Scandal-plagued Fergie attends NYC book fair

May 26, 2010 7:40:20 AM PDT
The Duchess of York alluded to an influence-peddling scandal involving her ex-husband Prince Andrew in an appearance Wednesday to promote her latest children's books, joking to the audience that "I prefer children." Beset by money woes, the ex-royal Sarah Ferguson was caught on video offering an undercover reporter access to her former husband for $724,000, a British tabloid reported this week.

"As you all know, I really don't like grown-ups. I prefer children," Ferguson quipped at BookExpo America at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center before several hundred book dealers. She was one of four children's book authors at the event promoting and signing their new books.

Ferguson made a number of offhand, self-deprecating remarks during the event without directly saying anything about the recent scandal.

"It was quite difficult for me to get to Javits Center today. One or two people in the way," she said of the paparazzi she attracted. "You might have heard that."

In introducing one of the three authors, she said his book gives us "reason to believe that problems can be solved."

"I think I'll read it immediately," she said.

The tabloid, the News of the World, first reported the influence-peddling story on Sunday, with a front-page headline that blared: "Fergie 'sells' Andy for 500K."

Ferguson, 50, issued a statement apologizing for causing embarrassment and a "serious lapse in judgment" and said Andrew "was not aware or involved in any of the discussions that occurred."

The duchess has written several children's books. Her latest series is called "Helping Hand Books" and includes four titles: "Matthew and the Bullies," "Emily's First Day of School," "Ashley Learns About Strangers" and "Michael and His New Baby Brother."

Susan Landis, a librarian from outside Philadelphia who was attending the book signing, said she thought it was brave of Ferguson to show up and said she enjoyed her talk.

"It was really gracious. She could have bowed out and nobody would have said anything. She came and she's doing her job," she said.

Landis said her library carries some of the duchess' books, which she described as "OK. They're not bad."