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On Saturday, in our aboriginal abstract from her blissful new memoir, Princess Margaret’s abutting acquaintance corrective an affectionate account of her arresting accord with the Queen’s sister — from dabbling about in the garden to administration secrets about their cheating husbands.
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Here, in the additional allotment of our absolute serialisation, Lady Glenconner reveals how her arcadian Caribbean paradise became a celebrity hotspot…
We were on anniversary in Trinidad aback my bedmate Colin heard about the Caribbean island of Mustique.
After sailing annular it he bought it for £45,000 — afterwards alike accepting set bottom on it.
It had no active baptize and no electricity, and alone about a dozen acreage were beneath cultivation, growing cotton.
The blow of the island’s 1,300 acreage or so were beat to a crisp.
Anybody abroad who had advised diplomacy it charge accept assured it was a non-starter, because by afresh — 1958 — it had been on the bazaar for bristles years.
Lady Glenconner reveals how her arcadian Caribbean paradise of Mustique became a celebrity hotspot. Above: Princess Margaret centre date on the island in 1986 amid Lady Glenconner (far right) and her bedmate Colin Tennant (left)
When Colin angry to me and asked what I thought, I didn’t authority back. ‘Colin,’ I said, ‘this is arduous madness!’
He looked at me. ‘You mark my words, Anne,’ he said defiantly. ‘I will accomplish Mustique a domiciliary name.’
It was alone the bravest of accompany who visited in the aboriginal years. Among them was Princess Margaret.
After she and Tony Armstrong-Jones affiliated in 1960, they set off on a six-month bout of the Caribbean on the Royal Yacht Britannia and fabricated their way to Mustique.
A acute little baiter came to bank and a man in white argosy compatible appeared at the aperture with an allurement to banquet on the yacht.
In the daytime, Princess Margaret would abrasion one of her abounding whale-boned pond apparel with a abbreviate skirt.
I began to apprehension that whispers broadcast whenever she got out of the water.
I anon realised it was because her pond apparel were cellophane aback wet.
Approaching the accountable delicately, I said: ‘Ma’am, I admiration whether you are acquainted that your pond apparel is rather see-through.
‘Perhaps I could get it lined for you.’
‘Oh, Anne,’ she said, somewhat exasperated.
‘I don’t care. If they appetite to look, they can look.’
And that was that.
I wrote back, saying, ‘Ma’am, it is very, actual kind. We’d actually adulation to, but we haven’t had a ablution for about two months and we really, absolutely stink.’
A acknowledgment came, adage they absolutely accepted but admired for our aggregation behindhand and would accept a berth put at our disposal.
I was captivated and took the befalling to soak, for absolutely some time, in the bath. It was bliss.
The abutting day, we took them on a bout of the island. For the blow of their stay, we arrive them to use any bank they liked, and reassured them that they would be larboard undisturbed.
On the aftermost day, they came and had a alcohol with us. That was the moment aback Colin said, ‘Ma’am, we haven’t accustomed you a bells present.
‘Would you like article in a little box or would you like a allotment of land?’
Princess Margaret angry to Tony and fabricated up her apperception afterwards cat-and-mouse for him to respond. ‘Oh, I anticipate a allotment of acreage would be aloof wonderful,’ she said.
It was Tony’s aboriginal and aftermost visit. Years later, addition asked him about Colin and he blurted out that he had consistently abhorred him.
Apparently, he referred to Mustique as ‘Mustake’. But for Princess Margaret, Mustique would eventually end up accouterment her with a accomplished new life.
Out of the dejected one day at the alpha of 1968, she rang Colin to ask: ‘Did you absolutely beggarly it about the land?’
‘Yes,’ replied Colin, captivated that she was demography an interest.
‘And does it appear with a house?’ Princess Margaret asked.
Colin, not absent to disappoint, replied that he would body her a house. She was delighted, adage she would appear out to Mustique to see the land.
She accustomed with no fuss a few months later, appropriately application the brazier of baptize in the copse to shower, aloof like we did.
The food, too, was basic: although we had beginning fish, aggregate abroad was tinned. She didn’t assume to mind.
The Queen’s aboriginal appointment was in 1977 with the Duke of Edinburgh, who consistently fabricated me nervous, writes Lady Glenconner. Above: The Queen stands alongside Princess Margaret (right) with Prince Philip walking abaft (left)
We had no able furniture, so we sat on artificial or cobweb chairs, arena cards aback the ablaze wasn’t acceptable abundant to read.
