Sarah Ferguson opened up after her split with Prince Andrew in 1996 and spoke candidly with Oprah Winfrey in a clip that has resurfaced ahead of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's tell-all interview.
"You didn't marry the fairytale, you married a man," Ferguson told Winfrey about her romance with Prince Andrew in a YouTube clip. "You fell in love and married a man, and then you have to come to terms with the fairytale. Now it's not a fairy tale, it's real life."
The couple were married in 1986 and divorced a decade later. Ferguson grew up in an aristocratic family and ran in the same social circle as her future husband, but she told Winfrey that life as a royal came with plenty of both big and little rules, which was an adjustment from her previous lie.
"The palace from when you look at it from the outside, the windows have to be open in only a certain amount so they are all in line, and I'd come in and throw open all the windows," she said. "And no, that was wrong."
The Duchess of York also talked about dealing with the relentless headlines and speculation in the British media, something that Meghan and Harry have had to deal with 25 years later.
“I must explain that the British press at the moment is completely and utterly cruel and abusive and so invasive," Ferguson said.
She lated added, "It is — it is very cruel and very painful when you are going to try and find the feelings within to be in the — such a public stage."
In that same interview, Ferguson opened up about her personal bond with Princess Diana.
Diana, Princess of Wales, separated from Prince Charles in 1992, however the couple did not finalize their divorce until 1996, the same year Ferguson's marriage was dissolved.
"I think that she was just very good at what she did," she said. "She was the perfect princess. She is the perfect princess. I think that she — that she just glides, really, and she's very, very tall and very beautiful. And she's been through a huge amount of discovery of her own self and a huge amount of problems with her own life. I always think she just seems to get it right, you know?"
On their friendship, she said, "I think that that's what's so exciting about two best friends like Diana and I is that we can grow together and transform together and we support each other."
When Winfrey asked why she didn't just "play the game" as a royal, Ferguson told her it simply wasn't in her nature.
"You could do that, and if that's what suits you, then that's what suits you," said the Duchess of York. "But Diana and I are like rivers, we want to learn more, we want to go around the corner, we are hungry for more."
Like Ferguson, the Duchess of Sussex isn't holding back when it comes to describing the difficult adjustment to royal life.
The former "Suits" star recalled when Winfrey first asked her for an interview before her wedding in 2018 and she had to turn her down.
“We’re on the other side of a lot of life experience that’s happened. And also that we have the ability to make our own choices in a way that I couldn’t have said yes to you then. That wasn’t my choice to make," Markle said.
“As an adult who lived a really independent life to then go into this construct that is … different than I think what people imagine it to be, it’s really liberating to be able to have the right and the privilege in some ways to be able to say, 'Yes I’m ready to talk.'"