Before and after royalty! The Duchess of York, Sarah Ferguson, has lived her life both in and out of the spotlight.
Ferguson was born in October 1959 in London to Major Ronald Ferguson and Susan Barrantes. The author went on to finish a course at Queen’s Secretarial College before deciding to drop out of school and work for an art gallery.
In March 1986, Ferguson and Prince Andrew announced their engagement and officially tied the knot in Westminster Abbey that July. Ferguson assumed her husband’s royal and ducal status and became the Duchess of York. The duo then expanded their family in August 1988 with the birth of their daughter Beatrice. Their youngest daughter, Eugenie, arrived in March 1990.
After six years together, the couple announced their separation in March 1992 and filed for divorce in April 1996. Although the pair called it quits, they have since remained close friends and still continue to live together at Royal Lodge in Windsor.
“Although we are not a couple, we really believe in each other. The Yorks are a united family. We’ve shown it. You saw it at the wedding. My duty is to him. I am so proud of him. I stand by him and always will. The way we are is our fairytale,” Ferguson told the Daily Mail in November 2018, adding that the twosome are “happy with the way they are right now.”
Ferguson has also been open about how not being able to see her husband that much ultimately led to her divorce.
“All I’d say is, no matter what, stay with your man; don’t let him be taken from you,” she said in an October 2018 Harper’s Bazaar interview in regards to advice she’d give to Kate Middleton. “Prince or no prine, love that man, and that love will hold him. I married my boy, who happened to be a prince and a sailor, because I loved him — and still do — my only condition being, ‘I have to be with you.’ And two weeks after the wedding, the courtiers told Andrew, who thought he’d be stationed in London, ‘You have to go to sea.’”
Ferguson continued: “I spent my entire first pregnancy alone; when Beatrice was born, Andrew got 10 days of shore leave, and when he left I cried, they all said: ‘Grow up and get a grip.’ So don’t let them tell you what to feel, how to do things, who you are. Be yourself.”
Following the divorce, the producer worked hard to forge her own path. Over the years, she has penned children’s books, worked as a Today correspondent and landed a Weight Watchers deal in addition to her other notable charity work.
Although she was not technically a member of the royal family following her divorce, Ferguson still kept in close contact with the late Queen Elizabeth II. After the monarch’s death in September 2022, the producer paid tribute to her former mother-in-law and was in attendance at her funeral.
“I am heartbroken by the passing of Her Majesty the Queen,” Ferguson wrote via Twitter at the time. “She leaves behind an extraordinary legacy: the most fantastic example of duty and service and steadfastness, and a constant steadying presence as our head of state for more than 60 years. … I will always be grateful to her for the generosity she showed me in remaining close to me even after my divorce. I will miss her more than words can express.”
Scroll down for a look back at Ferguson’s ups and downs as part of the royal family: