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Duchess takes book battle before judge

The Duchess of York has decided to take her battle to block a book about her private life into an open court hearing, her solicitors announced last night.

Her decision came a day after she learned, following a High Court judge's ruling, that such a hearing will face her with the prospect of a public quizzing over her relationship with her former financial adviser John Bryan.

She must also find pounds 500,000 as security for any damages that might be won by her former friend Dr Allan Starkie and publishers Michael O'Mara Books if the 10-day hearing, starting on 7 October, goes against her.

The news of her decision came as friends said she was determined to "fight on".