Prince Andrew’s follies have shown the royal family who its friends areTo enemies of the monarchy, Prince Andrew presents the perfect target. He has an array of vices: a love of the high life, a weakness for unsavoury company, a painfully short list of achievements and a talent for finding his way into newspapers. His foreign trips have a reputation for misadventure, with diplomats sent to smooth the feathers he ruffles.
Kate Middleton, it has been widely suggested, could one day be Britain’s first middle-class queen: mother a former air hostess, grandfather in the RAF. But her ancestors had starring roles in the great royal drama that was the Tudor dynasty’s century of power. In fact, it turns out that Henry VIII is almost certainly Kate Middleton’s great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great grandfather.
To what problem is the statutory regulation of herbalists a solution? Are the tiny bits of bark and sap and leaf peddled by contemporary wisewomen deleterious to human health? Are we at risk of being sterilised by St John’s wort, paralysed by pau d’arco, maddened by meadowsweet? Hardly. Herbal remedies might be inert placebos or they might, as my wife maintains, be better for you than antibiotics. My wife is often right; and in any case, as the author of Proverbs tells us, ‘better a dinner of herbs where love is than a stalled ox and hatred therewith’ (rarely could the bit about the herbs have applied so aptly).
What a pleasure to welcome back into our newspapers that grasping porcine ginger trollop, Sarah Ferguson. It is money, of course, which has seen her return to media prominence; perpetually skint as a consequence of her fabulously extravagant lifestyle and sense of entitlement, she allowed her incalculably thick ex-husband, Prince Andrew, to fix up a loan for £15,000 to help clear her debts, money which came from a convicted paedophile, the US businessman Jeffrey Epstein.
After 100 International Women’s Days, real achievement still trumps leftist ideologyNothing illustrates better the difference between political idealism and political realism than the campaign to advance women in power, now a century old. The idealists insist on universal principles, based on rights theory, which benefit all women equally. Realists grasp the point that gifted women, in actual office and able to exercise authority, do more to persuade the public of women’s fitness to rule than anything else.
Even at the time, I knew it was a deal with the devil. Lieutenant Colonel Rupert Thorneloe, commanding officer of the Welsh Guards and a friend of mine from the late 1990s, had just been killed in Afghanistan. He was the first battalion commander to die in action since the Falklands. Colleagues of his were encouraging me to consider writing a book about him and his beloved Welsh Guardsmen, who were still engaged in ferocious fighting.
Ireland’s woes make themselves felt in CheltenhamThe bookmaker Paddy Power summed it up: ‘Cheltenham is the best craic you can have and if you cannot look forward to it you need to have your doctor check you are still alive.’ For the Irish the Cheltenham Festival, which starts next week, is more than just another sporting event, it is one of life’s defining experiences. As John Scally put it in Them and Us, a study of Anglo-Irish rivalry: ‘When they bet on an Irish horse at Cheltenham, Irish fans are betting on national property, investing emotional as well as tangible currency.