As invitations begin to drop on doormats ahead of the Christmas party season, there is one ‘stiffie’ that only a very select few can hope to receive.
I can disclose that the Queen and Prince Philip are hosting a dinner party at Windsor Castle next month to celebrate their platinum wedding anniversary.
Only their closest friends and family members will be invited to the event, which will be held around November 20, when the couple reach the 70th anniversary of their marriage.
The Queen and Prince Philip are hosting a dinner party at Windsor Castle next month to celebrate their platinum wedding anniversary
The party will be the only celebration of the milestone occasion, which no members of the Royal Family have ever previously reached.
There will be no public festivities, in contrast to their silver, golden and diamond anniversaries, which were marked with national services of thanksgiving at Westminster Abbey.
A close friend of Her Majesty tells me: ‘They [the Queen and Prince Philip, pictured] feel they can’t top the golden and diamond wedding anniversaries and don’t particularly want to.
They also don’t want to be reminded of the many missing faces, as over the past 12 months the Queen has lost two life-long friends, Elizabeth Longman and her cousin Margaret Rhodes, as well as Prince Philip’s cousin Countess Mountbatten.
There will be no public festivities, in contrast to their silver, golden and diamond anniversaries, which were marked with national services of thanksgiving at Westminster Abbey
‘The Duke was knocked sideways by the loss of Brian McGrath (his former Private Secretary, who died last year aged 90) and one of his closest female friends, Anne Griffiths (the librarian, archivist and keeper of the royal secrets, who died in March aged 84).’
Their milestone will, of course, be marked by the release of a host of commemorative souvenirs.
The world record for the longest royal marriage is held by Japan’s Prince Mikasa, who died last year at the age of 100. He was married for 75 years to Yuriko, Princess Mikasa, who is 94. The Queen, 91, and Philip, 96, still have time to beat them.
A Buckingham Palace spokesman confirmed that there would be no formal public celebrations held, but declined to comment on the ‘private’ event.
Elizabeth leaves the palace in the Irish State Coach accompanied by her father HM, King George VI for her wedding to the Duke of Edinburgh at Westminster Abbey in 1947
Pictured: The view from Buckingham Palace balcony where Londoners waited eagerly for a glimpse of newly weds HM Queen Elizabeth II and HRH Prince Phillip
- It’s kitchen knives at dawn for Jamie Oliver and his wife, Jools, as the chirpy chef says he won’t allow her to cook with him at home this Christmas. The father of five, evidently a bit of a control freak, says: ‘I’m all for collaboration and teamwork, but Jools and I don’t cook very well together. She doesn’t like being told what to do. So she finds other things — she’s very good at table planning, dressing it, sorting out drinks and I will take the cooking bit. It just works.’
Humphrys’ ode to autumn and lament for leafblowers
Autumn, that time of year when Mastermind host John Humphrys is infuriated by the sound of leaf blowers near his West London home.
‘Ah . . . autumn has arrived! As the great poet put it: “Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness / Close bosom friend of the maturing sun / And o’er all the racketing roar of leaf blowers/ Destroying the peace for everyone.”
‘Apologies to Keats, but every year I pray that some Great Authority will ordain that leaf blowers are to be banned henceforth from the land,’ complains the Radio 4 Today presenter, 74. ‘I watched last week as a man deafeningly cleared the tennis court in my square with one.
‘There were about eight leaves on the courts — and it took him about an hour. My youngest grandson could have done it with a broom in five minutes. They even use them in the park.
‘Why can’t leaves be allowed to stay on the grass — and if they’re blown onto paths, they can be swept up. Or raked into great piles so that small children can jump in them. Isn’t that one of the real joys of autumn?
Ali G’s latest alter ego: Dame Edna!
They are world famous, but can you recognise this pair in their lurid wigs?
On the right is Ali G comedian Sacha Baron Cohen, 46, who wore the curly pink rug in Brazil while celebrating the marriage of pop manager Guy Oseary and model Michelle Alves. It made him look like Dame Edna Everage. On the left is former supermodel Helena Christensen, 48, sporting a similar purple wig.
The pair managed to keep straight faces. At least Sacha wasn’t wearing the bright green ‘mankini’ he likes to don as another of his alter egos, Borat.
On the right is Ali G comedian Sacha Baron Cohen, 46, who wore the curly pink rug in Brazil while celebrating the marriage of pop manager Guy Oseary and model Michelle Alves. It made him look like Dame Edna Everage. On the left is former supermodel Helena Christensen, 48, sporting a similar purple wig
- Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes has often admitted to a fierce rivalry with his taller brother, Rory, whom he has called ‘a figure of immense beauty and glamour’. But playwright Rory hasn’t had nearly the success of his Oscar-winning sibling. Now, Rory hopes he’s found the winning formula with a new play, Winston And The Duke, and he’s written to the new Duke of Westminster for approval. ‘That’s because it is about Sir Winston Churchill’s close friendship with the [2nd] Duke of Westminster and his lover Coco Chanel,’ Rory tells me. ‘I sent the [current] Duke the script out of politeness.’