Jennifer Thomas is a bestselling author, psychologist, speaker, consultant & apology critic

Fergie is Sorry: Sarah Ferguson receives 2 (out of 5) stars.


Sarah Ferguson has landed in hot water of her own making.  She was exposed (some would say entrapped) by an undercover media setup trying to peddle access to her ex-husband, Prince Andrew.

ABC news writes:

What’s the running price for a few minutes with the Prince Andrew, Duke of York? Apparently 500,000 pounds — or about $717,649 — if you deal with his ex-wife, the Duchess of York, Sarah Ferguson.

At least that’s the price settled on between Ferguson and an undercover journalist posing as a businessman in a scandalous video posted on the British tabloid News of the World website.

“500,000 pounds when you can, to me, open doors,” Ferguson says, referring to the prince.

Click here to see the full video on the News of the World website.

In a statement, a representative of Ferguson’s confirmed the authenticity of the video and the duchess released her own statement to express her regret.

“I very deeply regret the situation and the embarrassment caused,” Ferguson, 50, said. “It is true that my financial situation is under stress however, that is no excuse for a serious lapse in judgment and I am very sorry that this has happened. I can confirm that The Duke of York was not aware or involved in any of the discussions that occurred.

“I am sincerely sorry for my actions. The Duke has made a significant contribution to his business role over the last 10 years and has always acted with complete integrity,” she said.

MY ANALYSIS:  Fergie covered only two of the five languages of apology (drawn from my book with Gary Chapman, The Five Languages of Apology):

Expressing Regret:  “I am sorry.” Fergie described her embarrassment over her actions.

Accepting Responsibility: “I was wrong”.  Fergie said there is no excuse (thank you Fergie!) for her lapse in judgment.

Where is Ms. Ferguson’s public relations team?  She left several important things unsaid.  Our research indicates that these omissions will prevent many people from seeing her as sincere.  She should have added:

§          Making Restitution: “This is what I’ll do to set things right”

§          Genuinely Repenting: “I’ll take these steps in order to not do that again”

§          Requesting Forgiveness: “Will you please forgive me?”

During my training as a psychologist, I worked with many teens in 3 residential treatment centers.  When they got in trouble, they were always sorry.  Sadly, they were universally sorry that they GOT CAUGHT, not that they had made a poor choice.  I wonder what Sarah is most sorry about.  What do you think?  Also, does her substantial charity work help her maintain respect, in your opinion?


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