The Biggest Things We Learned From Sarah Ferguson's Podcast

There's no denying that the British royal family is an institution full of colorful characters. Even before Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex became the talk of the town, there was drama. Sarah, Duchess of York, was privy to her fair share of that. The fiery redhead married Queen Elizabeth II's middle son, Prince Andrew, in 1986. The pair quickly became tabloid fodder and they seemed like a relatively strong duo, welcoming two children together, Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie, before calling it quits on their marriage in 1992.

However, despite their separation, Sarah has remained in the royal fold. She reportedly had a close friendship with her former mother-in-law, and she has even continued to live with Andrew at their lavish home, Royal Lodge, on the Windsor Estate. This unique position means that Sarah has the inside scoop on everything that goes on behind palace doors. Some royals might never dare to leverage this private info, but this duchess has never quite stuck to the rules. In the spring of 2023, Sarah announced she would be launching a new podcast titled "Tea Talks with the Duchess and Sarah" alongside her friend, Sarah Jane Thomson.  

While the podcast wasn't dedicated to her life as a member of the House of Windsor, Sarah wasn't afraid to let some information slip, either. Now the first season is wrapped, let's take a look at some of the biggest revelations from the show and what these mean for the future of the monarchy.  

Queen Elizabeth II's last words to Sarah were touching

Despite her divorce from Prince Andrew, Sarah, Duchess of York, reportedly had a good relationship with Queen Elizabeth II. It may be surprising to some, as it's thought that Elizabeth's relationship with her other daughter-in-law at the time, Princess Diana, was strained. Sarah has always praised the late queen, even telling Twiggy during a 2021 appearance on her podcast, "Tea with Twiggy" (via Town & Country): "I think to myself that honestly, my mother-in-law has been more of a mother to me than my mother. [She's] never faltered. I absolutely think there is no greater mentor. The consistency of Her Majesty has been a great honor. A huge honor. Makes me want to cry."

It seems the two had a bond that remained unwavering until the end. On the final episode of "Tea Talks with the Duchess and Sarah," the mother-of-two revealed that Elizabeth's last words to her were beyond touching, as recounted in People. "It's the last thing that the Queen said to me: 'Just be yourself, Sarah.' And she saw it. She just got so annoyed when I wasn't being myself. And that's probably when I got into all the pickles. But now I am myself, and I'm just so lucky to be able to be myself."

Sarah didn't go into detail about when or where their final conversation took place, but Elizabeth's parting words left an impression on her that won't be forgotten. 

Sarah told her daughters not to be grumpy princesses

You don't have to be an avid royalist to know that being part of the House of Windsor means putting on a united front and turning up to events with a smile. Even though she left most of her official royal duties behind after splitting from Prince Andrew, Sarah, Duchess of York, has always appeared to be bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. In fact, she has one of the strongest work ethics in the firm — which she's tried to instill in her daughters, Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie. 

On her podcast, Sarah explains that her motherly advice for dealing with life in the public eye is simple. "If you don't want to be polite, don't go out on the public stage because no one wants to see a grumpy princess. I think the most important thing is you've got to get your game on," she mused (via the Daily Mail). She went on to say that Beatrice in particular is grateful for her mother's tireless dedication to her work, as it set an example that she could follow. "Beatrice always says, 'Mum, thank goodness at five o'clock on Sundays you put on your camel coat and went to work. Because now I go to work, I work very hard, and I put on my camel coat, and I think of the leadership you showed me.'"

Judging by Beatrice's flawless public persona, this advice hasn't fallen on deaf ears.

Sarah wishes she could go back in time

Everyone has moments they'd like to change when reflecting on their lives, but life is a little more complex for Sarah, Duchess of York. After all, living in the public eye as a senior member of the British royal family is no easy task. At the tail end of her marriage to Prince Andrew, Sarah became front-page news when she was photographed on vacation with her lover, John Bryan. Bryan was seemingly sucking the duchess' toe, which led to somewhat of an uproar. It's hardly surprising then that Sarah admitted on her podcast that she would change some things if given the chance. 

