Sarah Ferguson says she may be 'the most persecuted woman in the history of the royal family' and admits she still loves Prince Andrew

·4 min read
Sarah Ferguson and Prince Andrew.
Sarah Ferguson and Prince Andrew divorced in 1996.Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images
  • Sarah Ferguson says she may be the "most persecuted woman in royal family history."

  • Speaking to Madame Figaro, the Duchess of York said she still loves her ex, Prince Andrew.

  • "I loved him and I still love him today," she said. "I stay by his side. Because I believe in him."

Sarah Ferguson said she may be one of the worst treated women in royal family history in a new interview with French magazine Madame Figaro.

The Duchess of York, who was an active member of the British royal family through her 10-year marriage to Prince Andrew from 1986 to 1996, told Madame Figaro's Marion Galy-Ramounot about how she was excluded by the family and suffered "years of media hell" in an interview published on Sunday.

The article refers to one incident in particular: a series of topless photos of Ferguson having her toes "nibbled" on by her financial advisor John Bryan, which were published by British tabloid the Daily Mirror in 1992, according to the Mirror. According to the Madame Figaro article, consequences of the story were dire, and Ferguson was said to have been "banished by 'The Firm,'" a nickname for senior members of the royal family and those who work closely with them to manage their reputations.

Prince Philip was reluctant to ever see her again, according to Madame Figaro, and he advised against inviting her to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's 2018 wedding — which she ultimately did attend.

Sarah Ferguson, The Queen and Prince Andrew.
Ferguson is said to have been shunned by the firm until 2018.Georges De Keerle/Getty Images

"In my blood, there's resilience," Ferguson told Madame Figaro. "I may have been the most persecuted woman in the history of the royal family, but I'm still here."

"I always believed anything was possible," she said.

In an email to Insider, royal commentator Richard Fitzwilliams said Ferguson was seen as a "disaster" when she was an active member of the royal family.

"The interviews she gives, such as this one, when she claims she was persecuted, perhaps uniquely so, shows she has learnt very little," he added.

It's not the first time that the Duchess of York addressed her experience living as a royal in the public eye. In 2019, she told Vogue Arabia that she personally related to the Duchess of Sussex's portrayal in the media, The Times of London reported.

"I have been in Meghan's shoes, and I still am," she said. "I abhor bullying and I feel desperately sorry for the pain they must be going through because I've been through it."

meghan markle, sarah ferguson book
Ferguson compared her negative experience in the media to that of Meghan Markle.Daniel Leal-Olivas/WPA Images/Getty Images, Amy Sussman/Getty Images

Despite previous media scandals and their eventual divorce, Ferguson says that she and Andrew remain close — so much so that they continue to live together at the Royal Lodge in Windsor. It's also where the former couple hosted wedding receptions for their daughters, Eugenie and Beatrice, Hello! Magazine reported in May.

Andrew has been in the news recently for his friendship with Jeffrey Epstein, the deceased financier and registered sex offender, spanned 20 years and was said to have overlapped with the timeframe when prosecutors say Epstein was recruiting and abusing underage girls.

Allegations of the prince's involvement with Epstein went a step further in August when Virginia Roberts Giuffre filed a lawsuit against Andrew accusing him of sexually assaulting her in Epstein's home when she was 17.

Prince Andrew wearing a dark suit and medals at Prince Philip's funeral in April 2021.
Ferguson said she's staying by Prince Andrew's side.Chris Jackson/Pool via Reuters

Buckingham Palace has always denied the claim about Andrew's involvement, calling them "false and without foundation" in 2019. However, after his "car crash" 2019 BBC interview with host Emily Maitlis, where he addressed Roberts Giuffre's claim, he announced he would be stepping back from his royal duties.

Addressing Andrew in the Madame Figaro interview, Ferguson said: "I loved him and I still love him today."

"I stay by his side. Because I believe in him," she added. "He is a good man."

Representatives for the Duchess of York did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.

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