She is the younger daughter of Major Ronald Ferguson and Susan Barrantes (née Wright).
Sarah has two daughters, Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie of York, who are respectively seventh and eighth in the line of succession to the British throne.
By her divorce on , she retained the style Her Royal Highness with the style of other divorced peeresses, eliminating the preface "The" before "Duchess of York".
However, in accordance with letters patent issued in August 1996 regulating post-divorce royal titles, Sarah ceased being a Royal Highness, as she was no longer married to the Duke of York. Should she marry again, Sarah would lose the use of the style of "Duchess of York".
In August 1992, surreptitiously taken photographs of the Duchess sunbathing topless with John Bryan, an American financial manager, were published in the British tabloid Daily Mirror.
The Queen bestowed the title Duke of York upon Prince Andrew, and, as his new wife, Sarah automatically assumed her husband's royal and ducal status and became Her Royal Highness The Duchess of York.On 13 January 2012, the Ministry of Justice of Turkey issued an international arrest warrant for the Duchess.She had travelled to Turkey in 2008, and covertly filmed a Turkish State Orphanage.The Turkish authorities alleged that the Duchess made a false declaration when entering the country (in relation to her motives for visiting Turkey), trespassed into a Turkish Government institution and also invaded the privacy of children.These charges carry sentences of up to 22 years imprisonment.