So where was the Queen Mum born? In her wickedly irreverent book Queen Elizabeth, a Life of the Queen Mother (Viking, 1986), the brilliant writer Penelope Mortimer tells us that the odds are strong that she was born in the backseat of a horse-drawn vehicle going through central London (or parked under a lamppost). When asked to confirm or deny this, the Queen Mum answered, through a spokesman, that she "had no interest in the subject."
Way back in 1923, when Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon married her husband in Westminster Abbey, she showed that she under stood all about the mystique of monarchy-by agreeing with the archbishop of Canterbury that the BBC should not broadcast the ceremony over the radio. Why. not? Because "Some disrespectful people might hear it while sitting in public houses with their hats on!" She was obviously referring to her disgustingly vulgar working-class subjects, because the more refined English do not wear hats when they sit in up-market hotels and cocktail bars.
The Queen Mother also understood pictures. Skim through any of the thousands of photographs showing the Queen Mum standing outside Clarence House celebrating one of her many birthdays and you will see that she usually tilted her head slightly to one side. Some Hollywood film stars can learn from that clever trick as it puts "movement" into what could otherwise look like a stiff or posed picture. Whenever the Queen Mum did it, she gave the impression that she was nodding to each and every one of us. Pure genius!
Just like Queen Mary, there has never been one breath of sexual scandal associated with the Queen Mother although several gossip columnists forecast she would marry her long time friend, Sir Arthur Penn, after her shy, sensitive, and retiring husband died. But obviously, Sir Arthur was not one of the marrying kind.
The only commoner we know to have kissed the Queen Mum full on the lips was the American president Jimmy Carter. He clearly did not turn her on, as the comment she leaked to the press was: "He will never be forgiven for that!"
When King George the Sixth died of lung cancer in 1952, his daughter came to the throne as QUEEN ELIZABETH THE SECOND. Just like her mother, she has a perfect genius for the right kind of publicity. Perhaps the best example of this came when a TV film unit was allowed to photograph her enjoying a family picnic in the grounds of her holiday home at Balmoral.
The Queen shrewdly made a point of allowing the camera men to film her helping to wash and dry the plates and cutlery at the end of the meal. And, exactly as intended, this down-to earth ploy gave tremendous psychological reassurance to millions of suburban housewives who turned to their husbands snoring on the sofa and cooed: "There you are, you see. She's just like us really, isn't she?"
Without a shadow of doubt Elizabeth the Second is the best queen the English have ever had. The only scandalous thing we have read about her was written by Nigel Dempster, who has long been famous as the high society and royal gossip columnist of the Daily Mail. On the very first page of his super spicy book H.RH. The Princess Margaret. A Life Unfulfilled, (Quartet, 1981) he wrote that when Queen Elizabeth married her first love Prince Philip, she was: "as virginal as her eponymous ancestor."
WOW! That raises a most fascinating question: Did Nigel not know that the queen's ancestor, Elizabeth the "Virgin Queen" who ruled from 1558 to 1603 was certainly no virgin? That she had several young lovers and, at the late age of fifty-four, even started a twelve-year affair with a handsome young fellow of twenty? Really, Nigel, you should never have associated our Queen Elizabeth with a shady lady like that.
To be fair though, it must have been a genuine mistake because the Queen's name had never been tarnished by British press speculation about her love life.
In fact, only one English person has ever dared to mention the subject of sex in relation to Her Majesty the Queen. This was her son Prince Andrew, who once said: "You know, the one thing I can never possibly imagine is'11lY mother and father making love." Randy Andy's comment is said to have made his father "furious" and "outraged" his mother. (Source: Charles and Diana by that entertaining American writer, Ralph G. Martin [Grafton Books, 1986.])
In 1941 an American named Henry "Chips" Channon made the most astonishing prediction. Writing in his diary, he stated that the handsome Philip of Greece "is to be our Prince Consort, and that is why he is serving in our Navy."
This really was an incredibly accurate prophecy because Prince Philip did not propose marriage to Princess Elizabeth until six years later in 1947-and even then, it took the world by surprise.
