News, Culture & Society

AMANDA PLATELL: Please don’t make your lovely mum Doria a Royal fixture, Meghan 

Daughters everywhere will have felt a warm frisson as Meghan stepped out on her first solo official royal project with her mum, Doria.

Yes, the Duchess of Sussex is now 37 and married, but at heart she is still a mummy’s girl — like so many of us. And didn’t Doria look a million dollars? 

Her smile and confident composure said it all, as did her simple statement of introduction: ‘Hi, I’m Meg’s mom.’

The Duchess was launching a cookbook celebrating the women of the Grenfell community. Asked if she felt proud of her daughter, Doria said: ‘Very proud. Head over heels.’

The Duchess (centre) talks to her mother Doria (left) with Prince Harry (right) as they attend a reception for the launch of cookbook ‘Together’, at Kensington Palace

We always knew Meghan would ring the changes, but what a change it is to invite your mum to be the star turn at your first solo royal venture — and then to introduce a noticeably political message to the proceedings. 

Meghan spoke of the importance of diversity and multiculturalism; her mum of the power of women.

As if to prove Doria’s point, there was Harry — who, to be fair, was not expected to attend the launch — walking three paces behind the two women, very much as an extra.

I’m not saying he was thinking of that old Ken Dodd joke — ‘I haven’t spoken to my mother-in-law for 18 months, I don’t like to interrupt her.’ Just that, as in most marriages, Harry knew his mother-in-law was the most important person there.

Duchess of Sussex (centre) helps to prepare food at the launch of a cookbook with recipes from a group of women affected by the Grenfell Tower fire

Duchess of Sussex (centre) helps to prepare food at the launch of a cookbook with recipes from a group of women affected by the Grenfell Tower fire

Doria was dignified and courageous at the couple’s wedding when she sat alone in her pew as the sole representative of Meghan’s family. 

And at the Grenfell community book launch, her elegance and vivacity reminded us what a special woman she is.

But Meghan and she should tread carefully if they plan to continue this royal double act. 

Although she’s a frequent visitor to the Royal Box at Wimbledon, Carole Middleton has been the model of discretion where Kate’s royal duties are concerned.

She’s a deeply supportive, hands-on granny whom Kate can turn to at any moment — but she never steals the royal limelight.

Meghan, Duchess of Sussex (centre) arrives with her mother, Doria Ragland (left) and Prince Harry (right), to host an event to mark the launch of a cookbook with recipes from a group of women affected by the Grenfell Tower fire at Kensington Palace in London

Meghan, Duchess of Sussex (centre) arrives with her mother, Doria Ragland (left) and Prince Harry (right), to host an event to mark the launch of a cookbook with recipes from a group of women affected by the Grenfell Tower fire at Kensington Palace in London

Meghan Markle and her mother, Doria Ragland, arriving at Cliveden House Hotel on the National Trust's Cliveden Estate to spend the night before her wedding to Prince Harry

Meghan Markle and her mother, Doria Ragland, arriving at Cliveden House Hotel on the National Trust’s Cliveden Estate to spend the night before her wedding to Prince Harry

Whisper it quietly, but for me, Meghan’s mom-and-daughter act felt a little too staged, with a hint of MeToo virtue-signalling and a tad too much showbiz. More Hollywood, you might say, than Holyrood.

No surprises that one of the Duchess of Cambridge’s favourite designers, Orla Kiely, has ceased trading. 

With her sludge colours and circa 1950 tea-towel print frocks, Kiely was the only woman who ever managed to make the magnificently stylish Kate look frumpy.

A sad time for Gerry   

Next week Gerry McCann will open his heart about losing Maddie 11 years ago. He said: ‘I decided it was a good opportunity to say something about the special bond between fathers and daughters.’

Next week Gerry McCann (left) will open his heart about losing Maddie 11 years ago

Next week Gerry McCann (left) will open his heart about losing Maddie 11 years ago

And it is special. I speak to my father every day and we have a rule that we always end on a happy memory. 

Yesterday’s memory was the trip we did together, just the two of us, in a camper van after I’d fallen in love for the first time, aged 16.

It’s heartbreaking that Gerry will never get to share similar memories with Madeleine.

Radiant 2 (and mum)  

We’re used to seeing Radio 2’s Chris Evans’s beautiful wife Natasha looking more glamorous than a woman has a right to be. 

So how refreshing when she surfaced carrying her one-day-old twins Boo and Walt, with hardly a scrap of make-up, her hair in pigtails, a loose-fitting denim dress and comfy flip-flops, topped off with a smile as wide as an ocean. Simply post-baby perfect.

