Britain's royal family faced fresh domestic embarrassment today when a 23-year-old unmarried cousin of Queen Elizabeth told a newspaper she had been cut off by her parents after becoming pregnant.
Marina Ogilvy, who is 24th in line to the throne, told the tabloid Today that she had written to the queen--addressing her as "Dear Cousin Lilibet"--asking for help.
Ogilvy, a pianist, is the daughter of Princess Alexandra and businessman Sir Angus Ogilvy. She said the father of her baby is 26-year-old photographer Paul Mowatt, with whom she is living in a modest suburban home outside London.
She said that she did not dare to return to her parents' home in case she was kept against her will and that detectives had warned Mowatt that he would be arrested if he were seen in the vicinity.
Her disclosure followed unwelcome publicity for the royal family in August, when the queen's daughter, Princess Anne, separated from her husband of 16 years, Capt. Mark Phillips.
Dark-haired Ogilvy claimed in Today that her parents tried to trick her into having an abortion and cut off her $450 monthly allowance when she refused to get married at once.
Ogilvy, who has no title because her father is a commoner, said she and Mowatt want to wait until the baby is born before marrying.
The six-page report in Today prompted a statement of concern from royal aides on behalf of Princess Alexandra and her husband.
It said: "They are concerned at the number of inaccuracies. In particular, they have not 'cut off' their daughter. Marina is always welcome at her home. They love her very much and feel deeply for her at this difficult time."
Ogilvy spoke of a furious confrontation with her parents when she revealed her pregnancy.
She quoted Princess Alexandra as saying: "You have got two options--either you get it aborted straight away or we arrange for you to get married this week by special license."
Ogilvy added: "Dad said there hadn't been an illegitimate birth in the royal family for 150 years. When I said to him 'Look, I am your daughter, what comes first, queen and country or your daughter?' he said 'queen and country.' "
She wrote to Queen Elizabeth because "I know she is a wise and caring woman. I just hope she can help my parents see sense."