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SEBASTIAN SHAKESPEARE: Why is the Queen’s cousin cashing in?

The Queen has remained entirely above the fray sparked by the most recent series of The Crown — dismissed by the Prince of Wales’s old friend, Sir Nicholas Soames, as ‘lies and meanness, clearly intended to be a vile misrepresentation of the Royal Family’.

But even HM’s legendary sang-froid may be tested by the forthcoming feature film Spencer, starring Kristen Stewart as Princess Diana, which focuses on the collapse of her marriage to Prince Charles,

For I can disclose that, astonishingly, filming is now under way at a property owned by one of the Queen’s relations — who is also related to the Duke of Edinburgh.

Even HM’s legendary sang-froid may be tested by the forthcoming feature film Spencer, starring Kristen Stewart as Princess Diana, which focuses on the collapse of her marriage to Prince Charles. Pictured, Queen Elizabeth with Donatus, Prince and Landgrave of Hesse

Schloss Kronberg, whose interior is being used as a stand-in for Sandringham, the Queen’s Norfolk residence, is owned by Prince Donatus of Hesse, 54, a third cousin of the Queen.

He was among a handful of her German relations who welcomed her to Frankfurt in 2015. ‘We had a good table and I know her of course as a relative,’ Donatus said after lunch. ‘I see her once in a while.’ 

Accompanying the Queen on the visit was Prince Philip, one of whose sisters, Princess Sophie, married Prince Christoph of Hesse. He was Donatus’s great uncle, an SS officer who died in a plane crash in 1943 — while Philip was in the Royal Navy fighting the Nazis.

The Queen has remained entirely above the fray sparked by the most recent series of The Crown ¿ dismissed by the Prince of Wales¿s old friend, Sir Nicholas Soames, as ¿lies and meanness'. Pictured, Emma Corrin as Princess Diana

The Queen has remained entirely above the fray sparked by the most recent series of The Crown — dismissed by the Prince of Wales’s old friend, Sir Nicholas Soames, as ‘lies and meanness’. Pictured, Emma Corrin as Princess Diana

Buckingham Palace declines to comment on the Prince¿s decision to permit filming of Spencer at Schloss Kronberg (pictured) ¿ one of several huge properties in the family¿s possession

Buckingham Palace declines to comment on the Prince’s decision to permit filming of Spencer at Schloss Kronberg (pictured) — one of several huge properties in the family’s possession 

‘Normally I meet them in England at Windsor,’ Donatus reflected after the royal couple’s Frankfurt visit. ‘It’s lovely to see them here.’

Buckingham Palace declines to comment on the Prince’s decision to permit filming of Spencer at Schloss Kronberg — one of several huge properties in the family’s possession.

Royal insiders say a member of the Royal Family facilitating such an entertainment drama will not go down well with Her Majesty. But his compatriots stress that, for all the Hesse dynasty’s apparent wealth, Donatus may be feeling the pinch.

‘Schloss Kronberg is now used as a hotel,’ one of them tells me, ‘and he had to close down his other five-star Grand Hotel in Frankfurt recently. Covid is hitting the industry hard.’

Another agrees, telling me: ‘My sympathy is with him. He’s charming — a very nice man. The family has a lot of property, including a vast place, Panker, but perhaps not so much cash. They will be paid well for permitting filming.’

Elle of a birthday bash for ex Arki 

Let’s hope Elle Macpherson’s boyfriend, disgraced anti-vaxxer Andrew Wakefield, is not the jealous type.

For I can reveal the supermodel, 56, who lives in Miami, threw an intimate birthday party for her ex-fiance, French businessman Arki Busson, as he turned 58 this week. 

The former couple, who started dating in 1996 and lived in West London until their separation in 2005, were joined by their sons, Flynn, 22, and Cy, 17.

