Kate Middleton and Prince William are widely expected to announce their engagement in 2007. Patrick Jephson, who was Diana’s private secretary, says there is much the original ‘People’s Princess’ could tell the next queen-in-waiting‘Perhaps Miss Middleton ... will be our future queen,’ I speculated in a Sunday newspaper nearly three years ago. The editor was more cautious. ‘More likely, she will not,’ he made me add.
One night early in the run of Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks, Claire Bloom tripped on the stage of the Haymarket theatre in the West End and fell flat on her face. ‘I managed to get up and the audience was kind enough to applaud,’ she says in that impeccable Received Pronunciation that is her trademark. ‘I bowed and then I just got on with it.’The story is a perfect metaphor for the actress’s eventful life.
Charles Moore pays tribute to his friend Frank Johnson, editor of The Spectator 1995–99, who died on 15 December: a man of awesome learning — and light touch‘In the Fifties, job advertisements used to read “smart boy wanted”. That’s me,’ Frank Johnson would say. The joke tells you a good deal about Frank.First, it places him in his social milieu. He was an upper-working-class East End boy born during the war.
Rod Liddle says that the Prime Minister’s Christmas jaunt to the Middle East epitomised his confusion about what happens when people who hate you get the chance to say so in electionsAs our Prime Minister is someone whose confused political instincts stretch little further than a belief in democracy and freedom of choice, it is heartening to enter a new year knowing that he is, if anything, even more deeply committed to such fundamental — but fragile and tenuous — concepts.