Fergie on Andrew: 'We're the happiest divorced couple in the world'

Sarah Ferguson describes herself as a ‘guest’ at the Royal Lodge home she shares with Prince Andrew and admits she doesn’t go to the supermarket and refuses to cook because she ‘hates it’

  • Duchess of York, 61, was speaking about the launch of her new Mills & Boon book
  • Says she is ‘lucky enough to be a guest at Royal Lodge’ – her home since 2006 
  • Also blasted ‘cancel culture’ and says social media is ‘ramping out of control’

Sarah Ferguson has described herself as a ‘guest’ at her Royal Lodge home and admitted she doesn’t go to the supermarket and refuses to cook because she ‘hates’ it.

The Duchess of York, 61, who recently released her first adult novel Her Heart for a Compass, published by Mills and Boon, also blasted ‘cancel culture’ and described social media as ‘ramping out of control’.

She insisted ‘nobody has a normal life’ before describing her own as ‘extraordinary’.

Speaking to the Financial Times, the Duchess – who describes her and ex-husband Prince Andrew, 61, as the ‘happiest divorced couple in the world’ – said she is ‘lucky enough to be a guest’ at the Windsor they have continued to share since 2006.

Sarah Ferguson has described herself as a ‘guest’ at her Royal Lodge home and admitted she doesn’t go to the supermarket and refuses to cook because she ‘hates’ it (pictured on Lorraine last week)

Asked if she ever goes to the supermarket, she replied she can be she ‘doesn’t have to’, adding: ‘I don’t cook, shan’t cook, won’t cook. I hate cooking.’

Despite her dislike of cooking, last year Sarah announced she was releasing a ‘fun’ cookbook full of family-friendly recipes as a result of a collaboration with Laleh Mohmedi, the mother behind the viral sensation Jacob’s Food Diaries.

She also hinted that she could be ‘inspired’ to get cooking and even appear on Celebrity Masterchef during an appearance on The One Show with Penny Lancaster and Dion Dublin, who are set to feature on this year’s series.

Explaining her and her ex’s unconventional living arrangements, Sarah said she and the Duke of York have their own rooms and live on different sides of Royal Lodge.

She went on to say the ongoing scandal surrounding Andrew’s connection to the late paedophile Jeffrey Epstein has been ‘very challenging for him’. 

The Duchess of York, 61, who recently released her first adult novel Her Heart for a Compass, published by Mills and Boon, also blasted ‘cancel culture’ and described social media as ‘ramping out of control’

Sarah Ferguson says that her ex-husband Prince Andrew,who retired from royal duties in 2019 amid scandal over his friendship with paedophile financier Jeffrey Epstein, is a ‘thoroughly good, very gentle man’ who ‘shines’ as a grandfather. The pair are pictured at Royal Ascot in 2019

‘None of my life is duty. It’s because I feel it. I want him to come through this. I want him to win,’ she said.

The Duchess has consistently defended her ex-husband and recently branded him a ‘thoroughly good, very gentle man’ who ‘shines’ as a grandfather during an appearance on Lorraine.

‘Prince Andrew is just such a good man, he’s a really thoroughly good man,’ she said during the TV interview.

‘He’s a very gentle man, he’s a really good father and we did co-parent very well, hence the reason our girls are very solid and have their feet on the ground. But now as a grandfather he’s really good, he can go for hours talking about football, and those things. It’s a joy to see him really shine as a grandfather.’

Fergie and Prince Andrew have been divorced for more than two decades, but their continued closeness has often prompted speculation that they would rekindle their relationship. 

Fergie and Andrew (pictured on their wedding day) separated in 1992 after six years of marriage and divorced four years later but their continued closeness has often prompted speculation that they would rekindle their relationship

She added: ‘It’s very important for anyone watching, family unity, communicate compromise, compassion – those are the three Cs that are essential.’

Speaking to the FT about their two daughters – both now married, with Princess Eugenie a new mother and Princess Beatrice expecting – and the kind of life she envisions for them, she replied: ‘Nobody has a normal life… what is normal? 

‘After the pandemic, what is normal? Social media’s ramping out of control. Trolling’s terrible. The cancel culture is huge. The cancel culture is a major problem. So what is normal? The way I look at normal for my girls and for me is to keep researching and looking at who you are. If you love what you’re doing, then do it. If you don’t, then change it.’ 

Describing her own life, she added: ‘I’m the luckiest girl . . . If you were standing up at my eulogy, it’s just the most extraordinary life. I have had the most extraordinary life.’

During her The One Show appearance last week, the Duchess also praised Eugenie’s mothering skills and revealed that her older daughter Beatrice is preparing to give birth to her first child with husband Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi imminently.

Sarah Ferguson’s hotly anticipated debut Mills & Boon novel ‘Her Heart for a Compass’, which she co-wrote with romance writer Marguerite Kaye, draws on her personal experiences

‘I’m so lucky, my girls, Eugenie’s a great mum, everyone says you’re so excited with your grandson and I say no, I’m so proud of my daughter, she’s a great mother,’ she said.

‘And then Beatrice is about to have her first – and she’s already got Wolfie, who she’s really good with, and he’s five, so he likes watching Storytime with Fergie,’ before suggesting that her grandchildren call her ‘Duchy’.

