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Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York, who was involved in a 'toe-sucking' scandal in the 1990s, has landed a saucy book deal with Mills & Boon which she admits "drew on many parallels from my life".
Her debut novel, titled Her Heart For A Compass is set to be released in the summer.
It tells a fictional account of the life and love story of the duchess' great-great-aunt Lady Margaret Montagu Douglas Scott.
Described as an "immersive historical saga" by Mills & Boon, it's leads the reader from Scotland and Ireland to London and 1870s New York.
The story 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".
Sarah, who divorced Prince Andrew in 1996, came across Lady Margaret after researching her ancestry and became fascinated because Margaret is her middle name.
She told how she was inspired by her own experiences when writing the saucy novel.
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.
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"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 Queen's former daughter-in-law – struggled to come to terms with the rigorous disciplines of royal life after marrying the Duke of York, Andrew.
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Sarah, nicknamed Fergie in the media, once said: "I was hopeless from the start… they could never make me the perfect princess."
Casted out from the royals amid her "toe-sucking" scandal in the 1990s, Sarah fell deeply into debt, owing millions.
She has previously written memoirs, numerous children's books and was an executive producer of the 2009 historical film The Young Victoria.
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."
Mills & Boon, the UK's number one publisher of romantic fiction, publish books by women for women.
Her Heart For A Compass will be published on August 3 2021 by William Morrow in the US and Mills & Boon in the UK, both HarperCollins.
- Sarah Ferguson
- Royal Family
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