Another exciting week in the crazy lives of the exiled Duke and Duchess of Sussex.
Honestly, I hope this fabulous soap opera of entitlement and tatty pomp, rippled with a long raspberry of rudery in the direction of the old country, lasts forever and ever.
First, their Finding Freedom biography was published and what an enjoyable read it is.
Nestled between precise details of every perceived slight and snub suffered over the last terrible four years was the kind of gold-plated information that left no one in any doubt about their credentials as perfect human beings.
I particularly liked wee baby Meghan asking her mother ‘what can we do about the homeless?’ before returning to her plate of rusks.
Not to mention the heart-rending factoid that Harry ‘worries what others think of him’ and that his favourite film is The Lion King.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s bought a new nine-bedroom and 16-bathroom mansion
Of course it is! One can see that the prince identifies with Simba the lion cub; another dopey ginger who is initially denied his birthright and gets blamed for stuff he did not do.
Second, we discovered that the Sussexes have bought a new home and have been living in Santa Barbara since June.
I sincerely hope their fugitive flight from oppression is finally over, along with their days of mansion-hopping.
They seem to have landed on their feet, complete with wet and dry saunas, in the ten-star luxury we all know they love.
The mansion has a torrid history, having been previously owned by a Russian oligarch accused of threatening to murder his wife. But who cares about that kind of detail when a couple of mill have been knocked off the asking price?
In sunny Montecito, everything makes sense. Well, a sort of sense. A move to the sun-dappled gorgeousness of the area known as the American Riviera?
That must have been the plan all along — and why not?
Here, amid their sweeping lawns, tiered rose gardens, Italian cypress trees, lavender bushes, 100-year-old olive trees, tennis court, tea house, children’s cottage, swimming pool, guest house and the five-car garage that surround their nine-bed, 16 bathroom villa on their eight-acre estate, let us hope Harry and Meghan have found the simplicity and peace they crave.
Moving here is the equivalent of slipping into a mansion in Portofino or a villa with beach views in St Tropez.
It is divine, with a lovely climate and shops that sell designer Goop-ish leather clogs, oatmeal cashmere hoodies and bottles of special £20 detergents for washing them.
Perusing the new Sussex digs, I did feel a pang of envy for the first time — for who could not love the yellow Spanish-style chimney pots, the windows shaded by striped awnings, the blue pool and the outdoor play area for little Archie?
Who wouldn’t want to slide down that helter skelter of five-ply privilege and endless luxe? Colour me green and count me in.
The couple now have the Santa Ynez Mountains behind them and the Pacific Ocean in front of them, not to mention the dusty drear of the Royal Family behind them and a sparkling future in front of them. Do we dare to dream that they might stop moaning?
The lovely home cost just over £11 million. They bought it with their own money, which is a miracle of loaves and fishes proportions, given that Harry’s only paid job was in the Army and Meghan appears to have bought into a movie star’s lifestyle on a TV actress’s wages.
Their neighbours are Oprah Winfrey, Ellen DeGeneres, Ariana Grande and Gwyneth Paltrow —whose individual earning power takes them into a different league from Harry and Meghan.
Apparently the couple ‘feel proud to have struck out on their own’ and are claiming that they bought it with a mortgage and without any help from Prince Charles — which raises more questions than it answers.
How did they get a mortgage? Or manage to prove their earning potential for a start?
The pair purchased the sprawling property, which sits on 5.4 acres of land, for just over $11 million which includes tennis court, swimming pool, guest house and the five-car garage
I wish them all the best in this exciting new beginning — but wouldn’t it have been more prudent to pay back the taxpayers’ money they owe for Frogmore Cottage before splashing out on this no-expenses spared crib?
They wasted £2.4 million of our hard-earned on a home we now learn they had little intention of ever living in, long-term.
Before the organic paint in the nursery was dry, it had been abandoned for pastures new — while we picked up the bill.
All those mature trees planted at great expense to ensure their privacy, the air conditioning, the central heating?
Left to rot while they pay it back on the drip — a measly £18,000 a month back over 11 years. It is insulting, to every single one of us.
Paying it back as soon as possible would have earned them so much goodwill. Instead here they are, splashing out on themselves and California dreaming.
Now in the privacy of his own home — his first — Harry can get up in his Zoom pulpit and lecture the world to his heart’s content. This week his little homily was on racism — and how we can all do more to help, every single one of us.
I would have more respect for ol’ Simba if he admitted to his own silly mistakes in the past — calling an Army colleague the P-word and wearing a Nazi uniform to a fancy dress party — but he does not. He can only lecture, not learn.
The couple have certainly moved to the right place — not only has the local council declared racism ‘a public health crisis,’ the local pizzeria sells cauliflower-crust pizza and even the soup kitchen is organic — with lectin-free chicken bone broth being a particular speciality.
Meghan will be down there with her ladle before you can say: is the turmeric freshly grated?
What the new book and this new move have proved is that the Sussexes are bridge-burners extraordinaire. They focus on where they are going, not where they have been.
