The British royal family has had its fair share of public, tabloid-esque drama for decades (if not centuries). And long before people were pitting Meghan Markle and Kate Middleton against each other, it was Princess Diana and Sarah Ferguson.
In a new interview with Hello, Fergie clears up those Princess Diana rivalry rumors and addresses online bullying, as part of the magazine’s ongoing #HelloToKindness campaign.
“Women, in particular, are constantly pitted against and compared with each other in a way that reminds me of how people tried to portray Diana and me all the time as rivals, which is something neither of us ever really felt,” Fergie wrote.
In a previous interview with Harper’s Bazaar in 2007, the duchess said that she and Diana (who was her fourth cousin) were much more like siblings than rivals. So while they did occasionally “row” with each other, it wasn’t a full-blown rivalry.
Yet, the intense attention focused on the two women led to an increase in paparazzi interest and ultimately may have contributed to Diana’s death.
In the Hello interview, Ferguson pointed out the vile things that exist on social media today.
“It’s time to confront head on the fact that much of social media has become a sewer,” she said. “I rarely if ever go ‘below the line’ on social media or news websites and read people’s comments … there’s a large minority who seem to think that all the normal rules of society don’t apply to the internet.”
In terms of the royals, commenters are leaving racist comments and violent threats on the Kensington Palace Instagram page, which has become too much for the palace to deal with and report on its own.
“I believe that it’s time to take a stand. This isn’t about freedom of speech,” Ferguson said. “The truth is, it’s not acceptable to post abuse or threats on social media or news sites, and it’s not acceptable to harangue other users simply because they disagree with you.”
She added, “It’s not acceptable to pit women against one another all the time. It’s not acceptable to troll other people viciously online.”