Joanna Lumley says Princess Margaret was the inspiration for Absolutely Fabulous' Patsy

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Joanna Lumley has spilled that British royal Princess Margaret partly inspired her Absolutely Fabulous character Patsy credit:Bang Showbiz
Joanna Lumley has spilled that British royal Princess Margaret partly inspired her Absolutely Fabulous character Patsy credit:Bang Showbiz

Joanna Lumley has revealed that Princess Margaret was the “prototype for Patsy” from 'Absolutely Fabulous'.

The 75-year-old actress' most famous role is playing the hard-drinking, chain-smoking fashionista from the 90s BBC sitcom - which was created by and also starred Jennifer Saunders as disastrous PR guru Edina Monsoon - and she has spilled that Queen Elizabeth's younger sister inspired her take on the character.

Joanna met Margaret in 1986 at a drinks reception following a performance of 'Blithe Spirit' at London’s Vaudeville Theatre where, despite being informed that Margaret, then 55, was not allowed to drink, she witnessed the royal sip on her own bottle of whisky.

Recounting the anecdote while chatting to broadcaster Gyles Brandreth at event to promote her new book ‘A Queen For All Seasons’, a celebration of British monarch Queen Elizabeth II, Lumley said: "At this moment in strange royal life, everybody said, ‘Princess Margaret is not allowed to drink at the moment. Do not have any drink in theatre, and don’t offer her any drink.'

“I thought, ‘You can’t have a reception with Princess Margaret and not offer any drink. This is insane.' She was looking pretty bored by the time I arrived.”

Recalling how Margaret beckoned her into a private box with her lady-in-waiting, Joanna added: "She left the party, opened her bag, got out a small bottle of whisky and a packet of cigarettes, lit up, cigarette holder, and sat there smoking. She was a kind of prototype Patsy. There was something so fabulous about her. So fabulous and so funny.”

Earlier this month, Lumley opened up about her belief that many of the ”scandalous” gags in 'Ab Fab' would not make it out of the writing room now, for fear of offending audiences.

Speaking at the Henley Literature Festival, she mused: "Some of Edina's language and some of her attitudes to things ... I mean they were just scandalous. You couldn't get away with it!

"I know a lot of comics have felt that it's really making things difficult because you can't even joke about a mother-in-law anymore. So I don't think we could do it again."

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