EPHRAIM HARDCASTLE: Who was keener on marriage – King or Camilla

Was Camilla happy to remain as Charles’s mistress rather than marry him? So suggests her friend Petronella Wyatt.

‘I sometimes breakfasted with Mark Bolland [then Charles’s deputy private secretary],’ she writes in The Spectator.

‘I received the impression that it was Charles who desired to marry Camilla whereas she was content with a less formal arrangement. I never heard it said that Camilla had any desire to become Queen Consort.’ 

Deep waters.

Will King Constantine’s friend Selina Scott be among the attendees at his funeral near his former summer palace Tatoi? The exiled monarch once turned up at the BBC to be interviewed by her and his driver told the security man he had the King of Greece in the back of the car. The guard examined his clipboard, stuck his head through the window and asked: ‘Where d’ya say you’re the king of, mate?’

Lovelorn Gyles Brandreth recalls falling head over heels for actress Sinead Cusack when he met her on a TV chat show in 1970. ‘Our hands kept touching,’ he howls. ‘I was bowled over by her. And she liked me. I know she did,’ adding: ‘And then I introduced her to George Best! Sinead said good night to me and she went off with him.’ To paraphrase Gyles’s hero Oscar Wilde, you’d need a heart of stone not to laugh.

Portraying Noele Gordon’s Meg Mortimer in Russell T Davies’ three-part TV series Nolly, Helena Bonham Carter believes the Crossroads matriarch was sacked after 17 years for being a strong woman.

‘She was outspoken, she was herself, she was utterly authentic,’ says Helena, pictured. 

‘She was punished for that.’ 

But Helena is unable to solve the abiding mystery of the long-running soap. 

What happened to Benny, the dim-witted mechanic? He popped out of the Midlands hotel in search of a spanner and wasn’t seen for a year.

Jeff Beck’s Herculean alcohol consumption as Bob Geldof’s groomsman at his 2015 south of France wedding to second wife Jeanne Marine is still spoken of in awe in rock circles. ‘I was so drunk I didn’t do a speech on the yacht,’ he (somehow) recalled. ‘There was so much drink that I barely made it to the reception. Bob came out and said: ‘Come on, I’m going to play spoons and you’re going to play the guitar.’ But there were two naked women sitting on my head that wouldn’t let me go.’ Adios, Jeff.

From beyond the grave, Sean Connery haunts his former ghostwriter Hunter Davies. He has been struggling in vain to have his 100,000-word biography of the 007 star published. ‘After eight months staying with him, he changed his mind.’ says Hunter. ‘He said he wanted to remain private. I had to sign a contract preventing me from publishing. I’ve tried different lawyers. I can’t get round it.’

Hunter was more successful ghosting Wayne Rooney’s autobiography which sold 400,000 copies in six months. ‘Writing it, I asked Wayne if he had any memorabilia? ‘What’s memorabilia?’ he asked.’

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