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Princess Diana & Sarah Ferguson ‘Promised’ to Be Together Forever - They ‘Hadn’t Spoken’ Before the Crash

Karabo Baloyi
Feb 16, 2022
02:20 A.M.
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Princess Diana and Sarah Ferguson enjoyed a close friendship for many years. When they both separated from their husbands, their company remained close. But just before Diana's death, the pair hadn't spoken for a year. 

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Sarah and Diana's friendship spanned decades. They met as teenagers and even became sisters-in-law when they married Princes Charles and Andrew. Their friendship suffered some strain towards the end of Diana's life. Before the fatal car crash, the pair hadn't spoken for a year, and Sarah could not find out why.

Sarah Ferguson was born in London on October 15, 1959, to parents Susan and Major Ferguson. Sarah enjoyed a privileged upbringing. Even though she wasn’t considered royal by birth, Sarah’s privileged upbringing meant she was pretty close to the Britan's royal family.

Sarah Ferguson (L) and Princess Diana (R) | Photo: Tim Graham Photo Library/Getty Images

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SARAH FERGUSON'S LIFE BEFORE ROYAL FAME

When Sarah was 15 years old, her parents divorced. Her mother remarried Argentinian polo player Hector Barrantes. Sarah and her siblings moved to a farm in Hampshire to live with their father. Their father remarried soon after that and went on to have three more children.  

Sarah and Princess Diana were distant cousins who had known one another since they were teenagers. Their relationship grew much closer in 1980 when Diana was 19 and Sarah was 21. The pair enjoyed polo matches and weekly lunches together.

Before marrying into the British royal family, Sarah and Diana worked very regular jobs. One of Sarah's first jobs involved cleaning toilets and mirrors. Diana worked as a kindergarten teacher. Sarah and Diana's mothers were also close friends. They met in school and remained best friends throughout their lives. 

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Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York (R) and her former flat mate Carolyn Cotterell in the Royal Box at Wimbledon in 1999 | Photo: PA Images/Getty Images

SARAH AT DIANA'S WEDDING

When Diana got married in 1981, Sarah was invited to the wedding, but not to the post-wedding reception. Sarah said she felt insulted by not being invited to the reception, but their relationship remained close even after the wedding. 

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Diana gave Sarah a piece of fabric from her iconic wedding gown, featuring 10 000 pearls and a 25-foot long train. The dress had the longest train in royal history and was paired with an even longer 153-yard train. The wedding reception featured thousands of guests and 27 wedding cakes.

Later, when Diana found it difficult to acclimate to the demands of royal life, Sarah made sure that she was constantly present for her friend. She would often drive to Buckingham palace to cheer her up when she felt discouraged by the challenges.

Prince Charles, Prince of Wales and Diana, Princess of Wales, wearing a wedding dress designed by David and Elizabeth Emanuel and the Spencer family Tiara, leave St. Paul's Cathedral following their wedding on July 29, 1981 in London, England | Photo: Anwar Hussein/Getty Images

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SARAH SUPPORTED DIANA IN HER MARRIAGE

Their firm friendship became even closer when Diana set up Sarah with Prince Andrew, Prince Charles’s younger brother. Both Sarah and Prince Andrew were acquainted with one another, but Diana’s plans to set them up romantically became evident in 1985 at a dinner in Ascot.

Diana orchestrated their place, sitting next to one another. When they both hit it off, Diana encouraged the romance to grow. Diana’s father, Earl Spencer, said, “Sarah’s arrival made things much easier for Diana. She was so thrilled when Sarah and Andrew got married.”

Early into Sarah and Prince Andrew’s marriage, Diana made sure to guide Sarah through the hurdles of royal duties. As their marriages progressed, Diana and Sarah often engaged in cheeky pranks, often to the disapproval of other royal family members.

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Prince Charles And Princess Diana Kissing On The Balcony Of Buckingham Palace On Their Wedding Day. (l To R) Lord Nicholas Windsor, Edward Van Cutsem, Sarah Jane Gaselee, Catherine Cameron, Princess Diana, Prince Charles, Clementine Hambro And Queen Elizabeth II | Photo: Tim Graham Photo Library/Getty Images

A PROMISE TO STAY TOGETHER AND A FAILED DIVORCE PACT

However, not all of the royal family was enjoyable. Both Diana and Sarah experienced some difficulties in their marriages. They leaned on one another for support and even made a secret pact to separate from their husbands simultaneously. 

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Sarah was the first to propose the idea to Diana. She had been confiding in her about the challenges in her marriage. Diana initially agreed to the pact but later reneged on after pressure from the royal family proved too much to go through with the plan. 

However, Sarah chose to stand by her decision and confirmed her separation from Prince Andrew in 1992. Diana instead decided to try and improve her marriage which had been negatively affected by her husband’s ongoing affair with Camilla Parker-Bowles.

Diana, Princess of Wales (1961 - 1997) with Sarah Ferguson at the Guard's Polo Club, Windsor, June 1983 | Photo: Georges De Keerle/Getty Images

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Reports about a strain on their close friendship circulated before they separated from their husbands. Sarah quickly impressed the Queen and other royal family members by excelling at the sports that the family enjoyed, such as skiing and horseback riding. 

Unfortunately, Diana was not good at any of these sports. She once told her biographer, Andrew Morton, that her friend wooed everybody in the family and did it very well. Diana said that it left her looking like dirt.

Sarah denied claims of a rivalry between her and Diana. She said:

"We promised each other we would always be together — there was never any daylight between us. But everybody wanted that because we were so strong together."

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The Princess of Wales and the Duchess of York on the balcony of Buckingham Palace during the Trooping the Color ceremony, June 1991 | Photo: Jayne Fincher/Princess Diana Archive/Getty Images

However, Sarah also revealed that the pair hadn’t spoken in a year before Diana's untimely death. Sarah said she tried to contact her numerous times and believed they would get their friendship back to favorable terms soon. 

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The year-long silence between them even affected Sarah’s relationship with Diana’s sons, Princes Harry and William. She said she did not want her sons to think that she was pushing a friendship with them because she and their mom were not speaking. 

SARAH SAID DIANA WOULD BE PROUD OF HER SONS TODAY

More recently, Sarah revealed how she thought Diana would react to the controversial “Megxit.” In January 2020, Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan Markle, announced that they would step down from royal duties and move to the United States.

Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge watch from the balcony of Buckingham Palace on July 10, 2018 in London, England | Photo: Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images

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Soon after the announcement, Australian radio station KIIS 106 interviewed Sarah to determine her reaction. Sarah said that Diana would be proud of her sons Harry and William. She continued to say that Diana would be proud of Harry standing by his family. 

She went on to discuss how she thought their friendship would have evolved as grandparents: 

"Oh my goodness, can you imagine the grandmother races that we would have together? The parties... I would bounce her off the bouncy castle, that’s for sure.”

Sarah said that Diana's sons were a lot like their mother. She concluded by describing Diana as an amazing lady who would not be too judgmental about other people. After leaving the royal family, her life after leaving the royal family involves numerous charity activities and enjoying her time as a grandmother. 

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