21 MARCH 1992, Page 48

High life

Once a royal ...


I'd heard rumours of the Andrew-Fergie split for months, rumours that had her wanting out through sheer boredom. Apparently Prince Andrew is too thick even for Fergie. The last time I saw her was on 19 December, and I remember the date well because it was two days after my party for the sainted editor's upcoming wedding. I was dead drunk and standing in the pas-

sage next to the bar of Annabel's. The Duchess was leaving and Louis, the incom- parable maitre d', was doing a Moses on the Red Sea for her. The place was packed with drunks. She was in the company of an American friend of mine, John Bryan, and he stopped to say hello. 'Hey, Taki, say hello to the Duchess of York,' was the way he introduced me to her, in the endearing but at times embarrassing manner our American cousins have. She could not have been nicer and, if memory serves, she laughed at my speechless condition.

Now there's nothing wrong with going to Annabel's with a 38-year-old American bachelor who chases women almost as much as I do, if you're not on the Civil List, that is. Perhaps even if you are it's fine, but people don't like it. After Fergie and John- ny left a couple of men tried to quiz me about what she had said to me. I hinted darkly that it was too confidential to talk about. All the poor woman had said was hello and how nice it was to meet me. Still, in a night-club, however chic, among drunks, however well-behaved, rumours are bound to start.

Her best friend, Julia Dodd-Noble, has said to friends of mine (who shall remain nameless) that Fergie and Andrew are madly in love and that the marriage is rock solid. As I write this the tabloids are going bananas about a separation, but unless I hear it from Buckingham Palace, I ain't so sure. A royal relation tells me that when the Queen was contemplating making Fer- gie a duchess somebody suggested that Her Majesty thought it over a little longer, because Fergie could wind up as another Wallis Simpson (once a royal always a royal).

One thing I am sure of is that the Wyatt fellow was just a friend, and a social-climb- ing one at that. I met him only once, in Imran Khan's house, and he bored every- one to tears by talking about diets and good karma and the rest of the bullshit modern Americans pollute us with. He is the type that looks at you very intently, touches you a lot and will even use graphics in the middle of dinner to illustrate a point. If we all have it wrong and Fergie goes off with Wyatt, it will be like leaving me for Jeffrey Bernard because of my drinking.

Wyatt's parents are a different thing alto- gether. Oscar, who is his adopted father, is a very rough diamond but a diamond nev- ertheless. He once saved my life by divert- ing a crazed Italian who wanted to shoot me for something I had done. Oscar Wyatt took his gun away and talked him out of it. I only found out about it later. Lynn Wyatt, his mother, is as a good-looking a woman in her sixties as I've ever seen. And nicer than nice. And a good friend of Princess Margaret's, which means she's loaded. I simply don't like the son because of all that bullshit about the inner self.

And speaking of the inner self, if Fergie and Andy really have split, look for the American connection, but not in Texas.