In the popular 1990s comedy series, Lumley played Patricia “Patsy” Stone, a hard-partying fashion director, opposite Jennifer Saunders’s Eddie Monsoon.
Speaking to Gyles Brandreth during a recent event to promote her new book about Elizabeth II, A Queen For All Seasons, Lumley addressed the character’s origins.
“[Princess Margaret] was a kind of prototype Patsy,” she said (per The Mirror). “There was something so fabulous about her. So fabulous and so funny.”
She recalled a meeting with the royal at a drinks reception after the actor played Elvira in a production of Blithe Spirit at the Vaudeville Theatre in 1986.
Lumley claimed: “At this moment in strange royal life, everybody said, ‘Princess Margaret is not allowed to drink at the moment. Do not have any drink in theatre, and don’t offer her any drink.’
“I thought, ‘You can’t have a reception with Princess Margaret and not offer any drink. This is insane’. She was looking pretty bored by the time I arrived.”
According to Lumley, the late Countess of Snowden then removed a bottle of whiskey she had hidden in her bag.
“She left the party, opened her bag, got out a small bottle of whisky and a packet of cigarettes, lit up, cigarette holder, and sat there smoking.”
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