Sarah Ferguson's 1996 Oprah Winfrey Interview Draws Parallels Ahead of Meghan Markle & Prince Harry Sit-Down

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Meghan Markle isn't the first one to open up about the realities of being a part of the royal family. Ahead of Meghan and Prince Harry's sit-down interview with Oprah Winfrey on Sunday, Oprah's 1996 interview with Sarah "Fergie" Ferguson has circulated -- and fans are drawing poignant parallels. 

Fergie, the Duchess of York, spoke with Oprah just after her split from Prince Andrew, declaring that life in the royal family is "not a fairy tale." 

"You didn't marry the fairy tale, you married a man," she said. "You fell in love and married a man, and then you have to come to terms with the fairy tale. Now it's not a fairy tale, it's real life." 

Fergie discussed the many rules at Buckingham Palace, which prevented her from even opening the windows in her flat how she wanted to. 

"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."

Another point of conversation was the British press, which Fergie called "cruel" and "invasive."

"I must explain that the British press at the moment is completely and utterly cruel and abusive and so invasive. It is very cruel and very painful when you are going to try and find the feelings within to be on such a public stage," she said.

Asked why she didn't just continue to "play the game," Fergie replied, "You could do that, and if that's what suits you, then that's what suits you."

"But Diana and I are like rivers, we want to learn more, we want to go around the corner, we are hungry for more," she said, referring to the late Princess Diana, who died one year later, in 1997. At the time of the interview, Diana was separated from Prince Charles.

Promos for Oprah's interview with Meghan and Harry have shown the former Suits star speaking out about the control the palace had over her life. 

"As an adult who lived a really independent life to then go into this construct that is different than I think what people expect 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," Meghan shared. 

As for whether Meghan was concerned about the royal family's reaction to their tell-all interview, she replied, "I don't know how they could expect that after all of this time we would still just be silent if there is an active role that the firm is playing in perpetuating falsehoods about us. And if that comes with risk of losing things, I mean, there's a lot that's been lost already."

Oprah With Meghan and Harry: A CBS Primetime Special airs Sunday, March 7 at 8 p.m. ET/PT and 7 p.m. CT.


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