Sarah Ferguson

Sarah Ferguson

Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York, overcame a series of controversies during her marriage to England's Prince Andrew to become an iconic British figure. Born in London, she stayed with her father after her parents divorced and her mother moved to Argentina. She had known Andrew since childhood but the two began dating in 1985, and married in 1986. Their wedding created a media sensation and Ferguson, along with sister-in-law Princess Diana, was soon the focus of attention from tabloids throughout the world. That only intensified when her marriage began to splinter. She was trailed by photographers looking to catch her with men who weren't her husband, and they were successful too often for the liking of the Royal Family. Ferguson and Andrew separated in 1992 and divorced in 1996. Even after the divorce, the tabloids remained interested in the Duchess. Instead of shying away from the spotlight, she seemed to court it. She appeared as herself in a cameo on "Friends" (NBC, 1994-2004), became a spokesperson for Weight Watchers, and made regular appearances on talk shows in England and the United States. She served as an executive producer for the film "The Young Victoria" (1999) and lent her voice to the Disney animated short "The Cat That Looked at a King" (2004). She worked on a pair of British reality specials, "The Duchess in Hull" (ITV, 2008) and "The Duchess on the Estate" (ITV, 2009), in which she offered advice on maintaining a healthy lifestyle and proper living. She also participated in the Oprah Winfrey produced reality series "Finding Sarah" (OWN, 2011). Ferguson frequently found herself involved in controversies surrounding her finances. There were frequent stories in the British press about her spending habits and debts. She was also named in the Panama Papers, leaked financial records that hinted at a global conspiracy to conceal money and avoid taxes. Despite the divorce, Ferguson continued residing at the couple's Windsor residence and the Duchess occasionally appeared at royal functions, including the marriage of her nephew Prince Harry to Meghan Markle.