Downing St diamonds are forever

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The Independent Online
IT HAS the makings of a rather good Spitting Image sketch. A former prime minister (female) takes exception to the wife of the present Prime Minister wearing a diamond necklace of which she was especially fond during her days at No 10.

Outraged, she telephones her successor and makes it clear that the necklace is still her personal favourite and that he should not permit his wife (or any other woman) to wear it again in public. The current Prime Minister protests - feebly - and then promises to instruct his wife to find some other bauble to wear.

Fiction or fact? According to next month's issue of the society magazine Tatler, it is true. The magazine reports that just before Christmas, Baroness Thatcher spotted a bejewelled Norma Major at an engagement and telephoned her successor to complain.

Mr Major countered that his wife was entitled to wear the necklace as it formed part of a collection donated to the state, but then bowed to his former boss's wish.

Tim Walker, associate editor of the Tatler, said last night that the magazine had 'total confidence' in the veracity of its story.

Lady Thatcher was unavailable for comment yesterday and a spokesman for No 10 declined to 'get involved in tittle-tattle'.