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Wednesday, 10 January, 2001, 20:28 GMT
Q and A: The princess's health
Few outside the Royal Family know Princess Margaret better than her official biographer, Christopher Warwick.

Here he gives his opinions on the health of the princess and her attitude to being hospitalised.

What do we know of Princess Margaret's condition?

I think on the whole we only know what Buckingham Palace has chosen to tell us.


But I have it on very good authority myself that the princess has had a second stroke, which is why she has been admitted to hospital as a precautionary measure rather than a cause for alarm.

There have been suggestions in the popular press about the princess being depressed - what is her state of mind?

Too much weight has been given to stories of her being depressed.

Last year we were told that she was suffering from profound depression.

Some of the tabloid newspapers have been saying that she is clinically depressed, which is a rather irresponsible thing for any respectable newspaper to say.

I have known her for 21 years and the last time I saw her was five weeks ago.

Yes, of course when she was recovering from the scalding of her feet, which was extremely severe and painful, of course there were moments when she was extremely depressed - wouldn't we all be?

But I think stories of depression have been magnified enormously and I think one has to demolish them.

What system is in place for looking after the princess's health?

On a day-to-day level there are doctors available.

When she came back to London after scalding her feet she was under the care of the Queen's doctors at home.

And the nursing sister from Buckingham Palace would come daily to see that all was going to plan with her feet.

One has to say that they do have access to the best of doctors and the best of hospitals, which is why the princess has gone to the King Edward VII Hospital in London.

Is she a good patient or will she have gone into hospital reluctantly?

I don't think she will have gone to hospital reluctantly.

I am very reliably informed that she really is a very good patient and a very grateful patient.

The sort of person who realises this is absolutely necessary for her health and therefore, somebody said to me, she was "angelic".

How will she cope with the recent deterioration in her health?

She is a very pragmatic and stoic individual.

Of course she will not be happy with it, but I also heard that she was looking forward to going to the West Indies next month, so this is a measure of her determination.

One can only hope that being hospitalised, as I said earlier, is just a precautionary measure.

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