Tiggy Legge-Bourke

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Tiggy Legge-Bourke
Born Alexandra Shân Legge-Bourke
(1965-04-01) 1 April 1965 (age 52)
Residence Crickhowell
Nationality British
Other names Tiggy Pettifer, Alexandra Pettifer
Education Heathfield and Institut Alpin Videmanette, Switzerland
Occupation Former Royal nanny
Employer Charles, Prince of Wales
Spouse(s) Charles Pettifer
Children 2
Parent(s) William Legge-Bourke DL
Shân Legge-Bourke, LVO
Relatives Sir Henry Legge-Bourke (paternal grandfather)
Wilfred Bailey, 3rd Baron Glanusk (maternal grandfather)

Alexandra Shân "Tiggy" Legge-Bourke MVO (born 1 April 1965) was nanny, later companion, to Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, and his brother Prince Harry, and a personal assistant to Charles, Prince of Wales between 1993 and 1999. Since her marriage she has been known as Tiggy Pettifer.


Legge-Bourke is the daughter of William Legge-Bourke (1939–2009), who served in the Royal Horse Guards,[1] after taking a degree at Magdalene College, Cambridge, he then became a merchant banker at Kleinwort Benson, and was a Deputy Lieutenant of Powys from 1997 until his death.[2][3][4] Tiggy's mother, the Hon. Shân Legge-Bourke LVO (born 1943), was the only child of Wilfred Bailey, 3rd Baron Glanusk (1891–1948), a soldier who became a Colonel in the Grenadier Guards and also served as Lord Lieutenant of Brecknockshire.[5] When Shân Bailey's father died in 1948, she and her mother inherited his estate at Glanusk Park, near Crickhowell in Powys, while his peerage went to a cousin.[6] Shân Legge-Bourke was appointed a lady-in-waiting to the Princess Royal in 1987,[7] was High Sheriff of Powys in 1991,[8] and is now Lord Lieutenant of Powys.[9]

Tiggy Legge-Bourke's paternal grandfather, Sir Henry Legge-Bourke (1914–1973), was member of parliament for the Isle of Ely from 1945 until 1973 and was chairman of the 1922 Committee of Conservative backbenchers.[10] His death in 1973 led to a famous by-election won by the Liberal Clement Freud.[11][12]

The family's Glanusk estate was bought, and the first big house there built, by Legge-Bourke's ancestor Sir Joseph Bailey (1783–1858), whose fortune was made in an ironworks at Nantyglo.[13]

Early life[edit]

The first Glanusk Park, Tiggy Legge-Bourke's ancestral home, built by her ancestor the ironmaster Sir Joseph Bailey

Brought up at Glanusk Park, a 6,000-acre (24 km2) estate in Wales,[2] Tiggy Legge-Bourke was educated at Heathfield School, Ascot,[14] which she left with four O-levels,[3] and the Institut Alpin Videmanette at Rougemont in Switzerland, a finishing school also attended by Diana, Princess of Wales.

She has a sister and a brother, Zara and Harry; in 1985 Zara (b. 1966) was married to Captain Richard Grosvenor Plunkett-Ernle-Erle-Drax, but the marriage ended in divorce in 1997. They had two daughters, she married secondly in 2003 (as his 2nd wife) Angus Gordon-Lennox, of the dukes of Richmond, and now lives at Gordon Castle. (Her husband Richard Drax MP remarried twice, and has had two more children.)

Legge-Bourke's brother Harry, born in 1972, was a Page of Honour to Queen Elizabeth II between 1985 and 1987 and became an officer in the Welsh Guards, he married Iona Maclean in 2000, and had issue one son (Lachlan or Lochy, b. 2003, now a Page of Honour like his father, great-uncle and great-grandfather) and one daughter. Lachlan was part of the Queen's entourage at the 2016 State Opening of Parliament.[15]

In 1966, Legge-Bourke's grandmother Margaret Glenusk, widowed in 1948, married secondly William Sidney, 1st Viscount De L'Isle, who had been Governor-General of Australia from 1961 until 1965. He thus became step-grandfather to the Legge-Bourke children until his death in 1991.[16]


