SEBASTIAN SHAKESPEARE: Former Countryfile presenter Julia Bradbury, 48, recovering from surgery

While most of us were enjoying the great outdoors at the weekend, former Countryfile presenter Julia Bradbury, 48, was recovering from surgery for a triple hernia. 

‘No lifting, exercise, playing with kids. Only allowed to eat eggs. Chocolate eggs,’ she tweeted from her bed in London’s Lister Hospital. 

Her sister, Gina, tells me: ‘She thought she had two hernias, but then discovered she had three. 

Former Countryfile presenter Julia Bradbury, 48, was recovering from surgery for a triple hernia this weekend

Former Countryfile presenter Julia Bradbury, 48, was recovering from surgery for a triple hernia this weekend

Former Countryfile presenter Julia Bradbury, 48, was recovering from surgery for a triple hernia this weekend

‘They had built up over the years due to her endometriosis and having children later in life.’ 

Julia is now recuperating in Spain with her Irish property-developer husband Gerard Cunningham.

Super-svelte Jodie’s model Baywatch turn

Former model Jodie Kidd, who returned to the catwalk for the first time in a decade earlier this year, was channelling the spirit of Nineties TV series Baywatch in Barbados this weekend.

The 40-year-old, who is holidaying with her boyfriend, ex-Royal Marine Joseph Bates, ambled along the beach in a £235 red Melissa Odabash costume that showed off her svelte frame. The mother-of-one credits her figure to eating organic and healthy food, with breakfast often consisting of a smoothie made from avocado, organic apples, spinach, greens powder, maca powder and seeds.

‘When I was younger, I existed on burgers and pizza,’ admits a newly brunette Jodie. ‘But if I eat like that now, I feel so lethargic. It’s the silver lining of getting older — you learn what’s good for your body.’

Former model Jodie Kidd, 40, who is holidaying with her boyfriend, ex-Royal Marine Joseph Bates, ambled along the beach in a £235 red Melissa Odabash costume that showed off her svelte frame

Former model Jodie Kidd, 40, who is holidaying with her boyfriend, ex-Royal Marine Joseph Bates, ambled along the beach in a £235 red Melissa Odabash costume that showed off her svelte frame

Former model Jodie Kidd, 40, who is holidaying with her boyfriend, ex-Royal Marine Joseph Bates, ambled along the beach in a £235 red Melissa Odabash costume that showed off her svelte frame

 Fergie finds favour with Andrew’s former flame

She is reputedly one of the Duke of York’s old flames, but she has just received a glowing endorsement from an unexpected quarter — the Duchess of York.

Fergie has alerted her social media followers that her ‘great friend’ Caroline Stanbury — as she describes the vivacious blonde — is hosting an event next month in California where she’ll share ‘fashion, beauty, business and wellness secrets’.

Now living in Dubai with her Turkish husband Cem Habib, Stanbury, 42, will talk about ‘being a married mother of three who is dominating the international business world’.

Four years ago, her company, Gift Library — an online ‘gifting service’ whose products included a £295 baby comb set — went into administration, as I disclosed at the time.

‘Platinum’ tickets for next month’s bash are £800 apiece.

That’s the spirit.

 A very modern 90th for Lady P

The Queen’s bridesmaid, Lady Pamela Hicks, daughter of the 1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma, received a very modern present for her 90th birthday. Her daughter, India, reveals she commissioned a portrait of her mother by Instagram artist Elke Mackus.

She explains: ‘Through the remarkable connections we all make on Instagram I met an artist who drew this for her — seated in a chair designed by my father [the late David Hicks], with the Rex Whistler mural of my mother’s childhood home, Broadlands, behind her.’

India adds the picture also features a ‘miniature ancestral portrait gallery that includes [near right, from bottom to top] her granddaughter Domino, myself, her sister, her mother Countess Mountbatten, her beloved grandmother Princess Victoria and her grandmother’s grandmother Queen Victoria’.

Her daughter, India, reveals she commissioned a portrait of her mother by Instagram artist Elke Mackus

Her daughter, India, reveals she commissioned a portrait of her mother by Instagram artist Elke Mackus

Her daughter, India, reveals she commissioned a portrait of her mother by Instagram artist Elke Mackus

 The Duke of Wellington faces battle on home front

Despite having the most exclusive address in the world, Number 1 London, the current Duke of Wellington is struggling to attract visitors to his ancestral home.

