Final act in tragedy of heiress

Last updated at 10:18 01 August 2005

She had all the privileges wealth could bestow. Private education, a husband who was heir to a £50 million fortune, and invitations to all the grandest society parties.

But now at the age of 44 - after a descent through drug abuse, prison and homelessness - Zara Anderson has died after losing her final battle: against cancer.

The years of heroin addiction had weakened the mother-of-three so much she was unable to cope when the illness struck. Her death in hospital was a tragic end for the former beauty, whose mother artist Penelope James lives in Belgravia.

Seven years ago, Zara made headlines when she developed a fixation for Zac Goldsmith, son of the late billionaire Sir James Goldsmith, after he took pity on her. She ran into San Lorenzo, the Knightsbridge restaurant, where he was dining, claiming she had been mugged and needed help. He bought her dinner and put her up in the four-star Cadogan hotel for one night. She stayed for three and, using his credit card details, went on a spending spree.

She then bombarded Zac and his family with calls for further help, causing such disruption that it cost him his relationship with his then girlfriend Caroline Hickman.

Anderson had a string of court convictions going back more than 20 years. She once went shoplifting in Harvey Nichols to fuel her £300-a-day drug habit. She was 18 when she met the man she would marry, Ampleforth-educated Patrick Anderson. The son of a carpet firm boss, he was 11 years her senior and boasted that his social circle included the Rolling Stones. He introduced her to the party circuit and to the culture that was to prove their mutual downfall.

They tried to escape the spiral by moving to a farmhouse, only for their third child, three-year-old Sebastian, to drown in the pool in 1991. Shortly afterwards, their fourth child was born and they married.

"Zara developed cancer and because of her earlier and continual drug abuse it spread very quickly," says a friend. "It is a very sorry and sad ending for a woman who once had everything."

In a scene of domestic bliss, England rugby star Lawrence Dallaglio, his girlfriend Alice Corbett, and their three children were all smiles as they flew back from a holiday in France on Saturday. "Alice stroked his ear during the flight from Nimes, and they embraced while waiting for their baggage to arrive on the carousel at Luton. He gave her bottom a hard squeeze and then they kissed," a fellow traveller tells me.

One wonders whether the mood was still so romantic yesterday morning, when property developer Leon Butler raked over the full sordid details of his 18-month fling with Alice, in a Sunday newspaper. What a cad...

What a fine whine

Pandora Maxwell, daughter-in-law of the late fat fraudster Robert Maxwell, writes amusingly of bringing up seven children in a rambling 17-bedroom mansion.

Unable to afford fuel for the boiler, she advocates thermals in lieu of central heating, dressing the children in hand-me-down clothes, and embracing slovenliness in place of cleaning. It certainly makes living in Moulsford Manor seem like a hand-to-mouth existence.

Happily, these privations do not seem to apply to husband Kevin - who, thanks to his father, gained a place in the Guinness Book Of Records for being Britain's biggest bankrupt. Just the other day, he and brother Ian were lingering over the £50-a-head menu of au courant London restaurant Locanda Locatelli, famous for its "kid goat ragu", boozy tiramisu and (very) expensive wine list. "They didn't share a pudding," I am told.

It seems actor Kris Marshall is almost as hapless in real-life as his character Nick in BBC "comedy" My Family.

The ex-public school boy was so busy chatting on his mobile that he forgot to collect his winnings at Glorious Goodwood. "I felt a real twit," he says. "I backed the winner in the last race and won £25. When I got round to collecting it, the bookie had packed up and gone."

Luckily, Goodwood is ready for such eventualities, and he was paid by the betting ring manager. Spend it wisely, Kris...

Harry's guardian angel

For a young man who lives his life in the fast

lane, Prince Harry clearly wants to keep on the right side of the law.

Which is presumably why the 20-year-old has what

looks suspiciously like a speed camera detector on the dashboard of his car.

In fixing the £400 "Road Angel" device, Harry is

following in the cautious footsteps of brother William who had his own dashboard detector installed earlier this year.

The contraptions, which are quite legal, use laser technology to spot speed traps as well as traffic bottlenecks.

Harry's device was clearly visible as he sat eating a hotdog in his car after playing polo with his father at Cirencester Park, Gloucestershire.

Despite his high-speed lifestyle, Harry's motoring has yet to land him in trouble with the law - unlike other members of the Royal Family.

Last week, the Duke of Gloucester was reunited with his driving licence after serving a six-month ban for speeding.

Amid all the kerfuffle over Prince William's crowded private life, one central figure has been forgotten. He is financier Hugh Crossley - son of Norfolk landowner - who has been dating William's

close friend Jecca Craig for almost a

year. Friends insist William's girlfriend Kate

Middleton has nothing to fear from Jecca's

fondness for the Prince, which has seen her

holidaying with him in Kenya.

For things are so strong between art student

Jecca, 23, and 34-year-old Crossley, who met

in Africa when Hugh was recovering from a

climbing accident on Mount Kenya, there is

talk the relationship could become


"Although it started off as a bit of fun, it is now much more serious," a friend of the couple tells me.

Should the confusion over Jecca continue, might Hugh receive a royal apology? When reports first linked the beguiling Miss Craig erroneously to William the Prince phoned her then boyfriend, fellow Old Etonian Henry Ropner, to apologise.

PS Veteran pollster Sir Robert (don't call me Bob) Worcester has discovered the magic of Harry Potter.

The American-born Mori founder, who acquired British citizenship (and his knighthood) last year, has been telling friends how he received a bottle of champagne courtesy of the makers of the second J. K. Rowling film. Sir Robert, who lives opposite the House of Commons, tells me: "They wanted the building to be the backdrop of a particular scene, so everyone in the block was asked to leave their electric lights on all night for an entire weekend so they could film it.

"We all got champagne - and a signed picture of the two main stars."

Just what any 71-year-old must want...

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