Sarah, Duchess of York allegedly felt like she could not “measure up” to Princess Diana as she often compared herself to her popular sister-in-law. Fergie and the Princess of Wales were hailed as breaths of fresh air when they joined the Royal Family in the 1980s. But the constant attention from the public resulted in a form of “rivalry” between the two princesses which left the Duchess at times feeling “inadequate”.
Royal expert Katie Nicholl told Channel 5 documentary ‘Royal Wives at War’: “I think there were certainly times where Sarah just felt she didn’t measure up to her.
“She often compared herself to Diana, and I think there were times when she felt inadequate, whether it was because she wasn’t pretty as Diana, she wasn’t as slim as Diana, she wasn’t as loved as Diana.
“As much as they were firm friends, there was a fair dose of royal rivalry between the two of them.”
Both Fergie and Diana faced inescapable pressure by virtue of their positions within the Royal Family, a drastic change compared to the freedom they experienced as private citizens.
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Former BBC correspondent Jennie Bond said: “I don’t think either of them quite realised how their lives were going to be ruled by courtiers, diary meetings, protocol, doing things correctly.
“Both were young women who had been used to a certain amount of freedom. Fergie, certainly, was used to a great amount of freedom.”
But despite the feelings of inadequacy the Duchess of York allegedly experienced, the Princess of Wales was no stranger to envy towards her sister-in-law.
According to psychologist Jo Hemmings: “Diana really envied the easy, comfortable warmth and intimacy, and sexual chemistry, that was quite clear between Andrew and Sarah.
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“By that stage, Charles and Diana were no longer even sharing a bedroom.
“And so there’s so many of the intimacies that she saw with Fergie and Andrew that were lacking in her own marriage.”
However, the close relationship the Duke and Duchess of York shared also ran cold after a few years and Sarah was revealed to have taken a lover as Prince Andrew spent a huge chunk of the year on base while serving in the Royal Navy.
After the publication of a scandalous series of pictures of Sarah and her boyfriend, the Queen announced her second son would separate from his wife.
The pair officially divorced in 1996 but remained close and continued to raise their daughters, Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie, together.