Sarah Ferguson brings to light one of the royal family’s saddest tales from the past

The heartbreaking story clearly struck a chord with the duchess, who is very close with her daughters.
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The public has always held a fascination for the royal family and since the inception of TV series like The Crown and Victoria, which have taken us behind the palace doors, our fascination has only grown.

This week Sarah Ferguson revealed to Hello! magazine that she has created a TV documentary about one of the royal family’s most harrowing pieces of history, the story of the banishment of Prince Albert’s mother, Princess Louise.

As you’ll know from the series Victoria, Prince Albert was married to Queen Victoria, making Princess Louise the great great great grandmother of our current and much-loved queen, Queen Elizabeth II.

As the heartwrenching tale goes, Princess Louise was banished to a German hamlet and barred from ever seeing her two sons again by her husband, Ernst I, the Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld.

August 26 marks the anniversary of the day Princess Louise was banished two centuries ago, in 1819. It was Prince Albert’s fifth birthday. We can’t imagine a more terrible thing to happen on a child’s fifth birthday for both mother and child.

The Duchess of York explained to Hello!, “I wanted to know what Louise had done so terribly wrong that she should be taken from her children.”

“She was discarded by her husband – Ernst I, the Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld – and sent to St Wendel,” Sarah explains. “Whatever she had done to upset Ernst – who it seems was tired and bored of her and wanted to divorce – to have to leave her two boys and never see them again was, for me, beyond words.

In the documentary the duchess retraced Louise’s footsteps, scoured historical archives and visited her tomb in a bid to find out the truth. HELLO! joined her.

The tragic tale has struck a chord with the duchess, who is extremely close to her daughters, Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie. The duchess also had her own mother, Susan Mary Barrantes, leave the family when she was a young girl.

Susan Barrantes became known as “the bolter” after she eloped with an Argentinian polo player, causing a stir in social circles.

“I just don’t know what it would be like for me to not be with my girls,” the Duchess of York told Hello! “I really couldn’t fathom it,” she said.

“One of the best things I’ve done with my life is that my daughters and I are like a tripod. The girls are very supportive of me and I am very supportive of what they do.”

The duchess and Prince Andrew, who divorced after 10 years of marriage in 1996, have successfully co-parented their daughters through the years and get on so well, even amicably sharing the same home, that they are constantly shrouded by rumours, which Fergie has denied, that they are getting back together.

Their most recent outing together was on June 21, at the Royal Ascot.

Sarah attributes her and Prince Andrew’s successful co-parenting arrangement to working “in unity” She says, [Prince] Andrew and I are focused on being good parents together. We are bigger than friends. We learn from each other, support each other and understand it’s about communication, compromise and compassion.”

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