Dame Prue Leith reveals controversial views on dying

·4-min read
Mandatory Credit: Photo by Ken McKay/ITV/REX/Shutterstock (9236085ag)
Prue Leith
'This Morning' TV show, London, UK - 22 Nov 2017
Prue Leith has discussed her views on assisted dying. (Shutterstock)

Dame Prue Leith has spoken out in favour of assisted dying after revealing her first husband asked doctors if he could have “a bit of assistance” with death.

The Great British Bake Off host opened up about the deaths of Rayne Kruger and her brother.

She said Kruger, who died from emphysema in 2002, had wanted to go peacefully.

The couple were married for almost 30 years before the author’s death, aged 80.

Speaking to Irish TV station RTE One, Leith said shortly before his death, her husband had asked if he could be allowed to die “with a bit of assistance, an extra dose of morphine” with her at his side.

Prue Leith attends the English National Ballet's Cinderella - Opening Night - at the Royal Albert Hall, Kensington, London (Photo by Keith Mayhew / SOPA Images/Sipa USA)
Dame Prue is known for being open and forthright about her views. (SOPA Images)

She added that peaceful deaths do not often occur in hospital, adding “if it does, the patient is very lucky”.

Leith had a 13-year affair with Kruger, while he was married to her mother’s best friend, before they eventually married and had a son, Daniel, and adopted a daughter, Li-Da, from Cambodia.

After being widowed, she married fashion designer John Playfair in 2016.

Going on to speak about her brother, who had bone cancer, she continued: “In the end, he died because he refused to take anymore antibiotics and he could do that, that was within his power, but that meant he got pneumonia.

Watch: Leith: Need to change hearts and minds of hospitals

“For the last five days of David’s life, he was at home… and his wife felt dreadful because she sat there praying that he would die.”

Leith believes assisted dying should be available to everyone as long as the person has just six months to live and has the proper mental capacity to make the decision.

In the past, she has been frequently forthright on other matters - revealing that she voted for Brexit, and speaking up about politics.

Read more: 'Bake Off' star Prue Leith shares throwback image showing her at 29

Dame Prue spoke about her late husband and her brothers' deaths. (RTE)
Dame Prue spoke about her late husband and her brothers' deaths. (RTE)

She told SAGA Magazine, "There’s nothing wrong with money. One of the reasons I’ve always loved business is that if you look at a profit-and-loss account and the bottom line is the right colour – not red – you get the sort of buzz you have when you’ve made the perfect wedding buffet. ‘We did that!’

"I got huge satisfaction that our restaurant had 32 waiters with families who were all living off our venture."

She also told her interviewer - her nephew, writer Sam Leith - that her generation was incredibly fortunate.

"We were unbelievably lucky," she said. "Not only did we make a lot of cash but we had things like pension holidays, when companies thought they didn’t have to pay in because there was so much money in the pot.

"Then your generation comes along and there’s nothing. You’ve been swindled by your parents’ generation. It means that if you can help your children, you do – but there’s an awful lot of people who can’t."

Author Prue Leith with her husband John Playfair at a reception to mark the 25th anniversary of the National Literacy Trust at Plaisterers' Hall in London.
Author Prue Leith with her husband John Playfair at a reception to mark the 25th anniversary of the National Literacy Trust at Plaisterers' Hall in London. (PA)

Read more: Prue Leith says she felt ‘terrible’ after leaking result of Bake Off final

On parenting for her generation, she added, "Rayne and I had the children in bed by seven so we could have a drink! Our priority was to have a life – not just be running after children all the time."

She also confessed, "I disapproved of adultery. I would hear of friends whose husbands were betraying them and I’d want to kill them. But then I was Rayne’s mistress for years before we married.

"Not good. I wasn’t proud of that."

After Rayne's death, Prue explained, she stayed at their home in Oxfordshire, having scattered his ashes in the pond.

"After he was gone, I became obsessed with gardening. It’s the most wonderful thing to do if you’re unhappy and grief-stricken," she said.

Dame Prue remarried in 2016, to John Playfair, a retired fashion designer eight years her junior. They only moved in together last year, after ten years in a happy relationship.

She told The Telegraph, "John calls our new home our 'retirement home'.

"We have to face the fact that we're going to live together for the very first time. It just feels like the right time now."

Watch: Paul, Prue talk new season of 'The Great British Bake Off'

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