Despite the current health crisis forcing her daughter Princess Beatrice to cancel her upcoming royal wedding, the Duchess of York tells Yahoo Lifestyle she has otherwise been enjoying her time in isolation.
“I am really enjoying finding things to do during lockdown. I’m retreating into my imagination and I’m reading inspirational books,” the Duchess tells us in an exclusive interview.
“I’ve read Victor Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning about his experience of Auschwitz and its postscript, The Case for Tragic Optimism. It’s about finding meaning in life despite inevitable tragedies and it reminds me of how lucky we are, whatever is going on in the world.”
The 60-year-old, who has recently signed a seven-book deal with Australian publisher Serenity Press, also says she has been doing a lot more writing and “working on more and more of my children’s books”.
As well as finding other fulfilling projects to complete.
“We grow rhubarb in the garden and today I went and cut all the rhubarb I could find,” she says. “I am going to send it to a care home for the staff and residents to enjoy during this difficult time. I thought that was a fine project.”
Sarah, who was previously married to the Queen’s son, Prince Andrew, also shared some of her advice for coping during this difficult period of isolation, that for many has led to an increase in stress and anxiety, and even overeating.
The Duchess said she could understand that people were potentially “finding comfort in food”.
“I think you’re worried and frightened about the current situation and that you are finding comfort in food,” she says.
“I would suggest from my own experience that you need to be in touch with that small voice inside your head and accept that it’s okay to be worried and frightened at the moment and that you can’t squash those feelings with food.”
She also says birds have been a big help for her.
“Every day, I take a minute to take a tiny video of the birds singing,” she reveals. “I call it my orchestra. Every morning I hear it and it may be my imagination, but it seems to be louder than ever.”
The accomplished author of 25 books, the Duchess will be penning seven books for release via Serenity Press, consisting of newly written titles, including five picture books and two young chapter books. The first book will be available mid 2020.
When it comes to finding ideas for her stories, Sarah says she’s had an active imagination ever since she was a child.
“My father told me I was always reading and loved making up stories,” she says, adding she draws a lot of her inspiration from nature. “Because I have such a sense of child-like joy in my days, it comes easily to me to write and be descriptive.”
“I used to play for hours outside, appreciating birds, animals, flowers and trees. I remember making little imaginary tea cups from rhododendron leaves.
“I feel very fortunate to be able to share the magic of my childhood and my journey to 60 years, as I am now. I have learned so much from the children I have met over the years. They have taught me courage, forgiveness, love, gentleness and kindness and I try to share all of this through my children’s books.”
And with two daughters of her own in Princess Eugenie, now married, and Princess Beatrice, Sarah can’t wait to start sharing her stories with potential grandchildren.
“If I am lucky enough to be blessed with grandchildren, it will be the most wonderful sense of joy for me and of course I will be making up stories every day for them.”