EXCLUSIVE EXTRACT FROM ‘HER HEART FOR A COMPASS’ 

Donald, astride a strapping grey, slowed from a gallop to a canter as they entered the woodland. He rode well, handling the stallion with a quiet mastery without being showy about it. Beside him, Margaret’s surprised delight at his sudden appearance out of the blue had given way to a definite apprehension. This was Donald, her friend, she reminded herself, but he didn’t look like the man she imagined when she read his letters. It wasn’t only the loss of the beard; it was his smile, she decided, which had not been the chaste smile of an old friend. And the way he had kissed her hand. More perturbingly the effect that kiss had had on her senses.

As they neared the waterfall she slanted him another glance, only to find that he was doing the same. Their gazes met and the world tilted and realigned itself, for in that brief moment there was no mistaking what had passed between them. Donald dismounted. Nervously, Margaret slid off Pennygael, who led the way to the pool, the grey following her. The fresh fallen leaves were gold, chestnut, and burnished amber underfoot. The sun glinted down on the cascade, making diamonds of the curtain of water as it crashed into the pool. ‘Isn’t it entrancing?’ she asked, joining him.

‘Breathtaking,’ he agreed, turning towards her. ‘But I personally prefer this view.’ She read his intention clearly in his eyes as he reached for her, and she made no attempt to evade him as he pulled her into his arms. He was going to kiss her, and she wanted him to. Alarm bells were clanging, but only faintly as she tilted her face to his. He smelled of shaving soap and wet wool, and his coat was damp with the spray from the waterfall. She lifted her hand to his cheek and felt his sharp intake of breath at her touch. ‘Margaret,’ he said, his voice both rough and gentle at the same time. The roaring of the waterfall became a roaring in her ears as their lips met.

Sarah recently told Bella magazine that if her friend Princess Diana had been around it’s likely they would’ve shared their experiences as grandparents by hosting parties for the children.

‘Diana and I had the same complete love for children. We both loved nothing more than to put a smile on a child’s face,’ she said.

‘We’d be having granny parties together and having a great time. I wonder whether there would be room for the kids to get onto the bouncy castle, as she and I would be the first on.’

Speaking on Lorraine about how her new novel, ‘Her Heart for a Compass’, which she co-wrote with romance writer Marguerite Kaye, draws on personal experiences, Sarah told host Christine Lampard: ‘The way I summarise it is I have lived with Lady Margaret for 15 years and she’s now out today. 

‘In the car, I said to Marguerite, “Do you realise what you’ve done for me? You’ve taken this extraordinary Lady Margaret in my head and you’ve helped me put it together in a novel”.

‘That is a huge achievement, so really I feel very proud at 61 to start a new career and it’s thanks to Marguerite and the collaboration of two people that wish to take people on a journey to find inspiration within themselves.’

Speaking more about the character of Lady Margaret, Sarah said: ‘Thanks to me researching my own DNA, I found this extraordinary redhead and I was like, “Ok, let’s get her”. It’s fiction, but it’s based on my ancestry from Scotland to London and to Ireland.

‘I’m a Celt through and through, so when I decided to get Lady Margaret into a novel, I went to Mills & Boon and said, “Would you like to help me?” I’m a very romantic person. I love the romance and nature and life. They said you have to meet the great Marguerite.’

Set in the heart of the Victorian era, the novel sees 18-year-old Lady Margaret evoke the ire of her parents – the Duke and Duchess of Buccleuch, close friends of Queen Victoria – by rejecting the suitor they chose for her, Lord Rufus Ponsonby, the Earl of Killin, resulting in her being banished from polite society.

Lady Margaret, who hails from Dalkeith in Scotland and loves horses, then falls madly in love with a priest and, later, an older diplomat – an acquaintance of her father’s – before making a career for herself as a writer.

And the hotly-anticipated novel is filled with racy details, such as the moment when the protagonist first sets eyes on her old friend Donald ‘astride a strapping grey’ and they find themselves in a passionate embrace.

In an extract provided exclusively to FEAMAIL, the novelist tells of the moment Lady Margaret ‘read his intention clearly in his eyes as he reached for her, and she made no attempt to evade him as he pulled her into his arms.’

In real life, Lady Margaret married Donald Cameron of Lochiel – who was an MP and 24th chief of Clan Cameron, in 1875. They went on to have four sons, who have believed to have fought in WWII.


The book – Her Heart for a Compass, left – is a fictional account of the life of the Duchess of York’s great-great-aunt, Lady Margaret Montagu Douglas Scott (right)

Grounded in extensive historical research, the novel is a story of duty, family, love, and a woman’s yearning for freedom and independence in a strict, controlling society.

Throughout Her Heart for a Compass, Lady Margaret’s growing confidence leads her to pursue a new life outside of the confines of her aristocratic family seat, and eventually follow her heart.

Fergie, who has penned many bestselling children’s books and several works of non-fiction, said it’s a ‘dream come true’ to be a first-time novelist at the age of 61.

However, reviews have branded the book ‘boring’ and a ‘slog’ with an ‘insipid’ main character and a tone that jumps between ‘archaic and contemporary’. Almost all commented on the lack of sex and said it was at the ‘PG end’ of Mills & Boon. 

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