EPHRAIM HARDCASTLE: Prince Andrew absent from state visit 

EPHRAIM HARDCASTLE: Prince Andrew absent from state visit

No sign of Prince Andrew while King Charles hosts South African president Cyril Ramaphosa. It’s the first state visit since his disgrace, surely reminding him of his previous starring role. 

His Pitch at Palace initiative allowed him to be the ‘business-minded royal’, conferring with visiting VIPs on economic matters. Six years ago this month he achieved his greatest coup, staging the grand final at St James’s Palace when the Queen broke away from the state visit of the president of Colombia to attend the Pitch final. Andrew was beaming from ear to ear as he escorted her in. He’s not beaming now.

No sign of Prince Andrew while King Charles hosts South African president Cyril Ramaphosa. It’s the first state visit since his disgrace, surely reminding him of his previous starring role

No sign of Prince Andrew while King Charles hosts South African president Cyril Ramaphosa. It’s the first state visit since his disgrace, surely reminding him of his previous starring role

President Ramaphosa’s predecessor Nelson Mandela took an informal approach with the Queen. On being introduced, he observed cheerfully: ‘Hi Elizabeth, you’ve lost weight.’ His glamorous private secretary Zelda la Grange claimed: ‘She was quite amused by it. I don’t think anyone had said that to her before.’

The Duke of Kent, 87, tottering up to receive his First-Time Author of the Year award from Gyles Brandreth at the Oldie of the Year lunch yesterday outed royal scribbler Hugo Vickers as the real writer of his memoirs. Cue Brandreth head in hands and Vickers sliding under the VIP table between forever young Leslie Caron, Jilly Cooper and Sian Phillips. None of them offered to resuscitate him.

Is Camilla in charge of the palace wine list? As patroness of the UK wine industry and president of the Wines of Great Britain association, she reputedly helped choose English wines, including a Windsor Great Park sparkling white, for teetotal Donald Trump’s state banquet in 2019. Described as ‘pure passion and distinction in a glass’, East Sussex-based Ridgeview’s blanc de blancs 2016 was served on Tuesday along with top French wines for the South African president’s visit. When’s the next tasting, Your Majesty?

Is Camilla in charge of the palace wine list? As patroness of the UK wine industry and president of the Wines of Great Britain association, she reputedly helped choose English wines, including a Windsor Great Park sparkling white, for teetotal Donald Trump’s state banquet in 2019

Is Camilla in charge of the palace wine list? As patroness of the UK wine industry and president of the Wines of Great Britain association, she reputedly helped choose English wines, including a Windsor Great Park sparkling white, for teetotal Donald Trump’s state banquet in 2019

Marcia Warren, 78, playing the Queen Mother in The Crown, reveals that she, Imelda Staunton and Lesley Manville don body suits to look as plump as the their characters. ‘On screen, I look older than The Queen Mother ever did,’ Marcia, pictured above left with the QM above right, tells Saga magazine. ‘It’s just that I have more wrinkles than she had.’ Odds on Marcia would never be mistaken for the QM in an identity parade.

Gone With The Wind actor Mickey Kuhn, who has died aged 90, encountered the waspish Bette Davis at an airport in Washington in 1996, declaring: ‘I had the honour, privilege and pleasure of working with you in Juarez in 1938 and now I work for American Airlines. Is there anything I can do to make your trip more enjoyable?’ ‘How nice of you,’ she replied. ‘And, no, you can’t.’

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