Princess Beatrice could be forgiven for feeling disappointed with her grandmother yesterday, after her father was dramatically cast out of the Royal Family.
The mother of Bea’s stepson was, however, singing the praises of the Queen. Dara Huang, who was previously engaged to the Princess’s husband, Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi, posed proudly next to a portrait of the monarch after being granted British citizenship yesterday.
‘I’m so proud to be British,’ Dara enthuses. ‘Thank you for taking me into your country.’
Dara Huang, who was previously engaged to the Princess’s husband, Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi, posed proudly next to a portrait of the monarch after being granted British citizenship yesterday
The 39-year-old American-born architect clutched her certificate after the citizenship ceremony, which is thought to have been held at Kensington town hall in West London.
Dara hasn’t just been welcomed into this country, but has been embraced by the Queen’s granddaughter. Dara shares custody of her son, Christopher Woolf, known as Wolfie, with Bea’s husband.
The Princess has become so close to Wolfie that she was recently seen wearing a necklace with his initial ‘W’. And she let him act as best man at her wedding, even though he was only four years old at the time.
It made him the youngest person in history to have performed a role at a British royal wedding. The lockdown ceremony was held at the Royal Chapel of All Saints in Windsor Great Park in 2020, with the Queen and Prince Philip among the congregation.
‘I’m so proud to be British,’ Dara enthuses. ‘Thank you for taking me into your country.’
Dara, who was recently featured in Channel 4’s new property programme Britain’s Most Expensive Houses, is so close to her former fiance, Edo, that she relocated her London office in 2020 from Clerkenwell to the same Kensington building where he bases his property development company.
Dara, whose maternal grandfather emigrated to the U.S. from Taiwan, says she’s hugely grateful to Britain. ‘It’s further proof that dreams do come true,’ she says. ‘Thank you Britain and everything you stand for.’
Pippa and pals run away to the circus
THE OCCASION: The premiere of Cirque Du Soleil’s Luzia at the Royal Albert Hall.
PICKING UP NEW MOVES: Pippa Middleton seemed enchanted by the contemporary circus show. A fan of flexible yoga stretches and difficult balancing poses, could the Duchess of Cambridge’s sister be tempted to join the circus?
YOUNG AT HEART: Sir David Jason, 81, attended with his daughter, Sophie Mae, 20, who showed off her colourful hair. The Only Fools And Horses star previously said he isn’t ‘mentally’ in his 80s. ‘I’m still 35 and still have that attitude of mind, if you like.’
OVERHEATING: Bake Off judge Dame Prue Leith’s husband, retired fashion designer John Playfair, 74, appears relieved their marriage has settled down. He tells me: ‘The first three months were very intense because we were sh***ing all the time.’
GIRLS NIGHT OUT: Poldark’s Eleanor Tomlinson was joined at the hip with a friend. Her boyfriend, rugby’s Will Owen, was nowhere to be seen. The couple haven’t been photographed together since last November and it appears Tomlinson, 29, has removed all photos of them from her Instagram page. Her spokesman insists they’re still together . . .
Colourful crowd: Sophie Mae and her dad Sir David.
Back in black: Poldark star Eleanor Tomlinson and pal at the premiere
Earl’s right-hand man brands Ed Sheeran’s eco plans ‘misguided’
For a pop star trying to boost their property portfolio and their glowing image in the Press, buying large swathes of land to ‘rewild’ is a no-brainer. So it’s no wonder Ed Sheeran has vowed to buy up as much land as possible in order to ‘return it to nature’.
But I hear he has annoyed the landed gentry, who feel that townie Ed, who lives between Notting Hill and Suffolk, is meddling in matters he knows nothing about.
Jake Fiennes, who runs the Earl and Countess of Leicester’s estate in Norfolk, has gone public, slamming Sheeran as a ‘misguided influencer’ after the Shape Of You singer said he wanted to offset his carbon emissions by buying ‘as much land as possible’ and planting lots of trees.
Sheeran is ‘someone who sits out of those nature circles, isn’t involved in the conversation’ and needs expert advice before he starts rewilding swathes of England, Fiennes tells me.
‘It’s very fashionable. Those people who have sufficient funds and want to do the best thing — they need to take advice on how to do it properly rather than just jumping in.’
The Queen has been known to join the New Year’s Day shoot at the Holkham estate Fiennes manages.
He has offered his skills to Sheeran, saying: ‘I’d love to advise him.’
Toff backs cryptocurrency outfit mired in controversy
With her golden hair, beaming smile and chatty demeanour, Georgia Toffolo is the ideal person to sell products to impressionable young followers via social media.
