Sarah Ferguson has weighed in on the so-called "feud" between Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, and Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge, saying it's akin to how she and the late Princess Diana were viewed as "rivals".

Speaking in an open letter published in Hello! magazine, Fergie wrote that, despite saturated news reports at the time, she and Diana never felt any "rivalry" towards each other.

"Women, in particular, are constantly pitted against and compared with each other in a way that reminds me of how people tried to portray Diana and me all the time as rivals, which is something neither of us ever really felt," she wrote in the letter published in Hello! magazine.

The British magazine launched a #HelloToKindness campaign largely in response to a rise in abusive online comments directed at Meghan and Kate.

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The Duchess of York wrote that the majority of Twitter and Instagram "terrifies" her and that social media is a "sewer".

"Take a look at any website, and you'll see extraordinarily abusive comments aimed not only at people in the public eye but also other internet users. Bullying, sniping, b****ing, even the most appalling sexism, racism and homophobia are commonplace," she said.

Sarah Ferguson has poured cold water on the claims that she and Princess Diana didn't get on. Photo / Getty Images
Sarah Ferguson has poured cold water on the claims that she and Princess Diana didn't get on. Photo / Getty Images

It was recently revealed that Kensington Palace staff spend hours moderating hundreds of thousands of sexist and racist online comments aimed at the young royals.

For her part, Fergie wrote that "it seems online, anything goes".

"People feel licensed to say things online that they would never dream of saying to someone's face, and that encourages others to pile in. It's so ubiquitous that we've all become numb to what's going on.

"There is good evidence that this online culture is having a detrimental impact on people's mental health, particularly vulnerable young people."

Neither Kate or Meghan have social media accounts (the Duchess of Sussex deleted her online accounts when she became engaged to Prince Harry) but Kensington Palace's social media platforms keep fans in touch with news on the younger generation of royals; its Instagram page has over seven million followers, while its Twitter account has nearly 1.6 million.

But Fergie, who was previously married to Prince Andrew, said the online harassment of women has to stop.

"I believe that it's time to take a stand. This isn't about freedom of speech. The truth is, it's not acceptable to post abuse or threats on social media or news sites, and it's not acceptable to harangue other users simply because they disagree with you," she wrote.

"It's not acceptable to pit women against one another all the time."