Quite a time for those in the top tier of duchess-dom, so let’s have three huzzahs for our girls — namely your Cambridge, your Sussex and your Cornwall.
In a week throbbing with duchessy events, one of them flew on a private jet, one raised awareness of domestic abuse and one stayed firmly in second position by introducing her husband at an event, then leaving him alone to enjoy the solo spotlight.
I know what you’re thinking, but you are wrong. It was Kate on the plane (to visit Northern Ireland), Meghan taking a back seat for once, and Camilla who was shining a light on women in trouble.
On Wednesday, the Duchess of Cornwall held a reception at Clarence House to celebrate the 15th anniversary of domestic abuse charity SafeLives. Camilla had met some of the victims two years previously and was moved to tears by the violence they had suffered at the hands of controlling and terrible partners.
The Duchess of Cornwall talks with SafeLives pioneers and domestic abuse survivors Rachel Williams (left) and Celia Peachey (right), after hosting a reception at Clarence House to acknowledge the 15th anniversary of domestic abuse charity SafeLives
In an interview with the Daily Mail, she also revealed how some of her friends had suffered from domestic violence and coercive control.
‘I have known people I suspected it was happening to but they wouldn’t actually talk about it,’ she said. ‘People didn’t talk about it then.
‘People feel guilty, they feel ashamed, they think it must be their fault. And I think you have to convince them that it is not.’
Exactly so. Domestic abuse is often regarded as a working-class problem, perpetrated by emotionally stunted men in wife-beater vests, full of fury when they return home after a ten-hour shift down t’pit. Yet this is far from the case.
‘It affects everybody. It doesn’t matter who you are,’ said the duchess, and she is right.
For such cruelty, like all cruelty, has no class barrier. It oozes through the layers of society like a hidden contagion. And it seems to be getting worse.
Figures released yesterday showed the number of women and girls murdered in England and Wales has increased to its highest level for 14 years. Crime figures from the Office for National Statistics show there were 241 female victims of murder, manslaughter and infanticide in the 12 months to the end of March 2019.
That is 10 per cent higher than in 2018 and the highest total since 2005-06 — shocking proof of a rise in violence against women.
In 38 per cent of the murders of women aged 16 or over, the suspect was their partner or ex-partner, with nearly half (48 per cent) being killed in their homes.
Compare that with only 8 per cent of males in the same age group being killed in a domestic situation and the conclusion is clear to see — many women are not safe in their own homes and not safe from the vicious attentions of the men in their lives. Behind many front doors, quiet lives of bruises, heartache and desperation are being led.
Police forces and community organisations are being trained to look harder for signs of secret abuse, to try to spot the women who are too terrified to speak out. Yet even then, justice does not always follow.
Police and prosecutors are often forced to drop cases when victims are reluctant to pursue complaints against their violent partners. Understandably so. Help can be hard to find, which is why organisations such as SafeLives are invaluable, providing support for the thousands of female — and male — survivors of domestic abuse.
Britain’s Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall speaks during a tour to the Cabinet Office building in London, Britain today
Yes, men can and do suffer from domestic abuse, too. But we all know it is women who suffer most, particularly when it comes to domestic sexual abuse.
This is a difficult subject but, if duchesses must do good deeds, then surely this is the kind of goodly deeding they should be doing.
I admire Camilla for making a genuine effort to try to help these victims, for it is not an easy choice.
To be honest, half the time I am not quite sure what duchesses do when they are out and about, smiling like maniacs on official duties.
Meghan popping into a women’s refuge reception area between yoga classes, Kate zooming off in her posh wellies to a farm outside Belfast, where she posed for photographs with a snake? Whassat all about? Sometimes duchess-work is baffling, but not in this instance.
‘I want everybody to make domestic abuse their business. Anyone can be affected by it. There is no dividing line on this,’ said the Duchess of Cornwall. Quite so.
Eek! It’s Fifty Shades Of Ulrika
Noses are red, varicose veins are blue, lovely Ulrika has a treat in store for you.
On this special Valentine’s Day, prepare yourself for a romantic report from the nation’s favourite new ‘Love Correspondent’, former weather girl Ulrika Jonsson.
‘I’ve had sex,’ she bawled in the Sun newspaper, as fireworks blasted over the south of England and a 21-gun salute was sounded in the royal parks.
Readers might recall Ulrika’s recent revelation that she hadn’t had sex for five years and was, frankly, gagging for it.
‘My self-worth was lower than a tart’s knickers, my hang-ups more prolific than I could ever recall,’ she says, which is not very sisterly.
Readers might recall Ulrika’s (pictured in an undated photo) recent revelation that she hadn’t had sex for five years and was, frankly, gagging for it.
Anyway, she joined a dating website, someone made an approach to her via social media and, voila. It happened!
