The Archer Affair: Why did Archer try to conceal a dinner with a friend and colleague?

ANDRINA COLQUHOUN, a blond, blue-eyed former debutante, has proved to be a fateful dinner companion not once, but twice. In 1974, Ms Colquhoun was stood up on a dinner-date with Lord Lucan the night his nanny was murdered and he disappeared.

Now she has been revealed as the "close female friend" Lord Archer of Weston-super-Mare asked Ted Francis to protect by lying. There is a baffling question. Why would Lord Archer hide a date with Ms Colquhoun, his former personal assistant? That the two were together should be no surprise. She was well-known as a friend and close colleague of Lord Archer when he was a Conservative Party deputy chairman.

Andrina "Andy" Colquhoun, aged 33 in 1986, was known in high society circles. She was wealthy in her right and attracted to powerful risk- taking men. She had been Lord Lucan's last female companion and was waiting for him at the Clermont Club that night in 1974, when Sandra Rivett died. Ms Colquhoun, stepdaughter of Peter Meyer of the Meyer Montague timber company, denied she was Lucan's lover.

She went on to work as a society photographer and became became Jeffrey Archer's personal assistant in the early 1980s. The novelist's wife, Mary, remained at home in Cambridge, while the vivacious Ms Colquhoun acted as hostess at parties in his penthouse overlooking the Thames.

When Lord Archer travelled abroad, Ms Colquhoun went with him. Lord Archer's biographer, Michael Crick, says her duties included cooking on trips to the Caribbean that sometimes lasted six to eight weeks while he was writing his blockbusters. The arrangement ended in 1985.

Nigel Dempster, the gossip columnist at the Daily Mail, said "a condition" of Jeffrey Archer's appointment as deputy chairman of the Conservative Party was "that he regularises his personal affairs".

When Ms Colquhoun left, she acquired Lord Archer's BMW and its famous numberplate ANY 1 which became a familiar sight around her Oxfordshire home. Mary Archer, who had resigned as a Cambridge academic, took over as his hostess. He hired a male personal assistant, David Faber.

Ms Colquhoun is said to have dined with Lord Archer at the Sambuca Restaurant in Chelsea a year after she had left his employ. It was a date so sensitive the peer felt forced to ask Mr Francis to lie to keep it secret. Lord Archer says he did not want Ms Colquhoun dragged into the libel trial.

He was also reported to have been a visitor to his assistant's Oxfordshire cottage when she worked for him. Ms Colquhoun was said to have made no secret of her "admiration" for her employer.

She went on to work for Terence Conran. Her marriage to gambler-businessman Bob Waddington in 1990 was celebrated with a party at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London. They have one child.

Yesterday she appeared in tears after being confronted by reporters at the house in the Oxfordshire village of Sandford St Martin where she had been staying.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Inside Sales - OTE to £45,000

£25000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We are a leading supplier of bu...

Recruitment Genius: Installation Engineer - Driveway

£28000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This innovative, fast growing f...

Recruitment Genius: Junior Project Manager - Technical

£30000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Our client is looking for a Jun...

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Day In a Page

On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific
In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

Dame Colette Bowe - interview
When do the creative juices dry up?

When do the creative juices dry up?

David Lodge thinks he knows
The 'Cher moment' happening across fashion just now

Fashion's Cher moment

Ageing beauty will always be more classy than all that booty
Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination

Health fears over school cancer jab

Shock new Freedom of Information figures show how thousands of girls have suffered serious symptoms after routine HPV injection
Fifa President Sepp Blatter warns his opponents: 'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

Fifa president Sepp Blatter issues defiant warning to opponents
Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report

Weather warning

Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report
LSD: Speaking to volunteer users of the drug as trials get underway to see if it cures depression and addiction

High hopes for LSD

Meet the volunteer users helping to see if it cures depression and addiction
German soldier who died fighting for UK in Battle of Waterloo should be removed from museum display and given dignified funeral, say historians

Saving Private Brandt

A Belgian museum's display of the skeleton of a soldier killed at Waterloo prompts calls for him to be given a dignified funeral