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Sunday, 10 February, 2002, 12:49 GMT
Margaret's cousin attacks 'cruel' media
Lady Elizabeth Shakerley
Lady Shakerley will miss the princess "enormously"
A cousin of Princess Margaret has rejected the image of her as a "troubled" woman who constantly smoked and drank.

Lady Elizabeth Shakerley attacked the media for caricaturing her as "always somehow attached to a bottle of Famous Grouse and a cigarette holder and a packet of cigarettes".

Speaking on BBC1's Breakfast with Frost she said the princess had been a very close friend and a wonderful and talented person.

Lady Shakerley said the princess's death was "very sad" and added: "I will miss her quite enormously as you can imagine."

'Musical career'

Commenting on Margaret's portrayal as a "troubled princess" Lady Shakerley said: "As Prince Charles said yesterday, she lived life to the full and was such a fun person.


She was somebody who had a wonderful capacity for giving a lot of people pleasure

Lady Shakerley
"She had great capacity for making people laugh and making a situation wonderful."

Lady Shakerley said the princess's later years had not been "at all easy"

But she added: "She was such a talented person, I think in certain ways she could have carved out a musical career for herself and possibly been on the stage.

"She was somebody who had a wonderful capacity for giving a lot of people pleasure and she was making a very, very, very good and loyal friend."

'Very unfair'

Lady Shakerley criticised the media, and cartoonists in particular, for cruelly portraying her cousin as someone who always had a drink and a cigarette on the go.

"In fact for many years she neither smoked nor drank," she said.

"It was a very unfair thing to do to someone who couldn't answer back in that way."

Lady Shakerley said she would remember the princess when she was "in fantastic form" during an evening out in a restaurant shortly before another stroke last year.

She said: "It was the first dinner she had had in many months and, I think, unfortunately the last.

"She looked so wonderfully beautiful. She was wearing a beautiful red and gold jacket and she had taken out her rubies and she did look as she did before she had her very first stroke."

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Princess Margaret's cousin Lady Elizabeth Shackerly
"I will miss her terribly"

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Princess Margaret 1930-2002
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