Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York, is sending out a message about royal family members who choose to step down from their duties.
Ferguson, 63, said members of the royal family who choose to leave need to decide if they want “in or out.” Ferguson separated from Prince Andrew in 1992 after 10 years of marriage. The couple finalized their divorce in 1996 and share two daughters: Princess Beatrice, 34, and Princess Eugenie, 33.
Following their divorce, the duchess did not use Her Royal Highness title.
“You can’t have it both ways,” she said in an interview with The Independent. “You can’t sit on the fence and keep one foot in and one foot out.”
Although Prince Andrew’s ex-wife did not mention any names, her comment comes after Prince Harry and Meghan Markle decided to step down as senior members of the royal family and move to California in 2020. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have since discussed their struggles with royal life.
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Ferguson said members who leave shouldn’t “cry about not being invited to weddings.”
She added, “You chose to leave, now go and live it — and be it. It was my decision. If I’m going to go, then go.”
Elsewhere in the interview, Ferguson — famously known as “Fergie” — specifically spoke about Harry and Markle in the interview after she was asked if she could sympathize with their complaints over the U.K. tabloids.
She replied that she “married into the royal family in 1986 and that was an immense honor, but it also came with pressures of being in the public eye.”
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She continued, “I struggled with that at times, and I think social media probably makes it even more difficult today. I don’t believe in judging anyone, and I would just ask for a little more kindness.”
Ferguson was targeted by the tabloid media across the pond during her marriage and divorce from Queen Elizabeth’s son.
Ferguson was a sales executive in a London graphics and printing firm when she and Charles’ younger brother, Prince Andrew, announced their engagement in 1986. At the time, the prince said they had known each other since “we were 4 or 5, but we only really noticed each other fairly recently.” Leading up to the engagement, Ferguson was dogged by reporters for weeks, just like her close friend Lady Diana Spencer in 1981.
The couple became the Duke and Duchess of York when they married in 1986 — but life for Ferguson was far from a “happily ever after.”
“She faced intense scrutiny and criticism from the press in the early years of her marriage to Prince Andrew,” royal expert Hilary Fordwich told Fox News Digital. “She was ridiculed for her weight, her ill-fitting clothes and her lack of fashion sense with it being referred to as a ‘no style zone.’ She endured being ridiculed as the ‘Duchess of Pork.'”
“While she has spoken at length about the judgmental cruel British press and the trauma the tabloids have caused her, she most certainly isn’t the only member of the royal family to either have received such treatment or to have overcome the scrutiny and criticism,” Fordwich pointed out. “There is a sort of nuanced ‘deal’ with the press. The royals are expected to serve, to work hard and not to expect a constant flow of positive publicity.”
When their divorce was finalized in 1996, Fergie kept the Duchess of York title, similar to Harry and Markle.
The couple kept their titles of Duke and Duchess of Sussex, but are not referred to as His and Her Royal Highness.
Last week, Harry made a surprise visit to London for a four-day court hearing that will decide if his lawsuit against Associated Newspapers goes to trial.
The company, which produces British publications like the Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday, is accused of invading the privacy of notable figures like the 38-year-old, as well as Elizabeth Hurley, Sadie Frost and Elton John, among others.
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Harry’s surprise visit marked the first time he returned to his home country since the death of his grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II, in September. According to reports, he informed both Charles and his brother Prince William that he would be in the U.K. for the proceedings.
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According to reports, King Charles was “too busy” to meet with his youngest son and Harry’s brother, Prince William, was out of town with his wife, Kate Middleton.
Fox News Digital’s Stephanie Nolasco contributed to this report.