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Live from Abu Dhabi Connect the World takes you on a journey across continents, investigating the stories that are changing our world.

Wednesday's Connector: Sarah, Duchess of York

April 26th, 2010
12:52 PM ET

She used to be a princess, a spokesperson for Weight Watchers and even a TV personality - Sarah, Duchess of York can count herself lucky for having some of the most interesting jobs under her belt.

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/04/26/sarah.art.gettyimages.jpg
caption="Sarah, Duchess of York is your Connector of the Day."]

Born in 1959 to an aristocratic family, she once described her upbringing as "country gentry with a bit of old money".

However, Sarah Ferguson, or Fergie as she is commonly known, is most well known for her marriage to Prince Andrew, son of Queen Elizabeth II in July 1986.

The Queen dubbed Prince Andrew with the title of Duke of York and Ferguson immediately become known as the Duchess of York.

Andrew and Ferguson were married for ten years before they divorced in 1996. The pair have two children together, Beatrice and Eugenie.

After the divorce, Sarah continued her life in the public domain and soon become the face of many well known brands including Wedgewood China, Weight Watchers and Avon.

Sarah has also been a well known advocate for a number of charities including Children in Crisis, the American Cancer Society and Ronald McDonald House.

Today, the Duchess of York is working with the Oslo Freedom Forum and will be a speaker at the event which highlights individuals with first-hand experience in the fight for human rights.

soundoff (39 Responses)
  1. Alex Duarte

    Is there any amount or level of bitternes for what l am sure you cannot tell or disclose or claim since you must have an iron clad non disclosure agreement from your years as a Princess, or have you learned to forgive?

    April 26, 2010 at 1:34 pm | Reply
  2. Alex Duarte

    0ops! And l am writing from Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, México.

    April 26, 2010 at 1:36 pm | Reply
  3. Virginia Ann McHugh

    Suppose the theory of re-incarnation is true...would you return to earth again...if so, how would you like to live your life, the next time around?
    I sometimes have thought of you and Diana as having been Elizabeth , Queen of England and Mary, Queen of Scots...what do you think of my thoughts? V.

    April 26, 2010 at 2:12 pm | Reply
  4. Iris Mueller

    Dear Duchess of York,
    I greatly admire you for your charitable work, using your privileged position in life to make a difference for those less fortunate! On that note, do you hope that your children, Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie, might choose professions that will enable them to become self-sufficient members of society? In other words, are they being encouraged to pursue working careers that might resemble somewhat of a "normal" person's life?
    Thank you for your time,
    Iris Mueller
    State College, PA, USA

    April 26, 2010 at 2:15 pm | Reply
  5. Joan

    Sarah, I've always admired your strong beliefs that you supported. Unfortunately, the Royal Family is so incrediby engrossed and embedded with their heritage, that they can't see beyond their decades old principles. Which no longer exists in this day; or has for the past several hundred years.

    I thought you were a bright light to the future of the "Buckingham Palace" regime; as I did Princess Dianna.

    It's quite amazing actually, in this day, that the two independent ladies who captured the hearts of Englands Princes were considered a threat to the historical English soverienty, and were therefore forced out by what ever means at their widespread/no questions asked disposal..

    April 26, 2010 at 3:05 pm | Reply
  6. Ologbon

    Media reports after Diana's death have us believe, and you have never denied it, that you frequented tarot-readers etc. i.e. occultists. Asked what you'd like to see in the royal family, requested in a rage, for "deaths, deaths". Are you a bible-believing Christian now ?

    April 26, 2010 at 3:32 pm | Reply
  7. Nkem

    Hello, i read ur profile n i was really impressed, but d questions am about 2 ask might sound foolish, but as foolish as it may sound dey are all coming 4rm my mind. First question.Have u done anything in africa?
    Second question. What do u think about nigerians?
    Hope u are till dere... Why i asked my second question is bcos am a nigerian n i know wat dey say about nigerians. I won't b supprised if u erase my questions.
    Third question: have u ever done anything 4 someone or a family u do not know or just saw and took pity on?
    Since d day i started understanding things, i've heard how some NGO's as helped a lot of pple but i have not actually seen anybody who as benefited 4rm them. So i think they are all fruads. Am 21yrs old n am a proof of how wicked dis world is..

    April 26, 2010 at 3:43 pm | Reply
  8. B. Bennett Johnson

    I am very interested in how you took up the Lady Diana's passion for the children of the world who are in desperate need. I once met someone at Lake Como, Italy who expressed this to me – and I was later introduced to your involvement with Jay Jay the Jet Airplane. Do you still work with these kinds of projects and organizations – and if so, how do you see your contribution? Do you feel you have a greater influence as a celebrity than the average person who can only contribute of their own involvement. Thank you for answering. – Bennett

    April 26, 2010 at 3:53 pm | Reply
  9. Kilauea/Ariiteuira

    Dear Duchess

    I admire your strenght because you survived in the "Palace" and we had read so many time it is not easy to be a princess...Now more because you do support many causes. I am especially interesting in the women causes..If one day you have a free ticket to one of your conferences, i would love to attend it and share my experiences with other women. I live in French Polynesia.Thank you very much. God bless you.

