Sarah Ferguson has a new lease on life, but she hasn’t forgotten the women who shaped her along the way.
The Duchess of York, famously known as "Fergie," has recently written a historical novel, "A Most Intriguing Lady." The book is a follow-up to her 2021 Victorian romance, "Her Heart for a Compass," which was inspired by the life and loves of her great-great-great aunt.
The 63-year-old told Fox News Digital Queen Elizabeth II, whom she once described as her "total idol," has inspired her over the years. Britain’s longest-reigning monarch died in September at age 96.
"I adored our walks with the dogs," she reflected. "On our strolls, we would talk about the gardens and what’s blooming. She just had the best imagination every time I would tell her about my newest children’s book. She would jump right into the story.
"She was such a guiding force in my life, more of a mother to me than my own mother was, actually. And I will always live by her remarkable example."
Ferguson was married to Prince Andrew, the late queen’s third child, but the couple divorced in 1996. She has previously published her memoirs and authored several children’s books.
Following the queen’s death, a palace spokesman confirmed her two surviving corgis, Sandy and Muick (pronounced "Mick") would live with Ferguson and her ex-husband. The beloved pooches were gifted to the queen by the pair, along with their daughters Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie.
Corgis were the queen’s constant companions since she was a child. Her love for the breed began in 1933 when her father, King George VI, brought home a Pembroke Welsh corgi they named Dookie. In her lifetime, the queen owned nearly 30 of them, and they became part of her public persona. Princess Diana once called them a "moving carpet," always by her mother-in-law’s side.
"The corgis are doing wonderfully," said Ferguson. "They are very, very good and kind folks. They have been settling in quite well and are getting along with my five Norfolk terriers. We have seven dogs in the home now, and the corgis are the gifts that keep on giving."
Caring for the U.K.’s most famous pets is no simple feat, but Ferguson wouldn’t have it any other way.
"I am very honored to get to watch over them," she said. "Every day, I break the same little cookies her majesty used to break for them and feed them to each. They are very patient to be given their snacks. But I know that when they hear that sound of the cookies breaking they think of her majesty and feel at home."
There’s another woman who has been on Ferguson’s mind — her good friend Diana the Princess of Wales, or "Dutch." The pair first met as teenagers before they married two of the queen’s sons. During a recent appearance on "The Kelly Clarkson Show," Ferguson described how she and Princess Diana were arrested for impersonating police officers during her "hen party," or bachelorette party.
"I think people might be surprised to know how hilarious she was," Ferguson said of her close pal. "There was no one who could make me laugh harder or more immediately than Diana. She was incredible and one of life’s true soul mates for me."
Diana died in 1997 from injuries sustained in a Paris car crash. The mother of Prince William and Prince Harry was 36.
More recently, Ferguson was faced with another heartbreaking loss. Her friend Lisa Marie Presley, the only child of Elvis Presley and a singer-songwriter, died in January after being hospitalized for a medical emergency. She was 54. Ferguson was among those who spoke at Presley’s public memorial at Graceland.
"Lisa Marie was truly like family to me," said Ferguson. "We called each other ‘sissy’ and were always there for one another no matter what. She was a wonderful and devoted mother to her children. I will love and support them always."
Ferguson has found solace as a writer creating "an escape" for readers involving her ancestor, Lady Margaret Montagu Douglas Scott. In her first book, her character fled an arranged marriage and "the confines of polite society." The duchess said she also drew on many parallels from her life. For her new book, Ferguson described finding "immense fulfillment and purpose" in exploring her ancestors and creating new adventures around them.
"It has been super important for me to start this new chapter," she explained. "I finally feel like I can be my true authentic self and be fully present in my life with no fear. I’ve wanted to write these types of stories for years; it feels great that I’ve started a new career at 63, and I am proud of it. I encourage everyone to follow their wishes despite what stage in their life they may be at.
"I would tell my younger self that she is good enough," Ferguson admitted. "I think I spent a lot of time running around trying to get everyone to love me when I should have had more love for myself internally. I would tell young Sarah to listen to her own instincts more, be more aware and simply be who she is."
Ferguson noted that it was "just recently" that she realized being herself was "just enough."
"I am someone who very much empathizes and cares deeply for others," she said. "And I now see that standing firm on what I need and the decisions I want to make is so vital to me and the others who I love."
And she’s all too willing to clear up any misconceptions about being a redhead, just like the sister of her last heroine who is also "a fiery redhead."
"My mother always told me not to accessorize my outfits because my hair was enough of an accessory," she said of her famous mane. "I was also bullied growing up for having red, curly hair, and it was quite difficult. The reality is that we redheads are incredibly strong people.
"I feel connected to redheads all over the world. I have grown to love my red hair. It makes me who I am. … Lady Mary, the heroine, like me, is absolutely fascinated by people. She is also a master of disguise. She lets people see what she wants them to see. So, they think they know her, but in reality, there is so much more than what’s on the surface."
These days, Ferguson has plenty to look forward to. She’s expected to announce a TV deal soon about the adventures of her ancestors, news that the "Bridgerton" fan is "over the moon" about. And she already has some stars in mind for the leading role.
"There are many wonderful actresses who could play Lady Mary. I love Jessie Buckley and Julianne Moore for the role," she said. "My only requirement — the actress who plays her has to have red hair!"
But the role the author is truly elated with is that of grandmother. Her daughter Eugenie and her husband Jack Brooksbank are expecting their second child this summer, Buckingham Palace announced in January. The 32-year-old gave birth to a son, August, in 2021. Her older sister Princess Beatrice also welcomed a daughter, Sienna, in 2021.
"I absolutely love being a grandmother. I’m Super Gran!" the duchess gushed. "August and Sienna have taught me so much. Every day, I am laughing and learning and just adore each second of being with them. Seeing my two wonderful daughters as mothers has been the joy of my life."
Today, Feguson is ready for the next chapter of her story.
"I don’t believe there is anything that I can’t do," she said. "We are all truly limitless if we allow ourselves the freedom to follow our hearts and pursue our true passions."