Lady Colin Campbell, the 68-year-old daughter of a Jamaican merchant, is certainly no aristocratÂ
At the beginning of her deeply distasteful book on the Queenâs marriage, its author, Lady Colin Campbell elects to dedicate her compendium of half-truths and grubby backstairs gossip to âmy beloved sons Dima and Misha, with the hope that they will one day enjoy the true blessing of good and durable marriagesâ.
If her hope is realised, her adopted sons will be doing better than their mother, whose acrimonious marriage to Lord Colin Campbell lasted a mere 14 months, in spite of which she has continued to cling tenaciously to his title, using it to announce that âshe is connected to all the Royal Families of Europeâ. It is a claim utterly denied by her former husband.
For Lady Colin Campbell, the 68-year-old daughter of a Jamaican merchant, is certainly no aristocrat, and she proves it by her latest outrage in subjecting our greatly loved and respected Sovereign, at the age of 92, and her 97-year-old husband, Prince Philip, who is still recovering from hip surgery, to vulgar and tasteless allegations concerning their marital life, in particular their honeymoon. And that is by no means the worst of her attacks. There are also poisonous â and untruthful â assaults on the memory of that revered national icon, the Queen Mother, and particularly horrifying claims about the health of both the Queen and Prince Philip. Could this pretend-historian sink any lower?
âMany of the most penetrating insights and information in this book were provided by people who had no idea, as they were providing them, that one day their comments would see the light of day in a written work,â Lady Colin Campbell admits.
I bet they didnât. Of the 35 people she lists in her Acknowledgements section, 29 are conveniently dead and cannot confirm or deny what they may or may not have said to her.
One of them, who was well-known to me, the late Dame Barbara Cartland would have been unlikely in the extreme to make any contribution to her work. After Lady Colin made a vituperative telephone call to Dame Barbara, accusing her of having âthe depth of a teaspoonâ, Barbara never spoke to her again.
Campbellâs book poses as a serious study of the Queenâs long and happy marriage. I say âposesâ because lurid material, which has no relevance to the 70-year union of the Queen and Prince Philip, is constantly dragged in for sensational effect, to spice up proceedings.
Thus we are introduced to the little-known figure of Prince Philipâs aunt, Princess Marie Bonaparte, a wealthy French heiress married to his paternal uncle, Prince George of Greece, and a woman Philip scarcely knew.
The book containsÂ vulgar and tasteless allegations concerning the marital life of The Queen, left, and Prince Philip, right, in particular their honeymoon
She was, we are informed, âunable to climaxâ during sex. Having attempted to free herself from sexual frustration by various solutions, including therapy and taking lovers, both of which failed, she undertook a scientific study of the role the clitoris plays in orgasm.
She examined 243 women, taking measurements of the distance between the vagina and the clitoris, and came to the conclusion that those who climaxed easily had clitorises positioned less than 2.5 centimetres from the vagina, while those with a greater distance found orgasm more difficult or impossible.
In 1924, she published her findings under a pseudonym, A.E. Narjani, in the Belgian medical journal, Bruxelles-Medical. She then underwent surgery to position her clitoris closer to her vagina. When the outcome did not have the desired result, she had the surgeon repeat the procedure on two separate occasions.
Quite what this has to do with the Queen and Prince Philip is a mystery. But Lady Colin lamely concludes: âThis was the open-minded world in which Prince Philip grew up.â He was three years old at the time.
Campbellâs worst venom is reserved for the Queen Mother. Perhaps she is still smarting from the ridicule that was heaped upon her by serious historians over her last opus, The Untold Life Of Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, released in 2012, by her own âboutiqueâ publishing company, Dynasty Press, which is also responsible for the new book.
The book is full of spiteful attacks on the royal family which the Queen will find distastefulÂ
In this she alleged that the Queen Mother was the illegitimate daughter of the Earl and Countess of Strathmoreâs French cook, Marguerite Rodiere, producing no evidence in support of her claim beyond the fact that Elizabethâs third Christian name was Marguerite.
She further contended that the Earl of Strathmore âconfessedâ this on his deathbed to the family doctor. Again the evidence for this was nil.
Both claims are significantly absent from her latest work, but the author again heaps derision on the Queenâs beloved mother â a woman who had royal blood in her veins and was descended from three Kings but is accused by Lady Colin of being âviewed more as a figure to be mocked and pitied than one to be emulated and admiredâ and as someone dismissed as âcommonâ and âarrivisteâ.
In the most spiteful attack of all, which is bound to deeply distress and offend the Queen, Campbell alleges that the Queen Mother initially found the Duke of York, later King George VI, ârepulsiveâ, and cites as her source for this the Dowager Lady Hardinge of Penshurst, widow of the Kingâs Principal Private Secretary.
But it is in her serious but unproven allegations about the Queenâs psychological health at the time of the Townsend crisis and a claim that Prince Philip has been suffering from a serious illness for the past two years, that Lady Colin Campbell exceeds all bounds of propriety
This is completely and utterly unbelievable. Helen Hardinge, one of the Queen Motherâs lifelong friends, was interviewed by me at considerable length in 1985 for my book, Royal Feud: The Queen Mother And The Duchess Of Windsor. She gave me the completely opposite opinion to that stated by Lady Colin.
I do not think that anyone who has read the deeply touching letters written by the Queen Mother following the Kingâs death in 1952 could possibly accept or believe Lady Colinâs contention.
