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WikiLeaks cable: Fergie irked the Turks

Sarah Ferguson, Dutchess of York, listens during the Engaging Philanthropy to Promote Gender Equality and Women's Empowerment press conference held at the United Nations on February 22, 2010 in New York City. Seminars are being held at the UN to address issues of women empowerment and equality in third-world nations. UPI /Monika Graff
Sarah Ferguson, Dutchess of York, listens during the "Engaging Philanthropy to Promote Gender Equality and Women's Empowerment" press conference held at the United Nations on February 22, 2010 in New York City. Seminars are being held at the UN to address issues of women empowerment and equality in third-world nations. UPI /Monika Graff | License Photo

LONDON, Feb. 5 (UPI) -- Sarah Ferguson's undercover television work in 2008 caused friction between Britain and Turkey, diplomatic cables released this week by WikiLeaks revealed.

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.

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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.

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