Dame Stella’s se­cret fears for the world

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While much of the na­tion is pre­oc­cu­pied with the creepy-crawlie in­take of the con­tes­tants in I’m a Celebrity, what’s be­come of

who was crowned Queen of the Jun­gle last year?

Torquay-born “Toff” is mak­ing the most of her suc­cess in the show, us­ing mod­el­ling fees and the roy­al­ties from a book about her life (al­beit be­ing only 24) to buy a flat in Chelsea, along with two rental prop­er­ties in Devon.

But the win­some blonde has found ro­man­tic ful­fil­ment more elu­sive. “There are big draw­backs to fame,” she tells me earnestly, “like when I walk

The Queen

down the street and peo­ple shout from their cars and their vans.

“It’s not good for your love life. It’s very rare to meet some­one who doesn’t recog­nise me now, so I worry that be­fore go­ing on a date I’ve been pre-judged be­fore they’ve even met me.”

Never mind, al­though ful­fill­ing dates within her own age group are prov­ing tricky, she can al­ways rely on the di­vert­ing com­pany of Stan­ley John­son, with whom she bonded in the jun­gle (above). Boris’s bouncy father is 78 but he has, notes Toff ad­mir­ingly, an “in­cred­i­ble stamina” for the Ch­ablis-fu­elled lunches the pair en­joy to­gether. Any­one fancy giv­ing the royal knick-knacks a bit of spit and pol­ish? is look­ing for a house­keep­ing as­sis­tant. The lucky re­cruit will be based at Buck­ing­ham Palace nine months of the year, then at Bal­moral and San­dring­ham the rest of the time.

“You’ll work in stun­ning set­tings, clean­ing ev­ery­thing from car­pets and fur­ni­ture to his­toric vases and paint­ings,” en­tices an ad­ver­tise­ment.

“It’s feel­ing house-proud about the world’s most fa­mous homes.”

You won’t clean up fi­nan­cially though: the an­nual pay is £17,000. Al­though that in­cludes a berth in the ser­vants’ quar­ters, there’s the down­side of hav­ing to clean the bed­room that Prince An­drew still re­tains at the palace – dust­ing his tee­ter­ing piles of “spe­cial­ist” mag­a­zines (on golf, if you were won­der­ing).

The Queen has never made her views pub­licly known on same-sex mar­riage but, ac­cord­ing to Stephen Fry, HM told a flunkey that it was a “won­der­ful” idea when the leg­is­la­tion al­low­ing gay mar­riage was passed last year. The gar­ru­lous Fry, who mar­ried his boyfriend El­liott Spencer shortly af­ter the law changed, says that he heard about the Queen’s thoughts on gay mar­riage from a friend in the Palace.

“She turned to the privy coun­sel­lor hand­ing her the pa­pers to sign for the leg­is­la­tion and she said ‘Well, who would have thought 60 years ago’ – and there was a pause – ‘that such a Bill could come to pass. Isn’t it won­der­ful?’”

He adds: “Af­ter all, she has met lots of fruity, pe­cu­liar peo­ple in her life, many of whom have been fam­ily friends.” Per­form­ing at nu­mer­ous carol ser­vices car­ries a sea­sonal risk for clergy, warns me­dia vicar hands with 10,000 peo­ple in De­cem­ber means you are very likely to end up with a vi­cious cold, croak your way through Mid­night Mass and feel like death on Christ­mas morn­ing,” warns Coles, 56.

“One of the vic­ars I used to work with kept a sup­ply of an­tibac­te­rial spray un­der his cloak and we’d sani­tise our hands in-be­tween hand­shakes.”

Richard Coles.“Shak­ing

EVEN when Stella Rim­ing­ton was deal­ing with daily chal­lenges to na­tional se­cu­rity as chief of MI5, her view of the world re­mained mostly up­beat. But not any more: she ad­mits to be­ing “very wor­ried” about the in­crease in global ten­sion.

“I’m not op­ti­mistic about the fu­ture right now,” says Dame Stella, who was the first fe­male di­rec­tor gen­eral of MI5 and has since writ­ten 10 nov­els based on her ex­pe­ri­ence in Bri­tain’s se­cret in­tel­li­gence ser­vice.

“I feel the world is in a very wor­ry­ing state with the rise of na­tion­al­ism and peo­ple re­treat­ing be­hind bor­ders. There’s the un­cer­tainty of Brexit; things feel very un­sta­ble.” She places much of the blame for global un­ease on Rus­sia and warns that deal­ing with those run­ning the for­mer So­viet Union is “like talk­ing to the When Nick Clegg was deputy prime min­is­ter in the coali­tion gov­ern­ment (such heady days!) his wife was happy to so­cialise, when re­quired, with the Camerons. But Mrs Clegg would find her­self hard-pressed to be civil to David Cameron now.

Span­ish-born Miriam is so fu­ri­ous about Brexit that she ad­mits to avoid­ing any oc­ca­sion where she might have to meet the for­mer PM. If their paths did cross, she would give him both bar­rels for hold­ing the ref­er­en­dum. “I would tell him in no un­cer­tain terms how I feel about the dam­age that he’s in­flicted on Bri­tain, and about how he has im­paired the chances of young peo­ple,” she thun­ders.

“I’d say that I know he did this out of ar­ro­gance, that he chose to put him­self and his own party above us all. He only has to look at the di­vi­sions in the coun­try to re­alise that ab­so­lutely noth­ing good has come from the ref­er­en­dum he so ca­su­ally con­vened.”

Her hus­band, she adds, feels pretty much the same. But as a Brit, he tends to keep his emo­tions in check (The WIMP! you can al­most hear fiery Miriam cry).

David Beck­ham:


“My par­ents have al­ways been there for me, ever since I was about seven.” deaf; they see us as ex­tra­or­di­nary crea­tures from an­other world.”

Stella, 83, whose lat­est thriller is called The Moscow Sleep­ers, re­calls her first visit to that coun­try on be­half of MI5 when she had been full of hope at the prospect of a less ag­gres­sive Rus­sia.

“The end of the Cold War was a time of vast ex­cite­ment and great hope. Sud­denly the world be­gan to change rad­i­cally.

“The idea be­hind my visit was that we would help them leg­is­late the se­cret ser­vices they could op­er­ate in a democ­racy.

“I was the only woman at the ta­ble, of course. At the con­clud­ing speech one of them said ‘In your coun­try you have a woman Prime Min­is­ter [Thatcher], you have a lady Queen, and now you have a woman lead­ing your in­tel­li­gence ser­vice’. There was a sense of ‘You must be mad’.”

David Ten­nant

can now af­ford the finest tai­lor­ing but when he first be­gan his ca­reer he re­lied on char­ity shops for clothes.

The for­mer Doc­tor Who, 47, re­calls that one of his best pur­chases was a boot­lace tie bought “prob­a­bly to em­u­late Bono or Jim Kerr” which he chose to wear with a bolero jacket.

His eclec­tic ac­qui­si­tions made him stand out from the crowd just a lit­tle too much, how­ever. He re­mem­bers one night out at a club in Scot­land “among a sea of shell­suits” when he was smacked in the face. “Just for be­ing a lit­tle bit dap­per.”

Tof­folo, Ge­or­gia

WOR­RIED: Stella Miriam

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