Queen 'more of a mother' to former daughter-in-law Sarah Ferguson than her own was

The Queen is reportedly the Duchess of York’s ‘greatest mentor’

Queen attends the Out-Sourcing Inc. Royal Windsor Cup polo match
(Image credit: Photo by Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)

The Queen’s former daughter-in-law Sarah Ferguson has shared a touching new insight into their incredible bond, describing the monarch as “more of a mother” to her than her own. 


The Queen might no longer be Sarah Ferguson’s mother-in-law after her 1996 divorce from Prince Andrew, but it seems the two women share an unbreakable bond. The Duchess of York is understood to have traveled to Aberdeen last week to visit Her Majesty during her annual summer break at Balmoral Castle. This is the Queen's first solo trip to Balmoral since the death of her husband of 73 years, Prince Philip. During this challenging time, it’s believed that she is drawing comfort from the company of her loved ones, including Sarah.

And according to the Duchess of York, the Queen has remained a huge maternal presence in her life, even more so than her own late mother. Opening up during a recent appearance on the Tea with Twiggy podcast, Sarah praised the Queen’s “forgiving” nature. 

“I absolutely admire the incredible way Her Majesty is so modern . . . and how flexible, and how understanding, and how forgiving and how generous,” Sarah explained, before going on to declare, “My mother-in-law has been more of a mother to me than my mother.

Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York, Queen Elizabeth II, and Prince Andrew of York at the Royal Windsor Horse Show, 16th May 1987

(Image credit: Photo by Georges De Keerle/Getty Images)

Reflecting on how her relationship with the Queen has inspired her own approach, Sarah revealed that her wonderful mother-in-law is the greatest “mentor” she could’ve had. 

“I absolutely think there is no greater mentor because, from a little girl to now, the consistency of Her Majesty has been a great honour, it’s a huge honour — makes me want to cry,” she said. 

Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York, during an exclusive interview for HT City-Hindustan Times

(Image credit: Photo by Waseem Gashroo/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)

During the enlightening interview, Sarah also explained how the Queen has believed in her, even when she came to doubt herself, often due to the pain of her past.

"Because I went through so much pain losing mum, I lost my way and I became deeply deeply insecure. I kept asking everybody for advice. And I never trusted my own judgement of myself," Sarah heartbreakingly shared.

"[M]y greatest mentor - and I know this sounds so weird to say it - and person who believes in me is the Queen and has never faltered," she later added.

What happened to Sarah Ferguson’s mother?

Sarah Ferguson’s heartfelt remarks about Her Majesty’s role as an inspirational maternal figure in her life come 23 years after she lost her mother, Susan Barrantes. Susan left her family, including 13-year-old Sarah, to move to Argentina and start a new life with her second husband, professional polo player Hector Barrantes. 

She later tragically died in a car accident in 1998 as she drove from her polo farm, just one year after Sarah’s sister-in-law Princess Diana passed away in Paris. Since her mother’s death, Sarah has spoken out about how her experience growing up has shaped her as a mother. 

Princess Beatrice, Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York and Princess Eugenie attend the wedding of Petra Palumbo and Simon Fraser

(Image credit: Photo by Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)

Speaking to Us Weekly after Princess Eugenie’s pregnancy was announced, Sarah stated that not having her mother there to support her for many years has meant she’s always "present" for her children.

“Having not had my own mother around, I’ve always been determined to be a very present mother with my children, and I know Eugenie will be the same with hers,” the Duchess explained at the time.

Sarah Ferguson is now a doting grandmother to Princess Eugenie’s son August and with Princess Beatrice’s pregnancy announced in May, she will soon be welcoming a new York baby to the family in the autumn.

Emma Shacklock
Emma Shacklock

Emma is a Senior Lifestyle Writer with five years experience working in digital publishing, ranging from book publishing to magazines. She currently looks after all things Lifestyle for Woman&Home, GoodToKnow and My Imperfect Life.


Before she joined Future Publishing, Emma graduated from the University of Warwick with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Comparative Literary Studies. After leaving education, she started out her publishing career in the world of books, working as a Publisher for an independent digital publisher specializing in back-list and debut commercial fiction novels. With a huge book list and a passion for bringing the best stories to the broadest audience possible, Emma filled her spare time with reading the latest best-sellers and catching up on hit adaptations.


In 2017 she joined TI Media as a fiction writing coordinator on Woman’s Weekly and Woman’s Weekly Fiction as part of the features team. From here, she used her love of books, working to bring short stories to our dedicated readers and began writing for the books pages of Woman, Woman’s Own and Woman&Home, as well as online features ranging from genre round-ups to travel pieces for womanandhome.com. 


After honing her skills, Emma branched out online in 2020 when Future gave her the opportunity to focus on digital-first. When she’s not writing about the next big lifestyle trend, she enjoys cooking, long walks and watching as many crime dramas as she can!