When it comes to how two different people in a family perceived their childhood, ex Duchess of York, Sarah Ferguson and sister Australian based sister Jane have varying accounts of their late mother Susan Barrantes.

As part of Sarah’s up coming TV show titled ‘Finding Sarah’ with TV’s Dr Phil, the ex Royal broke down when she recalled how her late mum, would slap her and claim that a vein on Sarah’s face was the “sign of the devil”.

In an interview with CNN’s Piers Morgan about the series, Sarah said, “My mother always said when she was… going up to the sweet shop, ‘Sarah comes from the postman’, because I had very tight red curls, big blue eyes and I didn’t look anything like mum, and that’s what I said to Dr. Phil”.

“She’s got red hair and a temper and we’re going to beat the devil out of her. That’s just mum and dad and the way they brought us up.” Sarah said.

The problem is, and no doubt an issue that many families without a Royal or famous link would share, is that one sibling remembers their upbringing one way, and another totally different.  Understandably family rifts then occur.

Sarah’s sister Jane Ferguson, no doubt a little torn and feeling obliged to defend her mother’s memory, has said from her side of their childhood, she could not recall her mother being abusive as per Sarah’s claims, but did admit, “Those are her memories.”

And that’s the interesting thing about two little people seeing the world and all around them with completely different eyes and personality filters.

Whilst I do believe that like Sarah Ferguson there are many people in the world that took things said growing up at face value, and that formed who they thought they were.

It’s kind of like that saying ‘she/he was the black sheep in our family’, when really I believe it’s just highlighting who was the most sensitive, or wild one in the herd.

“Why can’t you just be a bit more mainstream?” was a comment thrown at me by mum, which at the time felt like she was ashamed of me, but I now know that it meant, “I’m scared that you won’t toe the line, and I can’t protect you, if I don’t get you.”

I’ve often had conversations with my own brother about how I felt we grew up. With disturbing regularity he looks at me like I’m making it up.  He just didn’t perceive things the way I did.  He wasn’t hurt about things I was.

He wasn’t the one that cried at every party he had because he was overwhelmed.

Nor the one that threw up on the plane every time we travelled.  That was me.  Highly sensitive and no doubt, according to family, a ‘complete and utter pain in the butt.’

Most families have one don’t they?

Sarah is now trying to backtrack her comments. “It was just banter. That’s what I said to Dr. Phil and he said that’s not alright and I said, ‘Why isn’t it alright?’ It wasn’t anything at all, but in America, it’s a big problem for me.”

He’s right that it wasn’t what a parent should say. I hope by the last episode Sarah has an understanding that she was right to take mum’s comments in a literal way, because she was just a sensitive kid, forming who she was in her head.

No because of this woman’s low self-esteem, which started somewhere, continues to sail her off course.  Despite her slightly dubious recent News Of The World drama, I’m sure that her account of her mother is how she saw and felt it.

Comments and childhood can be taken two ways.  If one person felt it and the other did not, then both parallels need to be respected.  It’s hanging on forever to a ‘victim story’ like a guest on the Titanic, to piece of floating ice that gives the poor old black sheep a bad name.



  1. I was, and still am, the “black sheep” in my family! I agree it is a case of just being more sensitive than others Amber but I also think if those memories and feelings of hurt are never acknowledged then it makes it hard to move on and probably does appear that we are playing the victim. I think there is something special about us black sheep anyway. We share an empathy and insight that others do not. I celebrate the uniqueness and differences in all three of my children and hope they are never made to feel that is a bad thing or that they do not fit in. Baaaaa!

    • What a BEAUTIFUL response Melanie!!!! And how lucky your kids are so have such a thoughtful and insightful mum. Lots of love to you and the kids. The black AND white ones alike xx

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