Sarah Ferguson, affectionately known as Fergie, is the ex-wife of Prince Andrew. Upon their divorce in 1996, she was allowed to keep the title of Duchess of York but was prevented from officially representing the Royal Family. The former couple are still amicable and live together at Royal Lodge, in Windsor — Fergie is believed to have supported Andrew over the last year after he took early retirement from public life.
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Fergie is now a private citizen, very much like Prince Harry and Meghan Markle who chose to leave working royal life earlier this year.
Fergie chose to move into the entertainment industry and co-produced a documentary for the BBC called ‘In Search of the Spirit’, as well as a handful of other programmes.
Harry and Meghan have recently announced they have similar plans, and have unveiled two historic multi-year deals with streaming giants, Netflix and Spotify.
Yet, they should heed the lessons from Harry’s aunt, Fergie, after she found herself in hot water following the release of her particularly divisive documentary, ‘Duchess and Daughters: Their Secret Mission’.
It was released on ITV in 2008, and included footage of Fergie disguised in a black wig and headscarf.
Sarah Ferguson, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have signed lucrative deals with both Netflix and Spotify
She secretly filmed inside state-run orphanage institutions in Turkey, leaving the nation’s government to accuse her of a politically-motivated “smear campaign” to deter its attempts to join the EU when the programme aired.
WikiLeaks from 2011 revealed that then Foreign Secretary David Miliband had to step in to placate Turkey’s foreign minister, Ali Babacan.
According to WikiLeaks, a diplomatic cable from the US embassy in Ankara, Turkey, in 2008 read: “Duchess of York Sarah Ferguson’s undercover expose of Turkish orphanages dominated bilateral relations discussions.
“Miliband underscored to Babacan that Ferguson was no longer a member of the Royal Family, and as a private citizen, her activities could not ‘be controlled’.
“Babacan promised that the (Turkish government) would investigate the accusations, but chided the public invasion of the children’s privacy.”
Fergie later apologised for any “embarrassment” she had caused the Turks.
However, she added: “I stand by my words.”
Sarah Ferguson was a working royal up until her divorce from Prince Andrew
The WikiLeaks’ findings were reported by The Daily Telegraph in 2011.
It should be noted that Harry and Meghan are yet to release any programmes they have produced on either Spotify or Netflix.
They have explained that they intend to release animated series, documentaries, docu-series, feature films, scripted shows and children’s programming.
In a statement, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex said: “Our focus will be on creating content that informs but also gives home.
“As new parents, making inspirational family programming is also important to us.”
They added that Netflix’s “unprecedented reach will help us share impactful content that unlocks action” — the platform has 193 million subscribers across the world.
Sarah Ferguson with her daughters, Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie
David Miliband (L) with Turkish counterpart, Ali Babacan in 2008
The couple released a trailer for their Spotify podcast called Archewell Audio, and have promised that they will interview “amazing” people with “different perspectives” to “find our common ground”.
The couple’s focus is likely to be on women’s empowerment and climate activism, as the pair are intensely passionate about these topics.
However, they were accused of interfering with international relations earlier this year when they spoke up in the lead-up to the US election.
Meghan is a US citizen who grew up in the States, and showed her interest in politics prior to becoming a working royal in 2018.
Although she and Harry no longer represent the Queen after their royal exit, there was a public uproar when they paired up to encourage the US public to vote.
They did not advocate for any particular candidate or party, but just by speaking out and pushing for “change”, critics saw the pair as pushing for the electorate to vote in President Donald Trump’s opposition — now president elect, Joe Biden.
Harry and Archie in Canada last year
Harry and Meghan were criticised after encouraging voters to register before the US election and to “reject hate speech”
As Harry is not a US citizen he could not vote in the presidential election, but Meghan could — and did, making royal history.
Harry did urge the US electorate to “reject hate speech” before the election, which many took as a suggestion to vote against Mr Trump.
Buckingham Palace spoke out and distanced itself from his comments, noting that — just as Mr Miliband did with Fergie — that he is a private citizen now.
A Palace spokesman said: “We would not comment. The Duke [of Sussex] is not a working member of the Royal Family and any comments he makes are made in a personal capacity.”
Source: EXPRESS CO UK