How on earth could Henry Channon have been privy to such a secret? The answer is that he received it from an impeccable source-none other than Princess Nicholas of Greece, who told him, on January 21, 1941, that a marriage was "being arranged" between Philip and Elizabeth!
This rather contradicts the fairy-tale love-at-first-sight stories churned out by Buckingham Palace. Could this be the reason why Sir Henry "Chips" Channon has been denigrated by many historians as an "unreliable diarist" and "an American snob who was obsessed by titles and money?"
Overseas newspapers and magazines have nibbled at the subject of the Queen's marriage to Prince Philip by claiming (about seventy times) that it was "on the rocks," that he had a long-term woman friend who had an interest in a top-society nightspot, and that there was a gigantic cover-up about his alleged involvement in the infamous Profumo "sex and secrets" scandal-which, in truth, should have been tagged the Stephen Ward scandal.
The son of a vicar, Ward was born in 1912 and traveled to America when' he was twenty. After studying at the College of Osteopathy in Missouri, he returned to London as a doctor and achieved success by giving relief to top-drawer people suffering backache and other muscular problems-such people as Winston Churchill, Mahatma Gandhi, Paul Getty, Nancy Astor, and Ava Gardner.
A sophisticated and elegant man, Stephen Ward also sketched portraits in pencil and crayon of such famous people as Princess Margaret, the Duke of Kent, the Duchess of Gloucester, and Prince Philip. Ward was not your tradesman's entrance type of artist who was summoned to the palace to do his sketches. He was friendly enough with Prince Philip to have lunched with him in central London. Philip also visited Ward's home several times.
In the early sixties, Ward turned from giving the nobility relief for their back pains and focused on other parts of their anatomy. He introduced them to pretty young working-class "models," such as Christine Keeler and Mandy Rice-Davies who were only too delighted to oblige the noblesse by having sex with them, and even dressing up as nannies and spanking their bare bottoms for them.
In 1961 a British Intelligence officer named Keith Wagstaffe recruited Stephen Ward as an undercover agent for MI5's Counter Intelligence Section. Ward's assignment was to persuade a London-based Russian naval attaché, Captain Eugene Ivanov, to defect. The son-in-law of Alexander Gorkin, the chairman of the Soviet Supreme Court, Captain Ivanov was known to be an undercover agent for Russian Military Intelligence (GRU).
Ward introduced Christine Keeler to Ivanov, but the plot went seriously wrong because Ward had also introduced Christine to John Profumo, who was then Her Majesty's war minister. Profumo had several sex sessions with Christine, the most famous of which took place in the bed of Profumo's actress wife, Valerie Hobson. When Fleet Street became aware of this adulterous relationship, Profumo tried to silence them by lying to Parliament that he had never had sex with Miss Keeler and that he would sue the pants off anyone who dared to say he had.
When he was proven to be a liar, Profumo was forced to resign in total disgrace. This made world headlines and brought horrendous embarrassment to the Tory government. To deflect the massive media heat from government, the British Establishment had to find a scapegoat. The man chosen was Stephen Ward, who was framed on a charge of living on the immoral earnings of Christine Keeler and Mandy Rice-Davies -although both women later admitted telling lies against Ward after being subjected to police pressure.
Stephen Ward denied all the charges. He said he had first been introduced to Captain Ivanov by Sir Colin Coote, then the managing editor of the British newspaper the Daily Telegraph. (Sir Colin, who died in 1979, is now known to have been a long-term propaganda agent for Britain's MI6.) Ward said he had later been recruited by British Intelligence to persuade Captain Ivanov to defect, but that the intelligence boys had disowned him in order to avoid becoming embroiled in the Profumo scandal. Ward was not believed at the time but, years later, several MIS officers admitted to various journalists that Ward had been telling the truth about being a secret agent for the British.
Anyone wishing to know the full details can read two excellent books on the subject. An Affair of State: The Profumo Case and the Framing of Stephen Ward by Phillip Knightley and Caroline Kennedy (Cape, 1987) and Honey trap by Anthony Summers and Stephen Dorril (Weidenfeld, 1987). Both books convincingly demonstrate how Stephen Ward was framed by evidence produced in a manipulated trial, during which some of the main prosecution witnesses were later shown to have lied under oath.