After leaving school, Legge-Bourke took a nursery teacher training course at the St Nicholas Montessori Centre in London, she then taught for a year in Balham before leaving to set up her own nursery school in Battersea, called Mrs Tiggywinkle's.[3]

In 1993, shortly after Charles, Prince of Wales, and his wife had separated,[17] Charles hired Legge-Bourke as nanny to their two sons,[2] as the royal nanny, she soon began to make headlines. Early controversy came when she said scornfully of the Princess of Wales's attitude towards her sons: "I give them what they need at this stage, fresh air, a rifle and a horse, she gives them a tennis racket and a bucket of popcorn at the movies".[2] It was also considered to be a gaffe when Tiggy referred to William and Harry as "my babies".[2]

She often went with the princes on holidays.[18] A heavy smoker, she was said to be able to smoke even while skiing,[19] and was criticized by Diana for smoking near her sons;[2] in 1996, at the age of thirteen, Prince William, avoiding a difficult choice, asked both of his parents not to attend Eton’s Fourth of June celebrations, the high point of the school's year. However, they were both reported to be taken aback when he invited Legge-Bourke to attend in their place.[20]

She helped to comfort the princes after their mother's death in a road accident in Paris on 31 August 1997.[21] There was anger in 1998 when Legge-Bourke allowed the young princes to abseil down a fifty-metre dam without safety lines or helmets. Staff at St James's Palace mounted an inquiry, and Tiggy was reported to have been saved only by the princes' adoration of her.[2]

The press predicted time and again that Tiggy was about to be sacked, but this never happened.[2] Early in 1997, she resigned, but she returned to the royal household only a few months later,[2] on 18 July 1997, while out of Charles's service, she attended the fiftieth birthday party he threw for Camilla Parker Bowles in Gloucestershire.[22]

She finally retired from the Prince of Wales's service when she married in October 1999.[2]

The Princess of Wales[edit]

On 9 December 1992, John Major announced in the House of Commons that Charles, Prince of Wales and Diana, Princess of Wales, were to separate but had no plans to divorce. At the time, Diana was convinced that Charles loved only Camilla Parker-Bowles.[23]

As early as October 1993, Diana was writing to Paul Burrell that she believed her husband was now in love with Legge-Bourke and wanted to marry her.[24]

On 3 December 1993, Diana announced that she had decided to withdraw from public life.[17]

Legge-Bourke later admitted having had a "schoolgirl crush" on Charles, who had been a frequent visitor to her family's estate.[25] Diana's biographer Lady Colin Campbell commented that "Charles is only interested in her as an uncle is interested in a younger niece".[25]

On 20 November 1995, a sensational interview with the Princess of Wales was broadcast by the BBC,[17] the strife between Charles and Diana became public as never before, and Diana's famous "there were three of us in this marriage" undoubtedly referred to Parker-Bowles. There was no mention of Legge-Bourke.[23] However, on 24 January 1996, newspapers named Diana as the source of an untrue rumour circulated in November and December 1995 that Legge-Bourke had become pregnant by Charles and had had an abortion,[25] it was reported that words had been exchanged between Diana and Legge-Bourke on the matter at a party on 14 December 1995, when Diana had said to her "So sorry about the baby",[26] and an "informed source" was quoted as saying "The Queen was absolutely furious and totally in sympathy with Tiggy."[25] On 18 December 1995, Legge-Bourke, with the Queen's agreement, instructed the libel lawyer Peter Carter-Ruck to write to Diana's solicitors demanding an apology, asking that the accusation be "recognized to be totally untrue".[25]

On 20 December 1995, it was reported that the Queen had asked Charles and Diana to consider "an early divorce".[25]

On 22 January 1996, shortly before the story of the unfounded abortion allegation was published, Diana's private secretary Patrick Jephson resigned, as did his assistant Nicole Cockell the next day.[25] Jephson later wrote that Diana had "exulted in accusing Legge-Bourke of having had an abortion".[27]