    April 26, 2010 at 3:56 pm | Reply
  10. Richard - Lancashire, England

    Is it hard to keep the royal family relevant to the rest of the country here in the 21st century?

    April 26, 2010 at 4:12 pm | Reply
  11. Marguerite Leitner

    I admire you so much and have for many years. I want to give 50 pounds to the best charity...to which should I give it.

    April 26, 2010 at 4:14 pm | Reply
  12. Jurgen R. Brul

    Hello Sarah Margaret Ferguson and CNN friends,

    I would like an answer from Sarah Margaret Ferguson to the following questions:
    – What needs to be done to really connect our world into One World under God, Indivisible, with Liberty(Human Rights) and Justice for All?
    – What needs to be done to fight Obesity to stay Healthy?
    – What is your opinion on Children, especially the ones who are living in crisis and under the poverty line?
    – What is your favorite country to live in?
    – How can we motive our children to become good woman or good man in our world?
    – What can we expect from you in 2010?
    – How are you inspiring people all over the world to make our world a Better Healthier and Beautiful Place?

    I am awaiting Sarah Margaret Ferguson’s replies.

    Jurgen R. Brul
    Hometown: Paramaribo
    Country: Suriname

    April 26, 2010 at 5:00 pm | Reply
  13. Will

    Dear Sarah,

    I've seen much of your work, and I've always been impressed. However, I have to ask a question of a situation I've seen in my own life. In west philadelphia (born and raised), I spent the majority of the days of my youth on the playground; Relaxing and playing a rousing game or two of basketball with my friends, outside of the school. A couple of ne'er do goods started caused trouble in my neighborhood recently, and I ended up in an altercation with them. They spun me on their shoulders at one point. I felt helpless. My mother was scared, and sent me away to live with my uncle Philip.

    What chance does a misguided soul like myself, yearning for home and to forget the smell of the taxi cab, have at becoming more than the shadow of his former self?

    April 26, 2010 at 5:17 pm | Reply
  14. erhard

    halo sarah.r u happy in the way life has treaten u

    April 26, 2010 at 5:40 pm | Reply
  15. Derrek Meyers

    Dear Sarah, Duchess of York,
    While millions of us watched in splendid joyfullness at your marriage to the Queen's second son, and through the births of TRH Princess' Beatrice and Eugenie, and also of the downfall of the subsequent years leading to your divorce, I, personally, find it an true inspiration that you have not only admitted to your past mistakes, but learned from them and became this amazing spokesperson and hard working mother.

    My question is this: I read an article in Hello! that quoted as you as saying " the Governor Generalship of Canada to my husband would have saved our marriage", does HRH the Prince Andrew feel the same way looking back?

    God Bless you and yours Miss Sarah, and may you continue to be an inspiration to many around the world who, like me, have never had the pleasure of meeting you, but have admired your courage and strength and beauty for years.

    Derrek Meyers, from
    Regina (named in honour of Queen Victoria),
    Saskatchewan, Canada

    April 26, 2010 at 5:45 pm | Reply
  16. Abdulazeezraji


    April 26, 2010 at 7:27 pm | Reply
  17. Jorge Castillo

    First of all i admire your beuty and character.

    The question is: Do you believe the monarchy sistem will last forever ?

    April 26, 2010 at 7:44 pm | Reply
  18. Oyeronke

    Well i believe you have touched lives more than living a restricted life as duchess,forging ahead despite what it cost you.i am loyal and i respect the crown but im proud of you

    April 26, 2010 at 10:23 pm | Reply
  19. Brian Clark

    I am surprised to be able to ask you a question !!!!................You are a warm hearted woman and more Royal than most !!

    I noted you were a bit fiesty and I love that in a woman !! ........women should be able to stand their corner !!!...................but ??

    Would you draw the line at the women wearing of the Niqab or Burqa in England ??.....................in the current climate of course.

    If there were no terrorists there would be no problem !!!

    Sorry if you are not permitted to answer, I will understand !

