Alexandra Shân "Tiggy" Legge-Bourke MVO (born 1 April 1965) was nanny, later companion, to Prince William of Wales and his brother Prince Harry, and a personal assistant to Charles, Prince of Wales, between 1993 and 1999. Since her marriage she has been known as Tiggy Pettifer.
Tiggy Legge-Bourke's paternal grandfather, Sir Henry Legge-Bourke (1914–1973) was member of parliament for the Isle of Ely from 1945 until 1973 and was chairman of the 1922 Committee of Conservative backbenchers. He was notable for not making a single speech in the House of Commons during his twenty-eight years there. His death in 1973 led to a famous by-election, won by the Liberal Clement Freud.
Brought up at Glanusk Park, a six thousand acre estate in Wales, Tiggy Legge-Bourke was educated at Heathfield School, Ascot, which she left with four O-levels, and the Institut Alpin Videmanette at Rougemont in Switzerland, a finishing school also attended by Diana, Princess of Wales. She has a sister and a brother, Zara and Harry. She and her sister, who is a year younger, were debs. In 1985, soon after coming out, Zara was married to Captain Richard Grosvenor Plunkett-Ernle-Erle-Drax, but the marriage ended in divorce in 1997.
In 1966, Legge-Bourke's grandmother Margaret Glenusk, widowed in 1948, married secondly William Sidney, 1st Viscount De L'Isle, who had been Governor-General of Australia from 1961 until 1965. He thus became step-grandfather to the Legge-Bourke children until his death in 1991.
In 1993, shortly after Charles, Prince of Wales, and his wife had separated, Charles hired Legge-Bourke as nanny to his two sons. She had first joined the prince's staff as an assistant to his private secretary, Richard Aylard. As the royal nanny, she soon began to make headlines. Early controversy came when she said scornfully of the Princess of Wales's attitude towards her sons - "I give them what they need at this stage, fresh air, a rifle and a horse. She gives them a tennis racket and a bucket of popcorn at the movies". It was also considered to be a gaffe when Tiggy referred to William and Harry as "my babies".
She often went with the princes on holidays. A heavy smoker, she was said to be able to smoke even while skiing, and was criticized by Diana for smoking near her sons.
In 1996, at the age of fourteen, Prince William, avoiding a difficult choice, asked both of his parents not to attend Eton’s Fourth of June celebrations, the high point of the school's year. However, they were both reported to be taken aback when he invited Legge-Bourke to attend in their place.
There was anger in 1998 when Legge-Bourke allowed the young princes to abseil down a fifty-metre dam without safety lines or helmets. Staff at St James's Palace mounted an inquiry, and Tiggy was reported to have been saved only by the princes' adoration of her.
The press predicted time and again that Tiggy was about to be sacked, but this never happened. Early in 1997, she resigned, but she returned to the royal household a few months later. On 18 July 1997, while out of Charles's service, she attended the fiftieth birthday party he threw for Camilla Parker Bowles in Gloucestershire.
She finally retired from the Prince of Wales's service when she married in October 1999.
On 9 December 1992, John Major announced in the House of Commons that Charles, Prince of Wales and Diana, Princess of Wales, were to separate but had no plans to divorce. At the time, Diana was convinced that Charles loved only Camilla Parker-Bowles.
As early as October 1993, Diana was writing to Paul Burrell that she believed her husband was now in love with Legge-Bourke and wanted to marry her.
On 3 December 1993, Diana announced that she had decided to withdraw from public life.
Early in 1995, the Prince of Wales was reported to have kissed Legge-Bourke on a ski slope at Klosters. In June of the same year, a press photographer took a picture of Charles kissing Legge-Bourke on the cheek at a sports day at Prince Harry's Ludgrove School. Asked to comment, the Office of the Prince of Wales said this was a natural display of affection towards a woman the prince had known since childhood. Legge-Bourke later admitted having had a "schoolgirl crush" on Charles, who had been a frequent visitor to her family's estate. As rumours of an affair mounted, Legge-Bourke said that she "shrugged them off as the price I must pay for working for the Prince of Wales". Diana's biographer Lady Colin Campbell commented that "Charles is only interested in her as an uncle is interested in a younger niece".
On 20 November 1995, a sensational interview with the Princess of Wales was broadcast by the BBC. The strife between Charles and Diana became public as never before, and Diana's famous "there were three of us in this marriage" undoubtedly referred to Parker-Bowles. There was no mention of Legge-Bourke. However, on 24 January 1996, newspapers named Diana as the source of an untrue rumour circulated in November and December 1995 that Legge-Bourke had become pregnant by Charles and had had an abortion. It was reported that words had been exchanged between Diana and Legge-Bourke on the matter at a party on 14 December 1995, when Diana had said to her "So sorry about the baby", and an 'informed source' was quoted as saying "The Queen was absolutely furious and totally in sympathy with Tiggy". On 18 December 1995, Legge-Bourke, with the Queen's agreement, instructed the libel lawyer Peter Carter-Ruck to write to Diana's solicitors demanding an apology, asking that the accusation be "recognized to be totally untrue". No apology was received, but Legge-Bourke's lawyers circulated a letter to the news media to warn against publication.
On 20 December 1995, it was reported that the Queen had asked Charles and Diana to consider "an early divorce".
