EXCLUSIVE: Sarah Ferguson dishes on a day in the life of a royal

The Duchess of York on family time, therapy, and fond memories of the late Duke of Edinburgh.
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At 6.30 am I get up. I dream very vividly and my first thought is to wonder whether a dream I have just had is true! Then I do an hour or so of meditation.

WATCH: Sarah Ferguson references herself being a “granny” following the birth of Princess Eugenie’s son

I travel a lot and I’ve always been able to make wherever I am [feel like] a home. If I’m staying in a hotel I have the same family photos and scented candles around me.

When I’m in the UK I’m lucky enough to stay at Royal Lodge [Prince Andrew’s official residence]. I wouldn’t call it my home as that would be presumptuous…

Breakfast is my most important meal of the day and if I miss it that makes me feel very uptight! I tend to have soft-boiled eggs with granary toast and then a tangerine.

“I never dreamt that I would be a princess.” (Credit: Getty)

I train when I can. When I can’t, I try to do an hour of steps on the staircase. Every other day I’ll do 30 press-ups and 50 sit-ups.

My team calls me “the general” and we try to be disciplined and motivated. Often the first thing I’ll check in with my publishers in Australia while they are awake.

My novel Her Heart for a Compass is a story about duty, family and love. It’s romantic – it’s a Mills & Boon novel, after all – but it’s not risqué. Then I might have a briefing from one of my charities. I’m also working on a screenplay.

Growing up, I always wanted to be an Olympic showjumper. I never dreamt that I would be a princess.

When I married Prince Andrew I became a public figure and it was the greatest honour. When you married into the family you give up your anonymity, and that comes with challenges – but also a raft of opportunities.

“The three of us call each other a tripod, in that we will always support the other.” (Credit: Getty)

The Duke of Edinburgh’s loss has left a huge void in the life of the family. I have known him all my life: he played polo with my father. When it comes to the Queen, I’ve always made it a rule not to talk about private conversations.

If I’m at the Royal Lodge for lunch, I’ll have grilled fish or chicken. Skittles are my guilty pleasure!

I see my girls and their families as often as possible. The three of us call each other a tripod, in that we will always support the other.

I love spending time with August [Eugenie’s son, born in February]: he seems to love my energy and seeing me dress up in headbands and hats… And when

I make helicopter noises – his grandmother is a pilot after all!

“We would always try to find the positive in any situation.” (Credit: Getty)

We [the duchess and Prince Andrew] are very good co-parents. My family likes to make magic and we used to do that by going for picnics.

We would always try to find the positive in any situation. If it was raining, we’d find joy in jumping in puddles.

I’m very proud of how my girls have dealt with having public profiles and the challenge presented by social media. In terms of my own mental health, I’ve always had to work very hard on that because I’m a sensitive person and I take things personally.

I really did mind when all those terrible articles were written about me, and sometimes still are. I have a therapist and I rely on friendship, my family and my work to keep me focused on what’s important.

I love to unwind with a glass of burgundy. I’m taking it very slowly post-lockdown. I don’t want to rush back out there. And I’m definitely not dating!

I like to have a proper dinner, but I don’t cook – I can’t; I haven’t the patience. I never have a set bedtime. Sometimes I watch movies or binge-watch a series.

My final thought before going to sleep will be of my family. I’m never complacent about the fact that I’ve been the luckiest girl ever.

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