World

Forget therapy! Duchess of York says Canada could have saved her marriage

If only the Duchess and Duke of York had moved to the Great White North, their shaky marriage might have been saved, Sarah Ferguson says.
Sarah Ferguson, the former duchess of York, is flanked by her daughters, Princess Beatrice, left, and Princess Eugenie, right, at the world premiere of The Young Victoria in London on March 3. ((Joel Ryan/Associated Press))

If only the Duchess and Duke of York had moved to the Great White North, their shaky marriage might have been saved, Sarah Ferguson says.

The former member of the Royal Family told CBC News there had been talk of her ex-husband, Prince Andrew, taking the largely symbolic job as Governor General, the Queen's representative in Canada.

"We could have been Governor of Canada living in Ottawa in the Government House," Ferguson said in an interview about co-producing the recently released film The Young Victoria. "It would have kept us together and we would probably be together now."

There was talk in the nation's capital soon after Ferguson's 1986 wedding to Prince Andrew that the couple could become royal representatives, but nothing was ever confirmed.

Ferguson, known commonly as Fergie, and Prince Andrew separated six years after their wedding and divorced in 1996. They have two daughters, Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie.

What it was about Canada that held the promise of marital bliss is uncertain, but Ferguson mused that the prince might not have been as preoccupied with his military career.

The prince was at sea as part of the Royal Navy for all but 40 days a year in the first five years of marriage, Ferguson recalled. And when he was home, he often had to visit with his mother, Queen Elizabeth.

"I think it's difficult to build a strong foundation when they are never there," Ferguson said in the Feb. 27 interview.

The Duchess of York is once again in the news after co-producing the historic drama The Young Victoria, a film about the first years of Queen Victoria's rule, which began at age 18, and her enduring romance with Prince Albert.

It was a story Ferguson has wanted to tell for years — she has written two books about it — and one that also reminds her of her own royal romance.

"I think Andrew and I were totally in love when we got married — just like Albert and Victoria," Ferguson said.

"I remember when [the prince] was standing there at the altar in his naval uniform and his sword. It was the fairy tale and it still is the fairy tale, just with a slightly different ending."

Young Victoria was released in the United Kingdom on March 6, and is expected to hit Canadian movie theatres this fall.

With files from Sandra Abma

now