The Daily Telegraph


- Edited by Christophe­r Hope peterborou­

Bruce misses out

Eyebrows have been raised in Scotland after Maj Gen Alastair Bruce, below, Governor of Edinburgh Castle, did not appear at the proclamati­on of the King’s new reign in the Scottish capital.

Bruce – who also works as the royal commentato­r for Sky News – gave an apology on air last weekend as he spoke over the pictures of the ceremony: “Sadly, as Governor of Edinburgh Castle, I was unable to be present but I am represente­d today by General Bill Wright, the General Officer, Scotland.”

A Sky spokesman tells me Bruce had not gone AWOL: “He has been granted leave of absence for the purposes of state ceremonial by the Army and the Earl Marshal.” But a senior military figure tells me that “it is a bit off ”, adding: “It is extraordin­ary. He is Governor of the Castle, one of the most ancient posts in the United Kingdom.”

Hoyle breaks election pledge

Sir Lindsay Hoyle promised to wear the Speaker’s full-bottomed wig when he was elected to the office in 2019. He told the BBC at the time: “On traditiona­l days, of course. You have to wear dress that is suitable for that day.” Three years later, however: nothing.

There had been hopes that he would wear the wig – discovered by Speaker Weatherill’s daughter-inlaw Clare in a box under her bed in April – at Queen Elizabeth’s funeral.

Local Tory chairman and wig supporter Andrew Gadsden told me: “If Her Majesty’s funeral is not the right moment to wear the full-bottomed wig, what possible occasion can he be waiting for?”

Sadly, it appears the wig will stay in its box for good. “Just like Baroness Boothroyd, his predecesso­r and friend, Sir Lindsay will not be wearing any wigs,” his spokesman tells me. I call that a broken election pledge.

Carry on partying

Trouble among the dreaming spires of Cambridge University, where several colleges are this weekend holding reunion dinners for their alumni despite the period of national mourning.

One graduate of Gonville & Caius, where one of the dinners is being held, is appalled and wants the college’s master, Prof Pippa Rogerson, to intervene: “It’s a total disgrace. It even has a royal charter!”

College sources appeal for calm. One insists that the dinners will have “a suitably sombre tone”, and points out that the reunions have previously fallen victim to the Covid pandemic.

But still, is this really the right time?

Major admires Angie’s heels

Before the Proclamati­on of the new King was read at St James’s Palace last weekend, Sir John Major was spotted admiring Angela Rayner’s vertiginou­s footwear.

“He said it was ‘extraordin­ary I can wear these heels’,” the Labour deputy leader told me. Sir John might have been impressed because he suffered a knee injury which was aggravated by lack of leg room in his armoured Daimler when he was PM in the 1990s.

Rayner, left, reassured him that if he happened to fall over, he had nothing to fear: as a former home carer she knew “how to make him fall safely and gently”. A kinder politics.

Fit for a Queen

Plans to fill the “Fourth Plinth” in Trafalgar Square with a statue by Samson Kambalu of an anti-colonial Baptist pastor John Chile-mbwe (Kambalu is pictured with the maquette, right) on Wednesday this week were “temporaril­y paused” after the Queen’s death. But there has been persistent talk that the plinth has been kept vacant for a statue of Her Majesty herself.

City Hall insists there are planned Fourth Plinth sculptures for another four years. Wouldn’t that be enough time to sculpt a fitting statue of the late Queen – and perhaps one of Prince Philip alongside – to stand in the square for time immemorial?

Gisborough’s historic claim

Lord Gisborough is thought to be the only person still alive who sat in Parliament when the last monarch died. The hereditary peer, 95, took his seat in the Lords in November 1951, just a few months before the death of King George VI. He tells me: “I sat with the peers in coronation robes and coronet and still have the coronation chair on which I sat.”

Gisborough quit Parliament in 1999 when Tony Blair cleared out most of the hereditari­es. And he will not be attending the late Queen’s funeral. A link with history has been broken.

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