It was Christmas, 1995 and around 100 colleagues celebrated the end of the year at the Lanesborough Hotel in London with five stars.
The guests were all members of the Prince and Princess of Wales staff. Despite the fact that the royal couple had separated three years earlier, they had maintained a joint office.
Now it was an opportunity for their slaves, secretaries, and a host of other support staff to let their hair break down. The mood was elated for all the stories and the drink flowed.
What happened next was an incident that still lives in the royal infamy, and that dramatically put the ostentation that Diana was brewing dramatically in the foreground.
According to a series of eyewitness accounts that were there during the night, Diana walked towards a particular blonde employee. When the royals approached, she said in a loud enough voice that others could hear, "I'm so sorry to hear about the baby."
The woman, Tiggy Legge-Bourke – the princes William and Harry's beloved nanny – burst into tears and left the room.
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The scene was perhaps one of the most shameful episodes of the tawdry War of Wales that dominated the global press for much of the 1990s.
Tiggy might have apparently been a bad nanny, but her innocuous title and her low salary concealed the central place she occupied in all three lives of the Princes. For years, it had been a key source of unshakable emotional support and joy for Wills and Harry as their parents challenged them on the front pages of British tabloids and behind closed doors.
However, rumors about Tiggy's relationship with Charles had been produced. The photos of the Prince of Wales who greeted her with kisses on the cheek in public only served to make sure that the languages were agitated by speculation about how close the royal forty was to the woman she trusted to take care of her children .
While Tiggy left Charles in 1999 when she got married, this week she returned to the spotlight after being photographed to attend Archie Harrison Mountbatten Windsor's baptism of Windsor.
For decades since then, business rumors, photos of intriguing paparazzi and fears of assassinations have revolved around Tiggy: So, who is the woman who led Diana so wild?
RIGHT REAL LINKS
It was the beginning of 1993 and Charles and Diana had recently, only a few months before, finally separated. While he had always been an extravagant father, entertaining two troubled boys when they were at home from the boarding school was a daunting prospect for a prince who loved to discuss Tuscan architecture and spirituality.
Enter Alexandra "Tiggy" Law-Bourke. (His nickname comes from Mrs Tiggywinkle, the character of Beatrix Potter.)
Tiggy was a jovial woman who not only had the necessary experience – having worked in a nursery school in Battersea – but was full of strong royal ties.
His mother Shan was a maid of Princess Anne and her brother Harry was a page of honor to the queen. She had attended the same Swiss specialization school as Diana (and Camilla, by the way) and her adoptive grandfather was William Sidney, First Viscount De L & # 39; Isle, who was the governor general of Australia from 1961 to 1965.
She had also grown up in Charles's social orbit. He regularly toured the Glanusk estate of the Bourkes Law in South Wales.
It was Lady Susan Hussey, godmother of Wills and a lady waiting for the Queen, who suggested that Tiggy would be perfect for the role.
He was then 29 years old and had already worked for four years in the royal house as an assistant to Charles' private secretary, Commander Richard Aylard.
SHOOTING AND FISHING
By all accounts, the young princes immediately took it. His approach was very cheerful: hunting, target shooting, fishing, polo days and go-karts, all sorts of dirty and joyful activities that two boys of the upper class could enjoy on the agenda.
"I give them what they need at this stage: fresh air, a gun and a horse," Tiggy said of his approach.
Tiggy was, perhaps rude, given the nickname The Thumping Great Sloane.
He quickly became a central figure in the lives of the boys both at St James's Palace – where their father lived in London – and at Highgrove, his vast estate in Gloucestershire where they often spent weekends. "He was partly a servant, partly a sister and partly a mother," said a former assistant.
Soon, he was skiing with Wales in Switzerland, taking Harry on a safari to Botswana and being on the sidelines with the young Princes when they watched his father play polo.
Tiggy became so close to her young accusations that it was not long before she referred to them as "my children".
At one point, Prince William divested both of his parents at war for a significant Eton event. Both were surprised when they discovered they had invited Tiggy to their place.
DIANA TAKES PURPOSE
There were many reasons why Tiggy didn't like Diana. For beginners, his young sons were clearly in love with the lovely woman who spent hours and hours with the young HRH.
But while Wills and Harry were big fans of this playful older sister figure, their mother didn't.
