The Scottish Mail on Sunday

So shellfish! How Megxit wrecked the winkle party


NO WONDER the Duchess of Sussex decided to quit Royal duties – among the events that had been lined up for her this year was celebratin­g the winkles of Hastings!

While the former actress may have dreamed that Royal life would involve sumptuous palace banquets and wearing elegant ballgowns to A-list parties, the reality is rather more prosaic.

After Harry and Meghan became the Duke and Duchess of Sussex in 2018, they undertook a whistlesto­p tour of their county, which included visits to Brighton and Chichester.

However, the couple did not have time to drop in at the seaside town of Hastings, so a number of events were pencilled in for them this year, including a visit to the eccentric Hastings Winkle Club.

The 120-year-old allmale club – previous members include Sir Winston Churchill, Field Marshal Montgomery and comic Norman Wisdom – raises money for local good causes.

The club rules are wonderfull­y wacky and one states that the 500 members must carry a winkle at all times. If challenged to ‘winkle up’, they have to present their winkle or face paying a £1 fine, which goes into a charitable fund. Last year, the club raised a total of £20,000.

Officials were so looking forward to Harry and Meghan’s visit that a commemorat­ive gold winkle was made for the Duke and a decorative winkle brooch was produced for the Duchess.

Secretary Reg Wood explained: ‘The Winkle Club has previously presented gold winkles to Prince

Harry’s grandfathe­r, the Duke of Edinburgh, and also to the Dukes of Kent and Norfolk.

‘Gold brooches have in the past been presented to both Her Majesty the Queen and Her Majesty the Queen Mother. But following the announceme­nt that Prince Harry and Meghan intend to step away from Royal duties, it now seems unlikely that they will be accepting the invitation. Naturally the club is disappoint­ed but we wish them well.’

Another source said: ‘This could be the kind of Sussex-based work where Harry and Meghan could make a difference to the wellbeing of local communitie­s, a job just as important as jetting off to meet bankers.’

 ??  ?? MISSING OUT: The Duchess, and the club’s golden winkle, left
MISSING OUT: The Duchess, and the club’s golden winkle, left
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