Sarah Ferguson promotes her first historical romance novel
The Duchess of York is releasing her debut novel this year entitled ‘Her Heart for a Compass’, having previously written a number of children’s books. She has written over 40 books, most of these children’s books, which she was writing even before her divorce from Andrew. However, Sarah ‒ affectionately known as Fergie ‒ has also written several books about her life in the Royal Family, but was only able to do so because of the terms of her divorce deal.
Fergie made the tough decision to turn down an opportunity that would have seen her walk away with millions.
She declined to sign a confidentiality clause, giving up a huge payout in exchange for not having to be silent about her life in the Royal Family.
In 1992 reports, Fergie was expected to receive a large sum from Prince Andrew’s personal trust fund, estimated to be around £7million or £14.2million in today’s money.
Instead, she chose to leave without agreeing to confidentiality and was free to talk about her experiences and difficulties with life in the Palace.
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Fergie declined millions of pounds to retain her ability to openly discuss her royal life
Fergie published her first autobiography in 1996
Her 1996 autobiography ‘My Story’ took the world by storm and was followed by her 2003 book ‘What I know Now: Simple lessons learned the hard way’ and the 2011 book ‘Finding Sarah: A Duchess’ journey to find herself’.
It is estimated that she made £2.2million from her autobiographies.
She has also appeared on television and spoken to newspapers about her experience.
In contrast, Princess Diana agreed to confidentiality in her divorce from Prince Charles and walked away with over £17million ‒ £13million in today’s money.
Fergie on the The Tonight Show with Jay Leno
This means that Prince William and Prince Harry now have private fortunes of their own, separate from Royal Family expenses, that they can use as they wish.
This will have been particularly useful to Harry after stepping down as a senior royal and working towards financial independence.
Unfortunately, Fergie’s sensational first autobiography caused a rift between the two friends and they did not speak in the year before Diana’s death.
Fergie explained her heartbreaking decision in an interview with Michael Parkinson in 2003.
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Diana and Fergie took different paths, with Diana choosing to stay silent
She said: “I’d run up a lot of debts and I needed to get out to work.
“You can’t be a member of the Royal Family, really, in this country and work.”
Fergie’s debts were reported to be £4.2million at the time, or £7.7million in today’s money.
The Queen outright refused to pay Fergie’s debts as part of a divorce deal, but sources have claimed she ended up with around £3million.
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When the Duchess was secretly filmed as part of an undercover sting in 2010, she repeatedly claimed she got “zero” in her divorce settlement.
However, at other points in the tape she claimed that the divorce provided her with £15,000 per year.
She also told the undercover reporters she was living off the trust funds of her daughters, Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie.
Her claims drew the wrath of the Palace, with one senior courtier saying: “The Duchess’s claims are quite extraordinary.
“She was treated extremely generously and she has now behaved appallingly.”
Senior sources gave The Telegraph details of the 1996 divorce agreement which included £500,000 from the Queen for her to buy a new house for her and her children and £1.4million for Beatrice and Eugenie’s trust fund.
They claimed the Queen also gave her daughter-in-law £350,000 cash with no restrictions on its use and a modest monthly allowance, which is believed was then based on the Duke of York’s salary as a Royal Navy officer.
What’s more, the Duke of York agreed to pay his daughters’ private school and university fees.
Another source claimed that Fergie took advice around the year 2000 from Diana’s divorce lawyer, Anthony Julius, with a view to go back to the Royal Family and “negotiate” her settlement.
However, the Duchess never pursued this.