‘Like a penny dropping, like being given a good shake, like coming round from a long anaesthetic and being given a shot of caffeine’, is how she describes the lovemaking, which makes it sound as erotic as forcing down a breakfast on a fairground ride.
Anyway, 52-year-old Ulrika is jubilant that she has lost her virginity again.
She doesn’t name the lucky fellow but I do fear we are going to get chapter and verse on every dark corner of her love life from now on, her very own Fifty Shades of Brag. However, on Valentine’s Day we must salute Ulrika for her spirit and her optimism, and most of all for her bomb-proof belief in love.
These Sleazy Rappers Are Out Of Control
isn’t it time for rappers to get a rap on the naughty knuckles? At the NME Awards this week British rapper Slowthai threw a champagne glass into the crowd, then jumped off stage in an attempt to brawl with someone who had annoyed him.
Earlier, he had made lewd comments to comedienne and awards show host Katherine Ryan, while clasping her in an unwanted embrace.
Repeatedly referring to her as ‘baby girl’ he invited her to ‘smell my cologne’ and said ‘she wants me to tend to her flowers’.
Excruciating. The 25-year-old — real name Tyron Frampton — apologised later by tweet and Ryan accepted his apology. She didn’t feel uncomfortable, she said, and that was why we need ‘women in power’.
Katherine Ryan and Slowthai attend The NME Awards 2020 at the O2 Academy Brixton on February 12, 2020 in London, England. Few men in public life would get away with such bad behaviour. Can you imagine if the perving perpetrator had been someone from the Bullingdon Club or Nigel Farage or Eamonn Holmes or similar? They’d be in jail by now, career over
Few men in public life would get away with such bad behaviour. Can you imagine if the perving perpetrator had been someone from the Bullingdon Club or Nigel Farage or Eamonn Holmes or similar? They’d be in jail by now, career over.
Slowthai was there to accept the Hero Of The Year award, following a vote by NME readers.
He won because he released an album called Nothing Great About Britain, once held up a fake severed head of Boris Johnson and also repeatedly screamed ‘F*** Boris’ at another televised awards ceremony.
Do you know what? I think they all deserve each other.
In addition there is grime rapper Stormzy — a Prince Harry favourite — with his equally idiotic political pronouncements. In America, rapper Snoop Dogg had to apologise to Gayle King after he told her to ‘back off b***h’ when she questioned an incident in Kobe Bryant’s past. (The basketball player who was killed in a helicopter crash was once accused of rape, but the woman involved agreed a financial settlement.)
Not all rappers are badly behaved or espouse violence. However, in the U.S. there is a view that a new wave of powerful rap is inciting violence in fans.
In one study — which should have been subtitled The Bleedin’ Obvious Report — academics at the Prevention Research Centre in California suggested young people who listened to aggressive rap and hip-hop were more likely to abuse alcohol and commit violent acts.
You don’t say. What is most difficult to understand is why rappers like Slowthai are permitted to behave on stage in a way that would not be tolerated on the streets.
One more thing to blame social media for — the new mania for false eyelashes.
Once upon a time fake lashes were only for the Kardashians or brides, maybe drag artists and Twiggy.
Now, with the onus on putting your best face forward for Facebook and Instagram, they are suddenly everywhere. Falsies are not just for hyper-primped models and others who make a living appearing on camera any more.
One more thing to blame social media for — the new mania for false eyelashes. Once upon a time fake lashes were only for the Kardashians or brides, maybe drag artists and Twiggy.
Shop girls and schoolgirls wear them and sometimes I think mayoral hopeful Rory Stewart wears them, too.
Andy Burnham, the Mayor of Manchester, has definitely been wearing them for years. They are disturbingly omnipresent, used for everyday rather than special occasions.
There is even a website devoted to them, selling types of eyelashes I never knew existed — mink and faux mink, natural, strip, pre-glued, magnetic individual, demi-wispies, sultry corners and no-lash lashes.
Hard to imagine the point of the last ones or understand the impulse to wear them every day — but get behind me in the queue for the wispies.
Grounded – the passenger high on drink
Chloe Haines has been given a jail sentence and frankly I am not surprised.
She was the drunken passenger on the flight to Turkey that had to turn around after she attempted to open two doors and shouted that everyone was going to die.
She had to be held down by crew and passengers.
Chloe Haines, 26, arrives at Chelmsford Crown Court, Essex, where she is due to be sentenced for disruptive behaviour on a plane
It was the usual story — Miss Haines was on ‘meds’, drank alcohol and can’t remember what happened.
The judge said she put many people in fear of their lives and I think many of us would have been frightened AND utterly furious.
If this is the beginning of a zero-tolerance approach to drunken passengers who disrupt flights, then it is to be welcomed.