Years later, her indignation over the media coverage of her supposed liaison with the Duke of Edinburgh focused on one headline that appeared repeatedly: "The Prince and the Showgirl." In Kirkwood's terminology, "showgirl" meant "chorus girl", and as she said, "I was never in any chorus in my entire life." Though outwardly brimming with confidence, she feared failure, and always went on stage with a speech prepared for the possibility that she might be given "the bird" by a hostile audience.
She called this "my bread and butter speech", because it began with the words: "Ladies and Gentlemen, this is my bread and butter . ." At 17, she played the lead in her first film, Save A Little Sunshine.
"The truth is that he was flattered to be linked with a famous and beautiful star," Gregg said.
Kirkwood ' s view of that disastrous evening was that Philip felt he had "escaped" for a while.
During the final weeks of her life, when her devoted carers at Kitwood House, Ilkley, tried to persuade her to eat or drink, she turned her face away, refusing all nourishment.
It was, in the words of one of them, "a conscious decision to end her life on her own terms".
"He was so full of life and energy," she said."I suspect he felt trapped and rarely got a chance to be himself.
I think I got off on the right foot because I made him laugh." However, the more she protested her innocence of any impropriety, the less she was believed.In 1942, when she starred in Cole Porter's musical, Let's Face It, and introduced his hit Just One Of Those Things to London audiences, the great American composer was so delighted that he cabled her: "You may sing any song of mine at any time for the rest of your life." In 1944, she even sang with Glenn Miller and his orchestra, only days before Miller vanished, presumed killed, in a wartime flight. MGM, who put her under contract to co-star with Van Johnson in No Leave, No Love, thought she needed to lose weight, and prescribed pills that had a disastrous effect.Kirkwood was already distressed by the off-screen drama surrounding the film.Like the lifelong good trouper that she was, Pat Kirkwood, one of the all-time great British musical stars chose the manner and the moment of her final exit. The beautiful and dynamic actress, singer and dancer - famous for her legendary legs and also for her feverishly-discussed association with the Duke of Edinburgh - ended her life in a West Yorkshire nursing home where she had been a patient for the past three-and-a-half years, suffering from Alzheimer's disease.Although she could no longer articulate her thoughts on the matter, Pat, who had watched her own mother die from the same illness, knew she was deteriorating beyond hope of recovery.Soon after, they disappeared upstairs to the Milroy nightclub, where they spent hours dancing cheek-to-cheek.