Stephen Ward cheated the court that found him guilty of living on immoral earnings. He committed suicide by swallowing a large number of Nembutal capsules. At the time, his sketches were on show in a Bloomsbury art gallery and something very odd took place there. A tall, elegant, and well-spoken man walked into the gallery, selected every drawing of the royal family, including those of Prince Philip, paid £5,000, and carried them away without giving his name. The man was never identified although some journalists insist he was Sir Anthony Blunt, the British Intelligence agent (later exposed as a double agent for the KGB) who then worked at Buckingham Palace as Keeper of the Queen's Pictures.
So ended Britain's favorite high society bedtime story. Until 1987, that is. This was when Anthony Summers (co-author of Honeypot) made the shocking allegation that photographs removed from the home of Stephen Ward showed a likeness of Prince Philip alongside various naked girls. Buckingham Palace did not react publicly to this distressing claim, although they let it be known that they considered it "outrageous."
Today Christine Keeler lives quietly in a modest, low-rent apartment about two miles from Buckingham Palace in an area of London aptly named World's End.
Millionaire John Profumo is still a member of high society. After cleansing himself morally and publicly by working for a charity in London's East End, Buckingham Palace arranged for him to be photographed shaking hands with Queen Elizabeth in 1971. In effect, this gave the royal seal of approval to the man who once laid a dubious lady on his wife's bed and then lied to Parliament. Four years later, just to prove that Her Majesty's highly bred, elegant, honorable, repentant and totally reformed former Minister of War really had been completely forgiven, the Queen agreed to the now sweet-smelling Profumo being accorded the high honor of the CBE-Commander of the British Empire.
Another naughty fellow who was given the cleansing royal handshake in public was Major Ron Ferguson, the father of Prince Andrew's wife, Fergie. His sexy saga exploded in May 1988 when the British Sunday newspaper The People front-paged a fantastic scoop disclosing that Fergie's dad had been a regular punter at a high-class London brothel.
Covering its back against the predictable cries of "Lies, all damned lies," the newspaper published a photograph of the galloping major licking his lips salaciously as he emerged from the brothel, which, for reasons of "respectability," called itself the Wigmore Massage and Sauna Club. The People not only told how Fergie's father had paid blonde, brunette, and redhead prostitutes, but also published photographs of three of the girls he had paid for sex and other excitements! One of the girls described what the major looked like without his clothing, including his freckles and "patchy scabs like eczema."
Even more revealing was that during one session with a girl, Fergie's father had asked her: "What does it feel like to be dealing with royalty?" We can't help wondering whether the girl was quick-witted enough to ask him what it felt like to be felt by a non royal.
The sexploits of Fergie's disgraced dad presented the Queen with a major problem. Although she was privately "fuming with anger" about his immorality (or stupidity in being caught), it was more important to put on a great display of royal family unity. Ron Ferguson could not be fired from his job as polo manager to Prince Charles, and he could hardly be dropped socially as this would have been demeaning for his daughter, Fergie, the Duchess of York-as well as reflecting badly on Fergie's husband, Prince "Randy" Andy.
That is why, on June 5, 1988, the Queen gave Major Ron Ferguson that now-famous "royal pardon" handshake at a polo match. Not by coincidence, several press cameramen were there to record the royal "cleansing" operation, and next day, most British newspapers carried photographs of the Queen clasping the hand that had caressed those blondes, brunettes, and redheads. That handshake was a clear royal message to the terrible tabloids, which had been enjoying themselves immensely. It was: "Now shut up."
But five days later, Sun columnist Fiona Macdonald Hull, who is as delectable to behold as she is to read, accurately placed her finger on the public pulse by writing: "The Queen has muddled me. She obviously thinks that perverts who consort with prostitutes are acceptable, while tax-fiddlers are not." (Fiona mentioned tax-fiddlers because earlier, the Queen had withdrawn the Order of the British Empire decoration from Britain's most-loved jockey, Lester Piggot, who had been jailed for failing to disclose all his earnings to Her Majesty's tax inspectors.)
