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Fergie signs deal for seven ‘nurturing’ children’s books

The former wife of the Duke of York has written five picture books and two chapter books for an Australian publisher.

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Sarah, Duchess of York has signed a seven-book deal (Gareth Fuller/PA)

Sarah, Duchess of York has signed a seven-book deal (Gareth Fuller/PA)

Sarah, Duchess of York has signed a seven-book deal (Gareth Fuller/PA)

Sarah, Duchess of York has signed a publishing deal for seven children’s books.

The ex-wife of the Duke of York has penned five picture books and two young chapter books for Australian publisher Serenity Press.

Sarah, mother to Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie, tweeted that she was “so excited” about the project, and said the books were “coming soon”.

Three of the books will be titled Arthur Fantastic, Genie Gems and The Enchanted Oak Tree, with the first one available in mid-2020.

Karen McDermott, Serenity Press publisher, described the duchess’ tales as “nurturing stories”.

“We are delighted to welcome the duchess to our press,” she said.

“Her beautiful books are aligned with our core value of sharing nurturing stories that empower young minds.

“We cannot wait to bring these books into readers’ hands.”

The works will be published in Australia and New Zealand.

Sarah, who was born Sarah Ferguson and nicknamed Fergie by the press, is already the author of more than 25 books, including the Budgie the Little Helicopter and the Little Red series.

The Yorks
The Duke of York, Sarah, Duchess of York and their daughter Princess Beatrice at Princess Eugenie’s wedding (Danny Lawson/PA)

The duchess, who is looking forward to Beatrice’s wedding in May, has previously told how the last six months have been hard on her and her daughters.

She expressed support for her ex-husband Andrew, who was forced to quit royal duties following his disastrous Newsnight interview about his association with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.

She said of the duke, who has strenuously denied claims from Virginia Giuffre that he slept with her when she was 17 after she was trafficked by Epstein: “When I talk about Prince Andrew, I talk about family because the last six months have been hard on the girls and me.

“To see such a wonderful man go through such enormous pain … he is the best man I know.

“It’s just incredible what he has done for Britain and it’s all nonsense.”

Sarah’s Budgie the Little Helicopter books were first published in 1989 when she was still a member of the royal family.

The Duke of York on his ship, HMS Cambeltown, with the Queen and the Duchess of York in 1991
The Duke of York on his ship, HMS Cambeltown, with the Queen and the Duchess of York in 1991 (Martin Keene/PA)

In the years leading up to her divorce and in those that followed, the duchess struggled with money problems and fell deeply into debt, owing millions.

She turned her finances around by working in America, including acting as a spokeswoman for Weight Watchers for 10 years from 1997 and writing more children’s books and self-help and lifestyle guides.

But in 2010 she was caught up in a cash-for-access scandal, offering to sell an introduction to Andrew for £500,000 to an undercover reporter posing as a businessman.

The duchess promoting her children’s book Tea For Ruby in London in 2008
The duchess promoting her children’s book Tea For Ruby in London in 2008 (Fiona Hanson/PA)

She described herself as being on the brink of bankruptcy as she explained her actions in an interview with US chatshow queen Oprah Winfrey.

“I’ve been living, trying to be the Duchess of York… beyond my means,” she admitted.

In March 2011, she found herself in trouble again.

She admitted to a “terrible, terrible error of judgment” after accepting £15,000 from Epstein to pay a former assistant’s unpaid wages, amid debts of £5 million.

PA