Who is Tiggy Legge-Bourke? Born on this day, she was the nanny with an aristocratic background who loved the Royal princes like her own – but fell victim to Diana’s jealousy and Martin Bashir’s poisonous lies

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Written By Maya Cantina
  • Tiggy Legge-Bourke was hired by Prince Charles as nanny to his sons
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Even before she was appointed by the Palace, Alexandra  ‘Tiggy’ Legge-Bourke had close ties to the Royal Family. 

Her father had once served in the Royal Horse Guards and her mother became a lady-in-waiting to Princess Anne in 1987.

Her brother, Harry Legge-Bourke, meanwhile, had been Page of Honour to the late Queen Elizabeth II from 1985 to 1987.

So it was natural that she should have been hired by Prince Charles as an assistant and as a nanny to his sons, Princes William and Harry, in 1993.

Tiggy Legge-Bourke, pictured here in 2005, was nanny to Prince William and Prince Harry in their formative years

King Charles arriving with  Prince William,  Prince Harry and Tiggy Legge-Bourke at Zurich Airport for a skiing holiday

King Charles arriving with  Prince William,  Prince Harry and Tiggy Legge-Bourke at Zurich Airport for a skiing holiday

Now known as Alexandra Pettifer, Tiggy is pictured outside the High Court, central London, after the BBC agreed to pay her substantial damages over 'false and malicious' allegations. These had been made to help obtain Martin Bashir's notorious 1995 Panorama interview with Diana, Princess of Wales

Now known as Alexandra Pettifer, Tiggy is pictured outside the High Court, central London, after the BBC agreed to pay her substantial damages over ‘false and malicious’ allegations. These had been made to help obtain Martin Bashir’s notorious 1995 Panorama interview with Diana, Princess of Wales

This was shortly after after he and Princess Diana separated – making her role, and the trust vested in her, all the more significant. 

Tiggy, who turns 59 today, was  born Alexandra Shân  Legge-Bourke on April 1, 1965, to parents William and  Dame Elizabeth.

She grew up on the family’s 6,000-acre Glanusk Estate in Powys, Wales and was educated at Heathfield School, an all-girls boarding school in Ascot.

Tiggy then went to finishing school at the Institut Alpin Videmanette in Rougemont, Switzerland, where Princess Diana also attended. And after graduating, she enrolled in a nursery teacher training course at the St Nicholas Montessori Centre. 

After completing her education, she taught for a year in Fulham before moving on to opening her own nursery school in Battersea called Mrs Tiggywinkle’s. 

Then came the call from the Palace. 

As she grew to spend more time with the young royals, her close bond with William and Harry sparked tension between the nanny and their mother, Princess Diana. 

 Diana was reportedly suspicious of how much time Legge-Bourke spent with Prince Charles and her sons and disliked her habit of smoking around them.    

In February 1996, Diana wrote to Charles and said Tiggy should ‘not spend unnecessary time in the children’s rooms… read to them at night, nor supervise their bathtime.’

Tiggy – who is an advanced fly fishing instructor – even once referred to William and Harry as ‘my babies’, which angered the late Princess of Wales.

Tiggy faced additional controversy, as she reportedly said of Diana, ‘She gives [William and Harry] a tennis racket and a bucket of popcorn at the movies,’ whereas ‘I give them what they need at this stage: Fresh air, a rifle and a horse.’

The matter became worse when a 13-year-old William asked Tiggy to attend Eton’s traditional Fourth of June celebrations, instead of asking eider of his parents.

The nanny was reportedly thought of as William and Harry’s ‘big sister’ as she frequently joined the family on holiday and took them on outdoor excursions, teaching them to hunt, fish and shoot.

It was reported at the time that the relationship between the boys and Tiggy became even closer following their mother’s death in August 1997.

She retired from being a royal nanny when she married her childhood sweetheart and security consultant Charles Pettifer in 1999.

While neither Charles nor Camilla attended, both Princes William and Harry were present at the event.

Tiggy and her now husband had kept in touch after enjoying a teenage romance and she even became godmother to Charles’s two sons by his first marriage.

Since, they have two sons of their own, Fred, whose godfather is Prince Harry and Tom the godson of Prince William. Tom, who was eight at the time, even acted as a page boy at William’s 2011 wedding to Kate Middleton. 

A constant by the princes’ side, Tiggy has remained close to both the royals over the years, and met Meghan before she and Harry married.

She is also the godmother to Archie, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s eldest child.

Among other events, she attended Prince Harry’s commissioning as a Second Lieutenant at Sandhurst in April 2006 and Harry’s wedding to Meghan Markle in May 2018.

Since her retirement, she and her husband enjoyed a quite life in Wales, where they run their own farmhouse bed and breakfast.

