As a distinguished helicopter pilot who was hailed a hero for his role in the Falklands conflict, Prince Andrew’s military roles could not be a bigger source of pride to him.
But I hear he’s going to come under renewed pressure to step down as Colonel of the Grenadier Guards in the new year — and insiders predict he will be gone by the time of Trooping the Colour next summer.
‘Representations are going to be made to the Palace that we can’t continue with him as Colonel,’ a military source tells me. ‘We need a Colonel who can represent us in public. He is casting a shadow over the regiment and causing us embarrassment.’
This week, the Grenadiers recruited the first woman since the regiment was formed in 1656, but the source claims the scandal surrounding the Duke is putting off others.
Prince Andrew (pictured with the Queen during Trooping the Colour in 2019) stepped back from public duties ‘for the foreseeable future’ four days after his disastrous Newsnight interview in November last year
Andrew stepped back from public duties ‘for the foreseeable future’ four days after his disastrous Newsnight interview in November last year. ‘The circumstances relating to my former association with Jeffrey Epstein has become a major disruption to my family’s work,’ he admitted.
He hoped his status change would be temporary, but many organisations either dropped him or accepted his resignation, including the English National Ballet, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and the Outward Bound Trust. Yesterday, Buckingham Palace named the date of the next Queen’s Birthday Parade as June 12 and Andrew would normally be expected to ride alongside Prince Charles, Princess Anne, Prince William and the Duke of Kent.
This year, Andrew’s blushes were spared because Trooping the Colour was replaced by a small ceremony at Windsor Castle.
This year, Andrew’s (pictured taking part in the Colonel’s Review in 2019) blushes were spared because Trooping the Colour was replaced by a small ceremony at Windsor Castle
As a distinguished helicopter pilot (pictured) who was hailed a hero for his role in the Falklands conflict, Prince Andrew’s military roles could not be a bigger source of pride to him
It will be a very awkward conversation when the Queen tells Andrew he must step down as Colonel. He replaced Prince Philip in 2017, but, even then, many of the guardsmen were said not to have wanted him.
A Buckingham Palace spokesman says: ‘The Duke of York’s statement from November last year still stands.’ A Ministry of Defence spokesman declines to comment.
If royals receive a cheap and cheerful present from Peter Phillips next week, here’s why.
I hear the Queen’s eldest grandchild is nursing £1 million in trading losses at City Racing, launched in 2018 with plans to hold horse races in urban spots such as the Champs-Elysees and Sydney Harbour Bridge. Latest accounts disclose the company created by Princess Anne’s son almost doubled its losses from £573,141. Phillips tells me: ‘Unfortunately, like so many, City Racing has been impacted by the pandemic.
‘It’s a well-capitalised business that has invested significantly in research and safety development. Successful test events have taken place with the aim of running the first City Racing event in 2021.’
(Very) modern manners
How to love in the time of Covid? Heiress India Rose James has come up with an ingenious, if unromantic, solution: take your new boyfriend to the virus testing centre.
India Rose, 28, who inherited a sizeable chunk of her grandfather Paul Raymond’s £1billion Soho Estates property empire, has struck up a romance with 26-year-old Boe Distassi — a fellow Soho art gallery boss.
And this week the lovebirds went on what India describes as a ‘couple’s Covid test date’. Let’s hope they’re off to a negative start . . .
Heiress India Rose James (pictured) has come up with an ingenious, if unromantic, solution: take your new boyfriend to the virus testing centre
Baby joy for Sherlock star
Actress Lara Pulver stripped off as a cunning dominatrix to captivate Benedict Cumberbatch in TV’s Sherlock.
Off screen, she’s settling into a more wholesome role. I can reveal the 40-year-old, who’s married to Spooks star Raza Jaffrey, 45, has given birth to their first daughter.
‘They’ve named her Thea,’ confirms a friend. ‘It’s a wonderful way for them to end the year.’ The Essex-born actress also has a three-year-old son, Ozias, with Raza.
Actress Lara Pulver stripped off as a cunning dominatrix to captivate Benedict Cumberbatch in TV’s Sherlock (pictured)
Disgraced fund manager Neil Woodford, who left investors £450 million out of pocket, is celebrating a windfall.
I hear he’s sold his Cotswolds mansion for around £30 million, with the buyer said to be video games tycoon Sam Houser, who made his fortune from titles such as the Grand Theft Auto series.
