Sarah Ferguson: They 'Destroyed' Me Because I'm a Royal Ex Wife
By Nicki Gostin Posted Jun 30th 2011 10:41AM
It was a little over a year ago that Sarah Ferguson, ex-wife of Prince Andrew, found herself ensnared in a scandal. The Duchess of York was secretly videotaped receiving a suitcase stuffed with cash in exchange for what seemed like access to her ex-husband. The media tsunami that followed sent her into a deep hole of depression which she has only just started to climb out of. Now her new memoir, 'Finding Sarah: A Duchess's Journey To Find Herself,' has been released. It coincides with a six-episode docuseries on OWN which shows Ferguson searching for answers from people like Dr. Phil and Suze Orman. The 51 year old still sounded unsure and shaky when she spoke to PopEater but is unfailingly honest about her outcast status in the Royal Family and the weight of her tabloid scandal, which she believes was the British media's way of "discrediting me totally and publicly and that's what they've done."
What did you learn about yourself from writing this book?
Oh my gosh because I had to see people like Dr. Phil and Suze Orman and all these people I learnt that I'm not alone, I learnt that the answers are inside of me and I just have to listen to myself. And I learnt that it's ok to forgive yourself, that we all make mistakes and we all have lapses of judgment and you can move on, dust yourself off and get on with it. I don't know how long it's going to be until I do forgive myself but I'm a work in progress.
Were you ever suicidal?
No because I've got my babies and I love my girls more than life itself and I would never do that but certainly I didn't want to see anybody and I wanted to hide and I still to this day find it very difficult. I was deeply saddened and hurt by the whole situation. I don't think I'll ever be able to forgive myself. I hope I do because then that means they've done good work.
I thought it was churlish of the Royal Family to not invite you to the wedding. You are the mother of two of the Queen's grand-children and you not being there put them in an awkward position.
It put them in a position of always thinking why is my mother not good enough? It's been like this now for 15 years where they don't invite me for Christmases with the girls. The girls have become very used to the extraordinary ostracization of me and that's what they know. I think if Diana was still here it would be a lot easier because then there'd be two ex-wives and I'm the only ex-wife out here. I think they think if you're divorced, you don't get on so why should you be invited so I understand that. I don't think it's about their grandmother because Her Majesty is a wonderful grandmother to the girls. I think it's more the Prince of Wales and the young William Wales thought it's probably better not to have me there. It did do massive damage, the setup from the journalist from the News of the World. It totally changed my entire life. It destroyed me and I put myself in a position to be destroyed, I understand that. I take full responsibility for my actions. I understand the cruelty of the setup but what I didn't understand was going all over the world saying I sold access to Andrew. I didn't sell access to him. I simply said he is my best friend and we do everything together as a family but I didn't see that as selling access.
You and Andrew have an incredibly close relationship and clearly love each other. I don't understand why you haven't reconciled.
I know, so many people ask me that. You can't work it out because you're marrying the Royal Family, you're not just marrying the man. And I married the man in 1986 and I didn't take into account that I then had to marry the Royal Family and the country and the world and I should have taken that into consideration. That's why Katherine is doing so well because she's had nine years to understand that when she married William she was going to marry the firm, the family, the job and the world.
Don't you think the Royal Family has learned from yours and Diana's experiences?
Yes there's no question about it. My girls say I'm a trail blazer for others. Both Diana and I and our mistakes all those years ago have meant that Katherine and Sophie (Prince Edward's wife) have gotten it right. Sophie lived with Prince Edward for six years and Katherine lived with William for nine so they know. Actually maybe there's more pressure on them to get it right because they know. I came in and really had a few dinners, a couple of weekends and then I was married.
Is it hard not to feel sorry for yourself?
It's excruciatingly sad for somebody like me who really didn't know what she was doing and did not think of the ramifications. I didn't go in there with a bad intention in my heart and then to be hung for what looked like a bad intention. I can't get my head around that, I'm not sure I ever will.
To me, so much of your turmoil can be traced back to your mother leaving when you were 12.
I loved my Mum and Dad. I take responsibility but I do think it's very difficult to be a little girl at 12 and shut down any feelings and lock herself away in her own house because her mother left her and abandoned her. The thing is right now I'm alive and aware and I'm feeling and thinking what a shame I couldn't go back to that bride in 1986 and tell her to do things differently.
Do you still struggle with emotional eating?
It's a big struggle but everything's been a struggle right now. I'm a work in progress. I'm getting much better. It's a year later and I'm strong enough to talk to you but everything's a real struggle.
You're much more accepted here than in England.
I wouldn't be talking to anyone in England. It would just terrify me. When I go to England I have a guest room within Andrew's house and I stay there and see the girls and leave.
Does that make you sad?
Yeah, it makes me very sad. I find it so sad I go around with the best intentions, everyone who loves me and knows me says that I'm one of the purest hearts ever and then to have to live with this, which is not me, is really horrible. In the old days if you left the Royal Family you would be beheaded, the only way they can do that now to the last remaining ex-wife is by discrediting me totally and publicly and that's what they've done and I've helped them of course but I didn't ask my friend of 15 years to set me up.
Well when you're feeling really blue you must remember that you must have done something right. Your daughters adore you.
You're very kind. I do believe I've been an excellent mother.
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