Mosquito nets covered the beds, and during the night we were inundated with some amazing mice.
Princess Margaret alleged them ‘flying mice’ because they would blitz up to the net, afresh jump to the abutting one in abundant leaps that seemed to baffle the laws of gravity.
She was decidedly adjustable —and actual aflame aback we took her to Gelliceaux Point at the top of the island, area her abode would be built.
Colin appropriate it because it was difficult for bodies to get to, accordingly added secure.
Of course, this meant that it was additionally difficult for us to get to and it was covered with scrub.
I offered her a brace of Colin’s affection pyjamas.
There she was, ascendance up the hill, cutting Colin’s pyjamas, with cord angry about her ankles and wrists to stop the brambles abrading and the mosquitoes biting.
She wore advanced sunglasses, a harbinger hat and a big smile, not absorbed at all. She wasn’t vain. She aloof got on with things.
Even admitting it was basic, and for years there were no celebrities and no amplitude on the island, she had privacy. A bolthole.
She became added aflame about her house’s achievement and aback we were both in London in the months arch up to it actuality finished, rang me several times to ask me to go arcade with her.
Lady Glenconner and Colin Tennant angry Mustique into a celebrity magnet, with David Bowie diplomacy a alcazar and a host of others including Bryan Adams visiting. Above: Lady Glenconner poses amid the Rolling Stones’ Mick Jagger and amateur Rupert Everett
I had been captivated at the invitation, attractive advanced to activity to Colefax & Fowler or some added alluring place. But she consistently chose Peter Jones — it was all actual low key — and she chose mostly white appliance and Laura Ashley-type curtains.
In February 1972, she came to break in her anew completed house, allotment it Les Jolies Eaux — French for ‘pretty waters’.
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It was the alone abode she anytime endemic and it fabricated her actual happy, because afar from actuality admirable it provided her with an absolute abject from her husband.
Not alone was Tony decumbent to affection swings, like Colin, they were both additionally accepting affairs.
We complained to anniversary added but afterwards over-indulging, speaking bluntly — then, abrasion our troubles aside, concentrated on accomplishing the things we enjoyed.
She admired accession shells to adorn tables, so we would adjust the beach, afresh booty them aback to the abode to clean.
It is hasty how such activities can accept a abstracted aftereffect and alter absorption from any difficulties.
The Queen’s aboriginal appointment was in 1977 with the Duke of Edinburgh, who consistently fabricated me nervous.
He fabricated anybody afraid and knew it. The aboriginal affair he said to Colin aback he came aground from Britannia was: ‘I can see you’ve broke the island.’
Colin was abject by the remark, abnormally because he had gone to such lengths to plan the beat with the Duke in mind, including snorkelling with sharks.
Lady Glenconner, Princess Margaret and Lord Glenconner delay on the anchorage to accost the Queen accession on Mustique on the Royal Yacht during her Silver Jubilee bout of the West Indies
The planning paid off because aback he was leaving, he angry to Colin, saying: ‘I absolutely like your island. I absolutely admired my time here.’
The abutting week, Nick Courtney, the accepted administrator of the island’s administration company, was assuming bodies about the island, and aback he got to Macaroni Bay, he said: ‘The Queen swam actuality aftermost week, and we haven’t afflicted the baptize since.’ Mustique seemed to be a hit with everyone.
But I agilely resented the parties that Colin connected to bandy because of the expense. Some of them bulk hundreds of bags of pounds.
The money was haemorrhaging out. Aback we bare more, Colin would artlessly advertise a painting or two.
By the time the Peacock Ball was actuality organised in the mid-Eighties, Colin had awash annihilation badly admired and was active out of options.
But he said it was all account it because the parties fabricated Mustique acclaimed and accordingly added profitable.
I anticipate from that point of appearance he was accepted right: it admiring the top bedrock stars, from David Bowie, who bought Mandalay Villa, to Bryan Ferry and Bryan Adams, as able-bodied as multitudes of celebrities from all over the world.
Ever aback Mick Jagger bought his house, now 30 years ago, he has fabricated an accomplishment to be allotment of the bounded community, giving money for a new academy and abutting in with apple activity by arena cricket.
Quite generally we’d go into Basil’s Bar and acquisition Mick abutting in with a alive singer.
One New Year, we organised a absurdity in which Mick was the doctor and we told everybody he was attractive for bodies to comedy patients.
Of advance the accomplished association angry up, absent to be casting for the part.
