Tuesday, 22 Sep 2020

Royal heartbreak: How Princess Anne’s ex-husband kept illegitimate daughter secret

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Anne wed Mark in a lavish ceremony in 1973, and then gave birth to her son Peter in 1977 and Zara in 1981. However, by 1984 the couple’s relationship was breaking down and they would regularly check into separate hotels when travelling together. They separated in 1989 after intimate letters between Anne and the Queen’s equerry Commander Timothy Laurence were published — but the couple vowed not to divorce.

Yet, in 1991, a royal revelation changed that promise.

An art teacher from New Zealand, Heather Tonkin, told The Daily Express that Mark had fathered her daughter Felicity five years before.

She said: “My ambition is to get Mark’s public acceptance of her and to be able to enter his name on her birth certificate.”

Mark denied it, but it was soon revealed that he had been making payments — a total of £6,000 per year — to Ms Tonkin for five years under the guise of officially hiring her as a consultant for “equestrian matters”.

Ms Tonkin also told The Daily Express that he had asked her to terminate her pregnancy, and that she only went public after the payments from Mark became irregular.

She claimed she was threatened by Mark’s agent John Erskine who said: “I will make life a bloody misery for you.”

Mark was still married to Anne at the time of Ms Tonkin’s pregnancy, and living with her on Gatcombe estate.

She added: “I wish I could wake up one morning in the knowledge that the record had been put straight and I don’t have to worry anymore.”

Felicity thought her father was dead until she was eight years old. It was only when she did a school project on her family history that her mother felt compelled to tell her the truth.

Royal sources told New Idea that Mark has been “in denial” about his child for years — even though a DNA test in 1991 proved that he was Felicity’s father.

However the paternity test did mean that Mark ended up sending a reported £350,000 settlement to Ms Tonkin, for his daughter’s future.

Apparently, the news of his additional daughter prompted Anne to make their split official.

At the time, a source told People: “This is all the excuse she needed to get Mark out of Gatcombe.

“Mark has had it… Anne’s hand will be strengthened significantly.”

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Felicity thought her father was dead until she was eight years old. It was only when she did a school project on her family history that her mother felt compelled to tell her the truth.

Royal sources told New Idea that Mark has been “in denial” about his child for years — even though a DNA test in 1991 proved that he was Felicity’s father.

However the paternity test did mean that Mark ended up sending a reported £350,000 settlement to Ms Tonkin, for his daughter’s future.

Apparently, the news of his additional daughter prompted Anne to make their split official.

At the time, a source told People: “This is all the excuse she needed to get Mark out of Gatcombe.

“Mark has had it… Anne’s hand will be strengthened significantly.”

The Mail on Sunday reported: “Today, it seems Phillips, now 68, has little intention of being reunited with his daughter in New Zealand, or any inclination to meet his new grandson.”

Back in 1999, Mark was asked by journalists if he was going to meet with Heather and Felicity when they all attended a three-day event.

He was the course designer and they were spectators.

Yet, his only reply to reporters was “wrong subject”.

Mark went on to marry Sandy Pflueger in 199 and they had a daughter Stephanie. However the couple divorced in 2012.

Source: Read Full Article

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