On 22 January 1996, shortly before the story of the abortion allegation was published, Diana's private secretary Patrick Jephson resigned, as did his assistant Nicole Cockell the next day. Jephson later wrote that Diana had "exulted in accusing Legge-Bourke of having had an abortion".
Diana became ever more hostile towards Legge-Bourke, asking that she leave the room while Diana was talking to her sons on the telephone. In February, 1996, newspapers published a letter from Diana to Charles in which she asked that "Miss Legge-Bourke not spend unnecessary time in the children's rooms... read to them at night, nor supervise their bathtime."
Charles and Diana's divorce was made absolute on 28 August 1996, and Diana was killed with Dodi Fayed in a road accident in Paris on 31 August 1997. Much later, Lord Stevens of Kirkwhelpington headed Operation Paget, an inquiry into the deaths which reported its findings on 14 December 2006. According to the report, Diana feared that both she and Camilla Parker Bowles were the victims of a plot intended to make it possible for the Prince of Wales to marry a third woman. The Daily Mail immediately reported that the third woman was Legge-Bourke. When telephoned by the Daily Mail on 15 December 2006, Legge-Bourke replied "I am not going to talk to you. Happy Christmas!"
As journalists digested Lord Stevens's report, they looked with a fresh eye at the conspiracy theories the report had demolished and tried to construct another out of Charles's supposed love for Legge-Bourke.
The story resurfaced again when a new inquest into the deaths of Diana and Dodi Fayed began at the Royal Courts of Justice in London on 2 October 2007, headed by Lord Justice Scott Baker sitting as a coroner. On 6 October 2007, the judge was reported as telling the court that in the evidence of Lord Mishcon, Diana's solicitor, Diana had told him that "Camilla was not really Charles's lover, but a decoy for his real favourite, the nanny Tiggy Legge-Bourke".
In December 2007, witnesses at the inquest were questioned about a letter to Paul Burrell which Diana had written by hand in October 1993, of which only redacted versions had previously been public. In this letter, Diana said -
This particular phase in my life is the most dangerous - my husband is planning "an accident" in my car, brake failure and serious head injury in order to make the path clear for him to marry Tiggy. Camilla is nothing but a decoy, so we are all being used by the man in every sense of the word.
On 7 January 2008, Diana's friend Rodney Turner, giving evidence to the new inquest, described his shock at seeing the contents of Diana's letter to Burrell, but on 15 January 2008, Maggie Rea, a lawyer in the firm headed by Lord Mishcon (who died in January 2006), gave evidence to the inquest about Diana's fears to much the same effect as the letter, based on a note Mishcon had left on his file and on a meeting Rea and a colleague had had with Mishcon in October 1995. In what is called 'the Mishcon note', which dates from 1995, Diana forecast that in 1996 the Queen would abdicate, the Prince of Wales would discard Parker-Bowles in favour of Legge-Bourke, and that she would herself die in a planned road crash. Mishcon copied the note to the Metropolitan Police before he died, and they took no action on it.
On 7 October 2007, the journalist Jasper Gerard mocked the 'conspiracy theorists' promoting ever-stranger notions of the death of Diana, Princess of Wales:
There will still be folk a century on tapping their noses sagely while reading new revelations: it was Tiggy Legge-Bourke and the Queen Mother hiding in the underpass with a flashlight and a bottle of Gordon's. They killed Diana after she threatened to reveal that Nicholas Witchell was carrying Prince Charles's love child and to thwart Diana's plan to become Queen of South Africa, following her secret romance with Nelson Mandela.
Legge-Bourke and Pettifer had had a brief romance while they were teenagers at school in the 1980s (she at Heathfield, he at Eton). They stayed friends while he was married to Camilla Wyatt, and Legge-Bourke was godmother to one of their sons. Until May 1997, Pettifer was company secretary and a director of Unique Security Consultants Ltd., providing former SAS officers as bodyguards. He then became chief executive of Rapport Research and Analysis Ltd, supplying companies with former SAS officers for protection work.
The Pettifers now have two sons, Fred, born in 2001, and Tom, born on 23 September 2002. Prince Harry is a godfather for their elder son, Fred.
In recent years, Tiggy has developed a farmhouse bed and breakfast business at Ty'r Chanter, near Crickhowell on the Glanusk estate, billed as 'The Tiggy Experience'.
In 2005, she spoke out against the Prince of Wales's aide Michael Fawcett, claiming that many holders of royal warrants were afraid to assist with an inquiry in 2003 by Sir Michael Peat into allegations against Fawcett. She said: "None came forward because no one could guarantee Michael would go. He resigned, then four days later he was back. Everybody was concerned that if you spoke out against him, he could get rid of you.
In April 2006, she attended the Sovereign's Parade at Sandhurst for Prince Harry's passing out as an officer of the Blues and Royals. In November 2006, the Prince of Wales was reported to be a regular visitor to Tiggy and her family in Powys.
It appears that any breach with Camilla has been made up, as Tiggy and Charles Pettifer were two of the one hundred and fifty guests invited to Camilla's sixtieth birthday party on 21 July 2007. Tiggy Pettifer also attended the service of thanksgiving for the sixtieth anniversary of the wedding of Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh at Westminster Abbey on 19 November 2007.
She is a cousin of the public relations executive and television personality Eleanor Legge-Bourke, a contestant of Nice People in 2003, which is a French Television version of the show Big Brother. Eleanor is the daughter of Heneage Legge-Bourke, the younger brother of Tiggy Legge-Bourke's father.
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