A former boyfriend of Lady Gabriella Windsor has offered insight into what life is really like inside Kensington Palace.
British journalist Aatish Taseer, 38, dated the 37-year-old royal, affectionately known as ‘Ella’, for three years after meeting through friends in New York in 2003.
In an article for Vanity Fair, Taseer described how they ‘hung about’ Kensington Palace, where Lady Gabriella’s parents, Prince and Princess Michael of Kent, live in a five-bedroom apartment.
He claimed: ‘For three surreal years, Ella and I hung about Kensington Palace; we swam naked in the Queen’s pool in Buckingham Palace; we did MDMA in Windsor Castle […].’
Royal insider: British journalist Aatish Taseer, 38, dated Lady Gabriella Windsor, affectionately known as ‘Ella’, for three years after meeting through friends in New York in 2003
Lavish lifestyle: Taseer, a journalist, accompanied the royal, now 37, to society events
Seal of approval: Taseer with Lady Gabriella and her mother, Princess Michael of Kent in 2004
Now the palace—which Taseer refers to simply as ‘KP’ in his piece—is a bustling family home thanks to the arrival of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, who settled in apartment 1A in 2017 and now have three young children.
Meanwhile Prince Harry, 33, and Meghan Markle, 36, live in a cozy, two-bedroom cottage in the shadow of the main building, where they are keeping a low-profile ahead of the royal wedding next month.
But Taseer described how when he visited—years before the princes moved in—the residence was rather more lifeless.
He wrote: ‘The warren of dark-brick apartments and offices that greeted me resembled something between a military hospital and an old people’s home.
‘All the famous inhabitants—Princess Margaret, Princess Diana—were dead, and those who remained, minor royals and palace secretaries, lived in their long cold shadow.’
Parents: Lady Gabriella is the daughter of Prince and Princess Michael of Kent
Home: Taseer described how they ‘hung about’ Kensington Palace (pictured), where Lady Gabriella’s parents, Prince and Princess Michael of Kent, live
He added: ‘I have happy memories of KP—Burmese cats in window seats and wooden commodes, deep bathtubs and walled gardens—but the truth is that until Will and Kate arrived to liven up the place, Kensington Palace was wildly depressing.’
Who is Lady Gabriella Windsor?
Lady Gabriella Windsor, 37, is the daughter of Princess Michael of Kent and Prince Michael of Kent – a first cousin of the Queen.
Lady Gabriella, known as ‘Ella’, is currently 50th in line to the British throne.
Educated at Downe House School in Cold Ash, Berkshire, Lady Gabriella obtained an MPhil degree in Social Anthropology from Linacre College, Oxford.
She also studied at Brown University in the US.
During their three-year relationship, Lady Gabriella and journalist Aatish Taseer were often seen at society’s biggest parties. The pair parted ways in 2006.
She is now keeps a low profile. Lady Gabriella is believed to work as an arts consultant and writer for Branding Latin America, based in London.
The royal shares her birthday with the newborn Prince Louis of Cambridge.
The couple began dating in New York where Ella was on an internship at Vanity Fair magazine while completing her final year at Brown University and Taseer was working for Time magazine having recently graduated from nearby Amherst College.
He later began working as a trainee at the magazine’s London bureau.
Lady Gabriella’s parents were said to have very much approved of their daughter’s beau, with Princess Michael describing him as ‘one of the most handsome men I have ever met’.
Taseer described Princess Michael—who recently apologized after she wore a ‘racist’ Blackamoor brooch to meet Meghan at the Queen’s Christmas lunch—as ‘funny, intelligent and generous’, adding he ‘saw a nice side’ of ‘Princess Pushy’.
But he noted the mother-of-two had always failed to grasp the understated nature—or ‘coziness’ so prized by other members of the Royal Family.
He continued: ‘Prince Michael was cozy; Prince Charles is cozy; the Queen, by all accounts, is a tea cozy. But Princess Michael was, fatally, about as cozy as a yellow jacket on speed.’
As the Queen’s first cousin, Prince Michael was granted the privilege of living in a grace-and-favour residence for decades.
Making a statement: Prince and Princess Michael of Kent at the wedding of Crown Prince Leka II of Albania in 2016. Taseer said Princess Michael did not possess the understated nature of other royals
High profile romance: Many believed Taseer and Lady Gabriella (pictured in 2006) would wed
However this changed in the late 2000s when the Queen began charging a reported £10,000 a month in rent.
The pinch was felt by the couple several years beforehand and in 2006 they sold their Gloucestershire mansion, Nether Lypiatt, for £5.75 million.
This change in circumstance was apparent to Taseer, who described how his ‘enduring memory’ of the Windsors was of ‘constant cutbacks and reduced circumstances’.
He recalled one occasion when the prince and princess joined Lady Gabriella and himself on a flight back from Sardinia on a row cordoned off by a velvet rope.
‘To fly with royalty was to fly EasyJet’, he wrote before describing how ‘a planeload of lobster-red British tourists’ boarded the flight and found themselves thoroughly confused at the sight of the royals.
Despite the differences in their background, friends believed it was only a matter of time before Lady Gabriella and Taseer’s relationship became permanent.
Indeed, after they posed for photographs in a glossy magazine in 2005 and Gabriella talked about how she was drawn to her boyfriend’s ‘energy and courage’, an engagement seemed imminent.
The couple spent six months backpacking around the world together. But in 2006 it was announced the couple had split up. At the time, it was reported that Taseer had decided to return to India, where he grew up, while Gabriella opted to stay in the UK.
Princess Michael, according to Taseer, was convinced it was a bad idea for royals to tie the knot with commoners.
‘It’s all very well Ella marrying Mr. Taseer from India, or Pakistan,’ the writer said Princess Michael once told him. ‘No one knows what to do with that. But the moment the girl down the road thinks she can be Princess, or Queen, it’s all over. The mystery is gone.’
Gabriella has now been dating Tom Kingston, a financier who is also Pippa Middleton’s ex, for three years.
Family home: The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge now live at Kensington Palace with children Prince George, four, Princess Charlotte, two, and newborn Prince Louis
Laying low: Prince Harry and Meghan Markle live in a two-bedroom cottage on the grounds