How Marrying Into the Royal Family Inspired Sarah Ferguson's New Romance Novel (Exclusive)

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Sarah Ferguson wrote a romance novel after living somewhat of a dramatic tale of her own. The mother of Princess Eugenie and Princess Beatrice has penned numerous books over the years, but her new novel, Her Heart for a Compass, is something new -- and a long time coming. 

Fergie tells ET's Kevin Frazier that she first had the idea to write romance when she was doing research for the 2009 film Young Victoria, which she produced and which starred Emily Blunt and Rupert Friend. "I was so immersed in the fabulousness of the history of that period that I then decided I was gonna write a novel," she shares.

Her Heart for a Compass follows Lady Margaret, whose parents have arranged for her a society marriage. Shortly before her betrothal is to be announced, Margaret flees, leaving her parents to explain her sudden absence to a ballroom full of distinguished guests. 

Her Heart for a Compass by Sarah Ferguson
Harper Collins

If this plot is giving you Bridgerton vibes, you wouldn't be the only one. Fergie, however, feels it can be best compared to Jane Austen's classic tale, Pride and Prejudice.

"This character goes against the confines of 1870 where she was to be controlled by men -- and a lady does not wish to be controlled by men," she says. 

As for what inspired her new novel, Fergie admits that some of it did come from her real life in the royal family. Fergie had a royal wedding of her own in 1986 when she married Prince Andrew, Duke of York. Though the two divorced in 1996, Fergie still very much believes in love. 

"I'm such a romantic. ...I deeply believe in the romance of life," she muses. "...I'm a romantic at heart. I have lived every girl's dream of marrying a prince."

Speaking to the similarities between herself and her character, who is also a redhead, Fergie adds, "I think that when you are redhead, you're deeply passionate about life and deeply in love with how intoxicating it can be. When you're thrown into the public stage as a princess, you can't get better than that."

Her Heart for a Compass is out now, and could become its own book series if Fergie has her way. "I'd like this to be a series because I think Lady Margaret could run and run," she teases. "I think there could be lots of different books about Lady Margaret."

In the meantime, Fergie says she's finally trusting her own voice. "I think at 61 I have a much better understanding of the strength of my own voice -- and that's really pretty exciting," she shares. "It's taken me a long time to get to this voice which I’m really pleased about."


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