May 19, 2008 02:20 PM

Sarah Ferguson may have grown used to rude remarks about her weight, but don’t start picking on the family of the slimmed-down royal.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4, Ferguson, 48, lashed out at claims that her 19-year-old daughter, Princess Beatrice, is overweight – and suggested that the press would be just as happy if the teen were anorexic, because that also would make a good story.

“She is a regular size 10, and she is very fit and healthy, and the press has been absolutely outrageous about her, calling her such horrible names and really being very, very mean about the size of her figure,” said Ferguson.

“I understand freedom of the press,” she added, “but what I don’t understand is when it takes a regular, very healthy girl and tries to obliterate her confidence. I think they need to be held accountable.”

As a celebrity spokesperson for WeightWatchers for the past 12 years – for which she is reportedly paid $4 million a year – Ferguson has been long concerned about the issue of body image.

Press Attack

Her comments also come on the eve of a reality TV show titled Duchess in Hull, on which she will try to help an out-of-shape British family improve their diet and weight.

In defending her daughter, Ferguson’s main target was Daily Mail columnist Allison Pearson, who once called Beatrice a “pampered Miss Piggy” and printed unflattering photographs of the teen royal in a bikini.

“We called her up to say, perhaps she’d like to meet with Beatrice and [me] to discuss it,” says Ferguson. “She refused to take the telephone calls, which I think is cowardice and bad manners.”

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