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Freddy Gray

The Windsors are warring over their womenfolk

Wouldn’t it be amusing to see an actual fly-on-the-wall job about Netflix’s new Harry & Meghan documentary? Imagine the scenes behind-the-scenes. The Duchess rehearses her crying face in consultation with her make-up specialist. The Duke glares at himself in a mirror. ‘I had to protect my family,’ he repeats over and over as he fingers

The Sussexes’ ‘extinction burst’ is coming

From the point of view of New York City, where I live, everything is going Meghan and Harry’s way. News items about their folly vs the worthy Waleses are a standard trope of the US home page of the Daily Mail, but they are the wrong side of America’s zeitgeist. True, no one could have

Don’t expect a united Ireland any time soon

A hundred years since the founding of the Irish state – on 6 December 1922 – how likely or desirable is the prospect of Irish unity? The recent electoral success of Sinn Fein suggested to many – particularly in the US – that the idea’s momentum is now unstoppable. Of course it’s being egged on

Rachel Reeves: ‘Attack is the best form of defence’

‘Attack is the best form of defence,’ declares Rachel Reeves, sitting in a block purple dress in her office in parliament. The shadow chancellor is discussing what lessons for politics she learnt from chess. She was the British girls’ champion at the age of 14. ‘Thinking ahead. Trying to think what your opponent might do

The truth about Matt Hancock

Matt Hancock and I have almost nothing in common. For starters I’m terrified of spiders and hopelessly squeamish. I physically retched as I watched him eating unmentionables in the Australian jungle. Far more importantly, we fundamentally disagree over his handling of the pandemic. The passage of time has not left me any less angry about

Is Iran at a turning point?

Mashhad is Iran’s holiest city; it has the country’s most important shrine. It’s not the place for an Iranian woman to walk around without a hijab. But in September, Katayoun began leaving hers at home, going out with her head uncovered to join the daily protests against the country’s theocratic regime. A policeman struck her

Inside Team Truss’s tussle for titles

In the final hours of the Liz Truss regime, a key question was obsessing advisers: who would get a seat in the House of Lords? Her inner circle was divided as to whether, after just 49 days in office, such privileges were even appropriate. As a few aides tried to convince Truss that honours would

Notes on...

The etiquette of canapés

Canapés are one of life’s delights and surprises – surprises because drinks party invitations usually give nothing away. Perhaps because ‘nibbles’ is such a hideous word, or perhaps just because of invitation convention, hosts tend simply to put ‘Drinks, 6.30 to 8.30’ on the Paperless Post card. So you arrive with no idea whether you’re