It would represent a huge profit for Woodford, who bought the Gloucestershire estate near Prince Charles’s Highgrove retreat for £13.2 million in 2013.
The Duke of Beaufort’s Hunt will hope that Houser doesn’t enjoy only screen sports and fancies riding to hounds.
Woodford annoyed some locals by banning foxhunts from his 1,800 acres.
She was nicknamed ‘The Body’ while a supermodel, but these days Elle Macpherson would be better known as ‘The Diary’.
For she’s revealed that she goes to such extremes with her planning that she even schedules the precise time she’s allowed to sip a juice.
‘Having a plan for the day is the most helpful thing,’ says Elle, 56.
She was nicknamed ‘The Body’ while a supermodel, but these days Elle Macpherson would be better known as ‘The Diary’
‘I look at my day the night before and everything that I want to achieve the following day, including meditation or drinking my juice at a particular time of the day, I just schedule, and it gets done.’
She adds: ‘Otherwise, everything just sorts of blurs and you forget.’ Heaven forbid she forgets her juice . . .
The smart set’s talking about…Turnip toffs’ sparkling development
Despite all the doom and gloom, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have a reason to raise a glass: their pal Camilla Carter has got engaged in time for Christmas.
Camilla, 29 — whose sister, Sophie, is Princess Charlotte’s godmother — is to marry Tom Bacon, 28, son of baronet Sir Nicholas, a former Page of Honour to the Queen.
‘Everyone is thrilled,’ I’m told. ‘It will be the first wedding for William and Kate when the crisis is over.’
Camilla’s family are key members of the Norfolk royal circle nicknamed ‘Turnip Toffs’.
Management consultant Tom and Camilla, daughter of property magnate Robert Carter, both studied at Cass Business School in London. Camilla went on to create the landscape consultancy Forge Earth.
When Camilla’s sister married Robert Snuggs in 2018, Prince George and Princess Charlotte acted as a pageboy and bridesmaid.
Boots you! Charlotte’s a perfect copy-Kate
Princess Charlotte is only five but she’s already setting trends.
On this year’s Christmas card sent by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Charlotte was pictured wearing boots specially made for her by Penelope Chilvers, her mother’s favourite footwear designer.
Chilvers thought she wore them with such elan that she’s now selling a similar pair at £259. ‘Very excited to see Princess Charlotte in our Mini Me Tassel Boots,’ Chilvers gushes.
‘Her mother has been wearing the Long Tassel Boots for so many years, it is so sweet that Princess Charlotte now has a mini-me style.’ Kate has been wearing Chilvers boots since she was a student at St Andrews University, where she met her future husband.
Princess Charlotte (left) was pictured wearing boots specially made for her by Penelope Chilvers, her mother’s favourite footwear designer. Kate (right) has been wearing Chilvers boots since she was a student at St Andrews University, where she met her future husband
Before being crowned queen of the I’m A Celebrity castle, Giovanna Fletcher had already won over Sir Kenneth Branagh.
The cheery blogger was an actress and understudy to Andrea Riseborough in a West End production. One night, Riseborough was taken ill.
The leading lady was ‘stripped of all her clothes and Giovanna’s trying to put the blouse on’, Branagh recalls. ‘She walks on to the stage and behind her with one arm is a stage manager holding her skirt and her blouse because if she walks any further forward they’ll fall off and she’ll be semi-naked.’ Branagh adds: ‘She was amazing to do that.’
Thanks a million to Hans and his wife…
How about this for a Christmas present? Tetra Pak heir Hans Rausing and his wife, Julia, have given a staggering £1 million to the homeless and vulnerable as a festive donation. In total, 60 charities will receive gifts.
It takes their donations this year to more than £38.5 million, which must make them Britain’s most generous couple.
Tetra Pak heir Hans Rausing and his wife, Julia, (pictured) have given a staggering £1 million to the homeless and vulnerable as a festive donation
‘For many this festive period will be even more difficult given the financial impact the pandemic has had across the country,’ says billionaire Hans, who has made big donations to drug and addiction charities in the past.
‘We are grateful these charities are able to support the vulnerable on our streets, as well as those alone and in need.’
Hans, who married art expert and baronet’s daughter Julia Delves Broughton in 2014, is the grandson of Ruben Rausing, founder of the Swedish food packaging empire.