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'Cherie, Tony's toenails and a feud with Princess Anne'

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A NEW book today lays bare what it claims are the sensational secrets of Tony and Cherie Blair's marriage, including allegations of bizarre alternative health practices and a feud between the Prime Minister's wife and Princess Anne.

According to the book, Tony And Cherie, A Special Relationship, Mrs Blair used to collect her husband's toenail and hair clippings so that health guru Jack Temple - who died last year - could run his pendulum over them to gauge the best timing for important events in their lives.

Mrs Blair is also said to use white witchcraft practices such as casting a circle around her to create a "sacred space". She is described as intensely ambitious and a key influence on the Prime Minister, while at the same time feeling frustrated that her own political ambitions have been thwarted.

The book, by Fleet Street journalist Paul Scott, comes on the day Downing Street is already fielding claims in another book that Mr Blair referred to the Welsh in disparaging terms and was called " dickhead" to his face by Alastair Campbell.

Scott's book reveals that the alternative health and lifestyle coach Carole Caplin continues to exercise a strong influence.

Scott claims that despite banishing Ms Caplin from No10 following the Bristol flats scandal, Mr Blair recently resumed regular phone conversations with her.

Ms Caplin - who, it is claimed, used to personally bathe Mrs Blair as part of her pampering service - was said to have been instrumental in the birth of the Blairs' youngest child, Leo.

According to Scott, Mrs Blair was submitting herself to a New Age sexual technique when she became pregnant.

Scott says he used a number of sources "right at the inside" of Downing Street and spent five years researching the book, published by Sidgwick Jackson. He said: "The book tries to explain what it's like behind the closed doors of Downing Street and what it's like for the two central players and how they cope with the enormous pressure they are under.

"Much of what Cherie does is undeniably odd. She finds it difficult to cope with the pressure and strain of life at No10 and she has surrounded herself with people like Caplin and other alternative health practitioners to help her deal with it.

"Most people would think she is someone with too much time and money on her hands." Scott claims Mrs Blair and Princess Anne have been locked in a feud since they first met, when Mrs Blair said: "Do call me Cherie," only for the Princess Royal to reply: "Actually, let's not go that way. Let's stick to Mrs Blair." When they met again some years later Anne is said to have turned her back on Mrs Blair, who, according to Scott, said: "That bitch completely blanked me."

The book claims Mrs Blair has a troubled relationship with the Queen, describing the Blairs' annual visit to Balmoral as "too unbelievably horrible for words". Although she refuses to curtsy to the Queen, it is claimed Mrs Blair was invited to a drunken singalong with the Queen Mother. No10 today declined to comment on the book.

(C) 2005 Evening Standard - London. via ProQuest Information and Learning Company; All Rights Reserved

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