& # 39; I am not divorced from Andrew – I am divorced from him & # 39 ;: Fergie's first full interview for 20 years
Only the coldest hearts could not warm up for Sarah, Duchess of York. She is dotted and generous and bursts with energy and childlike joie de vivre.
Oh, I am a child in every way, & # 39; she agrees, with that chic, but not plump & # 39; voice that we remember so well from the moment when she first invaded the royal family as a broken ball with a hair in the eighties.
& # 39; It is who I am. It brings me into endless problems. People think that you are impossible or difficult if they can not relate to you if you do not take life seriously. But the key to me is that I look at life with the feeling of excitement and joy of a child. & # 39;
She does not just do it. Who did not fall in love with her at all (while holding a nervous hand before our eyes) looked at her youngest daughter, the wedding of Princess Eugenie with Jack Brooksbank last month. There she was, again broken with the protocol to embrace good people in the crowd before they entered St. George's Chapel, Windsor Castle.
And slumped down in her bench-in the same breath as Princess Beatrice that she could no longer hold her belly-before she waved and stared at friends in the church.
Fergie is back, her sense of mischief and pleasure unharmed: once again enveloped in the open embrace, reconciled with the royal family after years in the wilderness
That ray told us that Fergie is back, her mischief and impatient feeling: once again enveloped in the open embrace, reconciled with the Royal Family after years in the wilderness.
Last week I spent two days with her and this unprecedented interview and the rare access – the most extensive in decades – gave me a unique insight into her character.
She talks about her divorce from the prince, who 22 years after stopping with husband and wife to bewilder and fascinate: "We are the happiest divorced couple in the world. We are separate from each other, not from each other. & # 39;
She describes, with generosity, those wilderness years that left her behind in the unreal situation that she had to watch every Christmas with her own daughters on TV, while they came to the Royals in Sandringham while she was banned.
"I will see Ben-Hur and really enjoy it, then look at the news and see how the girls are doing. & # 39;
And of course she shares with me the excitement that every mother-of-the-bride feels when she looks at a daughter who marries. She is still buzzing with excitement.
I always went to weddings and thought, "Why does the mother-of-the-bride cry?" & # 39; She tells me. & # 39; But now I fully understand why. It is because it is so great to think that your daughter is now grown up, leaves home and starts her own life. & # 39;
& # 39; I was just sitting in the chapel and everyone saw me & # 39; faz & # 39; go because I did not manage to slip over my high heels; then I looked at the other side and saw my sister (Jane) and I looked at her face and there were tears – and I'll do it again, I'm now rubbing, "she says, her eyes beaming with a bulky handkerchief.
Now, in her 60th year, her natural Titian red hair is unaffected by gray, her beautiful legs still slim like those of a gazelle – and her endearing eccentricities unperturbed by years of inhibiting royal protocol. Sarah Ferguson remains beautiful, non-emotional, herself.
The wedding, on October 12, was a day of extravagant festivities in which each carriage represented an eminent guest or celebrity, and absent lovers – awl among them, the deceased princess Diana – in the mind of the duchess.
I always went to weddings and thought, "Why does the mother-of-the-bride cry?" Said Fergie. & # 39; But I fully understand why now & # 39;
& # 39; I thought of absent friends and family; from Diana – but she's always with me. What I miss most is her tinkling laughter.
& # 39; Diana was my best friend and the funniest person I knew. She had so & # 39; s timing and humor. It was a great joy to be with her because we just laughed and enjoyed life so much, and I know she would have loved the wedding. & # 39;
The headquarters of the higher royal family was the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh, who attended the events on a & # 39; see how he feels now & # 39; now, and for the first time at the age of 25 in the vicinity of his former daughter-in-law was years.
It was said that he could not stand to be in the same room after Fergie & shame & # 39; brought to the royal family with those notorious photos of her who had her toes sucked by the American businessman John Bryan, in the summer of 1992, while he was separated from Prince Andrew.
But of course the Duchess's gaze was firmly focused on her daughter.
"My proudest moment", she says, "Eugenie looked up straight, very proud to show her scoliosis scar in her low-hanging dress. I had gone to all the fittings and sat there radiant with pleasure, and because there was no veil, it was a very powerful statement.
We called St. George's Chapel to make sure that there was no special rule to wear certain veils, but that was not the case and Eugenie just wanted to be himself.
The tiara (borrowed from grandma) danced on her. She was just so radiant. She said, "Mom, I thought I would get nerves," but she did not.
& # 39; She and Jack are simply meant to be. He loves her and now I have a son. Jack is like Zebedee. Boing, boing! & # 39; She demonstrates the energy of the Magic Roundabout character on his coiled spring.
