• Sarah Ferguson said she became best friends with Princess Diana when she was 15 and the latter was 14
  • Ferguson revealed they would often talk and offer each other support amid their respective mental health struggles
  • She shared one important advice Princess Diana gave her

Sarah Ferguson has opened up about her friendship with Princess Diana and how they were pitted against each other by tabloids.

In her interview with People for the magazine’s cover issue, Ferguson said that she and Princess Diana "were best friends from when she was 14 and I was 15" — long before they became the Duchess of York and the Princess of Wales, respectively.

According to the duchess, it was Prince William and Prince Harry's mom who introduced her to Prince Charles' younger brother, Prince Andrew. "I said to her, 'Oh, Andrew's really good-looking,'" Ferguson recalled. "And she said, 'Duh, Fergs!'"

However, after marrying into the royal family, Princess Diana and Ferguson were often compared to each other by the media.

"In the '80s, it was Diana looking beautiful, and there was fat, frumpy Fergie. We were just there for people to make a lot of money. At the time we both didn't realize that," Ferguson shared.

According to the Duchess of York, she and Princess Diana would talk and offer each other support amid their respective mental health struggles.

"Diana and I both had our own mental health issues, and she and I used to talk. She said, 'Fergie, remember one thing: When you're at the top of the pedestal, it's so easy to fall off. And you're at the bottom. You just climb up,'" Ferguson shared. "We were positioned as saint and sinner. And the most important thing was to remain robust together, and we did, no matter what anyone wrote."

In 2019, royal commentator Victoria Arbiter also spoke about Princess Diana and Ferguson's friendship, saying that the two had bonded over their shared experience of marrying into a traditional family and found support in each other. She also said both were "equally naughty," recalling a time when the two royals were photographed giggling after prodding men's bottoms with their umbrellas.

"And I think there was a lot of comfort at the sort of formal stayed family engagements that everyone was expected to roll out for because Diana had a wicked sense of humour, she was cheeky, she was naughty, she loved to laugh, and Fergie made her laugh and Fergie was equally naughty," the royal expert told Nine News of the pair's friendship.

Princess Diana and Ferguson reportedly stopped talking in 1996. Though the latter said she had no idea why, it is thought that Princess Diana was unhappy about the way her former sister-in-law wrote about her in her autobiography, which was released in November of that year. In the book, Ferguson claimed she contracted a verruca, a contagious and painful wart on the sole, after borrowing the Princess of Wales' shoes.

In Ferguson's 2011 book "Finding Sarah," she talked about their friendship and confirmed that they were not on speaking terms before the "People's Princess" died in 1997.

"Diana was one of the quickest wits I knew; nobody made me laugh like she did," she wrote. "We took vacations together with our children. Sadly, at the end [of the Princess's life] we hadn't spoken for a year, although I never knew the reason, except that once Diana got something in her head it stuck there for a while."

Princess Diana and Sarah Ferguson
Princess Diana was jealous of Sarah Ferguson because she knew how to win the hearts of the royal family. Pictured: Prince Andrew, Ferguson, Lord Linley, Prince Edward, Prince Charles, Princess Diana, Queen Elizabeth II and Queen Mother outside her London Clarence House residence on Aug. 4, 1989. Getty Images/Johnny Eggitt