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You don’t have to be royalty to sympathize with some of the things Duchess Meghan has had to endure over the last couple of years. But Sarah Ferguson, former wife of Prince Andrew, and mom to Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie, knows exactly what it’s like to be in Meghan’s royal shoes.

Sarah was recently interviewed by Vogue Arabia and she confided that she gets what Meghan is going through. The publication likened the Duchess of Sussex to the Duchess of York, calling Sarah the “predecessor to today’s Meghan.” But while most of the flack Fergie received from the media and public happened right before and after her and Andrew’s marriage ended (though don’t even get us started on those awful “Duchess of Pork” labels), Meghan has had to deal with some of the most heinous insults imaginable throughout her time with Harry — just for being her. Both women have had to deal with the terrible tabloids, and now, Sarah is defending the woman who is basically her niece-in-law.

“It must be hard for Meghan, and I can relate to her,” Sarah told the publication. “I believe she is modern and fabulous. She was famous before. She is great. Why can’t Meghan be great? Why can’t she be celebrated?”

When asked if she had any advice for her, Fergie begged off because she knows in this day and age, anything she says could, and likely would, be taken out of context (yes, that’s how jaded she’s become), but she did concede that she’s “been in Meghan’s shoes” — and still is, to some degree. “There’s always a twist of negativity and it just gets so sad and tiring; it’s hard and mean,” she said. “I abhor bullying and I feel desperately sorry for the pain they must be going through because I’ve been through it.”

Really, though, it’s Meghan and Harry’s royal life together that has borne the brunt of all the salacious headlines, something Sarah and Andrew didn’t have to really deal with (until the end, that is). Much of what the Sussexes do or say gets twisted into something awful — and that is what Sarah really gets, from her own experience. While she admitted to handling the media negativity badly, explaining that she “self-sabotaged” and “didn’t think of the ramifications of [her] actions,” she eventually sought help and took responsibility for her mistakes.

“I feel the chains of my soul are freed,” she said, adding that “it’s still difficult,” and that the “old self-esteem issues and self-doubt” still exist from time to time.

“You think you’ve said and done the wrong thing and that everything is wrong,” she said about her own mindfulness. “I work very hard at it. The front pages can be cruel. You start to believe it.”

It was in October that both Meghan and Harry gave candid interviews in the documentary Harry and Meghan: An African Journey. Meghan spoke about the roller-coaster ride royal life has been, experiencing both highs and cruel, racist lows, and revealed she wasn’t OK.

But it was Harry’s statement to the press a few weeks prior to the doc’s release, in which he laid out the personal toll the tabloids have had on himself and Meghan, that will hopefully serve as a game-changer to all this negativity.

“My deepest fear is history repeating itself,” Harry wrote. “I’ve seen what happens when someone I love is commoditised to the point that they are no longer treated or seen as a real person. I lost my mother and now I watch my wife falling victim to the same powerful forces.”

Now that is something Sarah, who shared a bond with the late Princess Diana to the point that they were not only sisters-in-law but friends, really understands.