The strangest invasion took place last week at White’s, Britain’s oldest gentlemen’s club, when pranksters smuggled in a woman in a luggage trunk before being promptly ejected.
The police were called to the Piccadilly club, I can reveal, after BBC prankster Heydon Prowse, who infamously once tricked Theresa May’s Downing Street staff, entered with two women and a fellow prankster, Nimrod Kamer.
They were not difficult to spot at the ties-must-be-worn establishment. One of the women wore an orange boiler suit while the other leapt out of the trunk, also not wearing a tie.
Prowse was making a point about women being banned but, as one member pointed out, the Queen has famously dined there
They were instantly asked by White’s staff to leave and after they did Prowse was issued by the police with a community protection notice under anti-social behaviour laws.
The provocateurs aimed to cause maximum disruption at a time when all attention was on another men-only establishment – the now-notorious Presidents Club. Prowse was making a point about women being banned but, as one member pointed out, the Queen has famously dined there.
It is, in fact, a favourite relaxation spot for senior Royals – Prince Charles held his stag night at White’s and Princes William and Harry are also members.
One member tells me: ‘These cheap tricksters were politely ejected, somewhat effortlessly from what I hear, and in a far more gentlemanly manner than they deserved after being asked to leave a private establishment to which they had not been invited.’
The women were actress Jess-Luisa Flynn and documentary maker Gemma Perlin, who said of their abrupt exit: ‘They seemed horrified to have their all-male safe-space infiltrated by a woman who isn’t a waitress.
The women were actress Jess-Luisa Flynn and documentary maker Gemma Perlin, who said of their abrupt exit: ‘They seemed horrified to have their all-male safe-space infiltrated by a woman who isn’t a waitress.’
White’s declined to comment on Kamer’s claims that security staff tried to wrestle camera phones from the intruders’ hands.
What would former Prime Ministers including Robert Walpole, Robert Peel and David Cameron – all once White’s members, though the latter resigned before he entered Downing Street – think of such a scene?
You might have expected Lady Astor to be out celebrating after the sale of her company OKA for a cool £40 million. But far from rewarding herself for 20 years of hard work with a fabulous party, she is instead putting herself through a brutal regime of fasting. My spies spotted Annabel, who is Samantha Cameron’s mother, at the Palace Merano and Espace Henri Chenot in Italy where celebrities pay £2,536 per week to be half starved and deprived of booze… in the name of health.
Lucian Freud’s favourite muse Sue Tilley, below, is to star in a film about her life. Known as ‘Big Sue’, the one-time Job Centre worker met Freud in 1990 and became the subject of a series of nudes.
The most famous – Benefits Supervisor Sleeping, painted in 1995 – was sold to Roman Abramovich for £17 million in 2008. Extraordinarily, while billionaires fought for her portrait, Sue, 60, kept her admin job until she was made redundant in 2015.
Meghan Markle is facing her toughest test yet as she adjusts to life this side of the pond – learning to drive on London’s loopy roads. Prince Harry’s fiancee is taking lessons near Kensington Palace in order to get a UK licence as her US version is only valid for a year. She may also be getting to grips with a manual gearbox as – like most Americans – she probably doesn’t ‘drive stick’.
The BBC’s experienced World At One presenter Martha Kearney has been travelling to the Antarctic – and huffily reflecting on her future at Radio 4, I’m told.
The BBC’s experienced World At One presenter Martha Kearney has been travelling to the Antarctic – and huffily reflecting on her future at Radio 4, I’m told
Martha isn’t yet ready to hand in her notice, and will return on Monday, but is feeling frozen out by the Corporation over a hoped-for move to the Today programme. She was due to swap jobs with Today stalwart Sarah Montague but the plan has so far come to nothing. Martha couldn’t have chosen a better holiday destination for cooling off!
Although male BBC stars have been reported to be taking pay cuts of up to 30 per cent in the wake of the gender pay row, I can reveal that Today host Nick Robinson looks set to give up only a fraction of his £250,000-plus salary.
Nick’s agent told me the BBC asked if he would be willing to take a cut, and he agreed. But they asked him to give up only one per cent, which has got his male colleagues grumbling.
John Humphrys is believed to have taken total cuts of up to £120,000, while TV news anchor Huw Edwards took a cut too.
The BBC said: ‘The final details are still being discussed.’
You won’t BELIEVE what they tell me…
‘The red wine here is like drinking vinegar. There is pickled onion in every bottle. I drank it once and woke up with a sign on my head saying Do Not Resuscitate.’
Paul O’Grady was not impressed by the free booze on offer at the National Television Awards last week – a bit rich given he picked up a Special Recognition award!
‘You can never close the door on anything… except I am not transgender. I won’t be doing that.’
Elton John confirms that he is open minded about – almost – everything.
‘The only time you’ll hear me singing is in the shower. I wouldn’t want to put the world through the pain of hearing me sing Beyoncé’s Lemonade – it’s my favourite song.’
Actress Katie Holmes, right, Tom Cruise’s ex-wife, tells me she won’t be launching a pop career any time soon.
‘I don’t use a mobile phone and I live perfectly well without one. Though I do have one just for paying for parking bays. I turn it off as soon as I’ve paid.’
Technophobe Joanna Lumley admits she’s reluctantly adapted to modern pay-and-display methods.
‘My sense of smell is so good I could detect flooding in my house. No one believed me until one day water suddenly burst through the ceiling!’
Perfume-maker Jo Malone proves she has a nose for household crises.
‘I would like to make an album in 2018, fingers crossed! That’s not what it’s called, but it could be!’
The indefatigable Paul McCartney reveals that he is working on some new material.