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Sarah Ferguson Thrills Teachers, Shares Royal Stories and Queen Dog Tales In The Woodlands — This Duchess of York Gives Back

Fergie Is an Author and Inspiration to Many

BY // 02.13.24
photography Giovanni Logrono

“Philanthropreneur from the heart” is how Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York, describes her current occupation. “If you take entrepreneur and philanthropy and merge them together, you get philanthropreneur,” Ferguson tells an enthralled group of educators at The Woodlands Junior League’s IMPACT event. “It’s really what I stand for.”

Fergie delighted the group of teachers with positive messages about the power of education, stories about her daughters Beatrice and Eugenie, her grandchildren and Queen Elizabeth II’s corgis that now live with the Duchess. While it is clear that Ferguson is a delightful talker (speaking was one her A levels), she’s also a doer with unending curiosity.

Some of that curiosity led to her becoming an author, writing books for both kids and adults. The inspiration? Her former art teacher Mrs. Smail.  

“My art teacher Mrs. Smail was my total inspiration,” Ferguson tells PaperCity The Woodlands. “She believed in me and made me realize that I had a future in creative design and writing. She then became head teacher of Hurst Lodge School, my school.”

Books have always been important in Sarah Ferguson’s life.

“Growing up I loved Winnie the Pooh, both children and adults can relate to it,” The Duchess says. “It is a book of friendship and sharing. Winnie the Pooh and his friends enjoy the simple pleasures that children have enjoyed down the years — picnics, tea, pooh sticks, enjoying nature. Problems are solved using their imagination. Of course a balloon is the best way to reach the honey!

Elizabeth Anthony

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“When, as a mother, I shared the stories with Beatrice and Eugenie, I realized the profound wisdom throughout the book. I love a good quote and Winnie the Pooh has provided me with many.”

The Duchess has written several children’s books and several books for adults, including a memoir and a romantic historical novel — 2023’s A Most Intriguing Lady.

When Duchess Sarah Ferguson comes to The Woodlands, it's a special day.
When Duchess Sarah Ferguson comes to The Woodlands, it’s a special day.

Even today, Sarah Ferguson returns to her favorite book when she can.

“One of my comfort reads is Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen,” she says. “You are so familiar with the story it is like slipping on your well-loved pajamas and snuggling down on the sofa with a lovely hot cup of tea and a gingersnap. I love the social commentary and humor, the characters and their foibles.”

For her first fiction book geared for adults — 2021’s Her Heart for a Compass — Ferguson collaborated with Marguerite Kaye because she “didn’t know how to write a novel,” Ferguson says. “I wanted to do it, so I went to this lovely lady called Marguerite Kaye and asked her if she’d teach me how to write a novel and could we do it together?”

Local TV journalist Katherine Whaley moderated the Ferguson event at The Woodlands Methodist Church with a very informal Q&A and audience questions. IMPACT (Increase and Motivate Positive Awareness in Children and Teachers) is an annual conference designed to celebrate, motivate and inspire educators in North Harris and Montgomery County. IMPACT is sponsored by The Junior League of The Woodlands. Past speakers have included Olympic gold medalist diver Laura Wilkinson and Jenna Bush Hager.

As for the former Queen of England’s corgis? The Duchess of York’s own five Norfolk terriers sometimes find it very hard to be with the “very pampered” corgis, but Fergie reports that all the dogs are doing well.

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