Sarah Ferguson discusses her good friend, the late Princess Diana, in a new interview with People.

The Duchess of York remembers Diana after what would have been her 60th birthday on July 1. Sarah maintains that, had Diana still been alive, “she would be very proud of her sons and their wives. And, of course, she would be just like me, obsessed with the grandchildren. Because that’s what she loves. She adored my girls. She adored the boys. This would be her haven. Her heaven.”

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Ferguson, 61, was married to Prince Andrew in 1986-1996 and says she and Diana leaned on each other as both were targets for public ridicule.

“Diana and I both had our own mental health issues, and she and I used to talk. She said, ‘Fergie, remember one thing: when you’re at the top of the pedestal, it’s so easy to fall off. And when you’re at the bottom, you just climb up.’ We were positioned as ‘saint’ and ‘sinner’. And the most important thing was to remain robust together, and we did, no matter what anyone wrote.”

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The royal, who was bullied by the press for years about her weight, says she suffered “major mental health problems because of the trauma”: “It’s taken a great deal of work because I believed every word that the front pages told me. It was self-shame. I’m stratospherically sensitive. I have to be aware that trying to be perfect is no longer necessary. And that actually being Sarah is just enough.”

Ferguson, who has been busy promoting her debut novel Her Heart for a Compass, adds that she’s now embracing “Sarah” more than ever.

“It’s like I’ve gotten out of my own way. I’ve really become Sarah. The duchess is there. Good old Fergie’s there, too. But Sarah is authentically present.”