There’s no doubt about it: Coronation fever is in the air.
No, not at a certain ‘Spanish Revival-style’, £11 million mansion in Montecito, California, which, by some accounts, boasts nine bedrooms and 19 bathrooms — and at which, according to their spokesman, an email recently arrived from Buckingham Palace, advising Harry and Meghan to ‘save the date’ for Saturday, May 6.
I refer, instead, to the tension brewing up in lesser dwellings — a stately home or two, as well as mere manor houses — which lack the gym, bar, five-car garage and other amenities of Harry and Meghan’s residence.
These houses — some of them in need of almost continuous repair — are the homes of those who are, or have long considered themselves to be, good friends of King Charles and Camilla, but from whom the precious email has, so far, been withheld.
‘Some of them are furious, especially those who have made rather a lot about their royal friendships over the years,’ an amused grandee tells me. ‘They’re finding the wait excruciating. And, for some, it’s going to end in humiliation.’ Indeed it is.
These houses — some of them in need of almost continuous repair — are the homes of those who are, or have long considered themselves to be, good friends of King Charles and Camilla, but from whom the precious email has, so far, been withheld
No fewer than 5,000 were crammed — almost crow-barred — into Westminster Abbey for Queen Elizabeth’s Coronation in 1953.
‘Scaffolding was specially installed, so that you had row after row more or less sitting on top of each other,’ reflects a historian of the Abbey’s state occasions.
‘But that sort of Heath Robinson arrangement simply isn’t possible today because of health and safety.’
In consequence, no more than 2,000 will be able to attend this time. Aware of this, some, I’m told, have resorted to trying to emphasise their links to charities which are likely to be favoured with a handful of invitations.
Camilla is, after all, patron of over 100 such bodies, ranging from Macmillan Cancer Support and Marie Curie to the National Literacy Trust.
But such ploys, of course, offer no guarantee of an invitation, which will be sent by post only after prospective guests have received — and acknowledged — the prized, preliminary email.
I’m told by a royal source that the emails are being sent in batches — periodically. ‘It’s a practical arrangement,’ I’m assured.
Mine must be in among that lot . . .
No fewer than 5,000 were crammed — almost crow-barred — into Westminster Abbey for Queen Elizabeth’s Coronation in 1953
Timber! Why Queen Consort Camilla has an axe to grind
While King Charles is evicting Prince Harry and Meghan from Frogmore Cottage, Windsor, his wife, Camilla, is clearing out the dead wood from her own back yard.
I hear the Queen Consort’s head gardener, Paul Jellyman, has applied for permission to undertake extensive work on nine huge trees at Raymill House, the Grade II-listed property that she retained as a country retreat after marrying the future King in 2005.
Jellyman had to seek permission from Wiltshire Council because the trees are in a conservation area.
She wants to fell two alders and carry out significant work on three ash trees, with work to be done to four other trees.
The Apprentice star Alan Sugar appears determined to show that Gary Lineker is not the only big BBC name to cause controversy with his social media posts.
The Apprentice star Alan Sugar appears determined to show that Gary Lineker is not the only big BBC name to cause controversy with his social media posts
In this week’s edition of his programme, contestants took on the challenge of creating dog food.
And, referring to the reaction of one pet, Lord Sugar remarked on Twitter: ‘I think the dog looked a bit sad, as if he was going to appear in North Korea MasterChef.’
The reference to the East Asian taste for dog meat is not the first time the tycoon’s joked about a racial stereotype.
In 2018, he was forced to apologise after he shared a snap of the Senegal football team, with a superimposed image of a towel in front of them, laden with sunglasses and handbags for sale.
He commented: ‘I recognise some of these guys from the beach in Marbella. Multi-tasking, resourceful chaps.’
Fashion designer Rupert Lycett Green, who was one of the three men who inspired Jilly Cooper’s caddish character Rupert Campbell-Black, has shown there’s plenty of life in the old dog yet.
The 84-year-old has revealed that he recently completed the Cresta Run, 71 years after he first hurtled down St Moritz’s forbidding track.
‘Riding the Cresta is sliding down an iced toboggan run at more than 70mph, lying on your tummy with your face a couple of inches from the ice,’ he says. ‘I’m still hooked.’ It would certainly have amused his late father-in-law, Poet Laureate Sir John Betjeman.
Quote of the week
What Boris Johnson’s sister Rachel told Emily Maitlis when she turned down an invitation to join the broadcaster at a party at the home of faded matinee idol Hugh Grant.
