Princess Margaret has always been known as a bit of a rebel but the intriguing royal once reportedly had a love affair with a London gangster.
The Queen’s younger sister – known for her love of parties – would surround herself with all sorts of characters, especially when holidaying on the island of Mustique.
And one of the people she associated with was notorious gangster John Bindon – whose party trick involved hanging five half-pint beer tankards from his manhood.
The princess and Bindon reportedly had an intimate relationship in the 1970s, which started when he spent three weeks at her home on the Caribbean island.
They allegedly cavorted openly on the beach, with their tryst said to have continued when they got back to London.
The royal even sneaked Bindon into Kensington Palace, according to the gangster’s girlfriend at the time.
Margaret always maintained they never had an affair but numerous reports, including in Craig Brown’s recent biography of the princess, claim something untoward went on between the pair.
Known for hanging out with stars of the screen and stage, Bindon caught Margaret’s attention and was described as her "court jester".
One of the most scintillating tales about their reported fling was that she once had Bindon show her his lengthy appendage on the beach in front of one of her ladies-in-waiting.
Born in Fulham in 1943, Bindon was the son of a London cab driver.
He was involved in petty crime as a teen and even spent time behind bars.
Remarkably, he was yanked out of a potential life of crime when film director Ken Loach spotted him in a pub and offered him a role in his 1967 film Poor Cow.
Bindon went on to secure a role in Performance opposite Mick Jagger and played a crime boss in Get Carter.
His hard-man image also translated off the screen and he was alleged to deal drugs, run protection rackets with pubs and even have connections to the infamous Kray twins.
In 1968, he won the Queen’s award for bravery after he jumped into the Thames to rescue a drowning man.
However, some reports claimed he actually pushed the man into the river and only went in after him when a policeman appeared.
Eventually, he ended up in the same circles as the princess and was invited to spend three weeks at her hideaway in Mustique in 1970.
Margaret’s property, Les Jolies Eaux, was known for the hosting wild parties and it’s said she would invite Bindon to the main house from his guest cottage every night.
Bindon recalled later: “My accent and Cockney phrases foxed her sometimes. We talked about acting, films and showbiz. I think she liked me because I nattered away quite happily.”
The guests would spend their days swimming, sunbathing nude and recovering from the antics of the previous evening.
One picture shows Bindon sitting next to the princess while wearing a red T-shirt with the logo ‘Enjoy cocaine’ on the front.
He reportedly boasted to friends about having sex on the beach with the princess.
Bindon’s then girlfriend, Vicki Hodge, the daughter of baronet Sir John Hodge, was also on the trip to the island and claims she knew all about the alleged affair.
She said: "John told me he had sex with Princess Margaret the first time he went to Mustique.
"He always told me about his affairs, but he refused to go into details.
"In those days in Mustique, everyone thought nothing of making love on the beach."
Vicki said the princess was intrigued by Bindon because he was different from her usual crowd.
"John was tall, broad, with an air of menace, coupled with a boyish charisma that rendered him irresistible," she said.
"The princess loved his cockney accent, his rhyming slang and dirty jokes."
Vicki was also on the island when the princess reportedly asked to see Bindon’s famous asset.
She says the group were enjoying lobster, champagne and caviar when Lord Glenconner suggested she take a look.
"He turned to John and said: ‘Ma’am knows about your advantage in life and would really like to see it," Vicki said.
"He jumped up" and was followed by Margaret and a lady-in-waiting, she added.
They walked along the beach and "he took out his appendage. The Princess examined it rather like a fossil".
"We all gasped," she said.
But the princess had reportedly already seen his appendage and was only causing mischief by having a look on the beach.
Life on Mustique was the perfect setting for a fling where guests sunbathed and enjoyed lunch on the beach delivered by maids and butlers.
Vicki said: "No one was that worried about security
"So MI5 would monitor things from the top of a cliff and not crowd the princess.
"John became a sort of court jester to the Princess, telling her jokes, pouring her champagne, catering to her in every way, and she loved it."
Vicki claims the fling continued with Margaret calling their Fulham flat to summon Bindon to Kensington Palace.
Another incredible element to the pair’s story are reports that compromising photographs of the unlikely lovers were the real reason behind a rain on vaults of a Lloyds bank branch on Baker Street in 1971.
It has been claimed the £500,000 raid – £5 million in today’s money – was made in order to secure the pictures.
The 2008 film, The Bank Job – starring Jason Statham – is based on the raid and the reportedly incriminating pictures taken of Margaret and Bindon on Mustique.
The government even enacted a gagging order to stop further media coverage of the raid.
MI5 reportedly went to extreme lengths to cover up the affair as it could have tarnished the monarchy.
But within a few years of his visit to Mustique, Bindon was on trial for murder after allegedly killing London gangster John Darke outside a Putney pub in 1978.
He was badly wounded in the incident and fled to Dublin, Ireland, but returned to stand trial at the Old Bailey in 1979. He was acquitted after actor Bob Hoskins appeared as his character witness.
The prosecution had claimed it was a £10,000 contract kiling.
Margaret and Bindon were reportedly no longer involved at that stage and she went on to start a romance with Roddy Llewellyn, who was 17 years her junior.
Bindon’s film career collapsed and he lived as a recluse in his Belgravia flat until his death of an Aids-related illness in 1993.
Princess Margaret died at the age of 71 in 2002.
The Royal family
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