During one episode, the duchess explained her ethos on how to weather adversity. Not only did she say it's down to "understanding your own shortfalls by taking responsibility for your own actions" (via Express), but she also gave fans an insight into her own feelings on the past, and how she feels when reflecting on previous moments. 

"I am very resilient but it's because I'm really understanding what it is to say 'hm maybe I should have done it differently, I wish I could go back to that person,'" she explained. "I'm deeply sorry for that. It was purely unintentional. Ignorance at the time of making the wrong decision ... You do tend to worry about the ramifications of your actions." 

She will stand by Prince Andrew no matter what

Sarah, Duchess of York's relationship with Prince Andrew post-divorce is mind-boggling to some. The pair remain on incredibly good terms, even continuing to live together since their split. Neither has remarried or even been in a serious public relationship since parting ways. Their bond is remarkable, especially when you compare it to the contentious split of King Charles III and Princess Diana, which happened around the same time in the '90s. Perhaps even more surprisingly, Sarah didn't waver in her support of her ex-husband when he was implicated in the Jeffrey Epstein controversy in recent years.  

In an episode of her podcast, Sarah recounts having a heart-to-heart with Andrew after the death of his mother in 2022. It's clear from the podcast episode that Sarah defends the prince, saying he is "human like everyone else" (via Express), a statement that is controversial to say the least. 

This simple line says a lot about how Sarah feels about the father of her children, and how she continues to support him publically to this day — regardless of the sexual assault accusations against him. When it comes to maintaining a partnership with her former husband, it seems as though Sarah is all in. Andrew lost many things in the wake of the scandal, from patronages to military titles. But, despite all that, he has never lost his one true ally.

Prince Andrew misses his parents

Losing a parent is difficult for anyone, but it was particularly hard for Prince Andrew, according to Sarah, Duchess of York. Andrew's former wife revealed a lot about how the prince is coping after losing his father, Prince Philip, in 2021, followed by his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, the following year. Talking to her co-host Sarah Jane Thomson during an episode of "Teal Talks with the Duchess and Sarah," the Duchess of York explained that her ex-husband is finding it a "lonely" time. 

"It was actually very wonderful to have a moment to really remember because this time last year the queen would have been going to Balmoral and we would have walked exactly where we walked yesterday together, and then the queen would have said 'See you up in Scotland,'" she recounted on the podcast (via the Daily Mail). "It was very moving actually and at one stage we both, Andrew and I, just sat quietly under some really beautiful trees and sort of I asked him if he was alright without his mum and dad."

According to Sarah, Andrew told her it's lonely and that he often thinks about his parents. The duchess described grief as coming in "tidal waves," to which many people could relate. As for Andrew, he was reportedly quite close to his mother, right up until her death. 

Princess Diana never realized her true potential

Relationships between royal spouses can often be fraught, just ask Princess Catherine and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex. At first glance, Sarah, Duchess of York, looked like the antithesis of doe-eyed, coy Princess Diana. Sarah was known for being loud and bubbly, while Diana was more reserved. Despite the odds, the pair actually had a strong friendship, often finding themselves leaning on one another for support. Sarah previously told Town & Country of Diana's work with HIV and AIDS sufferers saying, "Everyone said, 'No, you mustn't go and touch them.' She said 'Why? I know what it's like to be ostracised. I know what it's like to be left in the corner of a room.' And I know that feeling too when people don't wish to talk to you because bad Fergie sells papers."

On her podcast, Sarah gave royalists further insight into her relationship with her late sister-in-law. "[Diana] never understood how brilliant she was really, you know, and together we both didn't," she remarked (via Town & Country). "And I used to hug her but she wouldn't understand. We loved each other with all our hearts and she made me laugh more than any other single person I've ever met in my life."

Despite having a clear affection for one another, the pair hadn't been in contact for quite some time when Diana tragically died in 1997, due to a falling out some years prior.

The duchess revealed her secret etiquette hacks

One can't be a fully-fledged member of the House of Windsor without learning a thing or two about etiquette. According to Sarah, Duchess of York's statements on her podcast, staying classy at all times is something she's got down to a fine art. When asked by her co-host how to avoid getting stuck with someone at a party, Sarah said it's all down to faking an exit.

