While the Duchess of Sussex seems to rise above criticism, she has been quietly keeping a beady eye on her detractors.
I can reveal that Meghan has been wearing a £450 necklace on tour in South Africa this week that’s adorned with an ‘evil eye’.
Its creator, the Turkish-inspired jewellery designer Alemdara, explains on its website: ‘As per Ottoman legend, an evil eye on your person wards off jealousy from others.’
It adds that the symbol helps ‘dispel negative thoughts and energy’.
The Duchess of Sussex with her necklace in South Africa this week. The chain is adorned with an ‘evil eye’
Turkish-inspired jewellery designer Alemdara, explains on its website: ‘As per Ottoman legend, an evil eye (top left) on your person wards off jealousy from others.’ It adds that the symbol helps ‘dispel negative thoughts and energy’
The Duchess wore the 18-carat gold chain as she gave a speech at the Nyanga township in Cape Town.
Alemdara, which was founded by former Tatler journalist Mariella Tandy, specialises in hand-crafted items made in the ancient markets of Istanbul. A spokesman confirms: ‘We are very pleased to see the Duchess of Sussex wearing one of our necklaces, but we simply don’t comment on our individual customers.’
It’s not the first time Meghan has worn jewellery featuring the ‘evil eye’.
Soon after her father, Thomas Markle, claimed he’d been ‘frozen out’ by her last December, she was spotted wearing a £250 rose gold ring by the Turkish brand Kismet. It featured a hand symbol with the eye in its palm, said to provide protection from malicious stares that provoke misfortune. The Duchess appears to enjoy using jewellery to send coded messages. When rumours began to swirl in 2016 that she was courting Prince Harry, Meghan posted a picture of herself on Instagram sporting a beaded blue-and-white bracelet identical to one the prince had been seen wearing.
She later seemed to confirm they were a couple when she was pictured wearing a necklace featuring the letters ‘H’ and ‘M’.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex visit Justice Desk Nayaga Methodist church, Nayanga Township, Cape Town, South Africa
Sofia Wellesley and James Blunt attend a private dinner to celebrate the Lady Garden x Topshop collection launch in support of the Gynaecological Cancer Fund at Albert’s Club
Mrs Blunt turns up the heat on climate change
James Blunt’s wife, Sofia, 36, embarked on a master’s degree at Cambridge University
Pop stars’ spouses are not all air-headed groupies.
James Blunt’s wife, Sofia, embarked on a master’s degree in sustainability leadership at Cambridge University this week.
‘Here’s to the next leaders in the fight against climate change,’ she told friends next to this photograph of her wearing an academic gown.
Sofia, 36, who is the Duke of Wellington’s niece, already has a law degree from Edinburgh University and was a co-founder of Cherie Blair’s legal consultancy, Omnia Strategy.
The smart set’s talking about… Multi-talented Tamzin Merchant
Heartbroken when she split up with actor Freddie Fox, Tamzin Merchant has now found love with a man who stays behind the camera.
Tamzin Merchant, 32, who played Mr Darcy’s sister opposite Keira Knightley in the acclaimed big-screen version of Pride & Prejudice
Tamzin, 32, who played Mr Darcy’s sister opposite Keira Knightley in the acclaimed big-screen version of Pride & Prejudice, is courting film director Barney Douglas.
‘We met at an art class, and it was incredible and beautiful because my art teacher introduced us,’ Tamzin confides at a party in Soho.
‘It’s nice to be with someone who is in the same industry, as it’s so easy to support one another.’
No wonder she was bowled over — Douglas recently directed The Edge, a documentary about the reinvention of English cricket.
Cambridge graduate Tamzin, who stars in the new Amazon Prime series Carnival Row with Orlando Bloom and Cara Delevingne, is multi-talented.
She recently signed a six-figure deal with Penguin to write two books, starting with a children’s novel, The Hatmakers.
As for Douglas, he shouldn’t give up the evening classes. Tamzin (right) admits: ‘He’s terrible at art, but great at directing films.’
Shh! Marco Pierre’s rules on dining etiquette
Make sure you’re on your best behaviour the next time you visit a Marco Pierre White restaurant.
For White, 57, has been boasting about how he used to throw out diners when he was still the enfant terrible of Michelin-starred kitchens. ‘Did I ask customers to leave? Yes, because they were rude to the staff or they were swearing or over-loud,’ the Yorkshireman says.
‘I once asked a table of City boys to leave. I walked them to the door and when I walked back in, the entire restaurant applauded me.’
With the Downton Abbey film a smash hit around the world, could there be a sequel with a Mediterranean feel?
I hear the costume drama’s creator, Julian Fellowes, has bought his own ‘Downton Abbey’ in Greece.