Fiona criticized the Queen for removing jockey Piggot's OBE with one hand "while she extended the other to warmly greet Major Ronald Ferguson." Pointing out that it was the Queen's duty "to set us all a moral example," Fiona said that if any ordinary person had done what Major Ferguson had done, he or she would not be allowed within "spitting distance" of the Queen.
"But when it's one of their own, the Royal Family will forgive ANYTHING. And you or I can either like it or lump it." Fiery Fiona ended her article by stating: "If this is what Monarchy is all about, we are better off without it."
Another married member of the royal family who caused great embarrassment to the Queen was Princess Michael. In 1985 a British paper secretly photographed her entering a London house for an alleged overnight rendezvous with Texas billionaire John Ward Hunt. But this whole affair was solved when Mr. Hunt, being a perfect gentleman, refused to say one word to the British press and flew back to America on the next possible flight.
The Queen then ordered Princess Michael to repair some of the damage caused to the family name by being photo graphed in public cuddling up to her long-suffering husband, Prince Michael, and gazing into his face with absolutely sincere love and total adoration in her eyes. Although she did it brilliantly, most people were not really fooled.
Despite all the sexual scandals and problems the Queen has had to tolerate within her family, her marriage to Prince Philip is perfect-as far as the British public is concerned. They know that their Queen, as Defender of the Faith, is a good woman. She must be, because she is the keeper of the nation's conscience and the guardian of Britain's (fast-sliding) morality.
And publicly, Elizabeth and Philip really do try to set a good example. They are proud when their children score a success, they adore their grandchildren, and Philip is always loyal and protective toward his Queen to the point that we are told her face still "lights up with pleasure" when she sees him walk through the door.
Throughout the 1980s, the royal with the biggest marriage problem was PRINCESS ANNE-though Buckingham Palace tried to convince the public otherwise. When it comes to Anne and her husband, Captain MARK PHILLIPS, we have personal knowledge that the palace is not always totally honest. In April 1973 (when it was no secret in Fleet Street that Mark was in love with Anne), we applied to the palace for guidance in connection with interviewing the handsome twenty-four-year-old Queen's Dragoon Guards officer.
After telling us how to contact Mark, the assistant press secretary at the palace, Anne Hawkins, warned us: "For goodness sake, don't bore him with questions about Princess Anne. You press men seem determined to marry him off to the princess, but they are both on record as having said there is no romance as such."
One hour later Mark Phillips, gave us an exclusive interview, which was published. Mark has been unkindly described as "Foggy" by some members of the royal family who seem to think he is "thick and wet," but we found him to be totally straight, honest, and intelligent. Obeying the palace request, we conducted that interview without once mentioning Princess Anne's name. How stupidly trusting we were! Six weeks later Anne and Mark announced their engagement.
Yet even then we did not expose Buckingham Palace's double-talk. Instead, to keep in their good books (so that they would continue to feed us other stories), we wrote a shoelicking story telling how wonderfully Mark had proposed to Princess Anne. In our published article, to our everlasting shame, we repeated how "even the Royal corgis had seemed to approve" and how they had wagged their tails when the engagement was officially announced. Now there's a perfect example of how a Buckingham Palace tale wagged the dog.
Princess Anne married Mark in November 1973 but the couple, although they continued to share their home in Gloucestershire, agreed to go their separate ways in other ways in 1980, at about the time Princess Anne was pregnant with her second child, Zara (Arabic for "Morning Star"). They led virtually separate lives but, to keep the public happy, they pretended to be man and wife for the sake of appearances. Yet even when they made official overseas trips together, they stayed in separate hotels.
This did not go unnoticed by the gossip columnists, who repeatedly told their readers that Princess Anne's marriage was on the rocks, although the Buckingham Palace press prestidigitators, with hands on heart, solemnly denied any such thing. There was no doubt about it though, because Mark was regularly photographed in the company of various worn en
including the controversial good-time naughty girl Pamella Bordes, who made world headlines when it was discovered that she had increased her' bank balance by spending romantic £500 evenings with various politicians and millionaires she had met while working as a researcher in Parliament.
