PRESIDENT Donald Trump will have a photo opportunity with the Queen next month but not the carriage procession he craves, I am advised. ‘Even the two presidents who have had full state visits to the UK – George W Bush and Barack Obama – didn’t get them because secret service agents wouldn’t allow it,’ says my source. However, Trump will get some glitter. No 7 Company of the Coldstream Guards is rehearsing a ceremonial welcome band, national anthems and a presidential inspection. ‘It’ll be somewhere away from public gaze, maybe Buckingham Palace garden,’ suggests my source.
FASHION designer Stella McCartney, 46, is anxious not to appear as second fiddle to Clare Waight Keller, who made Meghan Markle’s wedding dress. She was asked by the BBC’s ungainly-looking arts editor Will Gompertz: ‘At what point did you get the call that you were going to be making her going-away dress?’ Ms McCartney replied: ‘Well, she called it her second wedding dress, actually.’ Was she disappointed not to make the (main) bridal gown? ventured a nervous Gompertz. ‘I’m not answering that question, it’s ridiculous,’ huffed the fashion maven.
APROPOS Trump, King Felipe and Queen Letizia of Spain are in Washington next week, highlighting the absence of British royals there since the Trump era began. Felipe’s presence at the White House should concern our government. The EU says no agreement between the EU and the UK can apply to Gibraltar without Spanish approval. Wouldn’t it be embarrassing if Felipe got boat-rocking, taco-eating ‘I love Hispanics!’ Trump on his side against us after being charmed by Letizia, pictured?
PUBLIC relations lizard Matthew Freud, 54, had a party for ‘new media’ at his North London home this week. My source there says: ‘Tony Blair, Freud and Prince Andrew were deep in conversation at the bar. We wonder if they were trying to upstage each other by boasting how many foreign dictators depend on their advice and pay accordingly.’
FORMERLY a personal chef to the Queen and later Princess Diana, Dallas-based Darren McGrady, 56 – commenting on a Buckingham Palace advert for a new chef de partie – says: ‘Quite sad the turnover of staff these days. The Downton Abbey days are long gone. It’s just a place to put on your resumé rather than serving our monarch.’ My own source says: ‘There hasn’t been a state banquet for more than 18 months. Poaching a piece of fish for the Queen and grilling a steak for Philip isn’t taxing. Long hours of boredom.’
COMMONS Speaker John Bercow’s banishment of the SNP’s portly Westminster leader Ian Blackford from the Commons chamber – after the latter refused to resume his seat – might have been unwise. The Scots Nats have 35 MPs. Already under pressure over bullying and sexism allegations – not to mention being accused of anti-Tory bias – can Bercow afford to offend them? In 2015 there was an attempt to remove him by changing the rules. He survived, partly due to SNP votes.