How to Politely Exit a Conversation, According to Sarah Ferguson

If you've yet to master the art of politely exiting a discussion, then prepare to take notes, because the Duchess of York is schooling us on how to handle these scenarios.

Sarah Ferguson, 63, discussed social etiquette on an episode of her podcast, Tea Talks with the Duchess and Sarah, when her co-host, Sarah Thomson, asked for tips on how to leave a conversation without being rude. The trick? Politely interrupt and say that you need to speak with someone else before excusing yourself.

Fergie said, "It depends on which country you're in. There's all different cultures which you must always be aware of, and I love that."

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Lou Rocco/ABC via Getty Images

She continued, "If you're in British Downton Abbey, you get to a point when you say, 'One second, could you hold that thought because I’ve just got to go and see Fred over there because I’ve got to give him a message.' And by the time that the person you’re talking to has gone onto the next subject, they’ve forgotten that you were coming back to tell something about Fred."

As for situations where you're pulled into a conversation that you'd rather not engage in, Fergie suggests "throwing the ball" to someone else. She said, “If someone asks you a tricky question that you don’t want to answer, say, ‘Oh that’s so interesting, I’ll tell you what, I’m going to throw that question to Matilda. Matilda, what do you think about that question?’ And you’ve thrown the ball again.”

The duchess went on to say that she's passing down these etiquette tips and the value of being polite to her daughters, Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie.

She said, “I always say to my girls, when you’re out on the public stage, smile. If you don’t want to be polite, don’t go out on the public stage—because no one wants to see a grumpy princess. I think the most important thing is you've got to get your game on.”

Judging by the smiles we've seen on her daughters at several events, we'd say Fergie definitely accomplished that mission.

Now, if only we could get a full master class on royal etiquette taught by the duchess.

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Associate Editor, News and Entertainment

Nakeisha has been interviewing celebrities and covering all things entertainment for over 8 years, but she has also written on a wide range of topics, like career...