Sarah Ferguson “never dreamt” she’d be part of the royal family.
The Duchess of York hailed becoming a public figure as a result of her marriage to Prince Andrew – who she has remained close to since they split in 1992 – as “the greatest honour” and though losing her anonymity as a result has presented some “challenges”, she’s aware it’s also had many benefits.
She said: “Growing up I always wanted to be an Olympic showjumper. I never dreamt I would be a princess.
“When I married Prince Andrew I became a public figure and it was the greatest honour. When you marry into the family you give up your anonymity, and that comes with challenges but also opportunities.”
The ‘Her Heart For A Compass’ writer admitted the death of Prince Philip earlier this year has left a “huge void” in the royal family.
She told the Sunday Times magazine: “The Duke of Edinburgh’s loss has left a huge void in the life of the family. I have known him all my life: he played polo with my father. When it comes to the Queen I’ve always made it a rule not to talk about private conversations.”
One of the challenges Sarah has faced in public life is “terrible” things being written about her and she admitted she’s had to “work very hard” on her mental health to not let the cruel comments get to her.
She said: “In terms of my own mental health, I have always had to work very hard on that because I am a very sensitive person and I take things personally. I really did mind when all those terrible articles were written about me, and sometimes still are. I have a therapist and I rely on friendship, my family and my work to keep me focused on what’s important.”
But the 61-year-old duchess is “very proud” of how her daughters, Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie, cope with being in the spotlight.
She said: “I’m very proud of how my girls have dealt with having public profiles. I think the challenges presented by social media and trolling are nightmarish. A lot of social media is an absolute sewer.”