    Brian Clark

    April 27, 2010 at 12:44 am | Reply
  20. Herman J. Morales

    Dear Duchess of York ; My name is Herman J. Morales , We last spoke at a signing of Dining with the Duchess in New York City several years ago. I ,at that time spoke to you about 10 Lifesize Photos of the late Princess Diana by Royal Photographer Tim Graham that I had in my possesion . And that I was H.I.V. positive. You were very kind and understanding , and told me that if there was anything you could help me with ,I shoud ask you. But the legal statute of limitations for Abandoned property was still in effect and I thanked you , and bid you safe journey. Well here it is 10 years latter and YES , now you can help me, for I have opened up The Princess Diana Museum for Cancer and A.I.D.S. here in New York City in Elmhurst , Queens and just a visit from you , will help our cause. The ten Royal portraits of Princess Diana were 10 of the Original ,Lifesize photos The late Princess collaberated and gave permission to be Exhibited with her Regalia {gown&dresses} at Christies Auction House in London and then in New York for the auction for Charity . : as it Turns Out , The Fine Art Lifesize photos are more valuable than the regalia . In fact because of their personal importance to the late Princess , Here in America they are considered The Most Important Historical photographical documentation of Princess Diana in the world . Duchess I now want to sell them to open a charitable auction house for Cancer , A.I.D.S. and other relevant charitable causes including some of your own. and for my continuing medical condition. Please Help us now , the next time you are in New York , stop by and pay a visit , you are most welcomed . Tel # 718-639-3352 . three of the LIFESIZE Royal Photos are on Ebay for sale right now , and there is a story behind the story, that many persons considered The Miracle of Princess Diana in New York . which has great media potential for the future . I remain respectfully yours Herman J. Morales.

    April 27, 2010 at 2:10 am | Reply
  21. Elizabeth

    Neither you, nor Prince Andrew, have ever remarried...why not?

    April 27, 2010 at 2:27 am | Reply
  22. Max Croft

    Dear Sarah, Duchess of York,

    Next time you pop down under, I would love to put on a BBQ for you. A grouse time would be held by all. I live a hop, skip and jump from Melbourne and have the most wonderful friends in the world. No doubt, I would invite some of then along, sprinkled with a few family members. In fact you would love my sisters. You could disappear for a couple of hours, lol. Anyway have a think about it (in view of your busy schedule), and please keep up the great work you are doing.

    Kind regards Max Croft, Melbourne, Vic, Australia.

    April 27, 2010 at 2:38 am | Reply
  23. B.Smith

    You are such an inspiration for busy working mums and all. I'm interested in knowing how did you find time to raise such beautiful daughters and what kind of positive reinforcement do you give to your daughters when they are feeling down or out of it?

    April 27, 2010 at 2:39 am | Reply
  24. Dolph T

    In this day and age, shouldn't all "royalty" abdicate? If not, then why not?

    April 27, 2010 at 5:10 am | Reply
  25. jannah

    A very simple word for a very simple person..I live today not because I want to fight for human rights because I know the battle will never ends with different views from different people...Sincerely, from deep inside my heart I live today because I want to reveal the truth..If you think you have the authority to do so you must really know how are you going to deal with it...My question is just do you live to fight for human rights or do you fight for the truth??? That's all from me..Jannah,MALAYSIA

    April 27, 2010 at 7:03 am | Reply
  26. William Marlowe


    What would you like your life to be remembered for after you have exhausted your time on this planet ...

    ... excluding your children as the obvious answer, do you think your greatest achievement is in front of you still yet to be achieved?

    William Marlowe

    April 27, 2010 at 7:36 am | Reply
  27. Rajesh Bhardwaj

    Dear Duchess of York

    It amazes me the power of the Internet that I or anyone is able to ask you a question. I think I can say you were honoured with the grace of the presence of DIana. What was it like to breathe the same air as her?

    How did such a laid back individual like yourself become a part of the Royal Family? I think you were that fresh breath of air for the family.

    April 27, 2010 at 7:52 am | Reply
  28. Ina Tania Zerrick

    Why do u think racism is still highly prevalent in the UK? The monarchy with all the privilige that comes with it should recognise the problem and make certain moves to eradicate or at least minimise racism. Historically we know, white supremacist (or separatist) have this sad but real sense of superiority against other races, and the british royal family has done nothing strong enough to refute this (particularly Prince Phillip and his ridiculous notions abt other cultures). But based on what i've read abt you, you have that sense of what's right and wrong strongly ingrained, can you use the influence you have with the royal family to make things better. I personally do not believe in monarchy system because it strongly shouts that you are better than other people based purely on the sanctity of blood, but if they are there, for God's sake, do something good.

    April 27, 2010 at 8:00 am | Reply
  29. Shahydh

    I'm impressed by your splendid work and the contributions you made to public. I'm sure you'll continue this great job. I'm wondering what could your this year's resolution be...? I'm from Maldives by the way.
    Thank you...!!!

