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NAKED FERGIE; Duchess bares all for charity book.

Byline: JANE KERR, Royal Reporter

THE Duchess of York has become the first senior royal to pose naked - after stripping for a new book.

Fergie, who celebrated her 45th birthday yesterday, wears only a diamond necklace and stilettos as part of a charity photo-shoot.

She bares virtually all to help raise cash for Elton John's charity to combat Aids in Africa.

The snaps were taken by London-born photographer Pamela Hanson.

They are due to appear next May in the book titled Four Inches - after the height of heels models wear.

Details of her strip emerged as mum-of-two Fergie let her hair down at her birthday bash.

Her decision to strip off is even more surprising since she once confessed to hating her body - and has famously struggled with a succession of diets.

Bravely, she even agreed to pose alongside some of the world's most beautiful women - including party companion Kate Moss, Rachel Hunter, and actress Lara Flynn Boyle.

Insiders revealed that she was persuaded to do it by Tamara Mellon, founder of Jimmy Choo shoes.

But a spokesman for the book's London publishers stressed yesterday that "it is all very tasteful".

The last time any member of the royal family took part in a risque photo shoot was Marina Mowatt, Princess Alexandra's daughter.

She fell out with her family after posing in PVC boots, with a tiara and corgis, for a magazine cover.

Meanwhile, Fergie was concentrating on enjoying her birthday with a group of close friends in London.

The occasion included a special performance by the English Chamber Orchestra - a gift from her Hong Kong-based entrepreneur pal David Tang, 50.

Twenty-two musicans performed the private concert - more than double the number of guests, who also included publishing heir Sir Jocelyn Stevens. One of the musicians said: "She really seemed to enjoy it."

But Fergie may be in for a shock when she finds out who is handling publicity for the book - ex-husband Prince Andrew's former girlfriend Arabella Bodie.

Arabella, 32, dated the Prince in 2001 and now has a top PR job with the Jimmy Choo empire.

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PALS: Fergie and Kate yesterday
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Oct 16, 2004
Words:355
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