This week a very special duchess was doing what special duchesses do best; she was being sweet to one of life’s unfortunates and lavishing attention on a simple-minded delinquent.
But that is enough about Fergie bringing Andrew a cup of tea. Let’s make haste to the Premier League of duchess-dom and find out what’s been going on with our star strikers.
In Bradford, Kate was in a Zara dress (thrifty gold star) as she visited community projects that promote cohesion.
She struck gold in Vancouver, visiting the Justice For Girls charity, where she discussed a holistic approach to fighting for climate justice for girls — I am guessing it’s a no to pink plastic umbrellas — and the rights of indigenous peoples
At the Khidmat Centre she listened to a group singing a song about bananas, which included the lyrics ‘peel bananas, peel-peel bananas’. (For once, even at this perilous stage in royal history, no one was writing U R LUVED BABE on the bananas, which was a relief all round.)
Meanwhile, Meghan was buzzing around north-west Canada in a seaplane, peering out of the fogged window with her do-good binoculars, searching for worthy causes to promote.
Aha! She struck gold in Vancouver, visiting the Justice For Girls charity, where she discussed a holistic approach to fighting for climate justice for girls — I am guessing it’s a no to pink plastic umbrellas — and the rights of indigenous peoples.
The Duchess of Sussex also popped into the Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre in Vancouver, where she discussed ‘issues affecting women in the community’.
The biggest women’s issues in Meghan’s own community are that she is estranged from almost her entire family; that her uncle-in-law has been consorting with a known paedophile and has had to deny charges of sexual misconduct on national television — while her husband is embarking on a quasi-abdication process from his entire family which has grave implications for the British monarchy.
The Duchess of Sussex also popped into the Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre in Vancouver, where she discussed ‘issues affecting women in the community’. Meghan is no stranger to good works and selfless deeds. The Duchess was an activist and a campaigner long before she met Prince Harry
And Meghan knows that for this last instance, many people unfairly blame her. What I hope is that the Eastside women gave her all the support and understanding she needs and deserves.
However, are you thinking what I am thinking?
Why oh why this sudden rash flurry of good works-based activity from the Duchess of Sussex? She has had a long — very long — break from the charity limelight.
An understandable one, given her pregnancy, motherhood, Christmas, holistic gobbledegook online course and recent six-week holiday to get over it all.
Yet even on her brief recent trip to London, she and the Duke of Sussex managed to shoehorn in a ‘secret’ visit to the community kitchen set up in the wake of the Grenfell Tower tragedy.
Good for them — it’s hard to think of a worthier cause — but isn’t it amazing how photographs of all these clandestine jaunts always find their way into the public sphere jolly quick sticks, via the Sussexes own website or by the grateful charities themselves?
At the moment, the Canadians might be thinking, oh, isn’t it marvellous, having this charismatic couple on our doorstep, hoping to shine a light on the plight of those less fortunate than themselves?
Meghan is pictured on a visit to Grenfell kitchen last week. Why oh why this sudden rash flurry of good works-based activity from the Duchess of Sussex? She has had a long — very long — break from the charity limelight
Yet one must forgive battle-hardened Brits for taking a rather more cynical view, or for knowing a damage-limitation and reputation-building exercise when they see one.
After all, not that long ago we all watched the ITV documentary of the Sussexes’ 2019 trip to South Africa, where the Duke and Duchess bore witness to some of the most unfortunate citizens on the planet, but still managed to make it all about themselves.
Harry talked about never getting over his mother’s death, while Meghan made it clear she was struggling.
‘It’s not enough to just survive something, right?’ she said. ‘You’ve got to thrive, you’ve got to feel happy.’
Only she wasn’t talking about the teenage girls she met, who were taking boxing lessons to fight off the sexual predators who routinely raped them.
Or the tiny children in Angola who are still having their limbs blown off by land mines. She was talking about herself.
However, Meghan is no stranger to good works and selfless deeds. The Duchess was an activist and a campaigner long before she met Prince Harry.
Indeed, their charity profiles and mutual determination to make a difference were characteristics that initially and powerfully attracted them to each other. Yet we still find ourselves at an odd juncture.
You could argue that there is rank hypocrisy in any duchess sailing forth from her royal palace or luxury waterside mansion to do good works that mostly involve smiling at a camera, especially if she is slumming it in a High Street dress to make herself appear more relatable.
Then just as quickly sailing back again, raising the ramparts of luxury behind her.
Yet the problem now is that the Duchess of Cambridge does it, as always, because it is part of her royal duty, while the Duchess of Sussex now does it at least in part to maintain the kind of lady bountiful and altruistic profile which will benefit her commercially.
