Self-isolating since the start of this crisis, the Queen will have been eagerly looking forward to being reunited with her family at Christmas.
The festive season is, after all, the only time of the year that the royals stay together, when they gather at Sandringham in Norfolk to exchange presents on Christmas Eve before going to church together the next day and greeting well-wishers.
But Boris Johnson’s rule that no more than three households can celebrate together has put a spanner in the royal works.
Self-isolating since the start of this crisis, the Queen will have been eagerly looking forward to being reunited with her family at Christmas
The Queen will set a good example and abide by the rules, so who will be in the ‘royal bubble’? I hear there may be a surprise in store.
‘Prince Edward and his family will be one of the two in her bubble,’ a source tells me. The Earl of Wessex is, of course, the youngest of the Queen and Prince Philip’s four children. The Queen is particularly close to Edward’s wife, Sophie.
As heir to the throne, Prince Charles was seen as the most likely to be in the Queen’s bubble, along with Prince William, the next in line.
However, courtiers think they may have come up with an ingenious plan to keep everyone happy.
The festive season is, after all, the only time of the year that the royals stay together, when they gather at Sandringham in Norfolk to exchange presents on Christmas Eve before going to church together the next day and greeting well-wishers
‘If they go to Sandringham, their traditional Boxing Day shoot could still take place, enabling them to see members of the family unable to join them on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day,’ the source tells me. Shoots can legally take place as they are classified as organised outdoor sports, so up to 30 royals could blast pheasants and partridges.
It would appeal hugely to Charles and Camilla, who usually leaves after the shoot to spend the rest of Christmas with her two children and five grandchildren. She would be prohibited from seeing them if she was in the Queen’s bubble.
The same applies to Prince William and Kate, who usually spend much of the festive season with her parents, Michael and Carole Middleton, and her siblings, Pippa and James.
Katherine’s no Forces Sweetheart, says Dame Vera’s daughter…
Having entertained British troops several times, Katherine Jenkins, above, became known as a ‘Forces Sweetheart’ — but Dame Vera Lynn’s daughter says only one woman deserves that title
Having entertained British troops several times, Katherine Jenkins, right, became known as a ‘Forces Sweetheart’ — but Dame Vera Lynn’s daughter says only one woman deserves that title.
‘Katherine sings Mummy’s songs, and that’s really lovely, but you can’t have a second Forces Sweetheart,’ Virginia Lewis Jones tells me.
‘No one will take her place or follow her. People can go out and do the same things that she did, obviously, but you can’t compare really.’
Welsh mezzo-soprano Katherine recently made her acting debut in a film called Minamata, directed by her husband, Andrew Levitas, and starring Johnny Depp and Bill Nighy.
But if she was hoping to portray Dame Vera in a forthcoming biopic, she may be disappointed.
‘There’s been a film in the pipeline for quite a while,’ says Virginia, who’s promoting a new album of her mother’s songs, Keep Smiling Through. But asked who could play Dame Vera, Virginia exclaims: ‘Oh, God knows, no idea!’
The smart set’s talking about… Industry’s racy new star Marisa Abela
Roedean’s teachers are now transfixed by the screen exploits of Marisa Abela
It’s famed for turning the daughters of Britain’s richest parents into polished young ladies who know how to handle a lacrosse stick, but Roedean’s teachers are now transfixed by the screen exploits of Marisa Abela.
The actress, 23, who attended the £39,915-a-year boarding school in East Sussex, stars as Yasmin Kara-Hanani, right, in Industry, the racy BBC Two drama about graduate trainees at a City investment bank.
Showbusiness runs in Marisa’s veins: her mother, Caroline Gruber, is a distinguished actress whose roles have ranged from appearing on stage in Sir Tom Stoppard’s Leopoldstadt to playing teacher Miss Washington in children’s drama Grange Hill; her father is Angelo Abela, who was in comedy act the Vicious Boys before becoming a successful television director.
Who knew panto paid so well? Britain’s favourite dame, Christopher Biggins, is in Celebrity MasterChef’s Christmas special but it could cost him a fortune. For when the actor and his civil partner, retired BA steward Neil Sinclair, give dinner parties for chums such as Dame Joan Collins, he throws a £1,000 bottle of wine into his go-to dish, winter stew.