& # 39; He will be the best consort out there, as Prince Albert was to Queen Victoria. I know it will be that kind of love match. & # 39;
There were many private moments in the chapel, the duchess acknowledges, when her eyes were blurred with tears, and there were subtle ways in which she carried the spirit of lovers with her.
Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank in the White Drawing Room, Windsor Castle. With them are (L-R) back row: Thomas Brooksbank, Nicola Brooksbank, George Brooksbank, Princess Beatrice, Sarah, Duchess of York, the Duke of York. Middle row: Prince George of Cambridge, Princess Charlotte of Cambridge, Queen Elizabeth, Prince Philip, Maud Windsor, Louis De Givenchy. First row: Theodora Williams, Mia Tindall, Isla Phillips, Savannah Phillips. Alex Bramall
Her father always encouraged her to think of the staff in the back room. & # 39; He said: & # 39; Do not forget that the kitchen is more important than the dining table & # 39 ;, so I made sure that the driver's tent had lots of nice banknotes, coffee and cookies and I raised my father's picture as I knew he would say, " Well done ". & # 39;
Major Ronald Ferguson died in 2003 and the mother of his first wife, Susan – Fergie, was killed in 1998 at the age of 61 during a car accident in Argentina, where she lived with her second husband, polo player Hector Barrantes.
The vintage Manolo Blahnik bag Fergie, which was held at the wedding, was from her mother.
"Mother had carried the handbag to Prince Andrew at my wedding, and the tickets were still there. They were green – and that's why I wore green on that day. "And the elderly woman in a wheelchair who embraced Sarah in the crowd outside the chapel was her mother's friend, Jessie Huberty.
Sarah Ferguson, duchess of York with daughters Princess Beatrice in a peach-chiffon dress and princess Eugenie in a striking red number
& # 39; I had lived with her in New York for six weeks when I was 19. My father had said: & # 39; You are too spoiled. You have to work your way through America "- so I stayed with Jessie and got toilets for cleaning work to earn enough to get a Greyhound bus ticket. & # 39;
Near Jessie was the Nepalese Sherpa Gyalzen (Sarah also hugged him warmly), with whom she climbed out of Base Everest in 2000 for the MacIntyre charity, which supports people with learning disabilities.
The sherpa, who worked for the duchess a few years later, now lives with his wife and son in New York and traveled to Windsor in particular to witness the great day of Princess Eugenie.
Fergie to ….
… on a diet
I know what it is like to be destroyed by self-hatred, because when you eat well, you gain weight and you defeat yourself & # 39;
& # 39; She is always with me. I miss her tinkling smile – she was my best friend and the funniest person I knew & # 39;
… Love for Andrew
& # 39; We both say it. I am married to the best man, the best father and the most beautiful prince & # 39;
… the separation of her parents
& # 39; I came in 1974 through a newspaper. I remember thinking I was responsible – because I was not good enough & # 39;
For the party at Royal Lodge on Saturday, where food was served from a range of stalls, every dish was chosen because of its special meaning for the newlyweds and their families. There was Argentinian beef – in memory of Susan Barrantes – rice dishes from Nicaragua (where Jack had suggested a volcano), mini burgers from the USA. where Eugenie & # 39; s employer, art gallery Hauser & Wirth is located.
There was Italian pizza and Spanish paella, while the crepes from Switzerland represented Verbier, where the Duke and the Duchess together own a chalet of £ 13 million.
The friends of the couple, Ellie Goulding and Robbie Williams – who was there with his wife Ayda Field (their daughter Theodora, six, was a maid of honor) – both sang their hits. And the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra also performed, the program including a composition, Twin Flame, by singer-songwriter Tanis Chalopin, written as a wedding gift for the couple.
Critics have sparked the extravagance of marriage – but of course the families of the bride and groom have made it. As standard at every meeting attended by the Queen, security costs were charged to the taxpayer – just as at the wedding of Her Majesty's other grandchildren.
And there was Fergie in the middle of everything, the central scene after years of painful alienation. Her rehabilitation seems complete today.
She has been with Balmoral for three consecutive summers; she regularly joins the Queen in Ascot and shares tea with Her Majesty in Windsor. And of course all senior members of the royal family (Prince Philip prime among them) gathered for the wedding.
Only Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, was absent and gave a long-standing promise to visit a small school in Scotland. Was Sarah insulted? No whit!
& # 39; I love that she loved her engagement, especially as it was with children. She is a great lady and was a great friend of my mother, "she says generously.
And during the vicissitudes of the past two decades, her proximity to the Duke of York has remained untouchable. They share a house – Royal Lodge, Windsor – and have raised their well-adjusted daughters as a partnership.
