Daily Mail

Ephraim Hard­cas­tle

- Email: john.mcen­tee@dai­ly­mail.co.uk

prInCe Wil­liam reen­er­gises his search for a pri­vate sec­re­tary after Boris el­e­vates Dr Si­mon Case to Cab­i­net Sec­re­tary­ship. The prince has com­piled a shortlist and could break royal prece­dent opt­ing for a wo­man. Out­sider Sa­man­tha Co­hen ticks all the boxes. She was the Queen’s as­sis­tant pri­vate sec­re­tary (2010-18), passed over for pro­mo­tion to the top job when Lord Geidt re­signed in 2017, and spent 18 months look­ing after the newly wed Harry and Meghan be­fore fronting eco-char­ity Cool earth. So will Sa­man­tha, nick­named The pan­ther for her fierce­ness and feisti­ness, break through the royal glass ceil­ing?

AB­SO­LUTELY no man­i­fes­ta­tion that the pan­demic-en­forced ab­sence of men­tal stim­u­lus pro­vided by au­di­ences and re­cep­tions has had a detri­men­tal ef­fect on the Queen’s mem­ory. But she dis­cussed it with her vet Philip Ayr­ton-Grime shortly be­fore his death in June aged 93. ‘Philip,’ she asked, ‘do you find that you are for­get­ting names and faces when you meet peo­ple?’ ‘Yes I do ma’am,’ he ad­mit­ted. With a sigh, HM re­sponded: ‘For­tu­nately ev­ery­body seems to know me.’

An­THOnY Mcpartlin, re­call­ing his stay as prince Charles’ guest at Dum­fries House while mak­ing 2015’s Ant & Dec doc­u­men­tary on HrH, says: ‘His room was opposite mine. I put my robe on and thought I’d nip down and have a smoke. So I got to the top of the stairs and he was there with a pair of se­ca­teurs!’ Charles ex­plained: ‘I’ve just been out prun­ing the roses.’ He could have quipped that it wasn’t the sea­son for geld­ing Ge­ordies.

ME­LA­NIA Trump’s for­mer best friend Stephanie Win­ston Wolkoff, in a tell-all me­moir pub­lished yes­ter­day, ex­plains why the First Lady, pic­tured, gri­maced dur­ing her hus­band’s in­au­gu­ra­tion. Her son Bar­ron had ac­ci­den­tally kicked her an­kle. When Wolkoff sug­gested Me­la­nia set the record straight to quell chat­ter about mar­i­tal dis­cord, she replied: ‘I don’t owe them an ex­pla­na­tion.’

GrA­HAM Greene’s claim that he played rus­sian roulette with a re­volver as an ado­les­cent is ques­tioned by new bi­og­ra­pher richard Greene, who re­veals that one of the novelist’s early po­ems sug­gests the teenage Gra­ham never ac­tu­ally loaded the re­volver. Thank­fully Fidel Cas­tro is not around to hear the truth. When Greene boasted of his sui­ci­dal ex­ploits, Fidel ex­claimed: ‘You are lucky to be alive.’

VAN Mor­ri­son receives a cu­ri­ous 75th birth­day greet­ing from Ir­ish Pres­i­dent Michael D Hig­gins: a YouTube record­ing of Michael recitat­ing Van’s song Rave On, John Donne. Is there a clue in the first verse? Rave on thy Holy fool? prInCe Harry, keen to in­tro­duce baby Archie to rugby, says: ‘I’ve got a lit­tle space out­side, which I’m for­tu­nate enough to have.’ A lit­tle? His £11.1m nine-bed­room, 16-bath­room Santa Bar­bara spread cov­ers 5.4 acres. Is Harry hav­ing a gi­raffe?

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