`Tatler' in turmoil over sob story

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THE EDITOR of Tatler was said to be on holiday last night, the day after her staff reportedly saw her in floods of tears and amid reports that she had left the company.

The socialites' bible was buzzing with rumours that Jane Procter had been beheaded or abdicated. After almost a decade at the top followed by months of rumour and speculation, Ms Procter was nowhere to be found. Less than a week ago, half her fashion department walked out.

The woman who quizzed job applicants on their father's social status over breakfast at Claridge's and declared you could tell a working-class woman by her legs, was last seen by staff on Thursday, "sobbing her heart out".

Nicknamed the "Purley Queen" by Private Eye because of her south London roots, she was credited with Tatler's success in the mass market. "Tatler had been a satirical, sharp publication," an industry source said. "Jane turned it into a homage not just to the aristocratic but the plain rich. She realised it had to be glitzy. It became very fluffy, easy to read and it was incredibly successful, though it was ghastly."

Last night Conde Nast, the publishers of Tatler, declined to answer questions about Ms Procter's status, simply saying she was on holiday.