Despite everything, the sincere wish of many Brits is that it all works out for them — not least because they have torched every route and friendship, every family tie and bond of kinship that leads back to their old life.
Now they may have mountain and ocean views along with hot and cold running luxury, but with a debt of honour still outstanding, the suspicion remains that they still cannot see the wood for the trees.
A luvvie, yes, but he’s the best Bond
Bless me, father, for I have sinned. It has been nearly four months since I last found an excuse to write about my hero Daniel Craig.
Now talk of who is and who is not the best James Bond has brought me back to my pet subject.
Off-screen, Daniel, above, can be a right pain. He is always complaining about playing 007, as if the whole thing were beneath him.
As a survey reveals who is Bond fans’ favourite. Jan Moir backs Daniel Craig as the best
Some say he has ruined Bond. They want to see the humour and silly gadgets brought back.
These fools prefer the arched eyebrow of Roger Moore and the hirsute masculinity of Sean Connery. Yet Daniel Craig is the only Bond who looks like he really means it.
His Bond ripples with a kind of darkness and patriotic fervour that are irresistible. Unlike any of the others, I believe he really could always get the girl and beat up the baddie. In addition, his Bond cares about Queen and country, which makes me care about him.
He may be a ghastly thesp in real life but on screen, he is a hero. And if you think he is a bit too right-on for comfort, one can only shudder at the thought of what comes next.
The authors of Finding Freedom do not claim Meghan and Harry didn’t collaborate on the book, only that they were not interviewed.
What does that mean? I suspect every oleaginous word was sanctioned by them.
Take the gratuitous swipes at Meghan’s ex-husband, Trevor Engelson. The film producer has always refused to talk about her.
Yet in the book he is dismissed as ‘brash’; as someone who did not ‘support Meghan enough’ and a husband who ‘liked being the breadwinner’.
What an utter bounder, I don’t think. When he didn’t take Meghan to the Oscars in 2013, they concluded he ‘didn’t want to share the limelight’.
Six months later, they were divorced. All this could be interpreted, by their own standards, as bullying and cruel.
What about Trevor’s feelings and mental health, kids? Or do they only count if it is someone you care about?
Take a jacket for sunbathing, Carrie
Boris Johnson is having a vacay in Scotland this year. Holidaying in Scotland is one of those things — like burying your relatives in the garden — that is only posh when posh people do it.
For everyone else it is hope over experience, a poor plan B and, in the case of Trump Turnberry, quite literally the last resort.
However, here are my tips on how to survive in my homeland during August.
I. The bad news: the Edinburgh Festival usually means the capital’s streets are full of tourists, mime artists, determined buskers, everyone on Mock The Week and comedian Arthur Smith.
In addition, all the restaurants have been booked up for months. The good news: this year all events are taking place digitally, if at all — hurrah!
Boris Johnson’s fiancee Carrie Symonds pictured on a yacht while holidaying (file photo)
Locals searching for an upside to Covid have found a reason to cheer at last. And if Boris wants a table at The Scran & Scallie to eat Orkney scallops or bacon-wrapped grouse, all he has to do is pick up the phone.
II. Midgies, avoidance of. Midgies are small, pesky, annoying creatures, also called ‘Sturgeons’ for obvious reasons.
During the twilight hours from June to mid-August they are impossible to avoid.
Try proper insecticides if you like, but the only thing that really works is wearing a pop sock on your head. Do not venture near any banks while thus attired, or you may cause alarm.
III. Weather-wise, look on the bright side. A tourist website for Nordic visitors points out that ‘the wonderful thing about Scotland’s weather is that it also rarely gets too warm in the summer to stop you enjoying all the outdoor activities and sightseeing’. That’s one way of putting it!
IV. Boris and Carrie, pictured left on a previous holiday, would do well to bring a warm sweater or fleece, waterproof jacket and stout walking boots. These are a must for sunbathing anywhere north of Perth.
Pop star Rita Ora visits fashion model Kate Moss’s table in Formentera, Spain
Every summer, millions of us suffer from the annual malaise called holiday-itis.
Symptoms include furious itching, turning green and red, then segueing back to pure green again before bursting into tears and demanding a strong drink.
Holiday-itis is caused by overexposure to everyone else’s holiday snaps on social media, while personally remaining marooned and working in a hot, sticky city.
Rita Ora (pictured) and Kate Moss on Formentera, the Beckhams tanning their tattoos in Puglia, Cindy Crawford in Miami, J.Lo in the Hamptons… it’s all too much, particularly in a pandemic. However there are one or two exceptions.
These include the cheering sight of Dame Joan Collins and Brigitte Macron in their swimming cossies, both looking marvellous despite having ten grandchildren between them, not to mention a surfeit of decades.
How do they do it? Brigitte eats a mixture of ten fruits and vegetables every day, while Joan drinks one vodka martini with dinner and always wears sun protection. Shall we have what they are having? I think so!