Writing children's books helps British royal Sarah Ferguson cope with her weight problems because the process takes her back to her childhood - when her compulsive eating began.

The DUCHESS OF YORK has joined a growing list of celebrity storytellers, which includes Madonna and Jamie Lee Curtis, but the tales she tells are just as much for her as her young readers.

Through her seven books, including new story LITTLE RED, Fergie has come to terms with her own childhood problems, which became bigger as she got older.

She explains, "In the last few years I've had to look at the fears of the little girl I was at 12, a girl who never addressed the fact that her mother went off to Argentina and who, from then on, felt abandoned, missing, wanting.

"I thought she left because on that day I had cut my hair. Mom never wanted me to cut my hair because it was red curly locks.

"I've lived with being a compulsive eater since then, which is why I had the weight problem. When I write my children's books, I go back to the little girl who didn't face those fears."

05/10/2003 21:20