Controversial biography of the Queen was censored before publication
Publishing sources confirmed that the author, regarded as a serious biographer and a "safe pair of hands", had unwittingly included potentially sensational disclosures about the Royal Family in her first draft and had to submit it to important cuts.
A spokeswoman for the publishers, William Heinemann, said: "It was checked for libel. It was seen by a libel reporter and our own in-house solicitor."
The Times, which is publishing extracts from Sarah Bradford's biography, left out some of the more explosive revelations through fear of offending some of its traditionalist readers. In particular, yesterday's extract did not name a former lady- in-waiting dismissed by the Queen, allegedly for warning her of rumours about Prince Philip's infidelity.
Some years later the lady-in-waiting committed suicide. The Daily Mirror yesterday named her as Lady Alice Egerton, who died in 1977, aged 52.
The Times also decided not to run a news story on the claims, on the grounds that people would still buy the paper to read the extract, especially at its reduced price of 20p, but it was not worth the risk of provoking royalist readers into cancelling their orders.
Even in its expurgated form, the biography set off yet another round of speculation about the private lives of the Royal Family. The publicity took Buckingham Palace by surprise, as hints that the Duke of Edinburgh had been unfaithful came from an apparently impeccable source. Sarah Bradford, Viscountess Bangor, has quoted from what she describes as "private diaries", "a private, unpublished memoir" and "private conversations". Her earlier biography of George VI was well received by the Queen.
Buckingham Palace has dismissed the biography as "tired, recycled speculation".
Elizabeth, A Biography of Her Majesty The Queen examines rumours that swirled around the earlier years of the royal marriage which suggested that the Duke was unfaithful, and his reputation for having a roving eye.
Gossip surfaced as long ago as 1948, when Philip was a member of the Thursday Club, an informal group that met once a week for lunch in a room above Wheeler's restaurant. The club was started by society photographer Baron, and it was not long before gossip columnists linked his then girlfriend, Pat Kirkwood, a beautiful musical star, to Philip.
One of the few surviving members of the club is the veteran harmonica maestro Larry Adler. Yesterday he said: "The Thursday Club was the most wonderful creation. It was all male and completely informal. I never referred to Prince Philip in any terms other than plain Philip.
"We were very frank with one another but never discussed our sex lives. We knew of the gossip about Philip, but it didn't appear to affect him and we never dwelt on it."
Last night the Duke of Sutherland denied the claim that Lady Alice Egerton - his sister - was asked to leave Buckingham Palace because she tried to warn the Queen about the Duke of Edinburgh's flirtations. He broke a 20-year silence to describe the book as a "slur" on the Queen, and said his sister left "because she had a mental breakdown - as simple as that".
In 1992, Prince Philip gave a rare interview to the Independent on Sunday in which he laughed off rumours of infidelity, and said: "For the last 40 years, I have never moved anywhere without a policeman accompanying me. So how the hell could I get away with anything like that?" The next day the journalist received a letter from Buckingham Palace warning her that she could face legal action if she pursued this line of inquiry.
- 1 Florida man sentenced to two-and-a-half years for having sex on the beach in front of a child
- 2 Autistic teenager beaten up by bullies makes them watch 20-minute video about autism
- 3 Nick Kyrgios calls former Olympian Dawn Fraser a 'blatant racist' after she tells Wimbledon star to 'go back where their parents came from'
- 4 World learns of app that shows you who unfriended you on Facebook, app promptly crashes
- 5 Chris Moyles reportedly set to make radio comeback with new breakfast show on XFM
Florida man sentenced to two-and-a-half years for having sex on the beach in front of a child
Autistic teenager beaten up by bullies makes them watch 20-minute video about autism
Man who was struck and killed by lightning in Brecon Beacons 'was carrying a selfie stick'
Greece debt crisis as it happened: EU chiefs at loggerheads hours before Alexis Tsipras’s last ditch deal proposals
Bakery sends 'horrific' version of Frozen-themed birthday cake to unsuspecting customer
More Britons believe that multiculturalism makes the country worse - not better, says poll
Osborne to cap family benefits at £23,000 – announced ahead of his post-election Budget
Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
Sickness and disability benefits could be reduced by £30 a week as part of £12bn welfare cuts
Greece debt crisis: Angela Merkel and Francois Hollande issue Athens with 24-hour ultimatum to avoid crashing out of the euro
Greece crisis: Referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its lack of genuine legitimacy
£23000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Business Analyst is required ...
£16000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: To succeed, you will need to ha...
£8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join an award winni...
£7 - £9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Are you outgoing? Do you want to work in...