Princess Margaret admired the island of Mustique and holidayed there every year for thirty years. Above: Lord Glenconner poses with his arm about Margaret on Mustique in 1986
David Bowie, too, was a actual absorbing man, anon sitting my twins on his lap the aboriginal Easter he was there, absolutely at affluence with anybody as admitting we were all old friends.
Today, it still attracts the aforementioned array of bodies as it did all those years ago.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge booty their children, the newest bearing of Jaggers accept developed up there, and bodies from the appearance apple are still fatigued to it, from Poppy and Cara Delevingne to Tom Ford, who alleged one of his blush lipsticks ‘Mustique’.
Amazing, really, because it still hasn’t got all the mod-cons that added places have.
There is a baby bazaar but annihilation major, and there is no golf advance or berth and not a distinct nightclub.
I anticipate the acumen it’s so accepted is that it has kept Colin’s characteristic bohemian spirit and adopted it as its own.
By the mid-seventies, a abiding crawl of accessories was actuality appear about how Mustique was the new ‘place to go’.
This was a huge exaggeration — but it was accessible to believe.
Colin absitively that if he threw absurd parties, bodies would apprehend about them and appetite to be arrive to these ‘Caribbean Spectaculars’.
But out of all the parties, his 50th altogether Aureate Ball, in 1976, was the one that anchored Mustique the characterization of actuality the gluttonous paradise for the affluent and famous.
It did attending spectacular. Aggregate was gold — the copse had been painted, the grass sprayed, and alike the bank was covered with gold glitter.
Colin got some of the bounded lads bashed up, and they wore annihilation except a gold-painted attic strategically placed bottomward below.
That night fabricated Mustique acclaimed for ever, mainly bottomward to the aureate boys dancing about Princess Margaret.
And commercially it worked: anon afterwards the party, Mick Jagger bought a alcazar alleged L’Ansecoy.
(He additionally arrive Margaret and me to a Rolling Stones concert in London. It was so loud that we kept our fingers in our aerial the accomplished time.)
The parties connected over the years, the best baroque actuality Colin’s 60th altogether party, in 1986, which he spent two years planning.
Jerry Hall, who by afresh had replaced Bianca Jagger, sashayed in cutting an about identical dress to mine, remarking: ‘You accept the aforementioned colour as me.’
I capital to say to Jerry: ‘No, you accept the aforementioned colour as me’ — but I didn’t.
By Lady Glenconner, Princess Margaret’s Lady-in-waiting for the Daily Mail
Some of the happiest times that Princess Margaret and I aggregate were on Mustique, and we went there every February for 30 years.
But by the time the Eighties came to an end, things had changed. Colin had awash added and added shares and had beneath and beneath say in how Mustique was run.
In 1987 he confused to St Lucia, area he invested in an abortive 480-acre estate. He capital to actualize about abroad as amazing as Mustique.
Lord Glenconner larboard his absolute estate, including Mustique, to his manservant Kent (left), whom he had become added and added codicillary on
Shortly afterwards affective to St Lucia, Colin — who had affiliated the appellation 3rd Baron Glenconner afterward the afterlife of his ancestor in 1983 — saw an advertisement for an albatross for auction at Dublin Zoo and spontaneously bought it, organising its addition to St Lucia.
He alleged her Boopa and her arrival, on a address importing bricks, was a big blow because she was the aboriginal albatross to appear to the Caribbean.
Everybody flocked to the beach, and abounding of the adolescent men on the island capital to be her keeper, alive and bouncing to try to get Colin’s attention.
Among them, he saw a boy with actual big aerial and best him on the spot. The boy’s name was Kent.
Over the years, Colin became added and added codicillary on Kent for appealing abundant everything, abnormally as by afresh I was about abundant beneath than I had been.
In 1987, our afresh 19-year-old son Christopher had a abhorrent motorcycle accident, which larboard him so academician damaged that he was like a baby child.
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My accomplished activity became apprenticed up in aggravating to save his. I was assertive that if I gave him all of my attention, he aloof ability be all right.
In time he did accomplish a arresting recovery. He additionally got married, but aback Colin confused to St Lucia permanently, I remained in England so as not to be too far abroad from him.
When, some years later, the alliance failed, Christopher came to break in my farmhouse in Norfolk (and afterwards met and affiliated a bounded woman, Johanna, with whom he is acquiescently happy).
Kent adherent his activity to Colin, who in acknowledgment was generous, giving him two hotels and advantageous him well.
Although Colin had bigger aback the aboriginal canicule of our marriage, he was still awful strung.
On one accurate occasion, he became agitated beneath the best awkward circumstances.
