EPHRAIM HARDCASTLE: Edward and Sophie return in hope
Edward and Sophie Wessex returned home last night from Gibraltar hoping that their Platinum Jubilee tour won’t provoke Spanish ire. Their 2012 visit prompted Madrid to ban its royals from attending the Queen‘s Diamond Jubilee celebrations. Spanish sensitivities have prevented Princess Anne from visiting since taking on the patronage of the Gibraltar Literary Festival in 2016.
In March, Prince Edward – Colonel of the Royal Gibraltar Regiment – presented new regimental colours at Windsor rather than risk Spanish fury by doing it on the Rock. The Queen’s visit after her only state visit to Spain in 1988 was vetoed. King Juan Carlos and his wife were banned from attending Charles and Diana’s wedding after it emerged that their honeymoon in 1981 started from Gibraltar. Diplomats hope the latest royal fly in the paella won’t upset the entendimiento cordial too much.
Margaret Thatcher’s biographer Charles Moore, accusing Nick Robinson of devoting his energy to removing Boris, disputes the BBC Today presenter’s claim that the Prime Minister’s confidence vote was worse than Thatcher’s in 1990. ‘It is untrue,’ he claims. ‘She received 204 votes from an electorate of 372. Boris received 211 votes from an electorate of 359. I make that more votes for him than her.’ Too late, surely, for Lord Snooty to clamber aboard HMS Boris!
Stripping off in new sex comedy-drama Good Luck To You, Leo Grande, Dame Emma Thompson, 63, proudly tells Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour: ‘I haven’t shaved under my arms for a long time, but I still do shave my legs.’ And warming to her theme, she trumpets: ‘I greatly regret the demise of the full bush!’ Actor hubby Greg Wise may feel that a little goes a long way with Emma.
After the Daily Mail’s revelation that Labour deputy leader Angela Rayner, pictured, got circa £1,000 worth of free Adrianna Papell designer dresses, Westminster wags wonder what items she chose.
In view of her current troubles over Sir Keir Starmer’s Covid ‘beer and curry night’, might she avail of the brand’s Ruffled Jumpsuit, Cover-up Cape, Flounce Dress or Illusion Crepe Gown?
Downsizing her library, Susan Hill – author of the spooky The Woman In Black novel – opens a book and a handwritten postcard from Virginia Woolf cancelling lunch with a friend flutters out. ‘How did it get there?’ she asks in The Spectator. ‘Where did it come from? I know I write ghost stories, but still.’
Ex-Tory MP Gyles Brandreth says he was so exhausted after a week in the Commons he would secretly stab himself in the thigh with a fork to stay awake during weekend constituency surgeries. ‘The real reason I’m no longer an MP is the people spoke,’ he wails, perhaps wondering if he should have abandoned the fork for a pillow and dozed before his ungrateful voters.