‘Duchess of Cork’ embraces Irish roots

THE Duchess of York Sarah Ferguson has described how becoming the ‘Duchess of Cork’ helped her overcome personal problems following the breakdown of her marriage to Prince Andrew.

The duchess, whose mother is Irish and a descendant of the Wicklow Powerscourt family, said the Irish people embraced her and gave her back her life at a time when she was very low. She was speaking in Dublin yesterday where she helped raise money for the Daisychain Foundation and had a special lunch with 10 children living with disabilities and their families.

The duchess said Ireland has given her a lot of happiness and she wants to give something back to the Irish people: “I was just separated and I had the two girls with me and I was feeling very insecure and really lost.

“I was watching television and I saw a man riding a grey horse in a green coat for Ireland, and I thought to myself ‘when I was little I used to show jump and mum was from Ireland’.

“So, I thought, I will retrace my roots and get back on the horse again,” she said.

The horserider was Robert Splaine, whose equestrian centre she visited in Cork in 2004, and she started competing in local show-jumping events.

“It was through him that I became the ‘Duchess of Cork’ and started show jumping again. Through trusting a horse and trusting the embrace of the Irish people I got confidence back,” she said.

The duchess was in Dublin for the Daisychain Foundation Charity Ball, which helped raise €100,000 to send 16 children and their families to Lapland this Christmas.

“I find it different being here. It’s not just the people, I love the countryside,” she said.

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