'It gave me a swift kick in the butt': Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York vows to 'start living' after cancer battle

Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York, received a "swift kick in the butt" when she was diagnosed with two forms of cancer.

The 64-year-old author underwent a single mastectomy after being diagnosed with breast cancer last June and on New Year's Eve (31.12.24), she was told she had also developed skin cancer, and now she has put her treatment behind her, she is determined to live life to the full and showcase her "huge personality".

She told Britain's HELLO! magazine: "I think it woke me up. It gave me a swift kick in the butt and told me: 'Right, are you going to start living now, at 64, or are you going to keep on not quite living?' You don't have to be what everyone wants you to be: just be yourself.

"One of the only people who saw me properly was the Queen and before she died, she said: 'Sarah, being yourself is enough.’

"I haven't shown my huge personality properly, because I've tried to keep it under the cushion. 'It's too much,' or: 'Shut up, no one wants to hear from you.' I remember my father telling me: 'You're a bore.' And now I'm just not excusing myself any more."

Sarah has been warned not to use the phrase "cancer-free" and will have regular check ups, but her outlook is positive and she's "very grateful" not to need further invasive treatment.

She said: "I have to be checked regularly and I have to put cream on my face to get out past sun damage, which means big blisters on my face, chest and hands for three weeks.

"But I'm not doing immunotherapy, taking any drugs or doing chemotherapy, for which I'm very grateful."

The duchess was grateful she could rely on daughters Princess Beatrice, 35, and 34-year-old Princess Eugenie - who she has with ex-husband Prince Andrew - for support during her treatment.

She said: "I have the most exceptional family and I have an extraordinarily great team and I have an enormous ability to turn to joy.

"I have always brought up my girls to be so honest and frank that they know I’m going to tell it to them straight, however difficult it is.

"So when they said, 'Mummy, tell us the absolute truth – have they got all the cancer out?' and the answer was yes, they knew they were safe."