Jealous of her sons' affection for the woman who cared for them, Diana became more hostile towards Legge-Bourke, asking that she leave the room while Diana was talking to her sons on the telephone;[25] in February 1996, newspapers published a letter from Diana to Charles in which she asked that "Miss Legge-Bourke not spend unnecessary time in the children's rooms... read to them at night, nor supervise their bathtime."[25]

Charles and Diana's divorce was made absolute on 28 August 1996. One year later, Diana died with Dodi Fayed in a road accident in Paris on 31 August 1997.[17] Much later, Lord Stevens of Kirkwhelpington headed Operation Paget, an inquiry into the deaths which reported its findings on 14 December 2006. According to the report, Diana feared that both she and Camilla Parker Bowles were the victims of a plot intended to make it possible for the Prince of Wales to marry a third woman,[28] the Daily Mail immediately reported that the third woman was Legge-Bourke.[13]

As journalists digested Lord Stevens's report, they looked with a fresh eye at the conspiracy theories the report had demolished and tried to construct another out of Charles's supposed love for Legge-Bourke.[29]

The story resurfaced again when the British inquest into the deaths of Diana and Dodi Fayed began at the Royal Courts of Justice in London on 2 October 2007, headed by Lord Justice Scott Baker sitting as a coroner. On 6 October 2007, the judge was reported as telling the court that in the evidence of Lord Mishcon, Diana's solicitor, Diana had told him that "Camilla was not really Charles's lover, but a decoy for his real favourite, the nanny Tiggy Legge-Bourke".[30]

In December 2007, witnesses at the inquest were questioned about a letter to Paul Burrell from the Princess dating from October 1993, of which only redacted versions had previously been public; in this letter, the Princess of Wales had written:[31]

"This particular phase in my life is the most dangerous - my husband is planning "an accident" in my car, brake failure and serious head injury in order to make the path clear for him to marry Tiggy. Camilla is nothing but a decoy, so we are all being used by the man in every sense of the word."

On 7 January 2008, Diana's friend Rodney Turner, giving evidence to the inquest, described his shock at seeing the contents of Diana's letter to Burrell,[24] but on 15 January 2008, Maggie Rea, a lawyer in the firm headed by Lord Mishcon (who died in January 2006), gave evidence to the inquest about Diana's fears to much the same effect as the letter, based on a note Mishcon had left on his file and on a meeting Rea and a colleague had had with Mishcon in October 1995.[32]

In what is called 'the Mishcon note', which dates from 1995, Diana forecast that in 1996 the Queen would abdicate, the Prince of Wales would discard Parker-Bowles in favour of Legge-Bourke, and that she would herself die in a planned road crash,[33] before he died, Mishcon copied the note to the Metropolitan Police, who took no action on it.[33]

On 7 October 2007, the journalist Jasper Gerard mocked the 'conspiracy theorists' promoting ever-stranger notions of the death of Diana, Princess of Wales:[34]

"There will still be folk a century on tapping their noses sagely while reading new revelations: it was Tiggy Legge-Bourke and Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother hiding in the underpass with a flashlight and a bottle of Gordon's."

Marriage and children[edit]

Legge-Bourke claimed that the attention of the paparazzi prevented her from finding a partner,[2] but in October 1999 she married Charles Pettifer, a former Coldstream Guards officer, with two sons from a previous marriage,[35] commenting to the press "He is magic".[2] She pointedly did not invite Camilla Parker-Bowles, to her wedding, apparently as Camilla had been an adversary and had once referred to Tiggy as "the hired help".[2] Princes William and Harry attended the wedding,[18] but Charles said he had a prior engagement.[2]

Legge-Bourke and Pettifer had had a brief romance while they were teenagers at school in the 1980s (she at Heathfield, he at Eton), they stayed friends while he was married to Camilla Wyatt, and Legge-Bourke was godmother to one of their sons.[14] Until May 1997, Pettifer was company secretary and a director of Unique Security Consultants Ltd., providing former SAS officers as bodyguards. He then became chief executive of Rapport Research and Analysis Ltd, supplying companies with former SAS officers for protection work.[14]

