London - (Associated Mess): Jewellery and other memorabilia belonging to the late Princess Margaret is being auctioned off in London next week in the hope that it will raise enough money for her heirs to pay off the Metropolitan Police's Special Branch from releasing tricky cold-war documents about her colourful activities with the Provisional IRA.
Auctioneers expect at least £5 million to be raised, which is roughly the same amount that Mrs Thatcher offered on General Pinochet's behalf in 1998 when he was thrown into a London slammer on crimes against humanity charges while visiting his European coke dealer contacts.
Among the 666 items for sale are some 1,000 gold ingots from the October 1983 Brinks Matt bullion heist valued at over £2 million, and a fabulous Faberge travel clock which the late Princess nicked from the Victoria and Albert Museum in 1965 when she was short of a fiver for her taxi fare back home to Kensington Palace.
A diamond tiara hocked to London pawn brokers on numerous occasions to service the late Princess's coke debts is estimated as fetching around in excess of £100,000, although the auctioneers are anxious about an engraving on its inner side that has been apparently partially scratched off:
"With the aid of a magnifing glass we have been able to make out the original dedication wording which says: 'To Margaret from Fidel Castro, 22 November 1963'. The words love and kisses are somewhat obscured, however."
The late Princess's ex-husband, Lord Snowedupon, is said to be unhappy about some of the items on display in the auction catalogue, including a gold-plated copper-7 inter-uterine device given to her at a central London fanily planning clinic after the birth of her second child.
A set of solid platinum S&M sex toys is also of concern to family members, after legal expert said that modern forensics could detect ancient DNA samples from microscopic remains that were previously thought to be undetectable.
"That could be tricky for Mr Gerry Adams", said a spokesman, "he was a frequent visitor to both Kensington Palace as well as the late Princess's holiday hideaway on the island of Mustique...
"Any such official connection could open up a can of worms that the House of Mountbatten would rather hope to have destroyed with a thermic lance before items were offered up for public auction."
The Princess's descendants are also at pains to erase any formal DNA connection between her and former UK Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Mandelson.
Having blagged his way through the tricky question of who gave him £375,000 hush money to buy a swanky Notting Hill pad in 1998 by naming Geoffrey Robinson, Mandelson signed official legal papers renouncing any further claims on his blood-mother of her estate.
But this document has since mysteriously dissappeared from the Royal Family's lawyers' offices, opening up the question of which senior member of the Special Branch may have masterminded an imminent Mandelson return from Brussels back to London.....