Royal Watch

updated 10/04/1993 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 10/04/1993 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Rumors are rumbling about trouble in the marriage of the former Raine Spencer (Princess Di's widowed stepmother) and her husband of almost three months, Jean-François de Chambrun. It seems the bridegroom, 57, fled a holiday in Gstaad to go to France, leaving Raine, 64, to attend a party—horrors!—alone. The couple have spent most of the last eight weeks apart. "I'm very worried," Raine's mother, Dame Barbara Cartland, 92, has tattled indiscreetly to the press. Chambrun, who runs a water-purification business, has called the rumors "rubbish. I am a businessman and cannot sit by my wife's side every day. Our love is as strong as ever." In fact, said Chambrun, the two are planning a romantic tour of the "slow winding roads of France" via a Range Rover. Apparently, they won't be calling on clients.

Bachelor princes are rare in European society, so it's no wonder that King Harald and Queen Sonja of Norway invited Prince Edward, 29, Queen Elizabeth's bachelor son, on a three-day fjord cruise as part of their 25th anniversary celebration. The guests included three young eligible princesses from Greece, Norway and Sweden and two from Spain. Instead of a princess, Edward attached himself to Astrid Ullens de Schooten Whettnall, 29, cousin of Sweden's King Carl Gustaf. The two reportedly were inseparable during the trip and talked late into the night, promising to meet again in Brussels. The British press is not breathing heavily over the friendship. To them, he is still "Eddie the Unready."

Some families are linked in destiny, especially in small countries. Now there seems to be a budding romance between Princess Anne's son, Peter Phillips, 15, and Laura Parker Bowles, also 15. Laura's parents, of course, are Andrew and Camilla Parker Bowles—he, the former Silver Stick in Waiting to the Queen, and she, Prince Charles's longtime confidate. Peter and Laura were spotted frolicking at summer fetes and at a disco near Peter's family home, Galcombe Park, in Gloucestershire. Though they've known each other forever, "their friendship appears to be developing along thoroughly healthy teenage lines," said a royal watcher.

Could past become prologue? Princess Anne and Brigadier Parker Bowles dated a bit when they were young, and Laura's great-great-grandmother Alice Keppel was mistress to Peter's great-great-grcat-grand-father Edward VII. Modern legend has it that Camilla mentioned this affair when she first met Prince Charles, adding, "So how about it?"

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