The Duchess of York, Sarah Ferguson, developed "major mental health problems" after being called "Duchess of Pork" and worse by the U.K. tabloids.
Long before the British scandal sheets began tearing into embattled royal Duchess Meghan, editors and reporters bullied Fergie over her weight and unfavourably compared her to her stylish sister-in-law, Princess Diana.
"I had major mental health problems because of the trauma," Sarah told People magazine in an exclusive new interview. "It's taken a great deal of work because I believed every word that the front pages told me. It was self-shame. I'm stratospherically sensitive."
Fergie, now 61, recalls telling her young daughters at one point, "'I'm so sorry, girlies, because I really think I've destroyed myself'", adding, "That is really dark. I had to work hard on the self-sabotage to explain it."
Among the most upsetting attacks were those about the Duchess' less than posh appearance: "In the '80s, it was Diana looking beautiful, and there was fat, frumpy Fergie," she said.
Despite being pitted against each other, Ferguson told People that she and Diana offered each other mutual support
"Diana and I both had our own mental health issues, and she and I used to talk," recalled the Duchess. "She said, 'Fergie, remember one thing: When you're at the top of the pedestal, it's so easy to fall off. And you're at the bottom. You just climb up'. We were positioned as saint and sinner. And the most important thing was to remain robust together, and we did, no matter what anyone wrote."
Sarah was married to Prince Charles' younger brother, Prince Andrew, who's now making his own scandalous headlines for his involvement with jet-setting sex criminal Jeffrey Epstein, who died in 2019.