'The most wonderful giggle': Fergie shares her memories of Diana

WINDSOR - JUNE:  Diana Princess of Wales with Sarah Ferguson (later the Duchess of York) watches Prince Charles playing polo at Guards Polo Club on Smiths Lawn in June 1982 in Windsor, Berkshire. (Photo by David Levenson/Getty Images)
Diana and Sarah Ferguson watching the polo in June 1982 in Windsor. (David Levenson/Getty Images)

Sarah Ferguson has recalled how her late sister-in-law Princess Diana set her up with Prince Andrew in the 1980s.

Ferguson and Diana were close friends as teenagers, as they were fourth cousins, and the Duchess of York has told of how it was the princess who was so keen for her to go out with Andrew.

Andrew and Ferguson had met a few times over the years, but Diana was credited by the duchess as getting them together properly.

She told People: "It was Diana that said 'I need you to come and stay at Windsor and you need to be with my brother in law Andrew'.

"I remember going up to her and saying to her 'he's really cute', and her saying 'duh, Fergie'."

Diana, Princess of Wales is seen arriving at a memorial service with her sons William (L) and Harry during the 50th anniversary of the Blitz of London in this October 1990 file photograph. . Britain's Prince William is to marry his long-term girlfriend Kate Middleton next year, Buckingham Palace said on November 16, 2010. REUTERS/Chris Helgren/Files   (BRITAIN - Tags: ENTERTAINMENT SOCIETY ROYALS)
Ferguson said Diana would have been proud of William and Harry's children. Diana, William and Harry here in 1990. (Reuters/Chris Helgren/Files)

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Ferguson, who is about to release her first novel, Her Heart for a Compass, also shared memories of the late Princess of Wales.

She said: "Every time you mention her name I smile because she had the most wonderful infectious giggle.

"The tinkling laughter is something that always melts my heart.

"There's no question she is still with us.

"She would have been so proud of her grandchildren."

She added: "She would be so proud of her boys. If she was here now, she would be working hard to have more people be inspired, have joy and have more people look at life with optimism and hope."

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - JUNE 13:  Members Of The Royal Family On The Balcony Of Buckingham Palace For Trooping The Colour. In The Back Row From Left To Right: Prince Andrew, Duchess Of York (sarah Ferguson), Princess Diana, Prince Harry And Princess Anne. In The Front Row From Left To Right: Lady Gabriella Windsor, Peter Phillips And Prince William. She is wearing a hat by Philip Somerville.  (Photo by Tim Graham/Getty Images)
Prince Andrew, Sarah Ferguson, Princess Diana, Prince Harry and Princess Anne as well as Prince Harry on the balcony of Buckingham Palace. (Tim Graham/Getty Images)

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Diana died in 1997 at the age of 36 in a car crash in Paris.

Her 60th birthday would have been 1 July and was marked by her sons Prince William and Prince Harry, who unveiled a statue of her in the sunken garden of Kensington Palace.

The 40th anniversary of the wedding of Diana and Prince Charles is also upcoming, on 29 July.

Ferguson was married to Andrew, the Duke of York, from 1986-1992. She and the duke now both live in the Royal Lodge in Windsor.

Andrew is not currently carrying out royal duties.

Ferguson described them as "co-parents" during her interview with People TV, and also praised her daughter Eugenie as a "beautiful" mother.

Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank had their first child, August, in February, and Princess Beatrice, Ferguson and Andrew's first daughter, is expecting a child in the autumn.

Watch: Sarah Ferguson 'excited' to be granny to Princess Eugenie's son