He had taken me and Kent to Italy and organised an black in Verona to see Nabucco, one of my favourite operas.
Kent, who was mad about football, went off to watch a bout on TV instead.
The black was activity able-bodied until center through the Choir of the Hebrew Slaves in the third act, when, to my horror, Colin started to bawl and scream.
‘Colin, what is the matter?’ I asked.
‘I ambition Kent was here,’ he wailed.
Lord Glenconner sits on an albatross his accompanying daughters Amy and Mary on the island of St Lucia, in the West Indies, in 1994
‘Honestly, I don’t anticipate Kent would adore it, but I am here.’ But still Colin connected to wail: ‘No, no, I appetite Kent!’
By this time, added and added of the admirers were axis their active in our direction.
Seeing the rug over Colin’s knees, I threw it over his head, acquisitive it would shut him up.
With his wails now muffled, the admirers angry their absorption aback to the stage.
Shrinking into my seat, I hoped the adventure was over — but the affliction embarrassment was yet to come.
When the choir assuredly ended, the aqueduct angry to the admirers and announced: ‘Under the circumstances, I anticipate we will accept to accept that again.’
I was absolutely mortified.
By 2010, Colin had prostate blight but he was determined that no one should acquisition out.
He had consistently had the abstraction that bodies didn’t appetite to do business with addition who looked ill or old.
That summer, I went out to St Lucia to attending afterwards him and backward for several weeks.
As he recovered slowly, he was airy and loving. With commitments in Norfolk, I went home with the ambition of advancing aback a anniversary or so later.
On August 27, 2010, three canicule afterwards I’d left, he had a massive affection advance and died. I was absolutely shocked.
As I flew aback to St Lucia to organise the funeral, I begin it adamantine to brainstorm a apple afterwards him.
Colin was a abnormally difficult and ablaze man in according measure. But somehow, admitting his amaranthine diplomacy and histrionics, there was an cardinal loyalty, a accord that apprenticed us together, no bulk what.
On St Lucia it is accepted for a will to be apprehend quickly, so that night I waited for the lawyer.
Everything that belonged to Colin, whether affected or valuable, he had larboard alone to Kent. Above: Lord Glenconner in 2009
I was afraid and a little afraid about it, as Colin’s advocate had told me: ‘I accept Lord Glenconner fabricated a new will seven months ago with a advocate from Soufrière.’
My affection sank aback the new advocate angry up. He almost kept eye acquaintance and was actual antsy as I stood with my daughter-in-law, Sheilagh, whose son Cody was the beneficiary presumptive.
He got out a distinct allotment of cardboard and apprehend aloud: ‘I hereby leave aggregate to Kent Adonai, and I assurance he will backpack out my wishes appear the family.’
I anticipation my affection was activity to stop.
Afterwards I begin Kent, and as calmly as I could, I said, ‘Well, Kent, I achievement you will backpack out Lord Glenconner’s wishes to us all.’
He looked at me, shrugged his amateur and said, ‘I don’t apperceive what Lord Glenconner meant.’ I knew afresh that we absolutely stood to lose everything.
Lord Glenconner, who died in 2010, stands alfresco the restaurant he endemic on the island of St Lucia
Later, I stood on the balustrade of the abode that no best belonged to us. Fifty-four years.
Five children. A alliance abounding with Colin throwing as abounding tantrums as he threw parties.
And now, afterwards all I’d been through, this. It was such a abhorrent humiliation. And to do it to our accouchement …
I despaired. Activity adjoin aggregate my mother had consistently accomplished me, I let affect booty over and I screamed and screamed into the aphotic night.
Everything that belonged to Colin, whether affected or valuable, he had larboard alone to Kent.
The alone affair the ancestors had larboard was Glen, the Scottish estate, larboard in assurance to my grandson Euan. He is the son of our additional son, Henry, who died from Aids in 1990.
But the beneficiary to the barony and the Caribbean assets is Cody, the son of our earlier son Charlie, a adapted heroin aficionado who died from hepatitis C in 1996.
Cody and his mother acknowledged the will. In the end it took seven years to resolve. While Kent kept a huge bulk of acreage and money, about bisected of Colin’s acreage was handed to Cody.
I still acquisition it absurd to acquaint whether Colin advised to leave us all with nothing. It is absolutely accessible that he did it on purpose, as some array of abhorrent achievement which would defended his acceptability as a memorable eccentric.
It is additionally accessible he didn’t accept what he was accomplishing in the aftermost few months of his life. I will never apperceive for sure.