Pubdate: Sun, 16 May 1999
Source: Sunday Times (UK)
Copyright: 1999 Times Newspapers Ltd.
Author: Christopher Morgan


The son of Camilla Parker Bowles, the longstanding companion of the Prince
of Wales, has admitted to having a drug problem after he was seen taking
cocaine at a party.

Tom Parker Bowles, 24, who is a friend of Prince William and a godson of
Prince Charles, was cautioned for possession of cannabis and ecstasy four
years ago. The admission that he has continued taking drugs came after The
Sunday Times approached him yesterday with evidence of cocaine abuse at a
weekend party. Parker Bowles was said last night to be "very sorry" and
"humbled" by the revelations.

A friend, increasingly concerned by his habit, had earlier described how
Parker Bowles, a public relations consultant, turned up at a party in west
London carrying his own supply of cocaine.

"Tom arrived looking dishevelled and pale wearing a T-shirt," he said. "He
walked in and one of the 20 people present said, 'Do you want some charlie
[cocaine]?' Tom said, 'I've got my own.'

"He then used a table to cut his cocaine. He racked up a couple of lines and
sniffed those. Someone was trying to roll a joint and was having a
considerable amount of difficulty. Tom picked it up and happily went on with

The friend, who has asked not be named, said he had been provoked to
disclose details of Parker Bowles's drug abuse because of his closeness to
Prince William, 16, who is still at school at Eton.

The friend said that Parker Bowles needed a "shot across his bows" to slow
down and wean himself off drugs. He was concerned that he might otherwise be
a "bad influence" on Prince William.

"I am concerned that he is William's mentor," the source said. "Any way you
look at it Tom Parker Bowles is a bad influence on the future king of
England. Tom already considers he has shown William what life is like for a
teenager today. His attitude is that we can get away with anything because
we are minor celebrities.

"Tom is not wise. He is his own worst enemy. He is careless and believes
that nothing can stop him in his pursuit of a good time. He is convinced the
Establishment will protect him. Tom thinks he call pull strings wherever he

Parker Bowles was at the Cannes film festival yesterday. Speaking from the
local office of Dennis Davidson Associates, the film PR company, he first
denied taking cocaine at the party. But later friends told The Sunday Times
that he "accepted he had taken illegal drugs" and he was "very sorry that he
had distressed his parents". He spoke to his mother yesterday afternoon and
admitted his drug abuse.

Although Parker Bowles is seven years older than William, they share much in
common, not least the fact that they have both experienced parental
separations and been taunted for their parents' conduct. If Prince Charles
were ever to marry Camilla Parker Bowles - something that has officially
been ruled out - they would become

In 1995 Parker Bowles, while still an undergraduate at Oxford, was cautioned
for possession of cannabis and ecstasy. He escaped expulsion from Worcester
College, Oxford, where he was reading English. 

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