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Keira Knightley opts for the simple life with a guard

Keira Knightley can't live without her bodyguard.

Praised for her decision to live in a canal boat in the East End of London rather than the Mayfair penthouse that might be expected of Britain's best-paid actress, Keira Knightley has, though, retained one status symbol that no self-respecting star can do without: a bodyguard.

"Keira says she needs him," one of the actress's chums informs Mandrake. "They have become good friends."

The burly minder was very much in evidence at a party sponsored by Marquis Vodka after the first night of The Little Dog Laughed, a West End play starring her boyfriend, Rupert Friend. He kept away journalists who approached the star of Atonement.

Keira has spoken of her fears at being approached in the street by strangers. She said she was left "jumpy" when a man startled her and verbally abused her in 2008.

"I got such a shock, I couldn't say anything and this guy took incredible offence and started hurling the most amazing abuse," said the 24-year-old actress, who starred in Pirate of the Caribbean.

"It's a weird thing to have to deal with, not on a day-to-day basis, but it has happened enough to make me quite jumpy. I've never managed to get used to people recognising me."

© Telegraph.co.uk