I ask if she loves him. It seems that the Fergie of 2018 has learned diplomacy and is taking agile steps to the question, but replies: "We both say it. We are fully compatible. Our bywords are communication, compromise and compassion.
& # 39; July 23, 1986 was the happiest day of my life. Andrew is the best man I know. What he does for Britain is incredible; nobody knows how hard he works for his country.
The essence of Fergie might be to be childish and to be freed from the obligation to live up to the expectations and conventions of adults
& # 39; My duty is for him. I'm so proud of him. I am behind him and will always continue to do so. The way we are is our fairy tale.
& # 39; Although we are not a couple, we really believe in each other. The Yorks are a united family. We showed it. You saw it at the wedding.
We stand for each other, fight for each other. We fully respect each other's position and thoughts and we listen to each other. Our children also listen to us.
& # 39; And we sit around the table and have & # 39; Afternoon tea together. It is a very important part of our lives. & # 39;
The question is often asked: will they remarry? & # 39; So many people have asked me that, but we are so happy with the way we are now & # 39 ;, she says. & # 39; We enjoy each other's company; we let each other bloom. I know it sounds like a fairy tale, but that is how we are.
Sarah Ferguson Duchess of York and Duke of York Prince Andrew leave for the beginning of their honeymoon, Portsmouth, Great Britain – August 2, 1986
& # 39; And the Sunday after the wedding I said to Eugenie and Jack: & # 39; Do you want to stay special? & # 39; No. They wanted to stay at Royal Lodge. So the night before their honeymoon, the whole family was eating pizza together in the kitchen. & # 39;
About her closeness to the Queen – who reportedly remarked that what Fergie has done, she has always been a good mother – she is sensible: "Her Majesty is the most beautiful icon I have ever been lucky enough to have Room to share. She is the most exceptional head of state, lady and mentor. I am very lucky to know her. & # 39;
She is also full of praise for Prince Philip, who describes them as "an incredible man." I have a lot of respect for him and have always admired him. It was a beautiful photo of us all together. It was very good to be with him again. My father and he played polo together. It brought back memories. & # 39;
It is for a good mother that Fergie is rightly celebrated. She says that she and her daughters have a "tripod & # 39; are – an interdependent and solid threesome.
Over the years, the princesses have suffered from overwhelming criticism: especially Beatrice is vilified because of her shape, size and sense of clothing.
The Duchess will not be attracted by comment, except to say: "I am violently protective of my girls, I am like a lioness."
It is also indisputable that the Yorks offer a paradigm about aging, especially after a divorce.
"Of course we are human, both Andrew and I, but when we walked through the door, we never brought our adult problems to the children. This is always our rule.
& # 39; And you are always honest with your children. When they say, "Mom, what is happening?" Then you say, "It is interesting that you ask the question," and you explain it in a way that they can understand.
& # 39; When my parents divorced, I did not have a parent who told me the truth. I discovered in 1974 through a newspaper what was going on.
& # 39; And I felt … I believed that I had done something wrong. I think it is very important that children do not feel that. The fact that we were divorced had absolutely nothing to do with the girls.
& # 39; But I remember thinking I was responsible for splitting up my parents – because I had cut my hair. & # 39; She regrettably laughs at the memory. & # 39; And because I was not good enough. And then I began to comfort food, and why I had a weight problem all my life.
I therefore have full empathy with what it is like to be destroyed by self-hatred, because if you eat well, you gain weight and then save yourself for comfort-eating. It is such a vicious circle.
& # 39; I have been comforting my whole life since I was thirteen. I started working at a boarding school when I heard that my parents were divorcing. I came to 14-and-a-half stone. & # 39;
Nowadays she looks enviable slim in a flirty flared skirt that is combined with Smythe jacket in racing green. The & soul; destructive & # 39; jokes of the duchess of pork who chased her when she was at her heaviest, are now tangibly inapplicable.
Her jewelery is trademark Fergie: a gold bracelet with the names of her girls chosen in diamond-filled capitals; a super-sized hermit's day poppy blooming from her lapel.
Once she has kicked the Jimmy Choo heels she wears (at our request) for the photo 's, she slides with relief in flat velvet pumps embroidered with unicorns. They seem to summarize her mind: fanciful, childlike, princess-like. If you asked Fergie her favorite color, she would be very good & # 39; glitter & # 39; can say.
It seems to be an amalgam of contradictions: childlike but pragmatic; cheerful and yet reflective; sometimes robust and sturdy, and then fragile.
