The wife of actor Sir Roger Moore accepted substantial undisclosed libel damages today over a claim that she lived with a "playboy" while knocking around the French Riviera in her youth.
The allegations relating to Lady Kristina Moore in the Daily Mail in October 2010 were completely untrue and seriously defamatory, solicitor Catherine Rhind told Mr Justice Tugendhat at London's High Court.
She said that the item in the Ephraim Hardcastle column said: "Playboy Taki Theodoracopulos, 74, says a great love of his life was Kiki, a gorgeous Swede with whom he lived at the Hotel du Cap in 1958. Their affair ended when he found she had been given 'a fortune in French francs' by a 'disgusting' 90-year-old Frenchman.
"His story (in the Spectator) is bound to send the famously-mobile eyebrows of The Saint and James Bond actor Sir Roger Moore into overdrive.
"A 'stunning' Swedish beauty called Kiki - 'even Gianni Agnelli gave her a whirl' - who went on to marry a rich man?
"Surely Taki isn't referring to Sir Roger's fourth wife, the former Kristina Tholstrup, pictured? Lady Moore, 71, is known as Kiki, did knock around the French Riviera in her youth and did end up 'very well off' (after marrying three rich men, including Sir Roger)."
Ms Rhind said the article was illustrated by a photo of Lady Moore, leaving the reader in no doubt that it was inferred that Kiki was Lady Moore.
Despite the serious nature of what was claimed, no attempt was made before publication to check the accuracy of the story by contacting Lady Moore, and the newspaper claimed that it was unable to contact Taki.
Ms Rhind told the court: "The true position is that Lady Moore was 18 in 1958 and was living in Sweden with her mother and father and at that time had never visited France.
"She could not therefore have been the person to whom Taki was referring, as has indeed since been confirmed by Taki who has acknowledged that he was in fact writing about somebody entirely different."
She added that, following Taki's confirmation that he was not referring to Lady Moore, the newspaper corrected the matter at the first available opportunity.
Associated Newspapers has apologised and agreed to pay Lady Moore substantial damages and her legal costs.
The newspaper's solicitor, Harry Kinmonth, acknowledged the allegations were untrue and apologised for the distress and embarrassment caused to both Lady Moore and Sir Roger Moore, who were not in court.