Ephraim Hard­cas­tle

Daily Mail - - Front Page - E-mail: ephraim.hard­cas­tle@dai­ly­mail.co.uk

DO Amer­i­cans see the Beck­hams as we do? David, 40, is named ‘sex­i­est man alive’ by New York-based Peo­ple mag­a­zine. He re­sponds: ‘It’s a huge hon­our. I’m very pleased to ac­cept.’ Wouldn’t he have made a joke of it here? Mean­while, his wife, Vic­to­ria, is de­scribed as ‘up­per class’ in a US-pub­lished book, Diana And Be­yond. The TLS, a weekly jour­nal for lit­er­ary folk, com­ments sniffily: ‘Beck­ham is priv­i­leged by money and her celebrity sta­tus, not by birth.’

BBC chil­dren’s TV pre­sen­ter Katie Thistle­ton, 26, ap­pears on Celebrity Master­mind, where John Humphrys asks her about ‘the life and times of Rachel Green’. Who? A char­ac­ter from the TV se­ries Friends, played by Jen­nifer Anis­ton, pic­tured. Is Master­mind’s late pre­sen­ter, craggy Viking Magnus Mag­nus­son, spin­ning in his grave?

PRINCE Charles emerges from the Com­mon­wealth sum­mit as the man most likely to lead them af­ter the Queen. Why so? Per­haps be­cause of­fi­cials work­ing for the Queen and Charles, who was present, man­aged to make sure the monarch sang her el­dest son’s praises at the lead­ers’ din­ner. So is it a ‘done deal’? A Caribbean-re­gion PM tells me: ‘Yes, but only be­cause there’s no one else who wouldn’t cause a split.’ re Charles, I no­tice he didn’t re­peat his re­cent the­ory – that cli­mate change may be a cause of con­flict in the Mid­dle East – while speak­ing at the UN’s en­vi­ron­men­tal con­fer­ence in Paris. Might it have looked in­ap­pro­pri­ate in light of the ma­chine-gun ter­ror­ists who mur­dered 130 peo­ple there?

BARONESS Scot­land of Asthal, 60, pic­tured, who was fined £5,000 when she was Labour’s At­tor­ney Gen­eral for not keep­ing proper doc­u­ments when em­ploy­ing a cleaner who turned out to be an il­le­gal im­mi­grant, be­comes £ 160,000- plus- ex­penses Sec­re­tary-Gen­eral of the Com­mon­wealth. She was nom­i­nated by Do­minica, where she was born. Some politi­cos there and cer­tain Caribbean states aren’t happy. They’re sus­pi­cious of Pa­tri­cia be­ing per­ceived as a Do­mini­can can­di­date, which gar­nered Caribbean and African votes. She has lived in Bri­tain since she was two.

WHILE the Duchess of Cam­bridge re­leases her own pic­tures of her daugh­ter, Princess Char­lotte, pro­fes­sional pho­tog­ra­phers are pari­ahs in royal cir­cles. But the late Queen Mother didn’t mind them. ‘They are like mon­keys in a cage and we must throw them ba­nanas,’ she ob­served at a lunch party. Her Trea­surer, Ma­jor Sir ralph Anstruther – one of her con­firmed-bach­e­lors-in-wait­ing – dar­ingly con­tra­dicted his em­ployer, re­mark­ing: ‘I’m not sure it might not be the other way round, Ma’am.’ HMQM ri­posted: ‘I’m not sure I care so long as there are bars be­tween us!’

MAS­TER in­ter­roga­tor An­drew Neil ques­tions, on BBC1’s Sun­day Pol­i­tics, Tony Blair’s ex-flat­mate Char­lie Fal­coner, former Re­spect Party MP Ge­orge Gal­loway and Tory MP Liam Fox. A reader of mine won­ders: ‘Shouldn’t An­drew let some­one other than fel­low Scots into the ac­tion?’ Neil says: ‘I only in­ter­view the best, smartest and most in­formed.’

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