Sarah Ferguson on uncle’s food allergy death: ‘My father was never the same’

Sarah Ferguson is championing a cause that is close to her heart. The former Duchess of York has thrown her support behind “Natasha’s Law,” a new piece of legislation in England and Northern Ireland that will require all food businesses to include the full ingredients listed on pre-packaged food.

The law is named after 15-year-old Natasha Ednan-Laperouse, who was severely allergic to certain foods and died in 2016 after unknowingly consuming a sandwich from Pret a Manger that contained sesame seeds. The bill is expected to go into effect by summer 2021.

Natasha’s parents, Tanya and Nadim Ednan-Laperouse, also launched a charity in memory of their daughter on Tuesday, June 25, called The Natasha Allergy Research Foundation. The charity, of which Ferguson is a patron, aims to establish a research center at the University of Southampton to find a cure for allergies.

The 59-year-old former royal told the BBC she “very proud” to be involved with the charity.

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Sarah 'Fergie' Ferguson' at Princess Eugenie's wedding
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WINDSOR, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 12: Sarah, Duchess of York arrives for the wedding of Princess Eugenie to Jack Brooksbank at St George's Chapel in Windsor Castle on October 12, 2018 in Windsor, England. (Photo by Jeremy Selwyn - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
Sarah, Duchess of York (L) and Britain's Princess Beatrice of York (R) arrive to attend the wedding of Britain's Princess Eugenie of York to Jack Brooksbank at St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle, in Windsor, on October 12, 2018. (Photo by TOBY MELVILLE / POOL / AFP) (Photo credit should read TOBY MELVILLE/AFP/Getty Images)
Sarah, Duchess of York arrive to attend the wedding of Britain's Princess Eugenie of York to Jack Brooksbank at St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle, in Windsor, on October 12, 2018. (Photo by TOBY MELVILLE / POOL / AFP) (Photo credit should read TOBY MELVILLE/AFP/Getty Images)
Sarah, Duchess of York (L) and Britain's Princess Beatrice of York (R) arrive to attend the wedding of Britain's Princess Eugenie of York to Jack Brooksbank at St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle, in Windsor, on October 12, 2018. (Photo by TOBY MELVILLE / POOL / AFP) (Photo credit should read TOBY MELVILLE/AFP/Getty Images)
WINDSOR, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 12: Princess Beatrice and her mother Sarah, Duchess of York arrives for the wedding of Princess Eugenie to Jack Brooksbank at St George's Chapel in Windsor Castle on October 12, 2018 in Windsor, England. (Photo by Victoria Jones - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
WINDSOR, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 12: Princess Beatrice and her mother Sarah, Duchess of York arrive for the wedding of Princess Eugenie to Jack Brooksbank at St George's Chapel in Windsor Castle on October 12, 2018 in Windsor, England. (Photo by Yui Mok - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
WINDSOR, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 12: Sarah Ferguson greets member of the public as she arrives for the wedding of Princess Eugenie of York and Jack Brooksbank at St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle on October 12, 2018 in Windsor, England. (Photo by Andrew Matthews - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
WINDSOR, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 12: Sarah Ferguson, Princess Beatrice of York and Peter Phillips take their seats ahead of the wedding of York down the aisle at the wedding of Princess Eugenie of York to Jack Brooksbank at Windsor Castle on October 12, 2018 in Windsor, England. (Photo by Danny Lawson - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
WINDSOR, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 12: Sarah, Duchess of York (L) and Princess Beatrice arrive ahead of the wedding of Princess Eugenie of York and Mr. Jack Brooksbank at St. George's Chapel on October 12, 2018 in Windsor, England. (Photo by Toby Melville - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
WINDSOR, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 12: Sarah Ferguson arrives for the wedding of Princess Eugenie of York and Jack Brooksbank at St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle on October 12, 2018 in Windsor, England. (Photo by Andrew Matthews - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
WINDSOR, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 12: Sarah Ferguson arrives ahead of the wedding of Princess Eugenie of York to Jack Brooksbank at Windsor Castle on October 12, 2018 in Windsor, England. (Photo by Steve Parsons - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
WINDSOR, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 12: Princess Beatrice of York and her mother Sarah Ferguson (R) arrive in their car to the Royal wedding of Princess Eugenie of York and Mr. Jack Brooksbank at St. George's Chapel on October 12, 2018 in Windsor, England. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)
Sarah, Duchess of York, mother of Britain's Princess Eugenie of York, arrives to attend the wedding of Britain's Princess Eugenie of York to Jack Brooksbank at St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle, in Windsor, on October 12, 2018. (Photo by Adrian DENNIS / various sources / AFP) (Photo credit should read ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP/Getty Images)
Sarah, Duchess of York, mother of Britain's Princess Eugenie of York, arrives to attend the wedding of Britain's Princess Eugenie of York to Jack Brooksbank at St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle, in Windsor, on October 12, 2018. (Photo by Adrian DENNIS / POOL / AFP) (Photo credit should read ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP/Getty Images)
WINDSOR, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 12: Sarah, Duchess of York, mother of Princess Eugenie of York, arrives ahead of the wedding of Princess Eugenie of York and Mr. Jack Brooksbank at St. George's Chapel on October 12, 2018 in Windsor, England. (Photo by Adrian Dennis - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
WINDSOR, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 12: Sarah, Duchess of York, mother of Princess Eugenie of York, arrives ahead of the wedding of Princess Eugenie of York and Mr. Jack Brooksbank at St. George's Chapel on October 12, 2018 in Windsor, England. (Photo by Adrian Dennis - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
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Ferguson, who is the ex-wife of Britain’s Prince Andrew, also opened up about her own painful connection to fatal food allergies. “My uncle, aged 10, died from a crab sandwich at Brancaster Beach,” the children’s book author told ITV News. “My father was never the same after that, and my grandmother never forgot John, he was called John.”

