Prince Andrew‘s former girlfriend Koo Stark has claimed that the Queen ‘made a point’ of being photographed with her by the paparazzi in a show of support after reports she’d been banned from the palace.
The American actress, 65, met the Duke of York, then second in line to the throne, after being introduced by a mutual acquaintance on his 21st birthday in February 1981.
Their relationship was discovered a year and a half later, and Koo was subjected to frenzy of media attention when nude images emerged of the actress starring in 1976 film Emily.
She explained how from then on, she began the life of the ‘unwilling celebrity’ – adding that in a bid to ‘change the narrative,’ Her Majesty reached out and invited her and Prince Andrew for a picnic tea.
Writing for Tatler, she penned: ‘We were visible to the paparazzi and Her Majesty made a point of snapping open the News of the World (front-page headline: ‘QUEEN BANS KOO’).
‘Her actions spoke volumes as she poured tea. Her only verbal comment was: “Oh, I do wish they would call you Kathleen and Andrew.”‘
Prince Andrew’s former girlfriend Koo Stark has claimed that the Queen set up a photo shoot where they were ‘papped’ having tea together as a show of support. Pictured together at a Champagne Reception in Aid of the NSPCC at Spencer House on 22 June 1999
Pictured, Her Majesty having tea in the home of Mrs Susan McCarron, in the Castlemilk area of Glasgowon 7 July 1999
The American actress, 65, (pictured in London, 2020) met the Duke of York, then second in line to the throne, after being introduced by a mutual acquaintance on his 21st birthday in February 1981
The actress went on to say that when she wasn’t with Andrew, she was left with little choice but to move from friend to friend and even to different countries over the course of two years because her address kept being published.
After being told she was on an IRA hit list, Stark – whose daughter is the Duke of York’s godchild, sought advice from Michael Shea – who was Her Majesty’s Press Secretary for almost decade.
While he advised her to ‘do nothing’, the Queen decided to ‘handle it’ herself and in 1983 accepted an out-of-court settlement over claims that Andrew’s girlfriend had regularly stayed overnight at Buckingham Palace.
And according to Koo, the monarch wasn’t the only royal who reached out during that difficult time.
Recalling how her career was damaged ‘irrevocably’ overnight, Koo told how despite being under stress herself, the late Princess Diana was also ‘supportive’ and offered ‘valuable advice’ on how to cope with royal life.
‘Diana was very concerned, kind and supportive,’ wrote Stark. ‘She was under stress, too, even though she as safely behind palace gates.’
Koo said Diana, pictured in 1982, was ‘supportive’ amid the scandal – offering ‘valuable advice’ on how to cope with royal life
Koo was born in 1956 and attended the prestigious Miss Hewitt’s School for Young Ladies in New York before moving to London at 14 to live with her film producer father.
After leaving Glendower school in west London, Koo began working as an actress, bagging roles in TV ads, plays and films.
She soon met late novelist Graham Greene, whom she describes as a mentor and friend, who would later encourage her to take the role of Emily Foster in the racy 1976 film.
In 1981, Koo was working as an understudy at the National Theatre in a production of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolfe and living in a Belgravia flat – where her landlady had set up a date for her daughter and Prince Andrew.
But when the daughter didn’t show up, then 24-year-old Koo went on a date with the duke instead, with the pair quickly becoming an item.
The actress described meeting Andrew’s family at Buckingham Palace, Balmoral, Windsor and Sandringham, eventually going with the duke on holiday to Princess Margaret’s home in Mustique in 1982.
With Andrew fresh home from fighting in the Falklands War – their relationship gathered hoards of media attention, with the pair eventually splitting under the pressure of the nude photograph furore.
The actress described meeting Andrew’s family at Buckingham Palace, Balmoral, Windsor and Sandringham. The pair are pictured together in 1999
She soon struck up a friendship with photographer Norman Parkinson and began pursuing photography, shooting movie stills all around the world, including Jordan and Nepal.
She was later invited in India to attend the inauguration of the Dzogchen Monastery and met the Dalai Lama, who introduced her to Buddhism.
In Dec 1994, Koo met Warren ‘Robbie’ Walker and fell pregnant with their child in 1996. But relations between the couple broke down at the end of 1999 and a flurry of litigation has ensued in courts on both sides of the Atlantic in the years that followed.
In 2002, Koo underwent a mastectomy after being diagnosed with second stage breast cancer.
In February this year, she was hit with a £285,000 court bill on top of six-figure legal costs after a judge rejected a claim her financier former lover had agreed to pay her £50,000 a year for life.