    April 27, 2010 at 8:28 am | Reply
  30. Guy Kimble

    Duchess of York,

    I'm from Charlotte, NC.
    I was wondering with your human rights background what your outside prospective might be on Arizona's Immigration law?
    If you see the law as a negative and unjust direction that Arizona is planning. What would be your recommendation to the American people on how to solve our illegal immigration problems?

    April 27, 2010 at 8:43 am | Reply
  31. Mimi Yahs

    Dear Sarah,
    Thank you for your hard work on behalf of so many who are less privileged. We would like to find out how individuals can improve human rights all across the globe and influence governments (who after all are supposed to be working on behalf of the people) to make human rights a priority in their decision making. What would it take for governments to have human rights on top of their list when legislating?
    Thank you Sarah from Queensland Australia. May God bless you and yours.

    Mimi Yahs

    April 27, 2010 at 8:47 am | Reply
  32. Jihane Elias

    hello Dear Duchess.it s true that your story and the lovely lady Di s experience inside that great kingdom of England made lots of people around the world..thoughtful and amazed but also sad.why in your opinion,your experience as well as lady Di s one couldn t be as successful as your titles were able to offer you and to the people around you a great success with a great private and public pleasure?thank you for your kindness. Lebanon,from the north of that beautiful country of cedars a region called Tripoli(2nd lebanese capital after Beyrouth).

    April 27, 2010 at 9:26 am | Reply
  33. andy

    I was wondering why the media refers to you as the Duchess of York, I believe you lost that title after divorcing the Duke of York.

    April 27, 2010 at 9:27 am | Reply
  34. Jihane

    hello dear Sarah,

    from the country of cedars,Lebanon,i would love to know how your title of duchess could affect your life positively besides the good title s effect we all know?and how you could made your duchess experience more successful inside the kingdom?thank you .

    April 27, 2010 at 9:33 am | Reply
  35. Patrick

    Ms. Ferguson –

    When are you going to drop the moniker 'duchess of york'? This title does nothing but remind people of ruthless british imperialism. You are doing a lot of worthwhile work for various causes – you'd be taken a lot more seriously if you didn't have a moronic title.

    I just don't understand this morbid fascination with the british royal family here in the USA. Lest we forget, we emphatically rejected the authority of the parliament of britain and we expelled all royal officials.
    You are welcome here as a kindhearted person who does great work for charities – NOT as a former royal family member.

    April 27, 2010 at 10:14 am | Reply
  36. Christian

    I just want to say that I have a strong new found respect for the Duchess! Listening to her on CNN today and at the Oslo Freedom Forum makes me realize that someone of her status can use her title to promote good causes around the world... For all those who talk about why she does this or does not do this with her title or why she keeps it should maybe spend some time looking into what she actually DOES do with it! More than a 1000 schools have been built. To many children to count have received assistance and been helped out of abject poverty directly by the work she has done. Anyone one who gets caught up on this title or that type of celebrity needs to look deep inside and ask; Have I done half of what she has done? If so... go ahead and cast the first stone! Otherwise leave the conversation and leave Human Rights to one, such as her Grace, who knows what they are doing!

    April 27, 2010 at 11:04 pm | Reply
  37. Rachel


    I love the passion you have for all your projects. I sent you a letter a few months ago, but I'm not sure if you ever received it. I was thinking about your charity work in communities, and your idea for a mother's network on the Internet, and I came up with an idea of my own.

    When people want to help the homeless or those with drug and alcohol addictions, they go out into the streets to find them. But what about people who feel lonely, abandoned by their families, or just long for another human being to understand them? Their pain is invisible. But in fact, these people are often on the Internet, telling their stories anonymously on blogs and in forums. Wouldn't it be great if we could go out, not into the streets, but into the world of the Internet, and bring these lonely people together in their own communities? Then we could empower them to get involved and make a positive contribution to community life. Everyone wants to feel connected to other people, and the best way to do this, as you know, is to bring them together in their communities–in the same way that people in World War II gathered "for a cup of tea and a biscuit."

    You have so many great ideas, and I'm also an "idea person." But ideas sometimes need someone with the right skills to put them into action. I've studied communications on the Internet, so I know how to find people looking for a sense of community. Then I could give you this information, and you could come up with a way to get these people involved in their own communities.

    I've never watched CNN Connect before, but if I get a chance, I'm definitely going to watch it tomorrow just to see if they put this question on there. You can talk about your charity work, and you can think about the idea I've given you. Because if you think it's a good idea...I'm completely serious about it, and I'd be happy to help put it into action! In fact, if I ever get a chance to meet you in person, I might just bring it up again!

    Best wishes on all your endeavours!

    April 28, 2010 at 6:05 am | Reply
  38. k smith

    Dear duchess of york,
    please make another movie.

    November 21, 2010 at 11:52 pm | Reply
  39. aeMike

    Anything similar.

    June 11, 2011 at 9:07 pm | Reply

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