Prince William is reported to be the godfather for Tom.[36]

In recent years, Tiggy has developed a farmhouse bed and breakfast business at Ty'r Chanter, near Crickhowell on the Glanusk estate, billed as 'The Tiggy Experience'.[37]

In April 2006, she attended the Sovereign's Parade at Sandhurst for Prince Harry's passing out as an officer of the Blues and Royals;[38] in November 2006, the Prince of Wales was reported to be a regular visitor to Tiggy and her family in Powys.[39]

It appears that any breach with Camilla has been made up, as Tiggy and Charles Pettifer were two of the one hundred and fifty guests invited to Camilla's sixtieth birthday party on 21 July 2007.[40] Tiggy Pettifer also attended the service of thanksgiving for the sixtieth anniversary of the wedding of Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh at Westminster Abbey on 19 November 2007.[41]


Under the name "Alexandra [sic] Shân (Mrs Pettifer)", Tiggy was appointed a Member of the Royal Victorian Order (MVO) in the New Year Honours List of 2001.[21][42]


Legge-Bourke was reported in 1994 to be fond of fly fishing and long walks in the country.[3]

She is a cousin of the public relations executive and television personality Eleanor Legge-Bourke, a contestant of Nice People in 2003, which is a French Television version of the show Big Brother.[43][44] Eleanor is the daughter of Heneage Legge-Bourke, the younger brother of Tiggy Legge-Bourke's father.

Family tree[edit]