Nothing in moderation for Bake Off Dame Prue
Prue Leith’s fellow dames have been amused by her claim that they’re required to order a coat of arms as a mark of their new status.
Prue Leith’s fellow dames have been amused by her claim that they’re required to order a coat of arms as a mark of their new status
‘When you become a dame, you have to have a motto, your coat of arms,’ The Great British Bake Off judge declared on Radio 4.
‘Mine is ‘Nothing in Moderation’.’
Leith, 83, was awarded a damehood in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list in 2021.
However, a fellow dame tells me: ‘The idea you are told to order a coat of arms is hilarious.
‘You only get one if you approach the College of Arms and pay them thousands of pounds for the privilege.’
A spokesman for the college confirms: ‘Having a damehood would automatically entitle that person to petition for a coat of arms for herself, but there’s no compulsion for that person to do so.’ I do hope she has a tasty cake on her crest.
Now here’s a picket line I’d like to see
These days, Emily Ratajkowski (pictured) believes they need to form a trade union to protect their rights
Linda Evangelista once memorably remarked of her fellow supermodels: ‘We don’t wake up for less than $10,000 a day.’
These days, Emily Ratajkowski believes they need to form a trade union to protect their rights.
The London-born model and actress, 31, laments: ‘There’s no union for models, so you have these young women, who are often foreigners and have no family and they have no sense of business or anything. They are totally exploited.’
Ratajkowski, who is estranged from her husband, the film producer Sebastian Bear-McClard, adds: ‘I felt like a mess in my 20s.
‘I guess I came off as confident but really a huge part of me was a little bit of a ragdoll.
‘I see that now with girls in their 20s and I’m like, ‘F***, how do I teach you to advocate for yourself.’ ‘
Expect a few more riders to be toppling off at the Oasby horse trials in Lincolnshire this weekend.
For Jeremy Clarkson’s Hawkstone drinks business is sponsoring the event.
‘Should things not go to plan this weekend and you get eliminated or fall off, I will offer you a free case of beer, cider, or vodka to drown your sorrows,’ says the Grand Tour host, 62, who produces the drinks using ingredients grown at his Diddly Squat Cotswolds farm.
Neighbours smash Rusedski yoga plan
He won the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Award after scoring 30 wins with the Great Britain Davis Cup team, but former British tennis No1 Greg Rusedski has lost a battle on the home front.
The ex-Wimbledon star Greg Rusedski (right), 49, and his wife, Lucy (left), an NHS therapist, wanted to run residential workshops with bed and breakfast for up to 12 guests at their West Susssex farmhouse
I can disclose that he’s been forced to admit defeat in his three-year battle to turn his £2million country home into a yoga and wellness retreat.
The ex-Wimbledon star, 49, and his wife, Lucy, an NHS therapist, wanted to run residential workshops with bed and breakfast for up to 12 guests at their West Susssex farmhouse.
They applied for permission for a ‘change of use’ of their 18th-century Grade II-listed home and officials were set to rule the proposed development ‘in’, not ‘out’.
But the local planning authority then served up legal opinion, with lawyers called in to argue that the proposed use was as a hotel or guest house, not mixed residential.
Almost half a dozen residents and the parish council objected, saying the access to Rusedski’s home was ‘wholly inappropriate’ for commercial use as it lies on a single track shared with six other properties.
Her doomed budget was feared to have cost Britain £65 billion. Yet Liz Truss still managed to blag a freebie to the Brit Awards.
The former PM has recorded that she was given £1,320 worth of hospitality at the pop music jamboree at the O2 Arena in London last month.
The gift was donated by UK Music, whose chief executive is former Tory special adviser Jamie Njoku-Goodwin.
Truss is a big Taylor Swift fan but, sadly, the American superstar didn’t perform at this year’s ceremony. Haters gonna hate . . .
(Very) modern manners
Lord Waldegrave, who, as I reported this week, steps down as Eton’s Provost next year, has no intention of slowing the pace of change that he’s overseen with head master, Simon ‘Trendy Hendy’ Henderson.
Last week,Waldegrave welcomed the Eton Dragonflies — a club for gay Old Etonians — who were joined for dinner by ‘several staff and a couple of senior boys’.
Eton declares it a ‘great success’. Some alumni voice doubts.
‘It’s pure Trendy Hendy,’ one tells me, recalling the OE who wrote in The Mail on Sunday that being gay wasn’t ‘a big deal [until] we became a protected community . . . By my final year, a kid four years younger than me was running around calling us all ‘fags’.’