SHORT of Prince Philip admitting he is a bigamist with a second family in Athens, it would appear that things can’t really get much worse for the Queen.
In the past few months she’s had Harry and Meghan bolting to Canada, the first of her grandchildren getting divorced and, worst of all, the ongoing sleazy saga of her son Andrew’s involvement with convicted paedophile Jeffrey Epstein.
Kate and Camilla are the sad Queen’s wonder women[/caption]
She also has the continuing heartache of her husband’s declining health and the worry that history could repeat itself where her grandchildren’s marriages are concerned.
Remember, she’s seen three of her children divorce — Charles and Diana, Andrew and Fergie and Anne and Mark.
Now Anne’s son Peter Phillips has split from wife Autumn, which Her Maj will be hoping won’t have a domino effect on the rest of her grandkids.
Kate and Camilla are glimmers of hope
Yet amid all the gloom, there’s a glimmer of light.
The Queen can take comfort from two women who are stepping out of the shadows in their own different ways and showing the quiet strength and power of royal women.
She has grown in strength and confidence and become a formidable force to be reckoned with.
Kate Middleton is by far the best asset the Royal Family has at its disposal[/caption]
Then there is Camilla, who has gone from being dismissed as an adulterer who caused Princess Diana great pain and distress, to a valued member of The Firm.
This week, Camilla launched a personal crusade to help victims of domestic abuse, which she called “one of Britain’s most shameful secrets”.
It would be easy to sniffily criticise the incredibly wealthy, entitled and happily married Duchess of Cornwall for having no conceivable idea of what she’s talking about.
But physical and mental domestic abuse occurs in palaces and stately homes, as well as squalid flats and bedsits, and is inflicted upon men as well as women.
I think Camilla is to be praised for bringing attention to a subject that is all too often neglected.
And we must never forget that at least two women are killed each week in the UK by a current or former partner — a shocking statistic that shames us all.
Camilla was supporting the charity SafeLives and is clearly moved by the stories she has heard over the years from those who have endured violence and mental torture.
Meanwhile, this week Kate has been criss-crossing the country, visiting Scotland and Northern Ireland and spreading the word about her project to help the under-fives.
She will soon be heading off to Australia with William and their three children to show support for those coping with the aftermath of the horrendous bush fires.
It is what the royals should be doing, and what gives them relevance in the modern world.
It is very interesting that Camilla, Charles, Kate and William are now being hailed as the new “Fab Four” after a successful royal outing together.
That label was formerly applied to Kate, William, Meghan and Harry back in the heady days when it looked as though the Duke and Duchess of Sussex were going to breathe new life into the dusty old monarchy.
As we know, Harry and Meghan are off to do their own thing and I hope they can tip- toe through the minefield of taking money from big corporations while hanging on to their dignity.
I think it is a great shame they felt unable to stay inside the massive royal marquee, because together they had the potential to do so much good.
Their departure has left a gap that is currently being filled by the senior royals — Charles, Camilla, William and Kate — but it is a long-term headache for Charles, who wants to streamline the monarchy when his turn comes to take over the throne.
There is talk of drafting in Beatrice and Eugenie, but they just do not have the same level of public affection, and it is doubtful huge crowds would gather to see them open a community centre on a rainy day in Cardiff.
It is an unsettling time for the Queen when she has more than earned the right to put her feet up.
But amid the whiff of scandal surrounding her son Andrew, and all the other worries caused by her dysfunctional family, at least she can rely on Kate and Camilla to share the burden.
Fab new book
IMAGINE getting a bump on the head that means you always tell the truth no matter what large cats are let out of the bag.
This is the premise for Grown Ups, the latest novel from the ridiculously talented Marian Keyes, who’s already at No1 in the bestsellers list.
It’s a book that will make you laugh out loud, get choked up, and be very annoyed when you get to the end and have to say goodbye to all of these characters, even the ones who aren’t particularly likeable. Marion’s storytelling skills make you care deeply about each and every one of them.
I have to confess it was a relief to curl up with a real book instead of spending hours hunched over my phone, muting trolls on Twitter and watching Facebook videos showing 100 different ways to make use of clingfilm.