Lady Colin even provides details of the royal couple’s honeymoon and how the future Queen ‘had enjoyed her introduction to the pleasures of the flesh’Â
Campbell alas subscribes to the naĂŻve and ignorant view that Elizabeth, when she was Duchess of York, was plotting to be Queen, and became part of a conspiracy to force her brother-in-law Edward VIII off the throne and into exile.
If Lady Colin, who appeared on Iâm A Celebrity . . . Get Me Out Of Here!, had done her research more carefully, she would have found the reverse was true. The Duke and Duchess of York were horrified â for themselves and their young daughters, our future Queen and her sister Margaret â at the prospect of ascending the throne.
The Countess of Pembroke, who saw Elizabeth in the days before the Abdication, thought her âvery depressedâ. When she became Queen, she succumbed to an attack of influenza and was seen to weep.
In The Queenâs Marriage, Lady Colin, without citing her source, quotes alleged criticism of Elizabeth as Queen by her sister-in-law, Princess Mary, Countess of Harewood, afterwards The Princess Royal.
Princess Mary, who was devoted to Elizabeth, whose hand she was seen to kiss in public after the Coronation, is supposed to have said: âHer delight was too evident. She looked like the proverbial cat that had got the cream. I do wish sheâd at least made an effort to conceal her delight. All that smiling simply wonât do.
âIs she a Cheshire cat or a Scotsâ lassie? A bit more of the dour Scot would be preferable to all that skinning of the teeth.â
I seriously doubt if anyone who met or knew the late Princess Royal would believe for a moment that she would have said any of that. Her statements, both in public and in private, were reserved in the extreme. Again I would urge Lady Colin to cite her source.
The same applies to another dubious quotation attributed by Lady Colin to King George VI when Elizabeth, as Queen Consort, was supposedly rooting for âPorchieâ â Henry Lord Porchester â to become engaged to Princess Elizabeth in preference to Philip Mountbatten.
âIâll be buggered if my daughter is going to marry any ***king butlerâs son,â the King is supposed to have said, an alleged reference to the rumour that the 6th Earl of Carnarvon was not Porchieâs biological father.
But Lady Colinâs attempts to prove that Elizabeth tried to prevent her daughterâs engagement to Prince Philip are again wide of the mark. It was Queen Elizabeth personally who invited Philip to Balmoral in early September 1946, and it was during that visit that the engagement was decided upon. If she was so opposed to Philip as her son-in-law, she would never have done this.
All those who feel love and concern for the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh in their 90s, will feel particularly uncomfortable about Lady Colinâs intrusive details of their honeymoon at Broadlands, the Mountbatten residence in Hampshire, âtheir torrid time between the sheetsâ and âhow patently Lilibet had enjoyed her introduction to the pleasures of the fleshâ â while being interrupted at intervals by Elizabethâs ever-present old nanny, Bobo MacDonald.
For this couple to be confronted in old age by a sniggering catalogue of servantsâ gossip, and by comparisons between the Queen and the lusty Hanoverian sexual appetite of Queen Victoria, seems completely unacceptable.
The death of George VI at the age of only 56 brought Elizabeth and Philip into the roles of Queen and consort 20 years earlier than expected. And I would argue that Lady Colin is grievously in error to suggest that the Queen Mother insisted on remaining centre stage.
Lady Colin is wrong to suggest the Queen Mother wanted to remain at centre stage – she intended retiring from public life to Scotland following the Queen’s coronationÂ
The truth is the opposite. She bought the Castle of Mey with every intention of retiring from public life to Scotland, an idea that so horrified the new Queen that she prevailed upon her Prime Minister, Sir Winston Churchill, to call upon her mother unannounced to talk her out of retirement.
It was our Queenâs personal wish that her mother be reappointed as Senior Counsellor of State and should receive from the Lord Mayor of London the same honours accorded to a Head of State.
Lady Colin has not provided ‘one iota of proof’ that Prince Philip was unfaithful to the QueenÂ
Within a month of the Kingâs death, the new Queen sent a red leather dispatch box to her mother engraved in gold with the words, H.M. Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother. I also know of no existing evidence that, as claimed in the new book, George VI was having an affair with the mother of his equerry, Group Captain Peter Townsend, with whom Princess Margaret fell in love. And I regard it as unlikely that the King would have allowed his daughter to marry a divorced man.
And contrary to Lady Colinâs allegation, the Queen Mother did not behave âappallinglyâ over the Townsend crisis. Instead there is clear evidence that the Queen Mother was devastated by her daughterâs involvement with Townsend, and broke down in tears in front of her staff.
But it is in her serious but unproven allegations about the Queenâs psychological health at the time of the Townsend crisis and a claim that Prince Philip has been suffering from a serious illness for the past two years, that Lady Colin Campbell exceeds all bounds of propriety.
In comparison, her dragging out of Philipâs rumoured involvement with, among many, the actresses Pat Kirkwood and Anna Massey (who met him only once) and most ludicrous of all, the Queenâs own cousin, Princess Alexandra, strikes one only as sickeningly predictable.
Not one iota of proof has ever been established that Prince Philip was unfaithful to the Queen.
He certainly shared a friendship with Pat Kirkwood as indeed did I. In one of his letters to her â letters that now are in my possession â Philip wrote: âInvasion of privacy, invention, and false quotations are the bane of our existence.â
For me, Lady Colin Campbellâs book is disgusting proof of that.