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PETER FROST watches the Queen’s Sister.

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Back in the 1950’s an organisation that then still called itself the Camping Club had a popular campsite not far from London beside the lakes at the gloriously named Rickmansworth Aquadrome in Hertfordshire.

On fine summer days one of the delights of the site was to sit by the lake and watch the relatively new sport of water ski-ing.

One day the campers could hardly believe their eyes. They saw a familiar regal figure clad in a daring swimming costume being towed behind a speed boat out on the lake and frequently splashing far from elegantly into the water.

It was Princess Margaret – the queen’s sister no less – and she was no stranger to the popular press and although the term ‘paparazzi’ was still to be invented it took no time at all for all the best waterside campsite pitches to be occupied by reporters and photographers.

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It isn’t recorded what Fleet Street’s finest thought about spending the night in a tent or primitive post-war caravan rather than the usual five star hotels that normally graced their expense accounts but they got their pictures and many of those pictures made the front pages of the day.

The Camping Club was so embarrassed it shut the site. The Princess soon went off to do something else in some more luxurious location and the gentlemen of the press slept easy again in their five star hotel beds.

Some things never change.

This article first appeared in Caravan Industry Magazine in 2005

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