Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York, has launched a children’s charity in Dubai.

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The 48-year-old royal established charitable foundation Sarah Selects to help disadvantaged children, and has already raised £500,000 via a special auction.

Sarah Selects – which the Duchess formed in conjunction with UK property developer Select Property – aims to raise as much money as possible to aid children and will then pass the funds on to other specially-chosen charities.

Sarah said: “The plight of children is an issue close to my heart, and I intend to devote time to choosing the right causes within the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in which to donate the money.  The UAE is the springboard for launching Sarah Selects globally, helping children’s causes all over the world by using Select Property and Select Group’s development locations as the foundations for growing the charity.”

Although the duchess is yet to decide which charity will benefit from the money raised, she is believed to be considering donating to the Make A Wish Foundation and Support to Children with Diabetes. Some of the money may be used to help a school in a village in northern Iraq.

After the auction, guests were treated to a glittering performance by US pop star Kelly Rowland.