Fergie, late Princess Diana’s sister-in-law, says people unfairly tried to portray them as ‘rivals’

Julian Parker/UK Press via GettyPrincess Diana, left, and Sarah, Duchess of York, right, are seen together in September 1990.
  • Sarah, Duchess of York wrote an essay about how social media has “become a sewer,” for Hello! magazine on Monday.
  • In the essay, she said that mean-spirited social media comments have reminded her of how “people tried to portray Diana and me all the time as rivals.”
  • The essay comes amid continued reports in the British tabloids about a feud between Meghan Markle and Kate Middleton.

Sarah, Duchess of York refuted the public perception of her relationship with her late sister-in-law Princess Diana in an essay for Hello! magazine on Monday.

Fergie, as she’s more commonly known, wrote that “people tried to portray Diana and me all the time as rivals, which is something neither of us ever really felt.”

The essay comes amid continued reports in the British tabloids of a rift between fellow royal sisters-in-law Meghan, Duchess of Sussex and Kate, Duchess of Cambridge.

The Duchess of York detailed her relationship with Diana as she wrote about the pitfalls of social media, which she says has “become a sewer.”

Kate middleton Meghan MarkleSamir Hussein/WireImage/GettyCatherine, Duchess of Cambridge (left) and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex (right) are seen attending Christmas Day church services on the Sandringham Estate.

She says women in particular “are constantly pitted against and compared with each other” in online comments.

“People feel licensed to say things online that they would never dream of saying to someone’s face, and that encourages others to pile in. It’s so ubiquitous that we’ve all become numb to what’s going on,” she wrote.

She went on to say that it’s “time to take a stand” and that this isn’t a “freedom of speech issue.”

“The truth is, it’s not acceptable to post abuse or threats on social media or news sites, and it’s not acceptable to harangue other users simply because they disagree with you. It’s not acceptable to pit women against one another all the time. It’s not acceptable to troll other people viciously online,” Fergie wrote.

Read more:
Meghan Markle’s half-sister said the letter she wrote to their father is ‘nasty’ and he’s prepared to release more of it to the press

She called on social media companies to address the toxic culture and for individuals to “step back and try to make sure what we say online is responsible and fair.”

Fergie’s essay comes two weeks after Hello! published a report about how Kensington Palace staffers were spending hours each week moderating sexist and racist comments directed at the Duchesses of Cambridge and Sussex.

A source told the magazine: “The Palace has always monitored comments but it’s a hugely time consuming thing. They can block certain words, but some of it is quite serious. Over the course of last year, with hundreds of thousands of comments, there were two or three that were violent threats. You can delete and report and block people and the police have options around particular people. It’s something you have to manage because there’s no other way to control it.”

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.