned the family.
Wright continued to live in Argentina until her death in 1998.
The princess and duchess’ relationship and falling out
Some years later, Ferguson and Diana would go on to become royalty. However, after their own divorces, the princess and duchess had a falling out when Ferguson wrote some unflattering things about Diana in her book.
Fergie always believed that Diana wanted to make amends with her but died before she could do so. The duchess later received confirmation of this from a mutual friend. Ferguson explained that the friend informed her that the princess had been looking for her and wanted to connect.
“The saddest thing, at the end, we hadn’t spoken for a year,” Ferguson said. “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.’”
On Aug. 31, 1997, Princess Diana died following a car crash in the Pont de l’Alma tunnel in Paris.