Book claims Princess Margaret took drugs

A NEW biography of Princess Margaret which claims she snorted cocaine in the Rolling Stones’ dressing room and smoked marijuana has infuriated her family and prompted threats of legal action.

The book, Margaret, the Last Real Princess, also contains allegations about a scandalous love life in which she cheated on Group Captain Peter Townsend, the man she had hoped to marry, with at least two men. It has upset and angered members of her family, who have challenged the veracity of the sources and criticised the timing of its publication, just over two weeks after her death.

Viscount Linley, the princess’s son, is said to be planning to consult lawyers in an attempt to halt publication. Because it is not possible to libel someone who has died, the lawyers may attempt to take out a civil action alleging breach of confidence.

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However, Noel Botham, the book’s author, is standing by his allegations. He said he had taped interviews substantiating the information and he had taken legal advice which suggested that the attitude towards stories about the Royal Family was now more relaxed than it once was.

One of the key allegations in the book, and the allegation that is understood to have upset Viscount Linley the most, is the claim that the princess snorted cocaine before a Rolling Stones concert at Earls Court in 1967.

According to Mr Botham’s account, the princess had been invited to the concert by Mick Jagger. Mr Botham claims that Keith Richards produced a bottle containing 500 worth of cocaine and snorted it from a silver spoon in front of the princess.

Princess Margaret is said to have commented: "Ah, cocaine. Such an amusing drug, don’t you think?"

The book recounts how the bottle and spoon were then handed to a girl who was with the band and she and Princess Margaret disappeared off into a bathroom. When they returned, the princess’s eyes were said to be sparkling, and she allegedly told the band: "I’m going to enjoy your concert even more after that."

Mr Botham claims that the other woman then confirmed that the princess had snorted some of the cocaine and had done so in such a way that suggested she was not new to the practice.

The book also contains a series of claims about the colourful nature of the princess’ love life, including allegations that she had romantic flings with two other men at the same time as she was conducting her relationship with Peter Townsend.

Another alleged lover is quoted giving the princess marks out of ten for her sexual performance - nine for technique and 15 for vigour.

Yesterday, Countess Alexandra, a lady-in-waiting to the princess, dismissed the claims as "preposterous and laughable" and said Margaret was "vehemently anti-drugs".

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