Fergie said Meghan Markle is "modern and fabulous"

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Long before Meghan Markle married Prince Harry, Sarah Ferguson was the wife of the royal family’s “spare heir” — and similarly under a microscope in the media.

Fergie, as the 60-year-old Duchess of York is affectionately known, gave a rare interview with Vogue Arabia where she said she understands Meghan’s struggles.

“It must be hard for Meghan, and I can relate to her,” Fergie said. “I believe she is modern and fabulous. She was famous before. She is great. Why can’t Meghan be great? Why can’t she be celebrated?”

She continued, “Any advice for her? I tend not to give advice because it is taken out of context, but I have been in Meghan’s shoes, and I still am. There’s always a twist of negativity and it just gets so sad and tiring; it’s hard and mean. I abhor bullying and I feel desperately sorry for the pain they must be going through because I’ve been through it.”

Sarah Ferguson and Meghan Markle
Credit: GP Images/Getty;Samir Hussein/WireImage
The wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, Pre-Ceremony, Windsor, Berkshire, UK - 19 May 2018
Sarah Ferguson attends Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s wedding
| Credit: REX/Shutterstock

Fergie says that she’s learned to deal with the negativity and opened up about her struggles so others knew they weren’t alone. However, she’s still the subject of tabloid stories.

“It was difficult but I’m here now – I feel the chains of my soul are freed,” she said. “It’s still difficult, though.”

And now Fergie’s two daughters — Princess Beatrice, 31, and Princess Eugenie, 29 — also experience the downside of being in the public eye.

“They say that unless they are perfect, it’s front page news, and that’s hard,” said the royal.

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Princess Beatrice, Prince Andrew, Sarah Ferguson and Princess Eugenie

Fergie also touched on the scandal surrounding ex-husband Prince Andrew stepping back from his royal duties following his bombshell BBC interview regarding his relationship with disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein.

“It’s incredibly difficult,” she told the outlet.

The Duchess of York defended her ex-husband, with whom she remained very friendly, around the time of the interview’s airing on Instagram.

“It is so rare to meet people that are able to speak from their hearts with honesty and pure real truth, that remain steadfast and strong to their beliefs,” she wrote. “Andrew is a true and real gentleman and is stoically steadfast to not only his duty but also his kindness and goodness of always seeing the best in people.”

She continued, “I am deeply supportive and proud of this giant of a principled man, that dares to put his shoulder to the wind and stands firm with his sense of honour and truth.”

In a follow-up interview, Virginia Giuffre said she was forced to have sex with Prince Andrew on three occasions while being trafficked by Epstein, allegations he has repeatedly denied.

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“I implore the people in the U.K. to stand up beside me, to help me fight this fight, to not accept this as being okay,” Giuffre, formerly known as Virginia Roberts, told the BBC’s Panorama. “This is not some sordid sex story. This is a story of being trafficked. This is a story of abuse and this is a story of your guys’ royalty.”