Sunday 03 March 2002 12:27am
There are reports a new biography of the late Princess Margaret alleges she used the illegal drugs cocaine and marijuana.
Two newspapers say the Queen and other relatives are angry about the allegations in "Margaret: The Last Real Princess", which they strongly deny.
The Sunday Telegraph says they are also angry the biography by Noel Botham is being published less than a month after she died.
The author is a former tabloid journalist.
The Sunday Telegraph says the book alleges the princess was seen snorting cocaine in the Rolling Stones dressing room, before a concert at Earls Court.
The Sunday Telegraph says the book alleges as she watched band members take the drug, Margaret said: "Ah, cocaine. Such an amusing drug, don't you think?"
A female aide to the band then allegedly took Margaret into a bathroom and later told the group she was "no beginner" when it came to taking the drug.
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||Linley set to sue over claims that Princess Margaret took drugs
By Adam Helliker and Jane Slade
VISCOUNT LINLEY is set to take legal action over claims in a new biography that Princess Margaret, his mother, took illegal drugs, including cocaine and marijuana.
Family and friends of Princess Margaret, who died last month aged 71, are angry and disappointed at the timing of the allegations, which they vehemently deny. They condemned Noel Botham, the book's author, for his insensitivity in publishing the claims little more than two weeks after her funeral.
Lord Linley, who is still mourning his mother's death, has told close friends that he will be seeking advice from his family lawyer, Keith Schilling, over the book, Margaret, The Last Real Princess, which is to be published tomorrow. Although it is not possible to libel a dead person, there may be other avenues open to him in the courts, including civil action for alleged breach of confidence.
Mr Botham, a former Fleet Street tabloid journalist, makes a series of lurid and apparently unsubstantiated claims about the Queen's sister. It is understood that her family is most upset by allegations that she was seen snorting cocaine in the dressing room of the Rolling Stones before a concert at Earls Court. Mr Botham claims that she had been invited by Mick Jagger.
As she watched two members of the band take the drug, she is alleged in the book to have said: "Ah, cocaine. Such an amusing drug, don't you think?" A female aide to the band is then said to have taken Margaret into the bathroom, later telling the group that she was "certainly no beginner" at taking the drug. These claims are utterly rejected by the Princess's family and friends.
The authenticity of Mr Botham's sources have been categorically rejected by Princess Margaret's close friends, including her lady-in-waiting, Jane Stevens, and her former boyfriend, Norman Lonsdale, a film maker with whom the Princess had a three-year relationship. He described the allegations of drug-taking as "shocking" and insisted that the Princess was always opposed to drugs. He said: "In all the 20-odd years I knew her I never witnessed anything to suggest that she may have taken them."
Mrs Stevens said she was "flabbergasted" by the claims. "It's such nonsense; it's such a lie. She was completely anti-drugs. I find it upsetting that people can make such disgraceful allegations. It takes my breath away. If she suspected anyone had drugs in a room she would walk straight out."
Mr Botham is standing by his claims in his book, which is an updated version of one published in 1993. He said yesterday: "The information about the cocaine at the Rolling Stones concert is on tape from my informant."
He denied that the timing of publication was deliberately insensitive. "The book was due to come out next week anyway, before the Princess died. I didn't expect her to die that soon. The descriptions about her drug-taking were in the first book but were taken out by Peter Carter-Ruck, the libel lawyer. The view of the lawyer about the new version is that the climate about royal stories had changed."
Countess Alexander, another lady-in-waiting, said: "These claims are preposterous and laughable. She was vehemently anti-drugs, especially as she had seen what it did to children's lives, through her work with the NSPCC."
Lord Linley declined to comment yesterday on the book, which also contains stories of the Princess's "highly active" love life, including an alleged description of her by one escort as a "passionate and uninhibited lover".
||One of the Royals doing illegal drugs? I'm shocked, SHOCKED!!
||at this speed the late princess maggy will be considered drug addict, junkie and the lesbian queen lol
|steel driving hammer
||Gazza w/ your depth in knowledge of music and life,
you wont be suprised.
But many people will be amazed on what goes on
behind closed doors of the rich and famous...
For they are actually weaker than the common foot soldier.