Fergie on her Mills and Boon novel which draws on her own 'life journey'

Fergie has written her debut novel. Credit: PA

The Duchess of York has signed a publishing deal with Mills and Boon for her debut novel.

Fergie, who has written children’s books before, announced she has written her first “adult” book about one of her ancestors.

Set in 1870, Her Heart for a Compass will be published in August and is a fictional account of the Duchess’ great-great-aunt, Lady Margaret Douglas Scott.

Harper Collins, which owns the Mills and Boon romance/erotic brand, said that the novel “draws on her own unique life journey and experiences”.

“I’m so excited”, Fergie said in a video released on the Mills and Boon social media channels and warned, “follow your heart if you dare”.

She described her main character, Lady Margaret, as someone who “loves to ride side-saddle, she is strong, she is rebellious, she is courageous.”

Those who know the Mills and Boon genre will also know that the books are heavy on romance and passion and usually contain several bedroom scenes.

Fergie said that digging into her family history, “I first came across Lady Margaret, who intrigued me because she shared one of my given names.”

The Duchess – who was married to Prince Andrew from 1986 to 1996 – explained how Lady Margaret’s parents were close friends with Queen Victoria and Prince Albert and Fergie says her “imagination took over” as she invented a history for her great-great-aunt.

It includes creating a friendship between Lady Margaret and Queen Victoria’s sixth child, Princess Louise.

Fergie said: “I am proud to bring my personal brand of historical fiction to the publishing world.”

Sarah Ferguson’s foray into romantic novels might raise an eyebrow or two at Buckingham Palace, where royal aides have followed the ups and downs of the Duchess’ financial endeavours over the years.

Fergie was married to Prince Andrew from 1986 to 1996. Credit: PA

It’s also draws publicity, albeit indirectly, to Fergie’s former husband Prince Andrew, with whom she still shares a house at Royal Lodge in Windsor Great Park.

Prince Andrew stepped down from royal duties in 2019 over the controversy surrounding his former friendship with the sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.

And on social media today, others have pointed out how the Duke and Duchess of Sussex had pledged to “uphold the values” of the Queen as they sought financial independence from the Royal Family after their departure last Spring.

It’s difficult to see how an erotic novel partly set in Queen Victoria’s court in the 1880s would pass as “upholding the values” of the current Monarch.

Nevertheless, Fergie, who has had both successes and failures in her business ventures since her divorce in 1996, will be hoping her new book will be much in demand this summer.

Romantic fiction accounts for 7 per cent of the UK’s fiction book sales.

And some of the Duchess’ recent work on royal family history has been successful.

She was a producer on the 2009 film, The Young Victoria, starring Emily Blunt and she has worked on a TV documentary about Prince Albert’s mother.

Miranda Richardson, Emily Blunt and the Duchess of York arriving for the world premiere of The Young Victoria. Credit: PA

She also wrote a series of children’s books called Budgie the Little Helicopter.

The Duchess is about to become a grandmother, as her daughter, Princess Eugenie, is expecting her first child with her husband, Jack Brooksbank, very soon.

Fergie has not revealed how her personal experience has helped write this romantic novel.

She simply says: “I drew on many parallels from my life” so it will be down to the reader of Her Heart for a Compass, to decide quite how Fergie’s own life has contributed to the various storylines – and scenes - in the book.