The Duchess of York has been given a book deal with romantic fiction publisher Mills & Boon after writing about her great-great aunt for her debut novel.
Sarah Ferguson’s book is called Her Heart For A Compass and will be released in August.
It is a fictional account of the life and love story of Lady Margaret Montagu Douglas Scott.
Mills & Boon describes it as an “immersive historical saga” that “sweeps the reader from the drawing rooms of Victoria’s court and the grand country houses of Scotland and Ireland to the slums of London and the mercantile bustle of 1870s New York”.
It follows Lady Margaret “who desires to break the mould, follow her internal compass – her heart – and discover her raison d’etre – falling in love along the way”.
The duchess revealed she came across Lady Margaret after researching her ancestry and became fascinated because Margaret is her middle name.
The duchess was pictured in a Victorian-style floor-length outfit, complete with high-necked blouse, jacket and gloves, sat on a stone bench gazing at a compass she held out in front of her, to promote the work.
She said: “Although her parents, the Duke and Duchess of Buccleuch were close friends with Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, I was unable to discover much about my namesake’s early life, and so was born the idea which became Her Heart For A Compass.
“With real historical events and facts to hand, my imagination took over. I invented a history for her that incorporated real people and events, including some of my other ancestors.
“I created a friendship between my heroine and Princess Louise, Queen Victoria’s sixth child, and I drew on many parallels from my life for Lady Margaret’s journey.”
The duchess – the Duke of York’s ex-wife and the Queen’s former daughter-in-law – brought renewed vigour to the monarchy in the 1980s alongside Diana, Princess of Wales, but struggled to come to terms with the rigorous disciplines of royal life after marrying Andrew
Born Sarah Ferguson and nicknamed Fergie by the press, she once confessed: “I was hopeless from the start… they could never make me the perfect princess.”
The duchess, who has previously written her memoirs, is the author of numerous children’s books including the Little Red and Budgie the Little Helicopter series, and she was an executive producer of the 2009 historical film The Young Victoria.
She has been reading children’s books throughout the pandemic on her YouTube channel, Storytime with Fergie and Friends.
Sarah added: “I have long held a passion for historical research and telling the stories of strong women in history through film and television.
“I am proud to bring my personal brand of historical fiction to the publishing world.”
She wrote the book with author Marguerite Kaye, who is described as her “collaborator and mentor”.
Kaye has written more than 50 novels for Mills & Boon set across the ages and her books and novellas have sold more than 1.5 million copies in over 20 countries.
Mills & Boon is the UK’s number one publisher of romantic fiction and was established in 1908.