David Miliband, who was Britain's foreign minister at the time, had to explain to Turkish counterparts that Fergie was no longer a member of the royal family and was not under the control of the government.
The duchess put on a disguise and used a hidden camera to record conditions inside a Turkish orphanage for ITV1. The project riled the Turks, who called it a smear campaign designed to block Turkey from joining the European Union, The Daily Telegraph said Saturday.
"Duchess of York Sarah Ferguson's undercover expose of Turkish orphanages dominated bilateral relations discussions," U.K. diplomats said in the cable to London. "Miliband underscored to (Turkish Foreign Minister Ali) Babacan that Ferguson was no longer a member of the royal family and, as a private citizen, her activities could not be controlled."
The Daily Telegraph said Ferguson later apologized for the fallout but said she stood by the report.