With her golden hair, beaming smile and chatty demeanour, Georgia Toffolo is the ideal person to sell products to impressionable young followers via social media. But now, I hear, her new partnership with a controversial cryptocurrency business could land the effervescent I’m A Celebrity winner in deep water
But now, I hear, her new partnership with a controversial cryptocurrency business could land the effervescent I’m A Celebrity winner in deep water.
Toff, 27, a friend of senior Conservative figures including the Prime Minister’s father Stanley Johnson, has recently announced a tie-in with fintech group Mode, which came under fire for misleading investors.
‘Hi all,’ she beamed at her Instagram followers, right, adding: ‘I started investing in cryptocurrencies quite a long time ago and let me tell you it’s a bit of a minefield out there.’
She went on to recommend Mode App, which encourages users to buy goods with Bitcoin on its platform but is legally mandated to say it is ‘not financial advice’. The former Made In Chelsea star has been romantically linked to multimillionaire ‘Posh George’ Cottrell, who was once jailed for fraud.
Mode was founded by Jonathan Rowland, son of controversial former Tory treasurer David ‘Spotty’ Rowland, who advised Prince Andrew.
Mode claimed it had affiliate tie-ins with companies including Boots, Ocado and Homebase. However, all three swiftly denied having anything to do with the company. When this was reported, shares in Mode plummeted by 14 per cent.
Rowland said at the time: ‘We are comfortable with what we released because it was accurate.
‘Some brands don’t want to be associated with crypto despite approving us through the affiliate process. We can’t control that, unfortunately.’
With racy Netflix period drama Bridgerton having broken down barriers with its multi-racial casting, Goodness Gracious Me star Nina Wadia hopes she could be cast as a white character. ‘I have never said to my agent just put me up for Indian roles,’ the former Strictly contestant tells me.
‘I can play a part whether she’s called Anna or Jamelia. Put me up for it. If I’m a good enough actor, that’s how it should be.’
Why Horowitz wants a little less conversation
Novelist Anthony Horowitz has plotted an ingenious way to avoid unwanted chats while travelling.
‘Sometimes, people will stop me on a plane and say, ‘What do you do?’, and I’ll answer, ‘I’m a concrete engineer’ because actually that closes down the conversation,’ says the Alex Rider author and Foyle’s War creator. ‘Then it means I don’t have to hear their idea for a book or talk about my work or reply to that awful question, ‘Are you a famous writer?’
‘How do you ever answer that? You say, ‘Yes I am.’ ‘What have you ever written?’ And they’ve never heard of anything you’ve done.’
Jacob Rees-Mogg’s outspoken defence of Boris Johnson over ‘Partygate’ has led to much criticism, but the Commons Leader might well have some experience of wild parties himself.
Not his own, but his hard rock- loving, tongue stud-wearing wife Helena, who was remembered by university contemporaries as something of a ‘wild child’.
Her 21st birthday party was a sight to behold. It had the theme of the masked ball from the very racy Stanley Kubrick film Eyes Wide Shut. It was, one of the guests would later say, ‘the most debauched event I ever attended’.
The Duchess of Cambridge’s 40th birthday was given copious coverage this week, and her mother, Carole Middleton, is keen that her own anniversary should not be overlooked.
‘It’s no surprise I‘ve learned to love January,’ says the businesswoman, who will be 67 on the 31st. ‘It’s the start of a new year and time to get healthy habits in place and a birthday month for me, so there is every good reason to celebrate with loved ones.’ Don’t worry, Carole, my card is in the post.
Queen guitarist Brian May seems to have been passionately singing I Want To Break Free.
His actress wife, Anita Dobson, tells me they’re fleeing London for the Home Counties after the basement of their Kensington mansion was flooded last year, ruining a ‘lifetime of memorabilia’.
They’ve been temporarily shacked up in May’s retreat in Windlesham, Surrey, and are now planning to make a permanent switch to the county.
‘We moved to Brian’s studio, which is a tiny little place,’ the former EastEnders star says. ‘We thought we’d hate it because we’re used to having a lot of space, but it’s actually been really good fun — we’re getting on. We’re looking around the borough. The sale hasn’t gone through yet, but we think we’ve found the one.’
Orlando pours cold water on fiancee Katy’s steamy pose
Let’s hope pop superstar Katy Perry finds her fiance Orlando Bloom’s sense of humour endearing.
She shared this racy picture of herself standing topless next to a sign warning: ‘Do Not Hose Down.’
While the 37-year-old singer’s post was met with a chorus of appreciative comments from her fans, Canterbury-born Bloom, 45, remarked, deadpan: ‘Babe, please can we get some more hazelnut milk — we’re running low.’
Perry — who has a 16-month-old daughter, Daisy, with The Lord Of The Rings star — does have a ‘thing’ for British wit. She got married to anarchic comic Russell Brand in 2010, but they divorced after just 14 months.