January 21, 1996 in Nation/World

Book Deal Means ‘Helicopter’ May Rescue Duchess In Distress Fergie’s TV Agreement Could Lift Her Out Of Debt

Associated Press
 

“Budgie the Helicopter” may come to the rescue of the big-spending Duchess of York, whose mother-in-law said she wouldn’t give her any more money to pay off her debts.

The duchess, popularly known as Fergie, has written children’s books featuring the little helicopter who rushes to the rescue of damsels, and others, in distress.

Now she’s struck a deal with a U.S. producer of children’s television that she hopes will help her pay off her huge debts. Her office in London announced the agreement Saturday but would not name the company.

The estranged wife of Prince Andrew arrived in the United States on Thursday amid reports that her lavish spending has landed her deeply in debt. Unidentified royal sources told London newspapers her overdraft with bankers Coutts and Co. was close to $4.5 million.

Her mother-in-law Queen Elizabeth II has bailed her out in the past but is refusing to do so again.

“If agreement has been reached on how to address these issues, then it’s a welcome development,” a Buckingham Palace spokesman said.

The duchess’s office said the TV deal has the support of Coutts and “includes funding by a highly regarded U.S. group involved in children’s programming.”

The agreement “provides for a solid base for the activities of Her Royal Highness the Duchess of York, and ensures the payment of creditors,” the statement said.

In July, the duchess signed an agreement with Fox to send Budgie across the Atlantic to American television.

The children’s book character was made into an animated TV series in England, and joined the Fox Children’s Network lineup in the fall.

At the time, the former Sarah Ferguson said Americans shouldn’t be surprised to see royalty dabbling in Hollywood’s television industry.

“I’m in 1995. I’ve got two healthy children. I’m a separated woman. I’m a working woman,” she said. “Royal or not, I’ve got to get out there.”

© Copyright 1996 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


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