Never one to mince her words as a judge on The Great British Bake Off, now Prue Leith has some advice for Britain’s young women: get a bun in the oven as soon as possible.
‘What I would be saying is: “Yes, independence is important, but don’t leave it too late,” ’ she advises the younger generation.
Prue, 80, had a son, Danny Kruger (now a Tory MP), with her first husband, the late author Rayne Kruger. They also adopted a daughter from Cambodia, Li-Da Kruger.
The cook has been moved to make her comments because Li-Da was unable to have children herself.
Prue Leith (pictured), 80, had a son, Danny Kruger (now a Tory MP), with her first husband, the late author Rayne Kruger. They also adopted a daughter from Cambodia, Li-Da Kruger
‘So many young women I know have been so focused on their career and so confident that you don’t have to have your babies early,’ says Prue (pictured).
‘Then they are heading for 25, and then what happened to Li-Da is that she got breast cancer the moment she wanted to get pregnant.
‘It takes five years for those drugs to get out of your system. And in that five years, you can’t have babies because the body rejects them.
‘There is no such thing as having it all. You can have 90 per cent of it, but something has to give.
‘You do live with a bit of guilt if you work a lot. You definitely lose a lot of independence and you lose a lot of sleep.
‘There is a lot wrong with it, but if you want children, it is easier to do it in your 30s than it is in your 40s. And probably easier in your 20s.’
Prue has also admitted that she initially disliked her son Daniel’s wife, Emma, a former teacher.
‘Daniel has only had two serious long-term affairs,’ she says. ‘The first was with a woman who was perfect for him.
‘When he met Emma I did not think she was perfect for him. I was convinced Emma was too scatter-brained. I was her enemy, really. But it is a lesson that you can be so wrong. It sounds ridiculous now, as I so adore her.’
Hit ITV crime drama Des, starring David Tennant as Dennis Nilsen, brought back unwelcome memories for writer Toby Young.
He claims the serial killer tried to lure him back to his flat when they met at West London pub The Boltons when Toby was a teenager.
‘One of my friends introduced me to someone he described as the “civil servant”, a slightly awkward, bespectacled man with dark hair who invited me back to his flat,’ Young recalls.
Luckily, he didn’t go. ‘When I read later that one of his hunting grounds was The Boltons, I thought: “Oh, my God, that was the guy!” ’
Model Nat mucks in then tucks in
Just hours after marrying French billionaire’s son Antoine Arnault in Paris, Natalia Vodianova came back down to earth.
The top model joined her friend Camilla Fayed (near left with Nat) in getting her hands dirty on a Kent farm.
They visited the farm (which supplies Farmacy, Camilla’s vegan restaurant in London’s Notting Hill) for the launch of a community app, Locals.
Mother-of-five Natalia, who worked on a fruit stand as a child to help make ends meet, said: ‘We learned so much and had a beautiful morning that culminated in a delicious lunch.’
Natalia Vodianova joined her friend Camilla Fayed (left with Nat) in getting her hands dirty on a Kent farm
One-time scourge of the Establishment, Elvis Costello says he accepted his OBE only to settle a score at Buckingham Palace.
‘Playing there in the late 1950s with Joe Loss, my dad (jazz singer Ross McManus) used to go in through the service entrance. I went in the front door.’
After Costello, now 66, received his gong, the band struck up the number from musical Oliver! that goes: ‘Consider yourself at home/Consider yourself one of the family.’ The rocker muses: ‘Somebody there has a sense of humour.’
A kind word let grieving Harry know he was loved
Prince Harry suffered loneliness and isolation at school after the death of Princess Diana, one of her friends has revealed.
Publicist Gerry Agar Fennell tells me: ‘Diana and I struck up a valuable relationship through Harry and my son Tom being at the same school.
‘After Diana died, I’d see Harry kicking a football against the wall on his own, looking miserable. But we were all told we couldn’t go up to him and say, “So sorry, how are you?” which I think is the most natural thing to do. They sent a letter to the parents about it: “Don’t mention Diana.” ’
Harry was a boarder at Ludgrove, the Berkshire prep school, at the time of his mother’s death. ‘I was aghast,’ Gerry says.
‘This boy should have been in therapy, but he was back at school just a few days after she died. He was so young, and very different to William. It was so isolating for him.
‘My aunt came to see a school play with me, and I said we’d been told to leave him alone. She said: “What nonsense!” She saw him in the hall and grabbed him — he already knew her as it was such a small school — and she said: “I am sorry for your mother, we all adored her.”
‘He smiled and was grateful for the touch.’
With 10pm closing time starting tonight, Claudia Winkleman was determined to have a good night out first.
The Strictly Come Dancing host headed to Annabel’s nightclub in Mayfair with her film producer husband Kris Thykier. ‘The atmosphere’s been crazy this week,’ a regular at the private members’ club tells me. ‘From Thursday it’s going to be pipe-and-slippers time, so everyone’s been making the most of it.’
Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie were also at the club, which will remain open despite members being sent home at 10pm as part of the new coronavirus restrictions.
‘Everything’s going to change,’ a source says. ‘Six o’clock for dinner will be the new 8 o’clock. We’d better get used to it.’
Claudia Winkleman headed to Annabel’s nightclub in Mayfair with her film producer husband Kris Thykier
Nanny state saves sam cam’s bacon
Samantha Cameron’s tip for surviving lockdown? Employ a supernanny.
‘I was extremely lucky as our nanny locked down with us,’ says the wife of former Prime Minister David Cameron. ‘She was nervous of going back to her father in Glasgow and bringing Covid with her.’
Sam Cam, who set up the women’s clothes label Cefinn after her husband left Downing Street, makes the comments in Storcx, an online magazine set up by her sister-in-law Lohralee Astor.
About her nanny, Samantha adds: ‘She was amazing at home-schooling my youngest daughter, Florence. I was so busy coping with the business I don’t think I could have done both without her help; I might well have had to give the business up.’
Vanessa Redgrave has travelled to far-flung corners of the globe, but never to Stonehenge.
So historian Dame Mary Beard took the 83-year-old Oscar-winner to the prehistoric monument in Wiltshire and filmed the experience for her BBC2 series Inside Culture, which starts tonight.
‘She came to Stonehenge and performed a speech from Shakespeare’s Antony And Cleopatra in the middle of the Stone Circle,’ the Cambridge classics professor tells me. ‘It was absolutely epic. She captivated us in this extraordinary location.’
Zeinab’s star rises by royal appointment
Just as Prince Harry and Meghan are looking to hire a big-hitter PR chief for their new charitable foundation, Prince William and Kate have made a superstar appointment of their own: BBC newsreader Zeinab Badawi.
I can reveal that William was so impressed with her work as chair of the Royal African Society, of which he’s patron, that she’s been appointed as a director of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s own charity, the Royal Foundation.
Prince William and Kate have made a superstar appointment of their own: BBC newsreader Zeinab Badawi (pictured)
He invited Badawi, 60, to Kensington Palace on Tuesday to discuss her new role. She will replace Simon Case, who left his role as William’s private secretary to be Boris Johnson’s Cabinet Secretary and head of the Civil Service.
Spare a thought for lingerie tycoon Michelle Mone who has had to cancel her wedding for the third time following the new Covid restrictions.
Baroness Mone of Mayfair, who was due to wed Doug Barrowman, says: ‘It’s frustrating that you can walk into a restaurant and have dinner surrounded by a room full of people, but you can’t have more than 15 attendees at a wedding.’