Sarah Ferguson Says She Will Miss Former Mother-in-Law Queen Elizabeth 'More Than Words Can Express'

·3 min read
Sarah Ferguson Says She Will Miss Former Mother-in-Law Queen Elizabeth 'More Than Words Can Express'

Sarah Ferguson has shared a statement on Queen Elizabeth's death.

The Duchess of York, who is the ex-wife of the Queen's son Prince Andrew, said she was "heartbroken."

"She leaves behind an extraordinary legacy: the most fantastic example of duty and service and steadfastness, and a constant steadying presence as our head of state for more than 70 years," Fergie, as the duchess is affectionately known, said in a statement posted on Twitter Thursday.

Noting that the Queen "has given her whole life selflessly to the people of the UK & the Commonwealth," she went on to honor their personal relationship.

For more on Queen Elizabeth, listen below to our daily podcast PEOPLE Every Day.

"To me, she was the most incredible mother-in-law and friend. I will always be grateful to her for the generosity she showed me in remaining close to me even after my divorce," Fergie, 62, said candidly.

"I will miss her more than words can express."

RELATED:  King Charles Mourns Mother Queen Elizabeth in Official Statement: 'Moment of the Greatest Sadness'

Last year, Fergie appeared on an episode of the Tea with Twiggy podcast and called the Queen her "greatest mentor" and the "person who believes in me."

Fergie & Queen
Fergie & Queen

Tim Graham Photo Library/Getty Sarah Ferguson, Prince Andrew and Queen Elizabeth

"I think to myself that honestly, my mother-in-law has been more of a mother to me than my mother," she said. (Susan Barrantes left the family when Fergie was a child to move to Argentina with a new husband, professional polo player Héctor Barrantes. She died in a car crash in 1998.)

RELATED: Queen Elizabeth's Meaningful Bow Brooch Has Ties to Diana, Fergie and Victoria

She added, "I absolutely admire the incredible way Her Majesty is so modern ... and how flexible, and how understanding, and how forgiving and how generous."

Although Fergie and Prince Andrew, the Duke of York, announced their separation in March 1992 before officially divorcing four years later, they continued to raise daughters Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie together and have remained friendly.

RELATED VIDEO: King Charles Mourns Mother Queen Elizabeth in Official Statement: 'Moment of the Greatest Sadness'

And Fergie has repeatedly made her respect for the monarch known: she was known to do a deep curtsy upon the Queen's arrival at events like Royal Ascot. The Duchess of York had also been spotted happily chatting with the Queen in the royal box.

Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer, from juicy celebrity news to compelling human interest stories.

The Duke of York flew into Balmoral Thursday afternoon with Prince William,  Prince Edward and Edward's wife, Sophie, Countess of Wessex, ahead of the announcement of the Queen's death. The group joined King Charles III, and Camilla, the Queen Consort, at Balmoral.

Charles was carrying out engagements in Scotland on Wednesday. Princess Anne, the Queen's only daughter, was also already in Scotland having undertaken royal duties in the country this week.