His recipe: ‘Beef, carrots, onions, bay leaves and tomato paste and a bottle of Chateau Margaux 2000.’ If a £1,000 bottle goes in the stew, how much does he spend on wine to drink with it?
Is this why Sajid Javid reportedly turned down the chance to return to Downing Street as Boris Johnson’s chief of staff?
The former chancellor has won a highly lucrative role for U.S tech firm C3.ai. Javid will be an adviser on the board, which also boasts Condoleezza Rice as part of its executive team.
The role, which comes hot on the heels of another highly paid position at J. P. Morgan, will see Javid paid a handsome £151,835 for no more than 12 days work per year. That’s more than £1,500 an hour.
Britain’s top male model, David Gandy, is not just a pretty face. The pulchritudinous petrol-head has come up with an ingenious way to remember his favourite vintage Jaguar after it had to be renovated
(Very) modern manners
Britain’s top male model, David Gandy, is not just a pretty face.
The pulchritudinous petrol-head has come up with an ingenious way to remember his favourite vintage Jaguar after it had to be renovated.
‘I’ve kept the gear stick knob from the XK120 because I couldn’t really see it go to waste,’ he says.
‘I have adapted it into a wine stopper, so when I open wine I now put my XK120 into it.’
He adds: ‘I love that something historic from the car is still being used in the house.’
Edo son’s next big role: best bauble boy!
When Princess Beatrice married Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi in July, the property developer’s son, Christopher, was chosen as best man, even though he was only four years old.
Now, Christopher — known as Wolfie — has been handed the role of best boy in the run-up to Christmas.
His mother, Edo’s former fiancee Dara Huang, above, shared this delightful snap yesterday of Wolfie helping with the Christmas tree at their home in London’s Knightsbridge.
‘Happy holidays,’ wrote the American-Chinese architect, 38, adding: ‘New beginnings.’
Wolfie was the youngest person in history to have performed a role at a British royal wedding.
A friend of Edo and Beatrice told me they wanted him to be involved in the ceremony at the Royal Chapel of All Saints in Windsor Great Park to show he was embraced by his stepmother.
Christopher — known as Wolfie — has been handed the role of best boy in the run-up to Christmas. His mother, Edo’s former fiancee Dara Huang, above, shared this delightful snap yesterday of Wolfie helping with the Christmas tree at their home in London’s Knightsbridge
Michael Fagan is not the only one unhappy with The Crown’s depiction of him as a feckless burglar who broke into the Queen’s bedroom.
I hear that Paul Whybrew, Her Majesty’s Page of the Backstairs — and one of her most trusted retainers — is a trifle annoyed that his heroic role in the 1982 break-in is not mentioned at all.
It was the lofty flunkey (known to all at Buckingham Palace as Big Paul) who came to the monarch’s rescue when Fagan broke into the palace and pulled back the curtains of her four-poster. While the Queen fled to find help, Whybrew calmed the unkempt intruder down by offering him a drink.
Says a fellow palace official: ‘It was only then that Paul, who handled the whole thing very calmly, ushered in the police, who took Fagan away. He’s never sought attention and is certainly not vain, but to be cut out of the whole episode, when he was the real hero, has rather irritated him.
‘The rest of us here remember what happened and I suppose we are all getting used to The Crown just trampling over the truth and rewriting history.’
Lily scoots to seaside after Roman high jinks with West
Dominic West is pictured with Lily James in Rome
While The Affair star Dominic West has been playing happy families with his aristocratic wife, Catherine Fitz-Gerald, since he was pictured kissing and cuddling with Lily James in Rome, right, Lily’s been keeping an unusually low profile.
I hear Downton Abbey star Lily has been hiding out in a rented seaside cottage. ‘Lily just wants to spend some time alone to gather her thoughts,’ a source tells me.
‘She is tired of everyone talking about her and Dominic and wants to spend some restorative time by the sea before her next project begins.
‘She just wants some anonymity for a while.’
Lily, 31, (right) will be reunited with West, 51, when they promote BBC drama The Pursuit Of Love, in which they star together.