Sarah Ferguson to turn debut novel into ‘Bridgerton-style’ series 

Sarah Ferguson is in talks with streaming platforms to turn her debut novel into a ‘Bridgerton‘-inspired period drama series, a source has claimed. 

The Duchess of York, 61, whose new Mills & Boon novel ‘Her Heart for A Compass‘ is published on August 3, is a fictional account of the life of the Duchess’s great-great-aunt, Lady Margaret Montagu Douglas Scott. 

‘[Her team] is already in talks with at least one streaming service and will be approaching others once a 360-degree treatment of the book is finalised,’ a source said, speaking to Variety

‘These will include Amazon and Netflix. Everyone involved is looking at the success of Bridgerton as a demonstration of the immense appeal of period drama on streaming services.’ 

Sarah Ferguson is in talks with streaming platforms to turn her debut novel, ‘Her Heart for a Compass,’ into a ‘Bridgerton’-inspired period drama series, a source has claimed. Pictured, attending the British Heart Foundation’s ‘The Beating Hearts Ball’ at The Guildhall on February 20, 2018 in London

Her Heart for a Compass (pictured) is a fictional account of the life of the Duchess's great-great-aunt, Lady Margaret Montagu Douglas Scott

Her Heart for a Compass (pictured) is a fictional account of the life of the Duchess’s great-great-aunt, Lady Margaret Montagu Douglas Scott

The Duchess, who has previously produced ‘The Young Victoria,’ which was written by Julian Fellowes and starred Emily Blunt, said: ‘I’m really hopeful that ‘Her Heart for a Compass’ will come to life on screen: I see it as a TV series rather than a film.’

‘Things are at a very early stage but we’re already in talks with some program makers about the potential to make it into a historical drama.’

Sarah, who is mother to Princess Beatrice, 32, and Princess Eugenie, 31, recently told People magazine that she battled an ‘extraordinary fear of getting it wrong’ before accepting that trying to be perfect is ‘no longer necessary’.

The new grandmother to Eugenie’s 5-month-old son, August, said that since turning 61 last October, she has ‘gotten out of her own way’ and really become Sarah.

‘I’ve really become Sarah. The Duchess is there. Good old Fergie’s there too. But Sarah is authentically present,’ explained Sarah,

During her time in the limelight, the mother-of-two admitted she often had an ‘extraordinary fear of getting it wrong’, but now realises ‘being Sarah is just enough’.  

The Duchess of York pictured with her daughters Princess Beatrice, 32, and Princess Eugenie, 31, and her ex-husband Prince Andrew

The Duchess of York pictured with her daughters Princess Beatrice, 32, and Princess Eugenie, 31, and her ex-husband Prince Andrew

Sarah, most commonly known as Fergie, said that finding herself came as she wrote her novel, Her Heart for a Compass – her first historical fiction novel aimed at adults.

It is described as an ‘immersive historical saga’ that ‘sweeps the reader from the drawing rooms of Victoria’s court and the grand country houses of Scotland and Ireland, to the slums of London and the mercantile bustle of 1870s New York’. 


Montagu House, London, Wednesday, July 19, 1865.

‘Ah, there you are! It’s fast approaching midnight, my dear.’

Lord Rufus Ponsonby, the Earl of Killin, was considered by most to be a presentable-looking man.

His angular jaw was invariably clean-shaven; his hair was perfectly coiffed. His tall, rather lean figure was always immaculately dressed.

His aquiline profile was suitably haughty as befitted an earl of the realm.

Every aspect of him was austere, repressed, and calculated.

Lady Margaret Montagu Douglas Scott took an involuntary step back as he loomed over her. ‘I’m all too aware of that.’

As ever, he seemed oblivious to her prickly reaction to him.

‘Why are you skulking in the shadows?

Perhaps you are fretting about your attire,’ he continued, answering his own question.

‘Allow me to reassure you. Your gown is neither too simple nor too ornate for the occasion. All young ladies in their first Season wear white.’

‘Look at me,’ Margaret persisted, ‘don’t you think I resemble a ghost at my own betrothal party? I am, quite literally, a spectre at the feast.’

‘I think your tendency to be fanciful is coming to the fore.’

His lordship, his attention on his watch, didn’t notice the note of suppressed hysteria in her tone.

Lord Rufus checked his gold timepiece against the ballroom clock, frowning, checking again, making a minor adjustment, then checking it one last time before snapping the case closed and returning it to his waistcoat pocket.

‘We had better join your parents for the announcement,’ he said. ‘They will be getting anxious.’

‘I think if anyone has a right to be anxious,’ she said, smiling through gritted teeth, ‘it should be me. My life is about to change for ever, after all.’

Though he smiled in return, it was a token effort that failed to be reflected his eyes.

‘We are on the brink of a new life together, Lady Margaret. I for one am eager to embrace it.’

The narrative of Lady Margaret incorporates research into the Duchess’s heritage and draws upon her own unique life journey and experiences. 

‘It all started with researching my ancestry,’ explained Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie‘s mother. ‘Digging into the history of the Montagu-Douglas Scotts, I first came across Lady Margaret, who intrigued me because she shared one of my given names. 

‘But although her parents, the Duke and Duchess of Buccleuch were close friends with Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, I was unable to discover much about my namesake’s early life, and so was born the idea which became Her Heart for a Compass. 

‘With real historical events and facts to hand, my imagination took over. I invented a history for her that incorporated real people and events, including some of my other ancestors. 

‘I created a friendship between my heroine and Princess Louise, Queen Victoria’s sixth child, and I drew on many parallels from my life for Lady Margaret’s journey. 

Rich in historical detail and grounded in extensive research, the novel offers a compelling look at Victorian England in the wake of Prince Albert’s death.

It also focuses on the fascinating journey of a woman, born into the higher echelons of society, who desires to break the mold, follow her internal compass (her heart) and discover her raison d’être – and falling in love along the way.  

The Duchess joined forces with her ‘collaborator and mentor,’ Marguerite Kaye – who has written more than 50 novels for Mills & Boon set across the ages and her books and novellas have sold more than 1.5 million copies in over 20 countries.  

Mills & Boon – the UK’s number one publisher of romantic fiction – was established in 1908.

Its books – which are written by women for women – range from historical romance to rom-com and erotica, and one is sold every 10 seconds in the UK.

The duchess, who has previously written her memoirs, is the author of numerous children’s books including the Little Red and Budgie the Little Helicopter series, and she was an executive producer of the 2009 historical film The Young Victoria.   

In 2020 the Duchess published several new children’s books: The Enchanted Oak; Arthur Fantastic; Genie Gems. 

She has many more in the pipeline, including a new Budgie book.

Her books have collectively sold over 1.5 million copies. 

She has been reading children’s books throughout the pandemic on her YouTube channel, Storytime with Fergie and Friends.

‘I have long held a passion for historical research and telling the stories of strong women in history through film and television,’ she added. 

‘I am proud to bring my personal brand of historical fiction to the publishing world.’ 

Executive Publisher for Mills & Boon Lisa Milton commented: ‘Across TV, film and books, history continues to grow in popularity. 

‘This brilliant sweeping story is perfect for our existing readers as well as reaching fans of bestselling novelists such as Philippa Gregory and Anne O’Brien. 

‘Mills & Boon are honoured to publish the Duchess of York’s debut novel as we move into our next century of publishing brilliant books by women for women.’

Her Heart for A Compass will be published on August 3 2021 by William Morrow in the US and Mills & Boon in the UK, both HarperCollins, but can be pre-ordered on Amazon.

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