EDEN CONFIDENTIAL: Will and Kate's secret visit to Berkshire antiques10/04/2023
EDEN CONFIDENTIAL: William and Kate’s secret evening visit to sale of antiques in Berkshire
As withering put-downs go, few equal the inspired snobbery of the remark recorded by the late Alan Clark in his diary that ‘the trouble with Michael [Heseltine] is that he had to buy all his furniture’.
But, though the line – which Clark attributed to fellow Tory minister Michael Jopling – lives on, has it now been royally dismissed?
I ask because none other than the Prince and Princess of Wales indulged in what might be described as fervent window shopping last Friday when they paid a discreet and entirely private evening visit to the salerooms of auctioneers Dreweatts, in Berkshire.
‘They were looking very, very interested,’ a devotee of the antiques trade tells me, adding that ‘everybody was all of a twitter to see them. It was the beginning of the very big champagne reception that auctioneers always have before a serious sale.’
And few sales are such landmark occasions as the one that lured in Prince William and Catherine.
The Prince and Princess of Wales indulged in what might be described as fervent window shopping last Friday
They paid a discreet and entirely private evening visit to the salerooms of auctioneers Dreweatts, in Berkshire
Beginning on Wednesday, it’s the three-day auction of the extraordinary collection amassed by Robert Kime, who oversaw the redecoration first of Highgrove and then of Clarence House for King Charles.
Numbering nearly 1,000 lots, ranging from Mughal carpets to Delft vases, it’s expected to bring in at least £1.5million – a tribute to Kime’s inspired but understated style, both as an interior decorator, as he described himself, and as a gimlet-eyed antiques dealer, whose genius won him the adoration of clients like Daphne Guinness, Lord and Lady Lloyd-Webber and Lord Puttnam.
Dreweatts, and Kensington Palace decline to comment on William and Kate’s visit. Others suspect that a discreet telephone bid – or two – may be made on their behalf.
‘Not so much to buy for themselves but as presents for Kate’s parents or brother or sister,’ suggests another admirer of Kime, who died suddenly last year aged 76.
‘Perhaps not the Ushak medallion carpet for £50,000, or even the George II longcase clock for £4,000 but the 15 Bronze Age axes for £2,000. What else would you give a mother-in-law?’
Lily offers a helping hand to pal Freddie Fox
Laurence Fox has become ‘toxic’ after being sacked as a GB News presenter for making vulgar sexual remarks about political reporter Ava Evans — but his cousin Freddie has lost none of his charm for Lily James.
The Mamma Mia 2 star, 34, took Freddie’s hand as they arrived at the Gielgud Theatre in the West End for the first night of Stephen Sondheim’s Old Friends.
Fox, 34, starred with James in racy BBC drama The Pursuit Of Love. Last week I disclosed he lost a major West End role because producers were so worried about his links to Laurence.
Lily James, 34, took Freddie’s hand as they arrived at the Gielgud Theatre in the West End for the first night of Stephen Sondheim’s Old Friends
Broadcaster Vanessa Feltz was overcome with emotion at Stephen Sondheim’s Old Friends in the West End.
‘As soon as Send In The Clowns began, she started laughing,’ says a member of the audience seated behind her.
‘Then, to stop herself, she spent the rest of the song suppressing the giggles by putting her head between her legs. Seriously odd behaviour.
‘The whole of the stalls heard her — and the soloist, Bernadette Peters, too. It really put her off her performance.’ After the show, Feltz said: ‘It was absolutely magnificent. Everybody was sobbing. I lost it.’
Bike lanes drive Tom mad
Tom Conti, who played Albert Einstein in Hollywood blockbuster Oppenheimer, has come up with a theory of his own: that Labour is ruining the capital by giving priority to bicycles over cars.
The Shirley Valentine star says: ‘The damage that the canonisation of cyclists has done to London is incalculable.’
Bicycle lanes have been given priority, adds the actor, 81. ‘Older and less able people grossly inconvenienced and businesses badly damaged.
‘How many cyclists use those lanes? Hardly any.’
Tom Conti, who played Albert Einstein in Hollywood blockbuster Oppenheimer, believes Labour is ruining the capital by giving priority to bicycles over cars
Award-winning musician Anoushka Shankar is celebrating a very personal milestone this week.
The daughter of the late sitar player Ravi Shankar, and half-sister of singer Norah Jones, has marked her 14th anniversary of being clean and sober. ‘For many years, I avoided sharing about my sobriety,’ explains Shankar, 42, who lives in London with her two sons by ex-husband, film director Joe Wright.
‘However, it feels important as a South Asian woman in recovery to share about addiction. It was hard coming into recovery from a community in which addiction was a taboo, a shame, a moral weakness.’
In sickness and in elf for Georgina?
West End star Georgina Castle fell for actor Simon Lipkin when he performed the leading role in Elf The Musical and she played his girlfriend on stage.
Now, their real-life romance is hotting up.
I hear that the 30-year-old daughter of BBC Wimbledon pundit Andrew Castle is sharing a duvet with Lipkin, 37, who’s a magician in illusionist Derren Brown’s new stage show. ‘My daughter is living with Simon,’ confirms former tennis pro Andrew.
And Castle’s such an admirer of Georgina’s new boyfriend that he has a photograph of him as the screensaver on his phone.
West End star Georgina Castle fell for actor Simon Lipkin when he performed the leading role in Elf The Musical and she played his girlfriend on stage
Ex-Labour MP Simon Danczuk, 56, married beautician Claudine ‘Coco’ Uwamahoro, 29, in Rwanda last month, but she’s having trouble accepting some aspects of life back in Lancashire.
He suggested a trip to Pendle Hill, scene of 17th-century witch trials.
Claudine tells me: ‘Simon said we’d go to a festival there for Halloween. I don’t like it. I can’t go.’
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