When Damien Hirst revealed that his latest work was a giant medicine cabinet full of fake Viagra tablets, his admirers wondered what had given him the inspiration.
Now, I would appear to have found the answer: the artist, who turns 53 next month, is courting an aspiring actress almost 30 years his junior.
Hirst, who is known for his pickled shark in a tank, chopped-up cows and a diamond-encrusted skull, is going out with Sophie Cannell.
Damien Hirst, who turns 53 next month, is going out with Sophie Cannell, a former ballet dancer who has just turned 25 (pictured together in Las Vegas)
A former ballet dancer, she has just turned 25 and is scarcely two years older than the eldest of his three sons. ‘Damien is showing Sophie off to all his friends,’ a pal tells me. ‘He’s besotted.’
His women get younger and younger. The mother of his sons is fashion designer Maia Norman, 55. They split in 2012 after 20 years. He then took up with model Roxie Nafousi, 27, before enjoying a three-year romance with another mannequin, Katie Keight, 28, which ended last year.
Friends of Hirst, Britain’s richest artist with an estimated fortune of £270 million, claim he met Sophie at the Chiltern Firehouse, where she used to work as a waitress.
Once highly fashionable, the Marylebone watering hole is acquiring a reputation as something of a sleazy pick-up joint. Its U.S. owner, Andre Balazs, was accused of groping the wife of Hollywood star Jason Bateman when the couple visited. And last year a Romanian waitress, Viviana Ross, was sacked after she revealed she’d slept with the actor Orlando Bloom in a room upstairs.
Damien Hirst’s ex-girlfriend Katie Keight strikes an athletic pose in Thailand in 2015
Hirst treated Sophie (pictured) to a holiday in the same spot in Phuket he visited with Katie
A member of staff tells me: ‘The girls don’t tend to stay long as they use the opportunity to meet the rich and famous.’
Hirst has also treated Sophie to a holiday in Phuket, Thailand — the same spot he visited with Katie in 2015. Both women have posted pictures of themselves sunbathing by the same infinity pool, with Sophie enthusing online: ‘Sun, sea, sex.’
Lady Amelia’s snap-uccino
Lady Amelia Windsor failed to win an invitation to the Royal Wedding, but she’s keen to trumpet a frothier ‘honour’.
The Duke of Kent’s granddaughter, 22, was served a cappuccino at the Hotel Le Bristol Paris which featured her in a modelling pose. The treat is not just for royals, however, but for any guest who provides a picture.
Lady Amelia Windsor was served a cappuccino featuring her in a modelling pose
Princess Alexandra, the Earl of Snowdon and his sister Lady Sarah Chatto were among royals to attend a garden party at the Goring Hotel for the Queen Elizabeth Castle of Mey Trust.
Lurking among the foliage was Prince Charles’s controversial former valet Michael Fawcett, recently appointed boss of his sprawling charity empire.
Fawcett’s presence was particularly uncomfortable for one guest, Major Rupert Lendrum, who resigned as Charles’s senior equerry in 2004, reportedly because Fawcett ‘encroached on his remit’.
Lendrum has faced many dangers during his service as a Life Guards officer, but rarely has he looked so alarmed as he made his way to the other side of the Goring’s lawn.