It is said that Diana hated the fact that Tiggy smoked near her boys and during the legal quarrel as part of the Wales divorce, the Princess sought an official clarification on what exactly Tiggy's work was and how much she was involved in Wills's lives and Harry.
"On his instructions, I drafted letters from the Princess to her husband explicitly asking for clarifications on Tiggy's duties and asking to be involved in decisions regarding her contact with the boys," writes Patrick Jephson, longtime Diana Shadows of a princess.
"I don't think he ever had a completely satisfactory answer, but I doubt that one was possible. It was difficult for her to be happy with the reality of her reduced influence on her children's activities."
Besides this, at the time Diana had just been divided and had become deeply jealous. The closeness and comfort of Tiggy with all three men was regularly on display irritating to the Princess.
Tiggy was clearly not another member of Charles's entourage.
The photos of the Prince's paparazzi greeted her warmly and kissing her cheek did nothing but fuel the speculation that Tiggy and the future king would become entangled in a clandestine affair.
According to the ex equerry by Diana Patrick Jephson and the former butler Paul Burrell, in 1995, Diana became obsessed with the idea that Charles and Tiggy had an affair.
"The princess developed an increasingly disturbing fantasy picture of Tiggy's private life. No man in the Prince's entourage was safe from her, including the Prince himself," writes Jephson Shadows of a princess.
However, Diana's suspicions about Tiggy would only be more outrageous.
During an investigation into his death, a note written by one of Diana's lawyers, Lord Mishcon, emerged after a meeting with the princess in October 1995, explaining her fears that Charles would have her killed and Camilla to "make room" for Tiggy for her future wife.
"It was ridiculous but at that time it was besieged and felt isolated," said a friend of the princess al Daily mail. "Moreover, at the time, Charles was encouraged to leave Camilla, and it is easy to see how the likeable Tiggy – who was single and well connected – could approach the Princess by approaching the Prince."
& # 39; SO SORRY TO LISTEN TO THE BABY & # 39;
At Christmas 1995, Diana was ready to fall. Totally unfounded rumors had upset the fact that Tiggy had an abortion after becoming pregnant by Charles.
According to Diana's butler, Paul Burrell, the Princess had launched a "top secret" investigation into gossip and, at the time of the Christmas party, saw the opportunity to strike.
"The horror paralyzed Tiggy's face. Tears burst in her eyes and left the room accompanied by Prince Charles Michael Fawcett's waiter," Burrell wrote in his book, A real duty.
In the days following the infamous Christmas party, Tiggy got in touch with his lawyers who instructed Diana to stop spreading these rumors.
Not only that, but the queen's private secretary, Sir Robert Fellowes (who was married to Diana's sister, Lady Jane), initiated an investigation into the incident.
Second The Telegraph, he later wrote to Diana: "Your accusations regarding Tiggy Law-Bourke are completely unfounded. His relationship with the Prince of Wales has never been other than professional.
"On the date of the alleged abortion, he was at Highgrove with William and Harry. It is in your own interest that you withdraw these charges. You have completely wrong this thing."
Only two years after Diana's death in 1997 in Paris, it was Tiggy who provided the essential emotional support for the young princes without.
In 1999, Tiggy married the love of childhood Charles Pettifer and left the job of the Prince. (Rumor has it that Harry became so drunk at his wedding that he ate a goldfish from a centerpiece.)
Although he was no longer on the real payroll, he remained close to Wills and Harry. He made Harry a godfather for his first son Fred, and Wills is the godfather of his other boyfriend, Tom.
In 2011, Tom (then age eight) was a page boy at William and Kate's wedding while the following year, Harry was next to Tiggy in the audience to watch his godson Fred appear in a school play.
In fact, Tiggy and his family have been quietly involved in every significant moment of Wills and Harry's life over the past two decades.
However, Tiggy's life could not have been more different than the charming one he enjoyed wandering in real jets.
In January 2018, during an official trip to Cardiff, Prince Harry made a detour of 65 km during a day full of activities. He had his new boyfriend Meghan Markle with him and he was someone he wanted to introduce her to: Tiggy.
Given that the 54-year-old was now photographed as he arrived at Windsor Castle last weekend, it would be perfectly logical if Harry called the only woman who proved to be a reliable source of love and affection for life, to take care of his son.
It's hard to think of something that would have made Diana more angry.
Daniela Elser is an experienced and freelance professional writer with 20 years of experience who has written for some of Australia's top print and digital media brands. Continue the conversation @DanielaElser
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