Although he’s Prince of Wales, it’s Scotland where the heir to the throne has always felt most at home.
But he and Camilla will not be able to celebrate Hogmanay at their beloved home on the Balmoral estate, I hear, as Scotland’s scowling First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, has made the Royal Family feel unwelcome in their own kingdom.
‘It’s very sad, but their Royal Highnesses do not want to cause trouble,’ one of their friends tells me.
‘They understand the difficulties of travelling during the crisis and look forward to returning to Scotland as soon as possible.’
This week, Scottish National Party leader Sturgeon publicly revealed that her government had reminded Buckingham Palace of the strict Covid restrictions north of the border ahead of Prince William and Kate’s morale-boosting visit on the royal train.
Restrictions include a ban on ‘non‑essential travel between Scotland and other parts of the UK until further notice’.
Charles and Camilla, who are known as the Duke and Duchess of Rothesay in Scotland, are believed to have spent New Year’s Eve at their Birkhall home on the Queen’s Balmoral estate every year since they married in 2005
Scottish National Party leader Sturgeon (pictured) publicly revealed that her government had reminded Buckingham Palace of the strict Covid restrictions north of the border ahead of Prince William and Kate’s morale-boosting visit on the royal train
Charles and Camilla will not be able to celebrate Hogmanay at their beloved home on the Balmoral estate
Her comments are said to have taken aback courtiers, who had consulted Sturgeon’s officials while planning the tour round Britain on the royal train.
Charles and Camilla, who are known as the Duke and Duchess of Rothesay in Scotland, are believed to have spent New Year’s Eve at their Birkhall home on the Queen’s Balmoral estate every year since they married in 2005. They’re usually joined by Camilla’s sister and brother-in-law, Annabel and Simon Elliot. Instead, the couple are expected to spend January at the Prince’s Gloucestershire home, Highgrove, and Camilla’s Wiltshire residence, Ray Mill House.
They enjoyed spending the first lockdown at Birkhall but their stay attracted criticism from some SNP politicians because Charles was revealed to have developed coronavirus symptoms soon after arriving.
Sources were keen to stress that he did not know he had the virus when they travelled there.
A Clarence House spokesman declines to comment, and a royal source describes their plans as ‘up in the air’.
If not up in the Highlands…
Bah, humbug! Christmas makes Humble grumble
Kate Humble will co-present a series of five Christmas specials of BBC1’s Animal Park from Longleat Safari Park — but she lacks the festive spirit when the cameras stop rolling.
‘I absolutely loathe Christmas,’ the Autumnwatch star admits. ‘I don’t celebrate it. I can’t bear tinsel. I can’t bear the waste; it’s all about buying stuff that nobody needs. And eating food that no one in their right mind wants to eat the rest of the year.’
Humble — who lives with her TV producer husband, Ludo, in the Wye Valley — tells me: ‘I’m not spending Christmas with my mum because I am like Scrooge and a real “Bah, humbug!”. So she goes to my brother who’s got children, and it’s much more exciting for her.
‘We’ve got a friend who is going to stay with us for a couple of days, but even he said: “I will be leaving you on Christmas Day because you are so grumpy.” ’
Ladies’ man Luis bows out
Farewell to the last of the adventurer playboys.
Luis ‘the Bounder’ Basualdo, a former lover of Christina Onassis who scandalised Seventies society with his social and sexual misdemeanours, died on Wednesday aged 75.
‘He got on a boat to England with two polo ponies, a dashing smile and bundles of charm…and five years later was married to one of the richest heiresses in England and employing Prince Charles on his own polo team,’ one of his friends tells me. ‘Extraordinary.’
The Argentinian married the 3rd Viscount Cowdray’s daughter Lucy Pearson. Their child, Charlotte, says of his passing: ‘It is utterly heartbreaking.
‘The advantage, I suppose, of a father who didn’t live an exemplary life himself was that I felt unconditional love with no judgment from him.
‘He loved notoriety — and never tried to hide it — so a send-off in the Daily Mail Diary would have thrilled him.’
To the manners born? Not Gemma!
She has commanded the West End stage and appeared in Hollywood block-busters, but Gemma Arterton (right) is yet to master a knife and fork
She has commanded the West End stage and appeared in Hollywood block-busters, but Gemma Arterton (right) is yet to master a knife and fork.
‘I taught myself good table manners because, [growing up] in my house, we didn’t sit down for dinner that often. It wasn’t a thing,’ says the welder’s daughter from Gravesend, Kent. ‘I’ve sort of had to pick it up from watching people.’ Gemma, 34, who stars in BBC1’s festive drama highlight Black Narcissus, adds: ‘It’s terrible. I still eat with my fork in my right hand, and the number of people that go: “Are you left-handed?”
‘It’s just because we were never taught.
‘Now, I have to make myself swap over when I’m with other people.’
It takes two, baby!
Countdown co-host Rachel Riley is counting down to baby No 2.
‘There’s still plenty of time, but we definitely want to have another one,’ the 34-year-old Oxford graduate tells me. She is married to the Russian former Strictly Come Dancing pro Pasha Kovalev — her partner on the show in 2013 — and their daughter, Maven (above, with her mum), will be celebrating her first birthday next week.
The Countdown is pictured with her second born wearing festive jumpers. She is married to the Russian former Strictly Come Dancing pro Pasha Kovalev.
It’s hard to imagine social distancing at Glastonbury but Cornbury, the Oxfordshire festival known as ‘Poshstock’ among regulars such as David Cameron and film producer Jemima Goldsmith, will definitely go ahead next summer. Bryan Adams is confirmed as a headline act.
‘If any festival can cope with social distancing, Cornbury can,’ its organiser Hugh Phillimore tells me. ‘We already have a tier of seating around the main stage. I’m sure our festival-goers won’t mind the luxury of table service, too. I don’t think anyone will be missing a mosh pit.’
Joanna’s spicy homage
Joanna Lumley will pay homage to her Indian roots this Christmas
Forget the turkey, Joanna Lumley will pay homage to her Indian roots this Christmas.
The Absolutely Fabulous star — who was born in Kashmir as her father was a British Indian Army officer — reveals: ‘I shall not cook. There will be masses of vegetarian Indian food and I shall get in a Goanese chef to help out while I stand by sipping a Martini.
‘Everything will be eaten with fingers and lit by candles.’
The smart set’s talking about… sizzling romance for Marco’s girl
Meeting your girlfriend’s father for the first time is always daunting, so spare a thought for Bruce Eadle, who’s going out with Mirabelle Pierre White.
Her dad is fiery Hell’s Kitchen star Marco Pierre White, known for ejecting objectionable diners from his restaurants.
Happily, Oxfordshire car dealer Bruce, 27, appears to have prevented Marco from boiling over.
‘My dad loves him,’ says Mirabelle, 18, who is named after Marco’s former Mayfair eatery. ‘They get on really well and he has no complaints whatsoever.’
Educated at the Royal Ballet School, Mirabelle was introduced to Bruce by mutual friends at Giffords Circus.
No clowning around, Bruce . . .