We just have to hope and pray, along with the Canadians, that Harry and Meghan will not use the tear-sodden backdrop of luckless Canadian misery and misfortune as a prop to make themselves look burnished and even more benevolent, as royal courtiers and lawyers thrash out the monarchy divorce details back home.
HM shows us how to grin and bear it
Never did I imagine I would end up writing so much about the Royal Family, but let’s be honest, never have their antics been quite so enthralling.
Only the glamorous and fascinating heyday of Princess Diana can compete with the fevered nonsense of today.
My view is that if we have to pay for them, then the very least they can do is entertain us. And boy, do they ever.
The current plotline involves scandal, outrage, intrigue, hurt, hurt denied and, of course, the glorious uproar of Megxit.
The only sad thing is the toll it must be taking on my beloved 93-year-old Queen.
Yet the day before the Sandringham summit, HM was pictured driving a car through the wintry drizzle of Norfolk. She looked uncomplaining, unruffled, unbowed.
Best of all, she was wearing a doggy-print silk headscarf, firmly knotted under her chin as hell broke loose around her. It was the most British thing ever.
Yesterday, on what must have been his last official duty as a senior royal, Prince Harry talked about the mental health perils of ‘grin and bear it’.
He is of the modern mindset that everything must be talked about, indulged, fretted over endlessly like a kitten with a ball of wool.
I would argue that ‘grin and bear it’ is the essence of the human condition.
It is what gets most of us through every day. It certainly got us through two world wars, Brexit and Cats the movie.
And right now it is probably the only thing that is getting his grandmother through from dawn to dusk.
That and a dash of very unfashionable stiff upper lip. Don’t knock it ’til you’ve tried it.
The day before the Sandringham summit, HM was pictured driving a car through the wintry drizzle of Norfolk. She looked uncomplaining, unruffled, unbowed
Sam Springsteen, the 25-year-old son of rock star Bruce and his wife Patti, graduated as a firefighter this week at the Jersey City Fire Department
Why it’s glory days for Fireman Sam
Hurrah for Fireman Sam.
Sam Springsteen, the 25-year-old son of rock star Bruce and his wife Patti, graduated as a firefighter this week at the Jersey City Fire Department and his proud mum and dad were there to see it happen.
‘We are just excited for him today,’ they said.
When you think of the money that Sam must be entitled to, and the rich kid life he could choose, his achievement is all the more impressive.
He could have been an influencer or a dilettante or a drug addict or a waste of space or a ‘photographer’ like Brooklyn Beckham or a model like Jude Law’s son Rafferty.
Instead, he’s chosen to do something wonderful, something real, something on his own merits. Whatever Bruce and Patti did as parents, they did it right.
I suspect that Jen is just molto furioso that she was snubbed for an Oscar nomination for her new film, Hustlers
Will J-Lo find La Dolce Vita?
Jennifer Lopez has announced that she wants to quit the U.S. and find a simpler life in a small town in Italy.
There is no mention of what will happen to her fiancé, the American baseball legend Alex Rodriguez. Will A-Rod fit into her plans?
I hope so, otherwise what will she do with her time? Yet what has prompted this sudden lust for the dolce vita?
I suspect that Jen is just molto furioso that she was snubbed for an Oscar nomination for her new film, Hustlers. She plays a stripper and pole dancer and is terrific in the role.
She was nominated as best actress in the Golden Globes, Critics’ Choice Awards and Screen Actors Guild Awards — but failed to win in all three.
Bah! It’s enough to make anyone want to move halfway around the world.
A £40k food farce
The Ask Italian pizza chain has been fined £40,000 for misleading diners over the contents of a ‘lobster’ dish.
The £14.95 Aragosta e Gamberoni was said to consist of lobster, king prawns, a creamy tomato sauce and chilli.
However, following a routine inspection carried out by a trading standards officer it was discovered that the dish was made using a frozen product called Lobster Sensations, which retails at £1.40 — a fraction of the price of real lobster meat.
It is made of 35 per cent lobster, 34 per cent unspecified white fish and 31 per cent God knows what.
The company has been selling this rubbish masquerading as real lobster for years — and made huge profits from it.
Is £40,000 really a deterrent for such outrageous food fraud?
The Ask Italian pizza chain has been fined £40,000 for misleading diners over the contents of a ‘lobster’ dish. The £14.95 Aragosta e Gamberoni was said to consist of lobster, king prawns, a creamy tomato sauce and chilli