EPHRAIM HARDCASTLE: A question of lease for Prince Andrew

EPHRAIM HARDCASTLE: William and Kate’s move to Windsor doesn’t pay off for Prince Andrew

Might Prince Andrew be disappointed that nephew William is moving to Windsor’s Adelaide Cottage rather than relieving him of the financial burden of Royal Lodge? 

As part of the disgraced duke’s 75-year lease, begun in 2003, he was not charged rent on condition that he paid a one-off premium of £1million to the Crown Estate and spent at least £5million on renovations. 

Might Prince Andrew be disappointed that nephew William is moving to Windsor’s Adelaide Cottage rather than relieving him of the financial burden of Royal Lodge?

He actually spent £7.5million. But if he returns the lease within 25 years he is entitled to compensation for the money he paid out. 

That could be a handy lump sum for the cash-strapped royal. But where could he rest his pampered brow? The likeliest option is nearby Windsor Castle, where Mummy pays the bills.

Almost unnoticed, the new Lord Mayor of Westminster, Hamza Taouzzale, has attended Sunday morning service at Westminster Abbey ‘in civic state’ as deputy high steward of the abbey. Hamza, at 22 the youngest to hold the office, is a Muslim. 

He read the first lesson and with his chaplain, Imam Kabir Uddin, helped lead the prayers. It was a sign of harmony and tolerance – a heartening contrast to the hatred that has put Sir Salman Rushdie in hospital.

Nigella Lawson, 62, pictured, plunges her legions of male admirers into unseasonal gloom with her candid admission that not only does she dye her raven hair and eyebrows, but she has fallen victim to menopausal chin hair. 

‘I don’t want to worry any of you young things out there,’ she confides, ‘but I have to tell you that at a certain age your eyebrows start to migrate – hairs decide to leave the densely populated brow and take up residence on the chin instead.’ 

She adds consolingly: ‘Just the odd hair – we’re not talking full-on bearded lady.’ 

Even as a bewhiskered attraction in Gerry Cottle’s Circus, pulchritudinous Nigella would always be a domestic goddess.

Channel 5 clarions its forthcoming documentary Top Of The Pops: Secrets And Scandals, which ludicrously doesn’t mention paedophile Jimmy Savile, who appeared in 265 episodes between 1964 and 2006. 

Also absent are Dave Lee Travis who, after presenting 103 episodes, was convicted of indecent assault, and sex criminal Gary Glitter who appeared on TOTP 24 times. 

The secrets exposed won’t be troubling the libel lawyers. Example? Pan’s People dancer Dee Dee Wilde was once asked out by Rod Stewart!

Half a century after Maggie Smith won an Oscar playing Scottish teacher Miss Jean Brodie, Caledonian trouper Alan Cumming declares: ‘I want to play her as a man. She was a fascist. If I played her as a man, it would be more menacing.’ But at 57 are you still in your prime, Alan?

Fashion writer Philip Logan has fond memories of sitting next to Princess Anne at The Bodyguard musical in the West End, recalling: ‘We even ended up dancing together to I Wanna Dance With Somebody at the end of the show!’ 

The Princess Royal, who turned 72 this week, has form: At the raunchy musical Hair in 1969 she danced on stage to wild cheers from the audience.

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