‘It’s a beautiful home,’ one of the Tory peer’s friends says of the Hellenic property. ‘It’s where he celebrated his 70th birthday last month.’
Oscar-winner Fellowes and his wife, Emma, a lady-in-waiting to Princess Michael of Kent, already own a 17th-century manor house in Dorset, a Chelsea pied-a-terre and a beach hut in Devon.
Lord Fellowes confirms the house purchase.
‘It’s true,’ he tells me. ‘We’re very lucky.’
How about Downton The Musical? After all, the Greek setting worked wonders for Mamma Mia!
Why it’s all change in Tuppence’s love life
Tuppence Middleton, 32, plays a maid who charms chauffeur-turned-estate manager Tom Branson in the Downton Abbey film
In the Downton Abbey film, Tuppence Middleton plays a maid who charms chauffeur-turned-estate manager Tom Branson. Off screen, however, her love life has stalled.
For I can reveal that the 32-year-old actress, who was dubbed ‘TV’s naughtiest woman’ after stripping off for her role as a promiscuous Russian aristocrat in the BBC’s acclaimed War And Peace, has split up with her long-term boyfriend, the artist Robert Fry, below.
‘It’s very sad, but their careers pulled them in opposite directions,’ says a friend. ‘They tried to make it work, but in the end they decided to split. It was very amicable.’
Tuppence, a former pupil of Bristol Grammar School, started courting the abstract painter, 39, three years ago. Keen to find fresh inspiration, he’s been seen at The Westbourne pub in London’s Notting Hill with a new female acquaintance.
Tuppence, a former pupil of Bristol Grammar School, started courting the abstract painter, Robert Fry, 39, three years ago
Effervescent model Martha Sitwell summed up marriage as ‘pure misery’, saying it ‘sucks all the energy from you, sucks your youth and all the fun from your life’. But is Martha — who divorced Sir George Sitwell in 2017 — preparing to eat her words? I ask because she is, I’m told, poised to move in with her boyfriend, Sotheby’s boss Lord Dalmeny. Martha and Harry Dalmeny, who has five children with his ex-wife Caroline, decline to comment. But they sound admirably suited. ‘Harry doesn’t want more children,’ explains a friend, ‘and Martha’s quite happy riding horses. It works very well.’
‘Great-aunt’ Fergie’s most engaging week
What a week for Sarah, Duchess of York. First, her daughter Princess Beatrice announces her engagement to Italian property tycoon Edo Mapelli Mozzi.
Now, Fergie tells me, her niece, Ayesha Makim-Specker, is expecting her first child. Ayesha, 32, is a model turned health coach who lives in South Africa with her husband, the photographer Sacha Specker.
Her mother is Sarah’s elder sister, Jane. ‘I am so happy for Ayesha,’ the Duchess tells me over dinner at Mayfair private members’ club 12 Hay Hill. ‘She has done so well with her marathon running and a fabulous husband, Sacha. She is so special to me.’ The baby girl is due in February.
- Friends are joking that there’s a real buzz about Princess Beatrice’s wedding, as it will be a Bea marrying a Mozzi.
Poker with Wheeler clan can be a gamble
Spread-Bet tycoon Stuart Wheeler, who donated £5 million to the Tories before becoming Ukip’s treasurer, has passed on his love of gambling to his model daughter, Jacquetta.
‘My dad taught me to play poker when I was about 16,’ she tells me at the launch of her father’s autobiography, Winning Against The Odds, at Carlton House Terrace in St James’s.
‘I love it.’ Jacquetta — who has two young children with banker Jamie Allsopp, cousin of TV’s Kirstie — adds: ‘I have quite a good poker face. I bet money and play properly. Quite often as a family we play together.
‘My sisters, Charlotte and Sarah, are just as good me. Dad doesn’t always win. I will teach my children poker as well. They’ll definitely be brought up playing cards.’
Win-win: Spread-Bet tycoon Stuart Wheeler, with daughters Jacquetta Wheeler, 37 (left), Sarah Wheeler (centre) and Charlotte Wheeler (right) at the book launch of Winning Against the Odds: My Life in Gambling and Politics
(Very) modern manners
It’s never too soon to enrol at your local gym — as the Duchess of Cambridge’s sister, Pippa Middleton, has proved. She’s signed up her son, Arthur, before he’s even celebrated his first birthday.
‘Now that Arthur’s 11 months old and more mobile, I’ve been trying to come up with different activities to do with him,’ says Pippa, who is married to hedge fund manager James Matthews.
‘I needed to find something more than just park walks in the pram.
‘Our local baby gym has been a saving grace. It’s a big space full of fun, soft objects, playmats, stairs, balls, swings, mini trampolines and more to stimulate and physically engage babies and toddlers.’