Sarah Ferguson Says Queen Elizabeth Encouraged Her to Be Herself


Sarah Ferguson and Queen Elizabeth II
WireImage; Getty Images

Sarah Ferguson said Queen Elizabeth II was one of the few people who “saw her properly” and cherished her personality.

In an interview with Hello! magazine, the Duchess of York said the late monarch inspired her to be herself.

“One of the only people who saw me properly was the Queen and before she died, she said: ‘Sarah, being yourself is enough,’” she shared.

Ferguson, 64, said that she’s kept herself buttoned up for most of her life, fearing that people might find any exuberance off-putting. She said that her father told her she was “a bore” and that she worried that she might come across as “too much.” Ferguson said the assurance from Queen Elizabeth, as well as her cancer diagnosis, helped to shake her self-limiting tendencies.

“I haven’t shown my huge personality properly, because I’ve tried to keep it under the cushion,” she said. “Now I’m just not excusing myself anymore.”

Ferguson confirmed a diagnosis of breast cancer last June and revealed that she’d also been diagnosed with skin cancer in January. Ferguson says the two diagnoses encouraged her to live a little bit more freely.

Sarah Ferguson

Sarah Ferguson with a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II
Photo by Kennedy Pollard/amfAR/Getty Images for amfAR

“I think it woke me up,” she told the magazine, “It gave me a swift kick in the butt and told me: ‘Right, are you going to start living now, at 64, or are you going to keep on not quite living?’ You don’t have to be what everyone wants you to be: just be yourself.”

Ferguson underwent a mastectomy in December and her daughter, Princess Beatrice, revealed that she was “all in the clear” in May. Ferguson and Prince Andrew divorced in 1996, but she has continued to live in homes owned by the royal family, frequently sharing a home with her ex-husband. She has commented several times on the cancer battles faced by both Princess Kate Middleton and King Charles II.

“All my thoughts and prayers are with the Princess of Wales as she starts her treatment,” Ferguson shared via Instagram on March 25. “I know she will be surrounded by the love of her family and everyone is praying for the best outcome.”

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Ferguson has also been an outspoken advocate for preventative cancer screenings. In her interview with Hello!, she encouraged everyone to check for cancer regularly.

“I really don’t want people to go through what the past year has meant to me, mentally as well as physically,” she said. “I want readers to think: ‘I mustn’t wait, I must get screened.’”

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