With her impressive royal connections, the It Girl was a trailblazer in the 1990s for celebrities who became famous for being famous.
Known for her hard partying and exhibitionist streak, she wrote columns in publications which featured her glamorous weekly activities.
She developed her own “brand”, with newspaper exposure, book deals and TV appearances.
Tara Palmer-Tompkinson was the ultimate British socialite
Tara was born in Hampshire to Olympic skier Charles Palmer-Tomkinson, a wealthy land owner, and his wife Patricia in 1971.
In 2009 she hit the headlines by revealing: “I have kissed Prince Charles every single day since I was four years old.” She meant as an older family friend.
Tara was seen kissing Charles in 1995 – but she later said the kiss was just “to thank him for a day’s skiing.”
Tara Palmer-Tomkinson 1971-2017
Wed, February 8, 2017
Socialite Tara Palmer-Tomkinson, the original 90s 'It Girl' has died aged 45 after battling a brain tumour.
UK Press via Getty Images
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At her birthday party in Mayfair in 1998.
I would use it [cocaine] to give me confidence – that’s what it provides
As an adult Tara, better known by her moniker of TP-T, was an accomplished skier and often joined the royals on the slopes with her now married older sister Santa Montefiore, a mother of two and novelist.
As a schoolgirl she dreamed of being a pianist or riding in the Grand National. She briefly worked in the City of London for Rothschild bank before embracing her jet-set lifestyle.
Her face was everywhere as she fell out of nightclubs and turned up to parties in bikinis. But behind the glitz she struggled with a £400-a-day addiction to cocaine.
Tara was always very close with Prince Charles
Her life went into a downward spiral involving drug addiction, rehab, and tearful promises to “get my life back on track.”
She was treated for cocaine addiction at The Meadows rehabilitation clinic in Arizona ten years ago and went on to appear on I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here! in 2002. She came second to DJ Tony Blackburn.
She also won Comic Relief Does Fame Academy, describing it as “the best moment of my life” and made appearances on other TV shows including celebrity specials of Blind Date and A Place In The Sun.
Throughout her life, she struggled with a cocaine addiction
Interviewed by Jeremy Kyle, she spoke about the cocaine addiction that almost killed her and admitted to being a virtual recluse after suffering a nervous breakdown.
She said: “I would use it [cocaine] to give me confidence – that’s what it provides, that absolute vacuous false nature of everyone thinking that the sun shines out of your **** when it really doesn’t.”
Her nose had to be reconstructed after her cocaine excesses. Then in 2014 there was a public meltdown at Heathrow Airport during which she was arrested.
Tara passed away from a brain tumour after struggling with illness
In photographs she has looked pale, and haunted. Illness struck and she was last photographed looking gaunt 15 days before she died.
She once said: “When I got the It-girl tag it was all about timing. They wanted a real-life Ab Fab person. That was only a small part of who I was.
“I didn’t come from the Paris Hilton world. Mine was privileged, yes, but it was old money. Our house was – is – held together with Super Glue. If a plate breaks, my father fixes it.”