The Sunday Telegraph

‘We would look up at the bright­est star and I would say: That’s daddy’

Wi­dov oCPrince’s friend tells how she has coped in the 20 wars since her hus­band died on a royal ski­ing trip

- ANDREW ALDER­SON Chief Re­porter

IT IS 20 years since she was told the news that ev­ery wife dreads. But only now does Sarah Hors­ley feel strong enough to visit the moun­tains where her hus­band died.

When the win­ter snows have melted, Mrs Hors­ley will travel to Klosters, Switzer­land, where an avalanche claimed the life of her hus­band, Ma­jor Hugh Lind­say, while he was ski­ing off piste with the Prince of Wales.

The Prince, who two decades ago dug fran­ti­cally in the snow with his bare hands in a vain at­tempt to save his friend’s life, will re­turn to the pic­turesque vil­lage sep­a­rately later this month for a hol­i­day. He has vis­ited Klosters sev­eral times since the ac­ci­dent.

Yet Mrs Hors­ley, who was seven months preg­nant with the cou­ple’s first child when dis­as­ter struck, has only just be­gun to feel men­tally strong enough to fly to the Alps to see the place where her hus­band, at the age of just 34, was buried un­der a del­uge of fall­ing snow.

Now she has bro­ken her 20-year pub­lic si­lence over the Klosters tragedy in an exclusive in­ter­view with The Sun­day Tele­graph. Mrs Hors­ley spoke af­fec­tion­ately of the man she had hoped to grow old with, while their daugh­ter Alice, who will be 20 in May, spoke fondly of the fa­ther she never met.

“Hugh was great,” said Mrs Hors­ley. “He was enor­mous fun — one of those peo­ple who bright­ened a room. He was very kind — he would speak to the old and the young alike – and hugely en­thu­si­as­tic about life.”

On the day of the avalanche, March 10, 1988, Mrs Hors­ley, now re­mar­ried but then Mrs Lind­say, was work­ing in the press of­fice at Buck­ing­ham Palace. Her hus­band had en­joyed a suc­cess­ful ca­reer in the Army, where for three years he had been sec­onded as an equerry to the Queen and had be­come friends with Prince Charles.

“I was in my of­fice and the tele­phone kept ring­ing. The re­porters would say ‘Who am I speak­ing to?’ I would say ‘Sarah Lind­say’ and the phone would go dead.

“At first, I put it down to a bad line from abroad but then I was told by Sir Robin Jan­vrin [then the Queen’s press sec­re­tary and later her private sec­re­tary] that there had been an ac­ci­dent – he said the Prince was safe but some­body was dead. For half an hour, I said an aw­ful lot of prayers, but then poor Robin had to tell me it was Hugh who had died.” The next two months were des­per­ately dif­fi­cult. “Each day be­fore Alice was born [at St Thomas’ Hospi­tal in Lon­don] was a strug­gle. I though noth­ing mat­tered any more. But the mo­ment Alice was born, she was the fo­cus of my life.

“Yet even then, when I was col­lected from hospi­tal by my par­ents, I felt it was the loneli­est mo­ment of my life. I was very ‘un­brave’ for two or three years.” Mrs Lind­say, now 55, had great sup­port from her own fam­ily and the Royal Fam­ily at the a time when the Wale­ses were still to­gether. Diana, Princess of Wales, with the Duchess of York, had been in Klosters at the time of the avalanche but were not with the ski party that in­cluded Bruno Sprecher, the moun­tain guide, and Patti Palmer-Tomkin­son, a friend of the Prince who re­ceived hor­ren­dous in­juries in the dis­as­ter.

Prince Charles be­came a du­ti­ful god­fa­ther to Alice and the Princess of Wales was a con­stant source of strength. “The Princess was fan­tas­tic. She used to ring me ev­ery Sun­day evening. She was a dear friend — some­one I could ring at mid­night and say: ‘Life is pretty grim’.”

On Alice’s first birth­day, the Princess in­vited mother and daugh­ter to Kens­ing­ton Palace, her Lon­don home. There was a cake for Alice and Princes William and Harry, then aged five and three, joined in the birth­day party.

Slowly, Mrs Lind­say be­gan to re­build her life. “I have al­ways talked to Alice about Hugh. When she was old enough to un­der­stand, I said she al­ways had daddy with her be­cause he was in her heart.

“At night, we would look up at the bright­est star and I would say ‘That is daddy and he is look­ing down on us and look­ing af­ter us’.”

Some six years af­ter her hus­band died, Mrs Lind­say met Paul Hors­ley, a busi­ness­man with two chil­dren from a pre­vi­ous mar­riage. The cou­ple mar­ried in 1996 and they now live in a six-bed­roomed Ge­or­gian house in a vil­lage in Wilt­shire.

A year af­ter their wed­ding, they had a daugh­ter to­gether – Em­i­lie, who is now 10. “Paul has been fan­tas­tic,” said Mrs Hors­ley. “I feel very lucky to have met him.” Alice Lind­say, an at­trac­tive, bright-eyed red head, is in her first year of a four-year de­gree course at Manch­ester Univer­sity.

She has a col­lage of pho­to­graphs of him in her bed­room that Mrs Hors­ley ar­ranged for Ma­jor Lind­say’s mother, Au­drey, shortly af­ter his death. Au­drey Lind­say died a year ago in her late eight­ies.

Alice is grate­ful that she has in­her­ited some of her fa­ther’s traits.

“Of course, it is hard that I never met him but I have spo­ken to all his fam­ily and I feel I know what he was re­ally like,” she said.

“He loved mu­sic and sport — and so do I. He loved par­ties — and so do I. I am glad that I am like him in so many ways and I of­ten think: ‘I hope my fa­ther would be proud of me and what I have done’.”

 ?? CHRISTO­PHER PLEDGER/CAM­ERA PRESS ?? Daddy’s girl: Alice Lind­say, above with her mother Sarah Hors­ley, is very much like her fa­ther, Ma­jor Hugh Lind­say, in­set. He died on a ski­ing trip with Prince Charles, pic­tured top left with Diana, Princess of Wales . Be­low left, Princes William and...
CHRISTO­PHER PLEDGER/CAM­ERA PRESS Daddy’s girl: Alice Lind­say, above with her mother Sarah Hors­ley, is very much like her fa­ther, Ma­jor Hugh Lind­say, in­set. He died on a ski­ing trip with Prince Charles, pic­tured top left with Diana, Princess of Wales . Be­low left, Princes William and...
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