Bill and Susanna hit it off
Bill Turnbull is stepping in for Piers Morgan in a couple of weeks on GMB[/caption]
HEADING into work last week in the bleary-eyed early hours of the morning, I was cheered by the sight of Bill Turnbull, who was having a look round the studio before stepping in for Piers Morgan in a couple of weeks.
It’s inspired casting by GMB.
Bill is a total professional and has a proven warm and friendly relationship with Susanna Reid going back to when they worked on BBC Breakfast.
Incidentally, Bill is also living with cancer – with strength, humour and optimism.
He’s proof that this vile disease doesn’t stop you taking on exciting challenges and enjoying life.
Bill is one of those delightful people who everyone loves.
No one has a bad word to say about him, unlike the bold but polarising Piers.
I’m very much looking forward to the relative calm of the Bill and Susanna show before Hurricane Piers comes roaring back.
Hackers fleeced my uncle
MY email was hacked this week and all the people in my address book received a very odd message asking for help for my niece.
Luckily, most of these phoney messages disappeared into junk boxes and were ignored.
Hackers scammed Lorraine’s uncle and now she’s in the process of trying to fix it[/caption]
All my friends and contacts realised it was a complete scam, owing to the way it had been written (I am a stickler for correct grammar) and the glaringly obvious fact I just don’t have a niece.
Sadly, my lovely German uncle, who would do anything for me, didn’t have a clue he was being hoodwinked.
He followed these hideous crooks down a rabbit hole and ended up forking out a sizeable sum of cash.
I’m now in the process of trying to unpick the whole sorry mess and get him reimbursed.
I believed my account was properly secured but I’ve now battened down the digital hatches and, hopefully, have enough protection in place to ensure this doesn’t happen again.
I would urge all of you to take time today to make sure no one can access your emails.
Don’t allow these snivelling little creeps to take advantage of you.
Jen’s not so mad for Brad
Apparently, Jennifer Aniston was more interested in Mad Men star Jon Hamm than her ex Brad Pitt at an Oscars after-party[/caption]
She said a quick hello to Brad, who won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor, but chose to spend ages chatting with the equally handsome Jon.
I guess this is how the rest of us would feel when asked to choose between a whole Chocolate Orange and giant-sized Cadbury’s Creme Egg and being told having both is not a possibility.
I’d dearly love to see Jennifer and Brad back together, but I think there’s just too much baggage and that particular ship has sailed – although I must say “JenJon” has a good ring to it.
Tom Hardy will do Boss justice
RUMOURS have abounded for some time about the prospect of a Hollywood film about the exploits of my hero Sir Ernest Shackleton, with our very own Tom Hardy playing the great man.
It now looks as though this project might finally get off the ground, with the Oscar-winning team behind The Revenant firmly on board.
Tom Hardy is set to star in a new Hollywood film about the exploits of my hero Sir Ernest Shackleton[/caption]
Shackleton, known as The Boss, headed south to Antarctica hoping to be the first to cross the continent, but his ship was trapped and crushed by pack ice[/caption]
They will have to be super-impressive to even equal the stunning Channel 4 two-parter from 18 years ago, starring Kenneth Branagh as Shackleton.
It’s a real-life tale of human courage and endurance that’s made for the big screen, with astonishing levels of bravery, tenacity and superhuman leadership skills.
Shackleton, known as The Boss, headed south to Antarctica hoping to be the first to cross the continent, but his ship was trapped and crushed by pack ice.
Eventually, he and his men took to the lifeboats and Shackleton left 22 of them on Elephant Island, a foreboding, uninhabited icy rock, while he and five of his men sailed 800 miles in a tiny boat upon the worst seas in the world to South Georgia to seek help.
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Almost exactly three years ago I followed in Shackleton’s footsteps and went on the exact same journey, but in the comfort of a proper ship.
It was an emotional experience to visit his grave in South Georgia and toast his memory with a very large glass of whisky, as is the tradition.
I reckon Tom Hardy will do The Boss proud, and his star power will mean a whole new generation will appreciate one of the bravest men ever.
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