Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York, has said that remembering Nelson Mandela’s ability to forgive his political enemies after he spent 27 years in prison helped her deal with her struggles in the public eye.
Mandela, who was imprisoned for 27 years under South Africa’s apartheid regime, famously forgave his political opponents after he was elected the first Black president of the country in 1994.
“One day I got up and thought, Mandela forgave his persecutors; surely I can forgive and move forward,” she said.
Shortly after Ferguson and Prince Andrew announced their separation in 1992, pictures were published in the tabloid press of John Bryan, an American businessman, kissing her feet whilst the pair holidayed together.
In 2009, she told Hello! magazine that she had debts of £600,000 after her US-based lifestyle company, Hartmoor, collapsed.
Speaking on how her life has changed over the course of the last 20 years – she has since become a grandmother after Princess Eugenie welcomed a son in February – Ferguson said she is no longer “self-sabotaging”.
“It’s a very good moment, because I’m free,” she said. “She’s still with me, that person who thinks she’s fat, ugly, and disgusting, and she still has to have her hair done to talk to you, but she’s now not so vocal.
“The truth is, I am 61 years old and I’m free of the self-sabotaging Sarah,” she added.
A series of portraits for the magazine’s September issue by celebrity photographer Misan Harriman – who also took pictures of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle when she was pregnant – see Ferguson don a number of statement pieces, including a fuchsia pink Aliette dress and a red and black Alexander McQueen bustier.
While Ferguson did not comment on Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s decision to step down as senior members of the royal family, she said she believes Princess Diana “would be so proud of her boys...and she’d be so proud of her grandchildren”.
She also revealed that she had contacted Andy Harries, an executive producer of The Crown, offering input after her character received minimum air time in the series.
“Hello? Where is Fergie? I said to him, ‘Why can’t I help my character?’” she said, adding that her offer was declined.
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