SEBASTIAN SHAKESPEARE: Petra Ecclestone in privacy swipe at Prince Harry and Meghan Markle
She’s only just moved back into her £16 million Los Angeles mansion after relocating to Monaco for a few months, but Petra Ecclestone, youngest daughter of F1 billionaire Bernie, is already having a dig at fellow California residents, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.
‘I always tried to stand up for her,’ says the heiress, 32, of former actress Meghan Markle.
‘Harry and Meghan did have the freedom to leave [the Royal Family] if they really didn’t want that life.
‘But, on the other hand, they said they wanted privacy and they didn’t want to be famous and they didn’t want to do interviews — but all they’ve done since is basically do interviews.’
She’s only just moved back into her £16 million Los Angeles mansion after relocating to Monaco for a few months, but Petra Ecclestone, youngest daughter of F1 billionaire Bernie, is already having a dig at fellow California residents, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex
Petra said that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle said they wanted privacy ‘but all they’ve done since is basically do interviews’
Two years after losing his wife, Francesca, City fund manager Justin Urquhart Stewart has become engaged.
The fund manager, 66, he of the trademark red braces, is to wed journalist Virginia Blackburn, 59, after they met through Zoom. They eventually met in person last summer.
‘We had a socially distanced get-together in Virginia’s garden in Kensington, West London, over some potted shrimps and salmon,’ Urquhart Stewart tells me.
However, he didn’t have a ring with him when he proposed.
‘The shops were closed, so we decided it would be nice to have a signet ring made with my family crest instead,’ he adds.
The couple hope to marry next year at the journalists’ church of St Bride’s, off Fleet Street.
Ex Le Mans winner Johnny Bute takes last chequered flag
He sold his ancestral home, Dumfries House, to Prince Charles for £45 million and achieved fame as a Formula 1 driver and for winning the 24-hour race, Le Mans.
Sadly, the Marquess of Bute aka John Crichton-Stuart has gone to the great pit stop in the sky, having died aged 62 after a short illness.
For many years as he pursued his exhilarating racing career, Johnny Bute refused to use his official title and few people knew that he was the Earl Of Dumfries, son of the Marquess of Bute. Instead, he was known by the understated moniker Johnny Dumfries.
The Marquess, pictured with daughter Lola, was described as a ‘devoted husband, father, brother, uncle, son and grandfather’ in a loving tribute from his family
When he first arrived on the motor-racing scene, the Scottish peer raised funds working as a painter and decorator, and as a van driver for the Williams team. He went on to partner Brazilian legend Ayrton Senna in the F1 Lotus team.
However, he struggled in Senna’s shadow and was dropped at the end of one year, which would prove to be his only F1 season.
Grand Tour presenter Jeremy Clarkson said he was ‘saddened’ to learn of his death, and Perry McCarthy, the original ‘Stig’ from Top Gear, hailed Dumfries as ‘a very special man. Shared a great day with him at home just last October. Quite simply he was one of my favourite people’.
The Marquess married former nanny Carolyn Waddell, with whom he had two daughters and a son. His second wife was fashion designer Serena Wendell, with whom he had one daughter, the socialite and model Lady Lola Crichton-Stuart.
Mr Bute, pictured with wife Serena, Marichoness of Bute, died aged 62 and was praised as a ‘devoted father’
The family, worth £125 million, gave Cardiff Castle, part of the family’s estate, to the city, and Bute House in Edinburgh to the National Trust — it is now the residence of the First Minister of Scotland.
After the death of his father in 1993, Johnny Dumfries became the 7th Marquess of Bute, and ran the family’s Mount Stuart estate on the Isle of Bute.
He enjoyed living life in the fast lane to the end. Last December, he and his daughter Lady Lola (left) were charged with breaching Covid-19 regulations for allegedly travelling with others to their Isle of Bute home.
Lilly’s a click away from a love match
Still in the throes of her divorce from Wimbledon champion Boris Becker, former model Lilly remains steadfast in her quest for love
For I can disclose the 44-year-old, who split from Boris three years ago after nine years of marriage, has turned to not one, but three dating apps — and she’s open to both sexes
Still in the throes of her divorce from Wimbledon champion Boris Becker, former model Lilly remains steadfast in her quest for love.
For I can disclose the 44-year-old, who split from Boris (right) three years ago after nine years of marriage, has turned to not one, but three dating apps — and she’s open to both sexes.
‘I’m using Tinder, Bumble, Hinge — the lot, because the pandemic has made it hard to find love offline,’ admits the mother of Boris’s 11-year-old son, Amadeus.
‘It’s a challenge. We are made to socialise . . . thank God for technology and dating apps.’
Lilly adds that she is open to a relationship with a woman, saying: ‘Women are beautiful creatures with so much soul, of course. I’m young, free and single and ready to mingle.’
Ringo Starr is ready to rock again. ‘I’ve had both my shots so I can hang out,’ says the ex-Beatle.
The drummer will delay the live return of his All Star Band, however, until concerts can return to normal. ‘I don’t want to go on the road and have social distancing and masks.’
Meanwhile, Ringo, 80, has busied himself recording an EP — Zoom In — using the latest digital software installed at his home. But he admits: ‘I can’t even turn the bloody thing on! I have to get an engineer to do it.’
Woman’s best friend helps Helena heal her family
The Crown star Helena Bonham has spoken about its impact of her separation from her partner Hollywood director Tim Burton on their two children, claiming that acquiring pet dogs has helped them cope with the split
When The Crown star Helena Bonham Carter separated from her partner, Hollywood director Tim Burton, she described the process as ‘cruel’ and ‘horrible’.
Now the 54-year-old has spoken about its impact on their two children, claiming that acquiring pet dogs has helped them cope with the split.
‘It’s no secret that I broke up with the father of my children. When you divorce, part of the trauma is that you lose the sense of family,’ says Helena, who starred in seven of Burton’s films. ‘In remaking the next unit, I think the dogs have been amazing. They’ve helped the children so much.’
Helena split from Burton, 62, after 13 years together in 2014, during which time they had Billy, now 17, and 13-year-old Nell.
She now lives in North-West London with her writer boyfriend, Rye Dag Holmboe, 33, with whom she has taken in two Tibetan terriers, Pablo and Lottie.
Lady N awaits night on the bubbly
The Duchess of Cambridge’s friend, Lady Natasha Rufus Isaacs, says she can’t wait to let rip when lockdown is finally over.
‘I’ll go to a nightclub and drink champagne. I can’t remember the last time I had a night out,’ says the 37-year-old founder of ethical fashion label Beulah.
The mother-of-three is married to Kate Middleton’s ex-boyfriend, Rupert Finch. ‘I’ve been home-schooling my eldest and juggling the other two,’ she adds. ‘I would teach my eldest phonics in the afternoon, maths and English in the morning. My other two were either screaming for snacks or a nappy change.
‘I felt every day like I was being pulled in every direction. Once I’d put them to bed, I’d just collapse.’
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