Ephraim Hard­cas­tle

Daily Mail - - News - Email: peter.mckay@dai­ly­mail.co.uk

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.

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