Apsley House has been lived in by the nation’s most aristocratic family for the past 200 years — it was bought by the first Duke of Wellington in 1817 after he defeated Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo.

It is now owned by English Heritage and open to the public, but the 9th Duke, Charles Wellesley, who occupies private apartments there, is dismayed that more people don’t come to inspect his heroic forebear’s great art collection and military memorabilia.

‘Numbers are down,’ laments Wellesley, 73, who divides his time between Apsley and Stratfield Saye House, the rural Hampshire estate where his heir, Arthur, the Earl of Mornington, lives with his wife, former model and socialite Jemma Kidd, and their three children.

Charles did not pursue a military career like his father and the first duke. He entered politics and became a Conservative MEP.

But even the celebrations he helped organise to mark Waterloo’s bicentenary four years ago were not enough to boost Apsley House’s visitor numbers.

At the time, the house attracted nearly 57,000 visitors, but the following year, in 2016/2017, figures slumped to just 28,176. They rose again in 2017/2018, but only slightly, to 38,226.

‘It is a large family house, but compared with other places it is very small,’ says the Duke, who shares his apartments at the Robert Adam-designed house with his wife, Prussian Princess Antonia, with whom he has five children.

‘We don’t have room for a restaurant, for example. It’s not like the National Gallery or the V&A. You don’t pass it casually — you have to make a special visit.’

A new exhibition to mark the 1st Duke’s 250th birthday has just opened, focusing on his early years spent in India.

It is uncertain whether Wellesley’s heir and his family will want to live at Apsley House.

His youngest daughter, Lady Charlotte, 28, married 42-year-old billionaire businessman Alejandro Santo Domingo in 2016 — so can afford to live wherever she likes.

The media organisation Tortoise, founded by ex-BBC News boss James Harding, is hosting a ‘think-in’ asking if the BBC, and all it stands for, is ‘doomed’. It is bound to rile his former colleagues, as it describes Netflix as ‘home of the TV everyone is talking about’.

Kevin McCloud, 59, who celebrates 20 years presenting the Channel 4 series Grand Designs this month, confesses he is nervous about making predictions for new trends. ‘Last year, I jokingly said that Japanese heated lavatories would be the next big thing,’ he confided. ‘And I’ve seen five of them in the past two months.’ 

Bubbly Halle’s secret to youth? A soak in the tub!

Oscar-winning actress Halle Berry, 52, reveals taking bubble baths is one of the secrets to her youthful glow.

The Monster’s Ball star posted online a picture of herself posing in her bathtub with foam in her hands.

‘It’s been a really long day, but still making time for self-care,’ she captioned the shot.

The Monster’s Ball star posted online a picture of herself posing in her bathtub with foam in her hands

The Monster’s Ball star posted online a picture of herself posing in her bathtub with foam in her hands

The Monster’s Ball star posted online a picture of herself posing in her bathtub with foam in her hands

The former Bond girl knows all about self-care, having been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at 22.

She says her condition has made her take the food she eats ‘very seriously’.

‘I think the most important part of being healthy and in great shape largely depends on what and when you eat,’ she says.

Blessed with a family fortune of nearly £5 billion, Sir Henry Keswick is spared many of the humdrum concerns of the rest of us — but not all of them.

Sir Henry, 80, who retired last autumn as executive chairman of Jardine Matheson, has been obliged to seek permission to install a stair-lift at Oare House, his magnificent Wiltshire mansion, as it enjoys Grade-I listing.

This means that even the simplest alterations must be sanctioned by the local council.

Gender equality may be making waves in the workplace — but it has yet to cause a ripple on the high seas, laments Tracy Edwards, 30 years after skippering the first all-female crew in the Whitbread Round the World Yacht Race on her yacht Maiden. ‘It’s still hard for women to get on to the boats,’ the 56-year-old declares at the launch of a new documentary film, Maiden. ‘There’s definitely an element that doesn’t want that to change. The sexism is still there — it’s just more insidious.’

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