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Sarah Ferguson - Biography

The Duchess of York and former wife of Prince Andrew was born in 1959

Sarah Ferguson smiling at a red carpet event
Hannah Watkin
Content Writer
Updated: 13 July 2023
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Early life

Sarah Margaret Ferguson, also known as Fergie, was born in London in 1959 to parents Major Ronald Ferguson and his wife Susan Barrantes. As a child she loved horse riding and won many cups and shows. In 1972, her parents separated and her mother married for the second time to an Argentinian polo player, Hector Barrantes, then moved to South America. 

Meeting Prince Andrew

After graduating from Queen's Secretarial College at the age of 18, Sarah went to work in a public relations firm in London. In 1985 she was invited to a house party at Windsor Castle to celebrate Royal Ascot, and although she already knew Prince Andrew from childhood, it was here that they met again as adults and a romance developed out of their friendship. After she accepted Prince Andrew's proposal in March 1986, the couple were married on 23 July 1986 at Westminster Abbey with an estimated 500 million people tuning in to watch the televised nuptials. 

Sarah and Andrew went on to welcome two children, Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie, born in 1988 and 1990 respectively. And although Sarah and Andrew divorced in 1996, they continued to share a house together near Ascot for many years and Sarah has regularly suggested the pair are still good friends. 

Life post-divorce

Since her split from Andrew, Sarah has faced scrutiny and difficulties, but the title of one of her books: Reinventing Yourself With The Duchess Of York sums up her philosophy of getting on with the show. Now a millionairess in her own right, she is able to devote more time than ever to her charity work including Children in Crisis which she founded in 1993 and working as a patron for the Teenage Cancer Trust among many other kids' charities. In 2020 she launched her own charitable foundation called Sarah's Trust. 

In May 2010, Sarah's relationship with her royal extended family was strained after she was taped allegedly offering access to her former husband, Prince Andrew, in exchange for money. She issued a statement saying she was "sincerely sorry" for her actions and admitted that her finances had been under strain at the time.

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