Remembering Sarah Ferguson's 1996 Tell-All Interview With Oprah Winfrey

Ahead of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's tell-all interview with Oprah Winfrey, we look back on the bombshells Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York, gave to the talk show host in 1996.

By Kaitlin Reilly Mar 07, 2021 9:37 PMTags
Watch: Inside Sarah Ferguson and Prince Andrew's Unusual Relationship

Royal life: It's not a fairytale. 

On Sunday, March 7, Meghan Markle and Prince Harry will sit down for a tell-all interview with Oprah Winfrey, in which they will discuss everything from the British tabloids' treatment of Meghan to why they chose to step back from their senior roles in the royal family—and whether they place any blame on the high-profile family over how the couple was perceived by the public. 

Prince Harry's conversation with Oprah will be the first time a person born into the royal family speaks so candidly to the media. However, it's not the first time that a member of the monarchy has spoken out about what life was like behind the walls of Buckingham Palace. 

Prince Harry's mother Princess Diana sat down for an interview with the BBC's Martin Bashir in 1995. However, it was Prince Harry's aunt, Sarah Ferguson, aka "Fergie," the Duchess of York, who chose Oprah to chat about all things involved in royal life with in 1996, the same year she divorced her husband Prince Andrew.   

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"You didn't marry the fairytale, you married a man," she said. "You fell in love and married a man, and then you have to come to terms with the fairytale. Now it's not a fairy tale, it's real life." 

The Duchess, who currently hosts a YouTube channel in which she reads to children, told Oprah that while Buckingham Palace looked opulent and grand for the tourists who came to visit, her small living quarters were anything but.

"It was all burgundy, and very dark, and all the lightbulbs were only 30 amps so it was very dark," she shared. "I, being the pleaser, didn't want to change anything." 


Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP/Shutterstock/Richard Young

Fergie, who shares daughters Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie with her ex-husband, also spoke about the tabloid culture at the time, which still pervades today. She told Oprah, "I must explain that the British press at the moment is completely and utterly cruel and abusive and so invasive," adding, "It is very cruel and very painful when you are going to try and find the feelings within to be on such a public stage."


Now, thanks to another tell-all with Oprah, we will get to see exactly how Prince Harry and Meghan really feel about royal life as well. 

Watch Fergie's interview above.