Named, Ty’r Chanter Bed & Breakfast, the house is a ‘stone’s throw’ from Glanusk Park, the 6,000-acre family estate where she grew up

As she grew to spend more time with the young royals, Tiggy's close bond with William and Harry sparked tension between the nanny and their mother, Princess Diana

As she grew to spend more time with the young royals, Tiggy’s close bond with William and Harry sparked tension between the nanny and their mother, Princess Diana

Prince Harry chats to Tiggy at Cirencester Polo Club in June 1997

Prince Harry chats to Tiggy at Cirencester Polo Club in June 1997 

Diana was suspicious of how much time Legge-Bourke spent with Prince Charles and her sons. She also disliked her habit of smoking around them

Diana was suspicious of how much time Legge-Bourke spent with Prince Charles and her sons. She also disliked her habit of smoking around them

Tiggy Legge-Bourke  would often take the boys on outdoor trip. She is pictured walking with Prince William and Prince Harry in the River Gairn near the Balmoral Estate in October 1994

Tiggy Legge-Bourke  would often take the boys on outdoor trip. She is pictured walking with Prince William and Prince Harry in the River Gairn near the Balmoral Estate in October 1994

Tiggy was thought of as a 'big sister' to William and often joined the family on holiday

Tiggy was thought of as a ‘big sister’ to William and often joined the family on holiday

It was reported at the time that the relationship between the boys and Tiggy became even closer following their mother's death in August 1997

It was reported at the time that the relationship between the boys and Tiggy became even closer following their mother’s death in August 1997

Tiggy is pictured arriving with the family at Aberdeen railway station, heading for Balmoral in 1993

Tiggy is pictured arriving with the family at Aberdeen railway station, heading for Balmoral in 1993

She married her childhood sweetheart, security consultant Charles Pettifer in 1999

She married her childhood sweetheart, security consultant Charles Pettifer in 1999

Tiggy has remained close to both the royals over the years and is the godmother to Archie, the Duke of Sussex's eldest child

Tiggy has remained close to both the royals over the years and is the godmother to Archie, the Duke of Sussex’s eldest child

Last year, it was revealed that the BBC is paying damages to the former nanny over false claims, which had been made about her to help obtain the now notorious 1995 Princess Diana interview.

Disgraced journalist Martin Bashir was said to have tricked Diana into believing the nanny had become pregnant by Charles by showing her a faked abortion ‘receipt’.

The broadcaster only recently formally apologised as they agreed to pay her substantial damages in response to ‘fabricated’ allegations that she’d had an affair with the Prince of Wales while working as Charles’ personal assistant in 1995. 

‘The BBC has agreed to pay substantial damages to Mrs Pettifer and I would like to take this opportunity to apologise publicly to her, to The Prince of Wales, and to the Dukes of Cambridge and Sussex, for the way in which Princess Diana was deceived and the subsequent impact on all their lives,’ BBC Director General Tim Davie said in a statement.

Since her retirement, she and her husband enjoyed a quiet life in Wales, where they run their own farmhouse bed and breakfast. Pictured: Tiggy and Prince Harry in 1995

Since her retirement, she and her husband enjoyed a quiet life in Wales, where they run their own farmhouse bed and breakfast. Pictured: Tiggy and Prince Harry in 1995

Prince Harry greets Tiggy Legge-Bourke's mother, Shan, as he arrives to meet army cadets training in the Black Mountains in April 2010

Prince Harry greets Tiggy Legge-Bourke’s mother, Shan, as he arrives to meet army cadets training in the Black Mountains in April 2010

Tiggy Pettifer and Prince Harry's former girlfriend Chelsy Davy attend the Prince's Army Air Corps pilots course graduation ceremony at the Museum of Army Flying in May 2010

Tiggy Pettifer and Prince Harry’s former girlfriend Chelsy Davy attend the Prince’s Army Air Corps pilots course graduation ceremony at the Museum of Army Flying in May 2010

Tiggy Pettifer and her sonTom Pettifer attended the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle at St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle on May 19, 2018

Tiggy Pettifer and her sonTom Pettifer attended the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle at St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle on May 19, 2018

In the same year, it was revealed that Tiggy would be knitting socks as part of an auction for one of the charities King Charles is patron of.

The former nanny was set to grant the cosy, handmade items to the highest bidder in an event organised by the Edinburgh-based Atlantic Salmon Trust.

The cash raised is to be used for research into the reasons why the ‘king of fish’ are disappearing from many of the country’s rivers.

The appeal, as promoted on the charity’s website, promised a ‘bespoke pair of his and hers wading socks’ as well as a beanie hat – and it looks like someone has already bid £500 for the prize.

Tiggy was understood to be reprising the popular auction after its ‘runaway success’ the year prior, according to the trust.

ᴀʀᴛɪᴄʟᴇ ꜱᴏᴜʀᴄᴇ

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