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EDEN CONFIDENTIAL: Foreign cadets and instructors expelled in scandal that has rocked Sandhurst

The Sovereign’s Parade concluded in traditional manner at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst yesterday, albeit in the Queen’s absence.

But I can reveal that the parade-ground pomp and splendour masked a deeply embarrassing chapter in Sandhurst’s history.

Only days ago, its Commandant, Major General Duncan Capps, felt obliged to expel no fewer than seven overseas cadets — all of them from the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

‘The cadets’ instructors got the boot too,’ my man on parade tells me. ‘It was because of what are described as ‘disciplinary incidents’.’

Capps won’t have taken such decisive action lightly, not least because of the diplomatic discomfort it will cause the Foreign Office — and because of the potential cost to the Treasury. 

I can reveal that the parade-ground pomp and splendour masked a deeply embarrassing chapter in Sandhurst’s history. Only days ago, its Commandant, Major General Duncan Capps, pictured in 2020, felt obliged to expel no fewer than seven overseas cadets — all of them from the United Arab Emirates (UAE)

Oil-rich countries pay handsomely for their links with Sandhurst; the UAE recently built a new accommodation block there, the Zayed Building, at a cost of £15 million.

The expulsions come at a time of fraught relations with the UAE. The ruler of Dubai was ordered to pay a record £554 million to his former wife and their two children by a British court last December. Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, a horse race-loving friend of the Royal Family, will have to pay for Princess Haya’s security for the rest of her life after she fled to Britain to escape him.

It followed previous High Court judgments that the sheikh orchestrated the abductions of two of his daughters and used military-grade surveillance software to launch a phone-hacking operation on British soil. He has denied the findings.

At Sandhurst, there can be cultural differences between Arab princelings and British officer cadets.

At one point, the problem became so severe that the military police investigated allegations of 'huge bribes' — BMWs and Mercedes cars, Rolexes and foreign holidays — being offered to Sandhurst instructors

At one point, the problem became so severe that the military police investigated allegations of ‘huge bribes’ — BMWs and Mercedes cars, Rolexes and foreign holidays — being offered to Sandhurst instructors

Capps did his best to sound a warning of this last year, when, in an interview for a Middle East readership, he said: ‘Regardless of background or position, officer cadets are treated the same. Monarchs are treated just like everyone else.’

Some find this hard to accept. ‘One of them in my intake wanted to be excused early morning stag [guard duty],’ a Sandhurst alumnus tells me, ‘so he went up to the company sergeant major with a bunch of £10 notes — a whole wad — in his hand.

‘The company sergeant major took his head off. Figuratively. And put him on guard at two in the morning.’

At one point, the problem became so severe that the military police investigated allegations of ‘huge bribes’ — BMWs and Mercedes cars, Rolexes and foreign holidays — being offered to Sandhurst instructors.

More recently, there have, I’ve been told, been difficulties on ‘cultural days’ to London.

‘You’d go up to see a play or go to a museum — and it descended into chaos when alcohol was introduced to the equation,’ explains another Sandhurst man.

The less impressive overseas cadets were, he adds, known as ‘Floppies’ – ‘F****** lazy overseas potential enemies’. An Army spokesman declines to comment.

A new baby for Tuppence and Swedish beau

In the latest Downton Abbey film, A New Era, Tuppence Middleton’s character, the illegitimate daughter of Queen Mary’s lady-in-waiting, enjoys a blossoming romance with former chauffeur Tom Branson. In real life, she has even more exciting news.

I can disclose that the Bristol-born actress, 35, who was dubbed ‘TV’s naughtiest woman’ after stripping off in the BBC’s War And Peace, has given birth to her first child.

The baby’s father is Swedish film director Mans Marlind, who is 18 years her senior. Here he’s seen steering a pushchair as the couple went for a stroll in north London.

When I disclosed her new relationship in March, Tuppence, pictured below with Downton co-star Laura Carmichael, explained: ‘My partner lives in Stockholm and I travel between [the UK] and there.’

I can disclose that the Bristol-born actress, 35, who was dubbed ‘TV’s naughtiest woman’ after stripping off in the BBC’s War And Peace, has given birth to her first child

I can disclose that the Bristol-born actress, 35, who was dubbed ‘TV’s naughtiest woman’ after stripping off in the BBC’s War And Peace, has given birth to her first child

In the latest Downton Abbey film, A New Era, Tuppence Middleton's character, the illegitimate daughter of Queen Mary's lady-in-waiting, enjoys a blossoming romance with former chauffeur Tom Branson. In real life, she has even more exciting news

In the latest Downton Abbey film, A New Era, Tuppence Middleton’s character, the illegitimate daughter of Queen Mary’s lady-in-waiting, enjoys a blossoming romance with former chauffeur Tom Branson. In real life, she has even more exciting news

Keep it to yourself, but…

A highly paid, middle-aged BBC presenter shocked fellow members of the Electric House private members’ club in London’s Notting Hill on Thursday evening by canoodling with a woman young enough to be his daughter, while she sat with her legs wrapped around him. 

