BUCKINGHAM Palace yesterday insisted it was too early to speculate on whether Princess Margaret would be well enough to attend the wedding of her nephew Prince Edward and Sophie Rhys-Jones in June.

It will depend on how quickly she recovers from burns to her feet she suffered while getting into a bath at her holiday home on the Caribbean island of Mustique, a palace spokesman said.

''Princess Margaret scalded her feet in an accident on holiday in Mustique a few weeks ago. She is getting some nursing care, helping her change her dressings, and the burns are responding to treatment and she is in good spirits.

''She was seen by a local doctor in Mustique, and came back to London a week after the accident. She is now recuperating at Windsor, but these things do take some time to heal,'' the spokesman added.

The 68-year-old princess's close friend Lady Glenconner told a Sunday newspaper that she had been confined to bed since the accident, but denied she was seriously ill.

Lady Glenconner said: ''Burns like that do not heal easily the older one gets. However, she is well in herself. It is not true to say her life is in any danger. I can't say whether she will be well enough to attend Prince Edward's wedding.''

Princess Margaret suffered a mild stroke in February last year while in Mustique, where she has holidayed for more than 30 years.

Meanwhile, the Queen was accused by a leading ecologist last night of allowing forestry work on her Highland estate to threaten the survival of red squirrels.

The endangered animals are being driven from traditional habitat at Balmoral because of recent policies of tree felling, according to Dr Adam Watson, who appealed to the Queen and neighbouring landowners to put the plight of red squirrels before economic considerations.

''Felling at Balmoral means some of the trees are now so far apart that pinewood animals can't live there,'' he said. ''Estates such as this are driven by economic factors, but their policies are causing tremendous damage to wildlife like the red squirrel.

''They are exterminated from areas which have been cleared of trees. I think the forester should take the rap for this at Balmoral. It is a very important natural habitat.''

His concerns were shared by the Scottish Wildlife Trust, which called yesterday for united action by both ecologists and forestry owners.

Dr Watson, former principal officer at the Institute of Terrestrial Ecology, Banchory, Deeside, claimed estates were cashing in on the 1988 Woodlands Grant Scheme, aimed at encouraging new planting and re-stocking old woodlands.

He singled out Balmoral as one of the worst examples and claimed some felling policies were simply aimed at maximising profits.

Areas of trees on estates like Balmoral had been cleared completely or had been selectively felled since 1990, leaving just a small percentage of the original woodland, he said.

However, Mr Peter Ord, factor of the Balmoral estate, defending its red squirrel record, said: ''We have a very big population of red squirrels on the estate. I would say our policies on woodlands are helping the squirrel population to blossom.''