PRINCESS Diana and Sarah Ferguson formed a “divorce pact” to end their unhappy marriages, but the Princess of Wales later broke the agreement with her close friend, according to explosive royal claims.
The sisters-in-law quickly became close after marrying into the Royal Family at young ages.
But years of public scrutiny in the royal family took their toll and the women quietly plotted to leave their husbands, Prince Charles and Prince Andrew, to escape their lives in the spotlight.
However, when news of Sarah’s secret plan to leave Prince Andrew was leaked to the press, Princess Diana broke the pact, according to royal experts in a recently unearthed clip from 1997.
Allan Starkie, author of ‘Fergie, Her Secret Life’, said he learned of the women’s pact during a train journey with Sarah’s lover John Bryan, an oil tycoon.
Speaking on documentary, ‘Fergie: Downfall of the Duchess’, he said: “Early in 1992, I went in a trip to Dartmoor with John Bryan, this is very early in to his involvement with the duchess and on the way back on the train he told me that Princess Diana and the duchess had formed a divorce pact together some time before, where they were going to divorce their respective spouses simultaneously.
“But the palace convinced them that it was going to be too destructive for that and it would be staged.”
News of Sarah Ferguson and Prince Andrew’s marriage breakdown was leaked to the press in early 1992 before the pair had a chance to “stage” their separation.
And instead of leaving her own husband after years of an unhappy marriage, Princess Diana decided to stay with Princes Charles to avoid public ridicule.
Judy Wade, writer and royal journalist, said Sarah’s exit from the Royal Family was a “rehearsal” for Princess Diana.
She said: “A lot of people, including myself at one time, did believe perhaps somebody sympathetic to Diana had leaked the story of Fergie’s wish to leave Andrew because they thought that it would help Diana find out what would happen to Sarah if she left, it would be a kind of rehearsal for Diana.
“It certainly looked that it was certainly beneficial for Diana and she quickly changed her mind and put off her separation for some time.
“At one stage Sarah and Diana were determined to leave together but that didn’t happen and obviously Diana saw that Fergie was quickly victimised by the palace.”
It wasn’t until 1996 that Diana divorced her husband Prince Charles, the father of her two sons Prince William and Prince Harry.
Princess Diana, who died in a 1997 Paris car crash, is said to have started an affair with Charles’ friend and top art dealer, Oliver Hoare, in 1992 after her father Earl Spencer died.
But when Mr Hoare’s wife threatened divorce in 1993, he broke off the affair.
Meanwhile, despite splitting in 1992, Sarah and Prince Andrew waited until 1996 to divorce.
By then Fergie’s affairs with close friends Steve Wyatt and John Bryan had been made public