The supermodel, 56, who lives in Miami, threw an intimate birthday party for her ex-fiance, French businessman Arki Busson, as he turned 58 this week

The supermodel, 56, who lives in Miami, threw an intimate birthday party for her ex-fiance, French businessman Arki Busson, as he turned 58 this week

‘Happy birthday to this hunk,’ Elle gushed, describing him as a ‘father extraordinaire and great parenting partner.’

Human rights lawyer Amal Clooney has bagged Hollywood star George, but her sister, fashion designer Tala Alamuddin, admits her love life does not run as smoothly. ‘Apparently one of the symptoms of Covid-19 is having no taste,’ she says. ‘If I look back on all of my exes, it seems that I’ve been infected for years!’

Bella’s latest look is a breath of fresh air 

Making a statement during Paris fashion week doesn’t always happen on the catwalk. After starring in the Fendi show, model Bella Hadid stepped out in the French capital yesterday wearing an eye-catching ensemble.

The 24-year-old — whose sister, fellow mannequin Gigi, recently gave birth to British pop star Zayn Malik’s daughter — appeared to be doing her best impression of a tube of toothpaste in a £1,750 red, white and blue striped cashmere outfit by The Elder Statesman.

The 24-year-old ¿ whose sister, fellow mannequin Gigi, recently gave birth to British pop star Zayn Malik¿s daughter ¿ appeared to be doing her best impression of a tube of toothpaste

The 24-year-old — whose sister, fellow mannequin Gigi, recently gave birth to British pop star Zayn Malik’s daughter — appeared to be doing her best impression of a tube of toothpaste

Striking as her style may be, Bella admits that looks will only get her so far.

‘My mum always said there’s prettier girls in the world, harder-working girls . . . If you can’t be nice and work hard, somebody else will,’ she says.

Countdown presenter Rachel Riley has a rival for her husband’s affections. Ex-Strictly dancer Pasha Kovalev, who married Riley in 2019, reveals he has acquired a new gastronomic obsession.

‘Crumpets are my latest discovery. I never knew they existed until my wife introduced me to them. I just love them. 

‘This afternoon I had a bowl of coconut yoghurt with dried dates, followed by a crumpet with peanut butter and a camomile tea with half a teaspoon of honey.’ Peanut butter? Ye gads!

Crown star Emma is a real spice girl 

The Crown star Emma Corrin really is one of the hottest actresses around. To prove it, the 25-year-old from Kent, who played Princess Diana in the Netflix show, has playfully posed with a chili pepper in her mouth.

She shared the picture online shortly after admitting she’s keen to overhaul her royal association.

The Crown star Emma Corrin (pictured) really is one of the hottest actresses around. To prove it, the 25-year-old from Kent, who played Princess Diana in the Netflix show, has playfully posed with a chili pepper in her mouth

The Crown star Emma Corrin (pictured) really is one of the hottest actresses around. To prove it, the 25-year-old from Kent, who played Princess Diana in the Netflix show, has playfully posed with a chili pepper in her mouth

‘The industry loves to pigeonhole,’ says Emma. ‘The sooner I can move away from doing posh English, the better, even though that’s what I am. I want to do a gritty, independent film, maybe in Scotland or something.

‘I’ll have an outrageous accent, and flowing red hair.’

Is Emma guilty of a spot of pigeon-holing herself?

Yes Minister and Porridge genius leaves widow £2m 

Sydney Lotterby brought joy to millions with TV shows including Porridge and Yes Minister. The producer/director, who died last July aged 93, also made sure his wife was comfortable.

Newly released probate documents reveal Lotterby left more than £2 million in his will, the bulk going to his widow, Marcia Dos Santos, whom he married in 1997. 

He featured in a John Cleese sketch called The Four Sydney Lotterbies with Marty Feldman, Tim Brooke-Taylor and Graham Chapman for a satirical programme simply because Cleese liked the name.

His name also featured in Cleese’s film Fierce Creatures. Lotterby’s other shows included Butterflies, May To December, Open All Hours, The Likely Lads and As Time Goes By. 


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