Sarah Ferguson opens up about tragic death of her uncle after an allergic reaction

Sarah Ferguson

The Duchess of York has spoken about a tragic family accident which happened before she was born, to help highlight an important issue.

For the last few months, Sarah Ferguson has been campaigning alongside Tanya and Nadim Ednan-Laperouse, the parents of 15-year-old Natasha, who died in 2016 following an allergic reaction, after unknowingly eating seasame seeds in a Pret sandwich.

Natasha collapsed, and died of anaphylaxis after boarding a flight in Nice.

Her parents have now announced a 'momentous' achievement, that they have managed to get Natasha's Law passed in their daughters name - meaning all businesses will soon be required to include a full ingredient list on pre-packaged food.

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The Duchess, who was on board Nadim and Tanya's flight back from Nice as they brought their daughter's body home, has been campaigning with them for some time now.

And today, to highlight the importance of Natasha's Law, she revealed that her family has suffered its own tragedy when it comes to allergies.

She explained that her uncle John, when he was just 10, died after suffering an allergic reaction on a beach.

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Sarah said, “My uncle, age 10, died of a crab sandwich at Brancaster Beach and my father was never the same after that. And my grandmother never forgot John — he was called John.”

But Prince Andrew's ex-wife revealed that she didn't fully consider the devastation of the death until she met Nadim and Tanya.

She explained, “It wasn’t until working with Nadim and Tanya and being with them that I suddenly realized, ‘Can you imagine what my grandmother went through?' In those days, forget it.”

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Sarah went on, explaining, “He was out on the beach with [his] nanny — he wasn’t even with my grandmother or father — he was on his own with [the] nanny and he died within minutes,”

The Duchess of York reveals that she has committed to helping Natasha's parents tackle the issue of labelling for allergies, explaining that she is re-taking her helicopter pilot license exam in her honour.

Sarah Ferguson

She said, "Every day I keep a picture of Natasha and I talk to her, and as I go by her every morning, I say, 'It's alright Natasha, we've got this, we've got you'.

"And also, she wanted to fly helicopters, didn't she? So this year, I decided I would re-take my helicopter license for the foundation, so I've now got to do it."

Amy Hunt
Amy Hunt

Amy Hunt is Life Channel Editor at, having been with the brand since 2015. She began as the magazine's features assistant before moving over to digital as a News and Features Writer, before becoming Senior Writer, and now a Channel Editor. She has worked on either women's lifestyle websites previously too—including Woman's Weekly,, Woman, and Woman's Own. In 2019, Amy won the Digital Journalist of the Year award at the AOP Awards, for her work on She is passionate about everything from books, to homes, to food and the latest news on the royal family. When she isn't editing or updating articles on cleaning, homewares, the newest home gadgets, or the latest books releases for the website, she's busy burying her nose in a gripping thriller, practising yoga, or buying new homeware of her own.