"If you're in British 'Downton Abbey,' you get to a point when you say, 'One second, could you hold that thought because I've just got to go and see Fred over there because I've got to give him a message.' And by the time that the person you're talking to has gone onto the next subject, they've forgotten that you were coming back to tell something about Fred," she explained on the podcast (via People). She went on to say that dodging a question is as easy as throwing the question to another participant by asking them their thoughts on the subject.

The etiquette tips didn't end there. The duchess even has a trick up her sleeve for attending multiple events in one evening. Sarah revealed it's all about making a grand, preferably very noisy entrance, doing a loop of the room, and then leaving swiftly. "Then you leave after five minutes, and so the host and everyone will say, 'Oh, I didn't see Sarah tonight.' And everyone in the room says, 'Oh, well we did.'"

Her cancer diagnosis helped her wake up

It's not very often that members of the royal family make their health ailments public. However, Sarah, Duchess of York, has always been open. In 2023, Sarah was diagnosed with breast cancer. The statement she released, via her spokesperson, was very frank. "She was advised she needed to undergo surgery which has taken place successfully," they explained, via the BBC, before adding that the doctors said her "prognosis is good." As a result, the duchess had an 8-hour mastectomy, something that could have broken most people. 

Instead, Sarah told her listeners, the ordeal gave her a new perspective. "Not because of seeing death but waking up to stop worrying, stop self-hatred, stop self-doubt, stop all these things. Stop not liking yourself," she explained on the podcast (via the Mirror). When her co-host, Sarah Jane Thomson, asked if it had a positive impact on Sarah's confidence, she replied, "Yes, it did in my case. When I look back, I was OK, I've got good legs but I didn't like myself and that was because, I think, I was always compared to Diana. And I think that at the end, I believed my own press which is, you know, not too good."

A health scare as serious as this is going to have a poignant impact on anyone, but Sarah seems to be taking it all in her stride and looking toward the future.

She revealed her grandson's nickname

Grandparents know the joy of welcoming a grandchild into the world. New additions can be little rays of light, and Sarah, Duchess of York, has taken to the role of grandmother like a duck to water. Sarah revealed that she was moved to tears when Princess Eugenie revealed the name of her second son. The princess welcomed her second child, baby Ernest George Ronnie Brooksbank, with her husband, Jack Brooksbank in May 2023, telling her Instagram followers in June of that year that the tot weighed 7.1 pounds.

What was it about Ernest's name that moved his grandmother? As it turns out, the moniker was carefully picked to pay tribute to several important male members of his parents' families. George was chosen after his late grandfather, George Brooksbank, while Ronnie pays homage to Sarah's own dad, Major Ronald Ferguson. "When Jack and Eugenie told me, it was so moving that they had put my dad in there. It was so kind, I thought. It made me cry," explained the duchess in her podcast (via the Mirror).

Sarah later revealed that her grandson is affectionately known as "Ernie," a sweet and short reduction for his grand full name. As for Granny, she also has a nickname, with her three grandkids dubbing her "GG." 

Sarah lives by a personal rule book

Etiquette is one thing, but how does one navigate life under the microscopic gaze of the world's media? Sarah, Duchess of York, has a trick for that, too. In fact, she has a whole book — albeit not a published one — on how to handle herself in any situation life throws at her. Sarah revealed her secret to listeners in the very first episode of her podcast. "I call my rule book my own rule book. And I think anyone who's listening, they might like to know they can make their own rule book up themselves," she said on the show (via the Independent). "In my rule book, in my toolbox, it goes values like loyalty, kindness, integrity, goodness, courage, manners, and all these lovely things. But also learning, and really the university of life."

Surprisingly, despite how she may come across in public, Sarah went on to divulge that she is painfully shy, admitting that most people won't realize that about her. Considering her bubbly persona that often appears in front of the cameras, it certainly seems like an unexpected revelation. However, this is her coping mechanism of "overcompensating," the duchess says.

It may not have been one of the juiciest revelations from Season 1 of "Tea Talks with the Duchess and Sarah," but it may have changed some people's perceptions of the bright-eyed Duchess of York.

If you or anyone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, help is available. Visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network website or contact RAINN's National Helpline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).