Sources for family tree


  1. ^ "No. 42868". The London Gazette (Supplement). 25 December 1962. p. 10097. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Tiggy Legge-Bourke, a Guardian Unlimited special report from The Guardian dated 13 October 1999. Retrieved 30 January 2008.
  3. ^ a b c d Second Front: Pass Notes 518, Tiggy Legge-Bourke in The Guardian (London, England) dated 8 November 1994, p. 3.
  4. ^ "No. 54710". The London Gazette. 19 March 1997. p. 3351. 
  5. ^ GLANUSK, Wilfred Russell Bailey, 3rd Baron in Who Was Who 1929–1940 (London, A. & C. Black, 1967 reprint: ISBN 0-7136-0171-X).
  6. ^ Tiggy's grandmother leaves £3m to family in will; LEGACY: Dowager Viscountess bequeaths 6,000-acre (24 km2) estate to relatives in the Western Mail of Cardiff, dated 24 August 2002, online at encyclopedia.com. Retrieved 5 February 2008.
  7. ^ "No. 48068". The London Gazette. 15 January 1980. p. 687. 
  8. ^ "No. 52484". The London Gazette. 25 March 1991. p. 4710. 
  9. ^ "No. 55227". The London Gazette. 17 August 1998. p. 8943. 
  10. ^ LEGGE-BOURKE, Sir Edward Alexander Henry in Who Was Who 1971–1980 (London, A. & C. Black, 1989 reprint: ISBN 0-7136-3227-5 ).
  11. ^ F. W. S. Craig (ed.), British Parliamentary Election Results 1950-1973 (London, Parliamentary Research Services, 1983).
  12. ^ "No. 46043". The London Gazette (Supplement). 2 August 1973. p. 9132. 
  13. ^ a b Family whose fame and fortune were forged in Nantyglo by Aled Blake in the Western Mail, online at icwales.icnetwork.co.uk, article dated 16 December 2006. Retrieved 30 January 2008.
  14. ^ a b c Who's working for who now... Tiggy and the Spook in Punch #93 for 6–19 November 1999 online at mail-archive.com. Retrieved 18 February 2008.
  15. ^ "Buckingham Palace 18 May 2016". Court Circular. 
  16. ^ DE L'ISLE, William Philip Sidney, 1st Viscount, in Who Was Who 1991–1995 (London, A. & C. Black, 1996: ISBN 0-7136-4496-6).
  17. ^ a b c d Timeline: Diana, Princess of Wales online at BBC News 24 web site. Retrieved 30 January 2008.
  18. ^ a b Tiggy enjoys a right royal wedding dated 16 October 1999, online at bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 5 February 2008.
  19. ^ Nannies by Simon Jeffery in Guardian Unlimited dated 24 January 2002, online at guardian.co.uk. Retrieved 30 January 2008.
  20. ^ ROYAL PROFILES Prince William from The Royal Report, September 1999 issue, online at britainexpress.com. Retrieved 30 January 2008.
  21. ^ a b New Year's Honours for Wales at bbc.co.uk, dated 30 December 2000. Retrieved 31 January 2008.
  22. ^ Happy birthday Camilla, from Jilly, Tiggy, Melvyn and all the gang by Susie Steiner in The Guardian dated 19 July 1997. Retrieved 30 January 2008.
  23. ^ a b Lady Colin Campbell, The Real Diana (2005).
  24. ^ a b Diana affair over before crash, inquest told by Rosalind Ryan in The Guardian online, article dated 7 January 2008. Retrieved 30 January 2008.
  25. ^ a b c d e f g h i Diana Draws Blood Lashing out at Tiggy brings a legal warning and enrages the Queen article in Time magazine by Lydia Denworth and Margaret Wright, dated 12 February 1996, online at time.com. Retrieved 30 January 2008.
  26. ^ Seeing through the myths . . . in The Independent online, dated 16 June 2001. Retrieved 2 February 2008.
  27. ^ Jephson, Patrick, Shadows of a Princess (London, October 2000), extract published in The Sunday Times newspaper on 24 September 2000.
  28. ^ Operation Paget Report at the web site of the Metropolitan Police Service. Retrieved 30 January 2008.
  29. ^ William passes muster with grandma (and Kate) by Oliver Burkeman in The Guardian online, article dated 16 December 2006. Retrieved 30 January 2008.
  30. ^ Let's dig up Diana again by Catherine Bennett in The Guardian online, article dated 6 October 2007. Retrieved 30 January 2008.
  31. ^ Princess Diana letter: 'Charles plans to kill me' by Gordon Rayner, Chief Reporter, in The Daily Telegraph online, article dated 20 December 2007. Retrieved 31 January 2008.
  32. ^ Diana 'backed William as next king' by Press Association in The Guardian online, article dated 15 January 2008. Retrieved 30 January 2008.
  33. ^ a b Former Met chief ‘was a party to Diana’s murder by keeping death prophecy secret by Alan Hamilton in The Times online, article dated 18 January 2008. Retrieved 30 January 2008.
  34. ^ Diana? There will always be someone who thinks it's all about Clacton by Jasper Gerard in The Guardian online, article dated 7 October 2007. Retrieved 30 January 2008.
  35. ^ Burke's Peerage, Baronetage & Knightage, 107th edition (Burke's Peerage (Genealogical Books) Ltd, 2003), vol. 1, p. 1039.
  36. ^ People
  37. ^ The Tiggy Experience at tyrchanter.com, official web site. Retrieved 1 February 2008.
  38. ^ In pictures: Prince Harry passes out of Sandhurst (see picture 6) at CBBC online, page dated 12 April 2006. Retrieved 2 February 2008.
  39. ^ After 37 years as Prince of Wales, Charles finally buys a home there, page 2 by Simon de Bruxelles in The Times online, article dated 23 November 2006. Retrieved 30 January 2008.
  40. ^ Camilla sticks to the county set for her 60th birthday bash by Robert Booth and Christopher Morgan in The Sunday Times online, article dated 22 July 2007. Retrieved 30 January 2008.
  41. ^ Service of Celebration for Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip's Diamond Wedding Anniversary, page of photographs at rexfeatures.com. Retrieved 2 February 2008.
  42. ^ "No. 56070". The London Gazette (Supplement). 30 December 2000. p. 4. 
  43. ^ Sun offers £50k for Big Brother sex by Ciar Byrne at MediaGuardian online, dated 20 May 2003. Retrieved 30 January 2008.
  44. ^ Eleanor Legge-Bourke at imdb.com. Retrieved 30 January 2008.

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