& # 39; It took me 59 years, but I'm glad I have this feeling of joy that I feel now, & # 39 ;, she says. & # 39; My mantra is the Hs: honor, humility, hope and humor. If I have ever abandoned someone, and I am certain that I have done so, I have always tried to adjust my rights and do my best. I believe in forgiveness for myself and for others. It is an important quality. & # 39;
She admits that she & sorrow & # 39; in her past has felt, but is careful to distinguish this from depression. If she feels low, she says, she has a strategy to deal with it. & # 39; I take a little rest; maybe watching a black-and-white film and making myself cry more. (Cary Grant is one of my heroes.) But I also like to laugh. I think that a sense of humor always helps.
& # 39; As my grandmother would say, "This too will pass away." She brought me upstairs to clean up my side of the street – with which she wanted to forgive and the sun would never drop on a fight. & # 39;
I ask if she has learned how to deal with the loneliness of consecutive Christmas days without her daughters. This year will be the 22nd, since her divorce, that her girls have gone to Sandringham to join the royal family, while she, uninvited, will stay alone at home.
And again, Sarah is generous. I know that Her Majesty loves my children, so I like to share them – both in August and at Christmas. & # 39;
I ask if it breaks her heart to be a distant observer of this close, family happiness, but she answers with the usual bravado: & # 39; No! I am happy to make other people happy. I'm really like that. I love to share. It is the joy to give. & # 39;
Duke and Duchess of York with Princess Beatrice in the background at Royal Ascot, day four on June 22, 2018
She gives a lot of time and energy to her charity work: she is ambassador to the British Heart Foundation and speaks to me today to promote the launch of Street Child, recently merged with the charity that she founded in 1992, Children In Crisis. She is passionate about the role that education plays in lifting people out of poverty. "At Street Child we all believe that education is a fundamental right and that it is a scandal and a tragedy that there are 121 million school-age children worldwide who can not go to school," she says.
Tom Dannant, who founded Street Child in 2008, says: & # 39; It is a measure of the lack of ego of the Duchess that she was willing to merge her charity with our faster growing. She thought it would take a greater punch and she could do more to help children that way. & # 39;
He also reports about her passion, endurance and the willingness to endure hardships. & # 39; Earlier this year, for ten hours we drove on rough, winding roads in Nepal and then stayed in a cockroach-infested hotel. She did it to reach the children in the greatest need. & # 39;
I ask Sarah about this trip and she throws her hands up and smiles. & # 39; My father would have called character building & # 39 ;, she says. They kicked me in a car and we wanted to find those children who literally had nothing.
Sarah, Duchess of York, cuddles her friend, Jessie Huberty, when she arrives to attend the wedding of British Princess Eugenie of York with Jack Brooksbank at St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle, in Windsor, at 12 October 2018
The monsoon rains were coming, they had no food, and the water they drank was polluted and strewn with cobra's. And the hotel was one of those where you sleep on your suitcase because it is more comfortable than the bed. & # 39;
The charity is building a school in this remote and impoverished outpost: Sarah has already created links with some of the children who will raise it. My grandmother always said to me: "If you feel bad about life, go outside and give it to others," she recalls.
And there is no doubt in my mind that Sara's sympathy, her empathy-actually her love-is real to children. She visits Julia's home, a children's hospital in Wiltshire with her. She blows fresh air as a gust of wind, sells sweets and trinkets, takes part in a craft session, decorates a cake (with unicorns) and reads one of her Budgie the Helicopter books.
Those who would reject her choice of reading material as opportunistic would do well to acknowledge that the allowance she received after the divorce from the royal family was reportedly only £ 15,000 per year. She has to make money, and does so through a series of creative companies.
She shows me her assortment of tea – invented ingeniously in order to smell and taste like the deserts she worships (there is roll roly-poly, chocolate cake, strawberries and cream) – that have helped her resist pudding and her to calm down. (Part of the profit from the sale goes to Street Child.)
She cautiously chases her young audience, remembering their names, chatting at their level.
Later she entrusts a group of parents with: & # 39; I prefer children because I can be with my imagination. What I take away from a visit like this is the kindness, the love, the children and the total joy. I love the atmosphere and the goodness here. & # 39;
I ask if she looks forward to becoming a grandmother. She smiles.
& # 39; How many children's books have I written? Twenty-two! Frances, I tell you, they will be older than me at the age of three! I will have more fun in making the Barbie houses than the grandchildren. & # 39;
This is perhaps the essence of Fergie: being childlike is to be freed from the obligation to meet adult expectations and conventions. & # 39; When I got married, people said: & # 39; You can not make faces when you go out. You must not do this or that. "But I just want to be myself, I'm 59, but I feel about eight years old."
I leave the duchess with gifts from her. There is a silk scarf (woven by traded women), a selection of her tea bags, wedding articles from China, shortbread cookies – a real goodie bag.
While she cuddles me, she says: & # 39; I like harmony. People say that they like people, but it is as I like. It makes me feel good. & # 39;
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