Continued the royal relative: “It wasn’t until working with Nadim and Tanya and being with them that I suddenly realized, ‘Can you imagine what my grandmother went through?’”

Though Ferguson obviously wasn’t alive when her uncle passed away, she was aware of the circumstances surrounding his death. “He was out on the beach with nanny, he wasn’t even with my grandmother or my father, she recalled. “He was on his own with nanny and he died within minutes.”

According to ITV, food allergies are on the rise in the U.K. because people’s eating habits have changed drastically over the past few decades. Furthermore, increased exposure to hundreds of different new chemicals means severe food allergies are becoming increasingly common.

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ASCOT, ENGLAND - JUNE 17: (L-R) Prince Andrew, Duke of York and Prince Harry attend day one of Royal Ascot at Ascot Racecourse on June 17, 2014 in Ascot, England. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images for Ascot Racecourse)
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ISTANBUL, TURKEY - NOVEMBER 29: Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu (R) meets with Duke of York Prince Andrew in Istanbul, Turkey on November 29, 2014. (Photo by Turkish Foreign Ministry/Cengiz Oguz Gumrukcu/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
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ASCOT, UNITED KINGDOM - JUNE 18: (EMBARGOED FOR PUBLICATION IN UK NEWSPAPERS UNTIL 48 HOURS AFTER CREATE DATE AND TIME) Prince Andrew, Duke of York & Queen Elizabeth II watch the horses in the parade ring as they attend Day 2 of Royal Ascot at Ascot Racecourse on June 18, 2014 in Ascot, England. (Photo by Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)
Britain's Queen Elizabeth II and the Prince Andrew, the Duke of York (L) speak with John Maynard, 80, from Stoke on Trent via the internet on a Nominet Trust display, during a reception to recognise the British technology sector at Buckingham Palace in central London on June 9, 2014. AFP PHOTO/POOL/ STEVE PARSONS (Photo credit should read Steve Parsons/AFP/Getty Images)
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