The Duchess of York, formerly Miss Sarah Ferguson, is the second daughter of the late Major Ronald Ferguson and his former wife, the late Mrs. Hector Barrantes. The Duchess of York married The Prince Andrew, second son of Her Majesty The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh, at Westminster Abbey on 23rd July 1986, at which time His Royal Highness was created The Duke of York, Earl of Inverness and Baron Killyleagh.
The Duke and Duchess of York have two daughters, Princess Beatrice Elizabeth Mary of York (age 19) and Princess Eugenie Victoria Helena of York (age 17). The Duke and Duchess divorced amicably in 1996 after 10 years of marriage and the couple is frequently cited as a model for civilized divorce and successful co-parenting.
In 2006 the Duchess founded Hartmoor, a lifestyle and media company based in New York that is devoted to promoting wellness and supporting motherhood. The company earmarks a portion of its profits for charity through the Sarah Ferguson Foundation. It is the Duchess's vision to pursue successful business ventures that will in turn have a positive social impact
In 2008 The Duchess will champion a campaign in the US with the got breakfast? Foundation to encourage school districts to serve students free or government-funded breakfast. The program is intended to promote good nutrition as part of a healthy lifestyle that supports wellness and learning.
In 2008 Sarah Ferguson established the SOLUTIONS from the Heart seal, a wellness initiative that endorses product solutions that help consumers live a healthy lifestyle.
Since 1997 the Duchess of York has served as U.S. spokesperson for Weight Watchers International, Inc and during that time she distinguished herself as a passionate wellness advocate and proponent for healthy weight-loss and weight management. The Duchess was a founding supporter of The American Cancer Society's "Great American Weigh In," an annual campaign (modeled after the Society's "Great American Smoke Out") aimed at raising awareness of the link between excess weight and cancer. In March 2003 she joined the American Cancer Society at a congressional briefing.
In 2007 the Duchess established the Sarah Ferguson Foundation in New York to fund programs that promote education and wellness (including efforts to curb obesity among children) worldwide. In 1993 the Duchess founded Children in Crisis, based in London, and she remains active in its mission to provide aid to forgotten children around the world. The Duchess recently toured CiC projects in Liberia, Sierra Leone, Chile, Russia, Poland, Albania, and Russia.
The Duchess is a member of the Ophelia Advisory Council in 2007. The Ophelia Project is a US-based organization that serves youth and adults who are affected by relational and other non-physical forms of aggression by providing them with a tools, strategies and solutions.
From 2005 - 2007 the Duchess served as a Global Ambassador for World Children's Day, an international campaign produced by Ronald McDonald House Charities. In 2004, The Duchess became a spokesman for SOS Children's Villages, the world's largest independent, non-political child welfare organization providing stability for abandoned and abused children.
In Britain the Duchess is a long-standing patron to a number of British charities, including the Teenage Cancer Trust, Tommy's - The Baby Charity; The African Caribbean Leukemia Trust; and the Motor Neurone Disease Association; The Chemical Dependency Centre; Carr-Gomm. She also supports The Daisychain Foundation; Springboard for Children.
In the fall of 2008 the Duchess published her first historical romance novel called Hartmoor, which is set in 1812 and draws vividly on her own noble ancestry in Ireland.
In November 2007 The Duchess published a 12-book Helping Hands series she created a major national pharmacy chain in Britain designed to help parents and children communicate about sensitive situations. Each book in the series addresses a different scenario, presenting both problem and solution in an engaging illustrated story for parent and child to read together.
The Duchess is a popular children's author. Among her titles: a four book series about The Adventures of Little Red; a book and video/TV series about Budgie the Helicopter; and two books for young readers called The Royal Switch and Bright Lights.
For Weight Watchers the Duchess of York published five books: Energy Breakthrough; Reinventing Yourself; Win the Weight Game; Dieting with The Duchess; Dining with The Duchess.
In 1996 The Duchess published her best-selling autobiography My Story. In January 2003, the Duchess published: What I Know Now: Simple Lessons Learned the Hard Way.
The Duchess co-wrote two authoritative books about the travels of Queen Victoria with historian Benita Stoney.
An accomplished amateur photographer, in 2003 The Duchess published a collection of images in an art book for charity titled Reflections.
In October 2004 Walt Disney Feature Animation released a special DVD The Cat That Looked at a King, with the Duchess's voice in the role of the Queen. In May 2004 the Duchess hosted an eleven-minute production featurette on Universal's DVD The Legacy of Pan.
The Duchess is a special correspondent to NBC's Today Show for which she presents inspiring segments for a series called "From the Heart."
Britain's ITV television network will air a 90-minute special on obesity crisis presented and co-produced by The Duchess of York. The program is scheduled to air in January 2008.
The Duchess of York is an executive producer with Martin Scorsese on a film about the early years of Queen Victoria's rule. Young Victoria, to be scripted by Julian Fellowes, who wrote Gosford Park, will focus on the often turbulent period after she became queen at the age of 18, and her romance and marriage to Prince Albert. Film production began in mid-2007 and is scheduled for release in 2008.
The Duchess is a frequent guest on national talk shows and she has also served a sub-host for programs such as CNN's Larry King Live and ABC's The View. In 2007 she was a presenter on two televised award programs: CNN Heroes, which was broadcast worldwide, and the Quill Awards, broadcast on NBC, which honors America's top authors.
In Britain the Duchess has served as guest editor on BBC Radio 4 "Today" program and regularly contributes to BBC Radio 2's primetime lifestyle show "Steve Wright." Previously she co-produced and served as presenter in a documentary for BBC television called "In Search of the Spirit." In 1998 she hosted an 8-part panel talk show on Britain's SkyOne television.
The Duchess is respected internationally as a public speaker on topics ranging from health and wellness, and motivation, to women's/family issues, and philanthropy.
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