Sat. Mar 2nd, 2024
alert-–-liz-jones: if-the-latest-news-about-fergie-teaches-us-anything,-it-is-to-be-kind-and-forgiving-king-charles-has-learned-that-lesson-well.-who-knows-what-is-lurking –-for-any-of-us-–-just-around-the-corner?Alert – LIZ JONES: If the latest news about Fergie teaches us anything, it is to be kind and forgiving. King Charles has learned that lesson well. Who knows what is lurking – for any of us – just around the corner?

They say bad news always comes in threes. First, we heard the Princess of Wales required abdominal surgery and will now take a considerable time to convalesce. 

The King has only just emerged from hospital following treatment for an enlarged prostate. 

And then came another shock announcement. It was revealed that Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York, has been diagnosed with malignant melanoma: an aggressive form of skin cancer that can be caused by exposure to sunlight, or the ultraviolet rays of sunbeds.

 Those with fair skin are more susceptible. Women are most likely to experience malignant moles on their legs.

This news comes swiftly on the heels of Sarah’s treatment for breast cancer.

Sarah Ferguson pictured leaving King Edward VII's hospital in Marylebone last week

Sarah Ferguson pictured leaving King Edward VII’s hospital in Marylebone last week

An Instagram picture from Sarah Ferguson. She went to recuperate at the Mayrlife Clinic in Austria after her second cancer diagnosis in a year

An Instagram picture from Sarah Ferguson. She went to recuperate at the Mayrlife Clinic in Austria after her second cancer diagnosis in a year

Sarah Ferguson enjoying the sunshine on one of her summer breaks

Sarah Ferguson enjoying the sunshine on one of her summer breaks

 It was during reconstruction surgery after a mastectomy that several suspicious moles were removed to be tested. 

One came back positive. The diagnosis is serious, but the duchess is said to be in good spirits. She has been recuperating at the Mayrlife clinic in Austria. 

Her elder daughter, Princess Beatrice, is a patron of the British Skin Foundation, is therefore well used to talking to patients with skin cancer, and has doubtless been offering advice as well as comfort.

As soon as she got together with Prince Andrew, we all knew Sarah as Fergie. She was more natually ebullient than her future sister-in-law, Diana. 

There is rarely a photo where she is not smiling. But she was never just the bumbling, slightly clumsy Joyce Grenfell figure. 

She raised two girls who seem completely sorted, despite being members of the Royal family. They have careers, and families of their own. They have never risen to the bait of the endless criticism of their often outlandish sartorial choices.

 Most tellingly, Sarah has remained friends with her ex-husband through thick and thick. Since her breast cancer diagnosis, she has been very open, even braving ITV’s Loose Women to encourage others to get checked.

 Doubtless, this latest news will create a flurry of those who, just like Fergie, are fair skinned, and perhaps enjoyed sunbathing on holiday, a sangria on a sunbed (alcohol and tobacco can increase susceptibility to many forms of cancer).

The King’s diagnosis has resulted in a huge upsurge of men seeking reassurance: the NHS web site reported 16,410 visits last Wednesday, compared to 1,414 the day before. All of which makes me wonder why the Princess of Wales isn’t being more candid about what ails her.

 It was Diana, by talking openly about her eating disorder, who was a pioneer when it came to breaking taboos around mental health. Even if one life is saved, it’s surely worth the potential embarrassment.

The Duchess of York has raised two girls who seem completely sorted, despite being members of the Royal family. They have careers, and families of their own

The Duchess of York has raised two girls who seem completely sorted, despite being members of the Royal family. They have careers, and families of their own

Fergie surrounded by her loving daughters and Prince Andrew

Fergie surrounded by her loving daughters and Prince Andrew

Sarah was our Christmas Day surprise when she was seen walking with the royals to church

Sarah was our Christmas Day surprise when she was seen walking with the royals to church

But my overriding feeling at hearing Fergie’s latest news is that it is simply not fair.

 She doesn’t deserve yet another blow. How much more can one woman take? Ridicule, divorce, scandal. The news her ex-husband is enmired in accusations of sexual misconduct, and pay offs. 

Can stress trigger cancer? The causes are myriad. But the past few years can’t have helped. 

I’m certain the King is very glad he welcomed Sarah back into the fold at Sandringham over Christmas. If this latest news teaches us anything it is to be kind, forgiving. Because who knows what is lurking, just around the corner, for any of us.

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