09/25/1989 at 01:00 AM EDT
After all the Sturm und Drang over Princess Anne's split, the latest royal flurry is kid stuff. Literally. The Duchess of York opened last week with the publication of her two children's books, Budgie, the Little Helicopter and Budgie at Bendick's Point. Then, as if to guarantee a readership for her maiden literary enterprise, Buckingham Palace announced what had been rumored (and denied) for weeks: Fergie's expecting.
"We are absolutely ecstatic," said the unusually talkative Duchess, whose daughter, Bea (above, with Mom and Prince Andrew at Balmoral), celebrated her first birthday Aug. 8. Fergie was further pleased to give the scoop herself. "Last time, the story broke in the paper, and I was away skiing," she said. "I didn't want it splashed all over the front page."
Of course, she could do worse—and did, as new tabloid headlines sniped at her Budgie efforts, accusing Fergie of exploiting her royal position and questioning how much of the profits would go to charity. But when one Tory member of Parliament condemned the books as "a flagrant abuse of the royal name," Fergie stood firm. "At the end of the day, at least I am doing something that is for other people," responded the placidly pregnant Duchess.
Meanwhile, her nephews Will, 7, and Harry, who turned 5 last week, made their own fresh starts—back to the books. Princess Diana, wearing vivid red from lipstick to sweater to skirt to shoes, deposited her matching gray-blazered angels on the steps of the Wetherby school in London. It's old cap for Prince William
but spanking new to Harry, who shook hands with headmistress Fredericka Blair-Turner, then barreled into the preprep program.