The news of Harry and Meghan’s planned move into Frogmore Cottage at Windsor has provoked all kinds of delicious rumours about duelling Duchesses at dawn.
A rift between sisters-in-law is a cracking story but the fact is that, when William and Kate first became parents, they too moved out of London, to Norfolk.
In their desire to bring their children up in the countryside, the Royal couples are no different from countless other young parents who dream of toddlers frolicking among newborn lambs, petting cows and roaming the bluebell woods.
The news of Harry and Meghan’s planned move into Frogmore Cottage at Windsor have provoked rumours of a rift between the two sister-in-laws
After all, who wouldn’t want to leave a city where the price of a two-bed flat now tops half a million, for a rural idyll where you can scoop up a four-bed house with garden and Aga for much less?
Then there are the schools. Competition for a place in a good, as opposed to dire, London comp is now more intense than entry to Eton. How wonderful for one’s child to be a hop, skip and a jump from a small village school.
But my message to anyone with a head full of bucolic fantasies is: be careful what you wish for. Over my years as Vogue editor I saw increasing numbers of staff embark on a daily two-hour commute in order to provide the childhood of their – if not their children’s – dreams. And I watched many of them trudge back, tails between legs a few years late.
Harry and Meghan’s new home of Frogmore Cottage, pictured, is situated in the private Home Park and looks out onto the stunning grounds of Frogmore House, right
City life may be cramped and dirty, expensive and stressful but they soon found the countryside has its own drawbacks. Yes, they had larger houses, but they missed their friends and found the pool of potential new ones dauntingly small. Yes, they could walk to the pub but where was the glorious array of exotic takeaway options for an evening with a box set?
The dank, dark days of winter are bad enough in the glare of street lighting, but they loomed even darker and danker in a cottage down a single track lane.
And of course the children, far from making dams in babbling brooks and shinning up trees, only wanted to sit inside with an iPad and Xbox.
Even the schools weren’t what they had hoped for. I met up with a friend of mine recently who has just embarked on her own escape from London.
Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex arrive for a public walkabout at the Rotorua Government Gardens in Rotorua, New Zealand in October
Her small son had got in with a group of ne’er-do-wells at the village school and was coming home every evening spouting revolting new swear words.
Her dilemma was compounded by the terribly English fact that she was desperate not to appear the middle-class newbie kicking up a fuss and complaining.
Something tells me this is a problem that Meghan will never have to face.
Wine is bad? That must be fake news
New research suggests that running is more successful at slowing down the ageing process than lifting weights. Great news.
I’ve always thought that fiddling around with dumbbells was a boring waste of time. And I believe every word of this report since running is the only exercise I take and therefore it completely endorses my behaviour.
How different to my response on reading, for the umpteenth time, that a single glass of wine every day will have the opposite effect and most likely condemn me to memory loss, obesity and cardiovascular damage.
That unwelcome information, I instantly decided, was a perfect example of fake news.
Theresa’s doomed to fail this screen test
Theresa May has promised to fight tirelessly during ‘momentous’ build up to crunch vote
I can’t imagine why Theresa May would want to go head-to-head with Jeremy Corbyn on a televised Brexit debate. If there’s one thing we know it’s that he’s an accomplished performer with an actor’s sense of timing and easy manner, whereas she comes across as the unpopular headmistress who has cancelled sports day.
And there’s another problem. May’s a woman, which means she will automatically be harshly judged on appearance rather than substance.
Corbyn just has to make sure he hasn’t got any food in his beard and that his tie isn’t stained. The wrinkles around his eyes make him look like he has a sense of humour and his accent is engagingly democratic, no matter what he says.
May, on the other hand, will be judged – and unfortunately by other women most of all – on how worn-out she looks and how snooty and out-of-touch she sounds. If I were her, I’d steer well clear.
Last Tango taught me so much
Bernardo Bertolucci and Nicolas Roeg, who both died last month, were titans of the independent cinema and made some of the most controversial and compelling movies of their age.
Bertolucci’s Last Tango In Paris and Roeg’s Bad Timing and Don’t Look Now became notorious for their graphic and, at the time, ground-breaking sex scenes.
In recent days, the creative legacy of both men has been scrutinised in the light of #MeToo sexual politics and their work decreed exploitative and predatory. How very wrong. I was a young woman when these films were released and I was fascinated by them and the relationships between men and women they portrayed.
They taught me so much about sex: how it can be obsessive and addictive; how sexual attraction is complicated and messy with ever-shifting balances of power and control; about the recklessness of desire and the thrill of the illicit.
How much more interesting that all was than today’s endless superhero movies and mind-numbingly overlong biopics.
I asked for a handyman- I got a crimewave
I recently joined a local newsletter where the community can post information. In the past few days, I have been alerted to a cat-killing fox, two assaults on women, three break-ins and a spate of catalytic converter thefts (why?).
My previous ignorance of such neighbourhood horrors was definitely bliss. All I wanted was to find a local handyman.
The question that no man can answer
Here’s a riddle I guarantee no man will be able to solve: What’s now non-negotiable, densely unattractive and starts with B?
Black opaque tights.