Sarah Ferguson
Duchess of York
Spouse Andrew, Duke of York (1986 - 1996)
Princess Beatrice of York
Princess Eugenie of York
Full name
Sarah Margaret Ferguson
Sarah, Duchess of York
HRH The Duchess of York
Miss Sarah Ferguson
Royal House House of Windsor
Father Ronald Ferguson
Mother Susan Barrantes
Born 15 October 1959
Marylebone, London
Occupation Author; prev. Broadcasting

Sarah, Duchess of York (Sarah Margaret Ferguson; born 15 October 1959), is the former wife of Prince Andrew, Duke of York. She is a former member of the British Royal Family and the mother of Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie, who are respectively fifth and sixth in line to the British throne. She is known for being at the centre of a number of tabloid scandals, as well as for her charity and commercial work.

Early lifeEdit

Sarah Margaret Ferguson was born in London on October 15 1959, a daughter of Major Ronald Ferguson and his first wife, Susan Mary Wright.

Sarah comes from an aristocratic and royal background. On her father's side, Sarah is a descendant of King Charles II of England from two of illegitimate sons Charles Lennox, 1st Duke of Richmond and James Crofts "Scott". She is a great-great-granddaughter of William Montagu-Douglas-Scott, 6th Duke of Buccleuch, a great-granddaughter of Mervyn Wingfield, 8th Viscount Powerscourt, and a step-granddaughter of Air Marshal Sir Thomas Elmhirst. Through her paternal grandmother, Lady Elmhirst (née Marian Montagu-Douglas-Scott), she also is a distant cousin of Princess Alice, Duchess of Gloucester, an aunt of Queen Elizabeth II.


Sarah and Prince Andrew's romance began after some scheming to bring them together was orchestrated by Diana, Princess of Wales in 1985. Early in 1986 the couple were engaged and subsequently married in Westminster Abbey on 23 July 1986. Prince Andrew had the title of The Duke of York bestowed upon him by the Queen. Sarah automatically became Her Royal Highness The Duchess of York. She is known to many, including family and friends, as Fergie which was a childhood nickname. The Duke and Duchess of York had two children during their marriage:


By 1992, the marriage was experiencing trouble and the couple had drifted apart. While her husband was away on military or royal duties, Sarah was frequently seen in the company of other men, most notably Texas millionaire Steve Wyatt.[1] Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson finally agreed to separate in January 1992. Matters came to a head when in August 1992; surreptitiously taken photographs of John Bryan, an American financial manager, in the act of sucking on the toes of a topless Sarah were published in the English tabloid newspaper The Daily Mirror. The Duchess was exposed to widespread public ridicule and contributed to her further estrangement from the British Royal Family.[2] After some 4 years of being officially separated, the Duke and Duchess made the mutual decision to divorce in 1996.

After the divorceEdit

After her divorce she continued to struggle with her weight, under intense media spotlight, and saw some publications dub her "The Duchess of Pork". [3] The press criticism was constant, focusing not only on her weight but also on her lifestyle and perceived extravagance. Sarah now attracts less intrusive and unflattering media reports. Since her divorce, she has determinedly rebuilt her life with a successful media and commercial career.

Having lost weight and discovered a new confidence, Sarah felt able to pass on her experience to others as a spokesperson for Weight Watchers, replacing Lynn Redgrave, who referred to the situation as "Rent-a-Royal". Her other commercial interests in the USA include fronting publicity campaigns for Ocean Spray Juice, Wedgwood China and Westfield Malls, drawing crowds of thousands at promotional events.[citation needed] These activities, as well as the success of her many books, allowed Sarah to overcome the multi-million pound debts that she ran up in the 80s and early 90s to the Queen's creditors within a year. She is now financially independent, although she avoids commercial activity in Britain so as not to upset the Royal Family.

Titles, Styles, Honours & ArmsEdit


  • 1959-1986: Miss Sarah Ferguson
  • 1986-1996: Her Royal Highness The Duchess of York
  • 1996-: Sarah, Duchess of York

Sarah Ferguson's full title during her marriage was The Princess Andrew, Duchess of York, Countess of Inverness and Baroness Killyleagh'

Charity workEdit

Sarah Ferguson is patron of the Motor Neurone Disease Association and "US Spokesperson" for SOS Children's Villages.

For the second year, Sarah Ferguson is the Global RMHC [4] (Ronald McDonald House Charities) Ambassador for World Children's Day (11/20).[5] Her current 2006 tour brought her to Tokyo, Seattle, Dallas, Detroit, Boston, New York City, and ended in Beijing. "Nothing is more important than helping the children of the world," The Duchess said. "Through my role as global ambassador for World Children's Day, I represent the voice of the children and families in need and I help bring greater attention to the critical issues they face today."

Cultural referencesEdit

She is mentioned In the BBC sitcom series, "Bottom", the episode entitled "Digger". When Richie and Eddie are at a Dating Agency, Eddie says to their rep: "And what have you got for me ... ?", the answer being "Sarah Ferguson!" to which he replies, "Do you mind, I'm a respectable man! Come Richie let us leave, while we still have our dignity."

Her marriage is also mentioned in the Sue Townsend book "Adrian Mole: The true confessions of". It mentions him calling Buckingham palace and asking for her, and also him sending her a note to meet him outside the gates of Buckingham Palace to run away with him as she is his soulmate.

The title of R&B/Hip Hop singer Fergie's debut album, The Dutchess was a reference to the fact that the two share the same surname. According to various media outlets, Sarah Ferguson called Fergie after the release of her album and remarked: "I said, 'Fergie, it's Fergie. . . . Now that you've done this, you have to sing at a concert for my foundation Children in Crisis.'"[6] Fergie agreed and committed to two charity concerts in London and New York City.

External linksEdit

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