‘His behaviour was more suited to a teenage disco,’ sniffs a blushing onlooker, unsportingly. Let’s hope the highlights are not televised… 

How Dame Helen lost her heart to a headband

Dame Helen Mirren says her sense of style has been transformed by an old-fashioned innovation.

‘I’ve only recently discovered headbands, and have worn a few on the red carpet,’ says the actress, 77, who won an Oscar for her performance as Her Majesty in The Queen. ‘I always worried they looked a bit ‘Sloane Ranger’ so had a resistance to them, but now I think they add a lot to an outfit.’

She adds: ‘In 1995, I went to the Oscars the first time I was nominated and wore a hat — I don’t know what possessed me. I thought it was like going to an English wedding, or even Royal Ascot. I’ve never worn one on the red carpet since.’

Here’s a name of which the great man would approve: Sir Winston Churchill’s great-grandson Arthur Soames has named his new daughter Clementine — like the wartime leader’s wife.

‘To name her after my great-grandmother is wonderful,’ tech firm boss Soames, 31, tells me. He’s married to Chelsea schoolteacher Antonia Harington, 31, a goddaughter of Princess Diana and cousin of Game Of Thrones star Kit Harington.

‘Antonia says that, whoever she married, she would have called her daughter Clementine,’ he adds. 

‘She’s the first grandchild for both sides of the family, so we’ve had lots of visitors.’

Secret of Tess’ perfect figure … control panels!

She is a former model who’s retained her slim figure, but Tess Daly claims she needs material support to look good in the heatwave.

‘There are certain things some of us want to hide or enhance,’ says the Strictly Come Dancing presenter, 53, pictured on her recent holiday in Ibiza.

‘I definitely want to suck things in a little around the waist — which is where the control panels come in handy, as it means I can have lunch on the beach and not need to worry about my belly hanging over.’

‘There are certain things some of us want to hide or enhance,’ says the Strictly Come Dancing presenter, 53, pictured on her recent holiday in Ibiza

‘There are certain things some of us want to hide or enhance,’ says the Strictly Come Dancing presenter, 53, pictured on her recent holiday in Ibiza

Barely has the Royal Standard been raised at Balmoral to mark the Queen’s arrival than Prince Andrew has joined her at the castle.

I hear the Duke arrived by car on Wednesday, flunkies in tow. No doubt, his ex-wife will soon follow. Not only do he and Sarah, Duchess of York still share Royal Lodge in Windsor, but they bought an £18 million ski chalet together in 2014. 

This week, the woman who sold them the chalet spoke of her anger after learning Fergie had bought a £7 million Mayfair pad. Isabelle de Rouvre said she let the couple pay millions less than they owed as she believed Fergie ‘didn’t have a penny’.

Is Emma trying to put daughter Gaia off acting?

She followed in her mother’s footsteps to make her TV debut in Silent Witness earlier this year, but Gaia Wise is being urged to quit showbusiness.

‘I keep saying, ‘I know you like acting, but, you know, perhaps running a restaurant can be as exciting’, reveals her mum, Dame Emma Thompson.

Gaia, 22, who is studying drama, is also said to be a talented cook. Oscar-winner Dame Emma, who’s married to actor Greg Wise, adds: ‘There’s something very theatrical about restaurants — when you get it right, you feel so happy and lucky to be in it.’

She followed in her mother's footsteps to make her TV debut in Silent Witness earlier this year, but Gaia Wise is being urged to quit showbusiness

She followed in her mother’s footsteps to make her TV debut in Silent Witness earlier this year, but Gaia Wise is being urged to quit showbusiness

Sir Sean Connery's widow, Micheline, has shown you're never too old to slip into a two-piece

Sir Sean Connery’s widow, Micheline, has shown you’re never too old to slip into a two-piece

Well Lady Connery, you only live twice

Broadcaster Emma Forbes declared last year that she wouldn’t ever wear a bikini again, at the age of 55, but Sir Sean Connery’s widow, Micheline, has shown you’re never too old to slip into a two-piece.

Lady Connery, 93, has posed for this photograph with her granddaughter Saskia, 26, in the Bahamas, where she lived with the James Bond star until he died in 2020 aged 90.

At the time, Micheline, a Moroccan-French painter who was Connery’s second wife, said: ‘He was my life for so long and I am grateful for the wonderful life we had together. But it is not the same for me now.’

Lady Connery, 93, has posed for this photograph with her granddaughter Saskia, 26, in the Bahamas, where she lived with the James Bond star until he died in 2020 aged 90

Lady Connery, 93, has posed for this photograph with her granddaughter Saskia, 26, in the Bahamas, where she lived with the James Bond star until he died in 2020 aged 90

(Very) modern manners

When do nude photos qualify as art?

Former ‘It girl’ Tamara Beckwith is in a furious row with Instagram after it deleted the account of her Chelsea-based Little Black Gallery. The picture-sharing website says an image of a ‘silhouette of a woman nude’ breached its guidelines on ‘adult sexual solicitation’.

Tamara, 52, accuses Instagram of ‘bullying’ and ‘damaging the mental health of artists’, and has called on owner Mark Zuckerberg and company bigwig Sir Nick Clegg to ‘overturn this decision’.

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