Princess Anne also made some friends of her own. One of them was her handsome personal bodyguard, Sergeant Peter Cross of the Royal Protection Squad. This affair reached a climax when a Buckingham Palace spy discovered Anne was kissing and cuddling Peter privately, and he was quietly removed by Scotland Yard for being "overfamiliar" with the princess.
At that stage, Peter Cross presumed he had been ditched by Princess Anne because she had tired of him. But later, just before Christmas 1980, when Princess Anne was four months pregnant with Zara, he met her secretly at her Gatcombe Park home and discovered she had been informed that he had left the Royal Protection Squad for domestic reasons.
Realizing that he had been "framed," Peter decided to get his revenge by offering a kiss-and-tell story to Fleet Street newspapers. He is said to have asked for $700,000 on the basis that he had enjoyed a "special relationship" with the princess. He did not get anywhere near that amount, but a carefully worded part of his story was later published by The News of the World in September 1985.
It was a fantastic scoop. Peter Cross said he had met Princess Anne secretly on several occasions whenever she telephoned him and asked him if he would like to spend "a day in the country" with her. Sometimes they met at a cottage in the grounds of Princess Anne's country estate but also two or three times at a friend's modest little house in Surrey where they spent several hours together, completely alone.
Their friendship was such that the princess telephoned her former bodyguard to say she was going into hospital to have baby Zara. Next day, on May 15, 1981, Anne telephoned Peter Cross at his home to say: "I've had my baby-it's a girl. We're both fine." One month later Peter was invited to Princess Anne's home for lunch, and after the meal she took him to the nursery to see the baby. Peter said he had given the little girl a teddy bear he had bought for her and, one year later, he gave Zara a jumpsuit for her first birthday.
Buckingham Palace did not appreciate Peter's disclosures one little bit, and, in an attempt to trash his credibility, they let it be known that he was "a vain man who had indulged in several extramarital affairs." Tut-tut. The News of the World was proved correct though. In September 1989 it was officially disclosed that Princess Anne and Mark Phillips were to be separated.
This "shocked" those members of the British public who had believed all those denials of a marital rift issued by Buckingham Palace. But some of the damage was quickly repaired by gushing newspaper stories that Anne and Mark still "admire each other" and, although separated, will remain "the best of friends. "
It is also reassuring to know that Princess Anne's two children "understand," and that the problem of "sharing" them has mostly been solved by the fact that their son, Peter Phillips (born in November 1977) likes going out with his dad, whereas daughter Zara, who has a much stronger bond with her mother, mostly accompanies her.
The big gossip around London town these days is that Princess Anne will definitely apply for a divorce after paying Mark off with a big cash settlement in the region of $2 million. Not that Princess Anne has any intention of remarrying at the moment. Her friendship with former bodyguard Peter Cross ended in November 1983 when she telephoned him and asked him if he would like to enjoy "a day in the country." He took a raincheck by saying he had a new girlfriend. Peter Cross is now married to Angie, a dental nurse.
The latest man to be linked closely with Princess Anne is the dashingly tall dark and handsome "Tiger" Tim Laurence. Their friendship came to light in April 1989 when a Buckingham Palace servant of humble background who was earning $10,000 a year (live in), became so annoyed by the opulent life-style of the royals that she took possession of four intimate letters from Princess Anne's unlocked writing desk. The letters had been written to Princess Anne by the Queen's equerry Tim Laurence, and, in them, he made it abundantly clear, that he was madly in love with Anne.
Cleverly using a front man to protect her identity, the royal servant sent the letters to Rupert Murdoch's newspaper The Sun, the only newspaper in Britain that has consistently proved that it is not at all overawed or frightened of the royal family.
In this instance, however, realizing that they did not possess the copyright to Princess Anne's letters, The Sun behaved impeccably and returned them to the palace unpublished. But word leaked out and the super spicy story was chased by every newspaper. That's when Princess Anne's love life once again hit the fan.