Natasha Evans (pictured) carrying her one-day-old twins Boo and Walt

Natasha Evans (pictured) carrying her one-day-old twins Boo and Walt

Three years after they separated, Left-wing commentator Will Self is at loggerheads with his estranged wife Deborah Orr. 

She’s deeply distressed because he is demanding access to their former family home to put ‘red stickers’ on ‘his’ belongings.

As someone who has been through a ghastly divorce myself, I’d advise Deborah to give him everything he wants. It’s only stuff, after all.

The sooner his possessions are out of your home, the quicker you can get on with your own life. Who needs a battered copy of Confessions Of An English Opium Eater anyway?

Would a real fashion Queen take a bow?

Great to see Claire Foy collecting her Emmy for her role as the young Queen in The Crown, but perhaps she could have taken a tip from Her Majesty’s fashion bible: always wear colour and pay particular attention to what you look like from the front.

Claire Foy (pictured) wore a white dress with a big bow feature to the Emmy Awards

Claire Foy (pictured) wore a white dress with a big bow feature to the Emmy Awards

Claire was wrapped in what looked — from the front — like a belted piece of stiff, shapeless white cardboard.

It was the low back that revealed a sumptuous bow and extravagant detail.

As the Queen knows, people remember what you look like coming towards them, not walking away.

I have no truck with Trump, but aren’t the former porn star Stormy Daniels’s comments on the President’s manhood rather tawdry?

She admits she only had sex with him because he promised her a place on his celebrity version of The Apprentice. What a fool she was to believe him — she’s no apprentice in the bedroom herself and should have known better.

She may be the highest paid female star at the BBC, but it hasn’t stopped Claudia Winkleman adding a few bob to her coffers by flogging Head & Shoulders Shampoo.

Claudia Winkleman has added a few bob to her coffers by flogging Head & Shoulders shampoo

Claudia Winkleman has added a few bob to her coffers by flogging Head & Shoulders shampoo

In the TV ad, her jet black hair is silken. But at a London Fashion Week bash this week, with her weird new blonde-tipped hairstyle, her tresses looked like the lion’s in The Wizard Of Oz. If that’s a good look, I’m a munchkin.

Man Booker Prize chairman of judges Kwame Anthony Appiah says each novel on the shortlist explores ‘the anatomy of pain’. 

They tell the tales of: a girl searching for the mother who abandoned her at birth; women in prison; child slavery; a veteran with PTSD; and the ‘universal experience of societies in crisis’. Sounds like the stuff of nightmares.

 Westminster wars

 + Mischievous commentators have set Theresa May’s Salzburg humiliation to The Sound Of Music’s song So Long, Farewell. 

Surely her theme tune from that movie is The Lonely Goatherd. ‘One little girl in a pale pink coat heard, lay ee odl lay ee odl lay hee hoo.’

Mischievous commentators have set Theresa May’s Salzburg humiliation to The Sound Of Music’s song So Long, Farewell

Mischievous commentators have set Theresa May’s Salzburg humiliation to The Sound Of Music’s song So Long, Farewell

+ Shadow chancellor John McDonnell says he wants the next leader of the Labour Party to be a woman. 

Why not kill two birds with one stone and pick Diane Abbott: they’d not only have the first female leader but also the first black leader. Abbott’s also a single mum and would appeal to 36 per cent of voters who are classed as overweight.

+ After Theresa May photo-bombed an unsuspecting couple posing for wedding pictures, the groom said he’d have preferred Boris to gatecrash his wedding. Steady on, your wife is a gorgeous 32-year-old blonde . . .

 A close friend of Princess Eugenie says in Vanity Fair that she planned to wed Jack ‘Tequila’ Brooksbank last year but had to postpone it due to Harry and Meghan’s wedding. Now she wants a day that’s ‘big with all the frills’. A subtle reference to mother-of-the bride, Fergie?

Princess Eugenie (pictured) says in Vanity Fair that she planned to wed Jack ‘Tequila’ Brooksbank last year but had to postpone it

Princess Eugenie (pictured) says in Vanity Fair that she planned to wed Jack ‘Tequila’ Brooksbank last year but had to postpone it

 The distraught, sobbing mother of the Westminster terrorist Khalid Masood asks: ‘What did I do wrong?’

Not reporting him to police when her violent, Islam-convert, jihadist-ranting son said to her six days before he murdered five people in 82 seconds: ‘They will say I’m a terrorist. I’m not.’

A bit of a hint there as to what he might do, surely.

Yes, a mother’s love is blind, but if Janet Ajao had warned police then, perhaps there would not now be five families blinded by grief.

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk