Celebration marks life of secret agent Krystyna Skarbek who inspired Bond girls

The life of one of Britain’s most daring secret agents who is said to have inspired Bond girls Vesper Lynd and Tatiana Romanova has been celebrated.

Polish-born Krystyna Skarbek, who was dubbed “Churchill’s favourite”, joined the secret service during the Second World War.

As well as recruiting couriers to smuggle out intelligence reports from Eastern Europe, she once parachuted into France to gather intelligence for Allied forces.

Last Friday a ceremony organised by the Polish Heritage Society took place to celebrate her life and mark the renovation of her grave in St Mary’s Catholic Cemetery in Kensal Green.

A mass and a military procession of British soldiers and representatives of Polish fighters from the Second World War was held as part of the memorial.

Investigative journalist and Highgate luminary Marjorie Wallace was married to Krystyna’s late cousin, Belsize Park psychiatrist and psychoanalyst Count Andrzej Skarbek.

He had to identify the body of his cousin after she was stabbed to death in a Kensington hotel room in 1952 by obsessed fantasist Dennis Muldowney. She was 44.

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Ms Wallace, who lives in Bisham Gardens, Highgate, said: “She’s been an icon in our lives – my son has called his daughter Vesper Lynd in her memory.

“She smuggled the first photos of enemy tanks and survived the most incredibly dangerous exploits throughout the war.

“She led a strange life later on and couldn’t settle down to a life without high danger.

“It’s marvellous they have taken the time and money to give her a due place in history.

“She was probably the most beautiful, exotic and risk-taking special agent there was.”