SEBASTIAN SHAKESPEARE: Ben Goldsmith nabs a royal jab in Gulf state, then zips home to Blighty
Multi-millionaire financier Ben Goldsmith will do anything to avoid staying in an airport hotel.
I can reveal the Government adviser has finally returned to Britain from the United Arab Emirates, where he has been working ‘remotely’ since mid-December. But rather than have to quarantine in a London airport hotel for ten days, as Britons travelling from the red-listed Gulf State are required to do, Goldsmith flew home via Kenya with his wife Jemima and family.
This meant Goldsmith — whose late father, Referendum Party founder Sir James Goldsmith was renowned for being a buccaneering billionaire — was spared any indignity and discomfort on his return to Blighty.
Pictured: Ben Goldsmith and Jemima Jones attending a book launch in 2018
‘We are back in the UK now,’ Goldsmith tells me. ‘We spent three weeks in Kenya, a country not on the red list, before flying home.’
Also in Kenya were other members of his extended family including his sister Jemima’s two sons.
While in the UAE, Goldsmith, 40, and his wife Jemima, 33 (pictured), managed to jump the jab queue back in Britain after receiving the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine at the invitation of a member of the ruling family of Abu Dhabi.
Tycoons, politicians and royalty have descended on the UAE in recent months to secure early access to coronavirus vaccines, as the oil-rich Gulf state has overseen one of the fastest inoculation programmes in the world. ‘It was never our intention to get vaccinated, but when the opportunity presented itself we gratefully took it,’ says Goldsmith.
Multi-millionaire financier Ben Goldsmith will do anything to avoid staying in an airport hotel
‘The UAE is vaccinating anyone who asks; we just happened to be in the right place at the right time.’
The financier, who has three children with Jemima and two surviving children with his first wife, banking heiress Kate Rothschild, says he went to the UAE in December, before the UK lockdown, and decided to stay rather than return home. But even then the British Government was advising against non-essential travel abroad.
Goldsmith, who is the brother of Environment Minister Lord (Zac) Goldsmith, was appointed as a non-executive board member of the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs in March 2018.
Despite once modelling lingerie, Vogue cover star Erin O’Connor admits she’s worried about young women in a sexualised society. ‘I think it’s really difficult for girls growing up today because everything is so overt,’ says the 43-year-old.
While not naming names, she adds: ‘When I look at the women who are famous today, and the power that they wield, it’s tough because everything’s overtly sexual.
‘In a way, ironically, it’s a regression. Of course they’re very successful, very powerful, probably in every way self-sufficient and secure, but it’s so insecurity-enhancing for lots of girls going into womanhood.’
Despite once modelling lingerie, Vogue cover star Erin O’Connor admits she’s worried about young women in a sexualised society
With royal human resources departments very much in the news, Prince Charles has chosen to advertise for a new HR manager. The successful candidate will work for the Prince’s Foundation, based at Dumfries House in East Ayrshire.
The charity’s website says applicants would need to ensure ‘that high standards are adopted and met’.
Buckingham Palace’s HR department will be involved in the investigations into bullying of staff claims against the Duchess of Sussex, which she strongly denies.
His TV show featured skimpily-clad young women being pursued by lecherous older men, and was watched by 21 million viewers a week. But Benny Hill was already deemed ‘past his sell-by date’ by the broadcasting bigwig who fired him, three years before his death in 1992.
Perhaps that’s why 52 of Hill’s postcards are now estimated to fetch only £200 at a sale by Chiswick Auctions in a fortnight’s time. Yet they offer a compelling glimpse into Hill’s tender friendship with cerebral palsy sufferer Phoebe King, who first sent him a fan-letter in the 1950s.
Addressing her as ‘Kitten’ or ‘Feeb’, and signing off as ‘Petit Ben’ or ‘Teddy B’, Hill — who was 68 when he died — wrote to her whenever he was abroad. ‘People like waiters and shop girls recognise me,’ he reported from France in 1980. ‘But the nice thing is they still serve me!!!’
Hill visited Phoebe once a year, staying in a guest room at her sheltered accommodation in Felixstowe, and taking her for meals in her wheelchair. There was red-carpet treatment in London, including lunch at the Savoy.
Yet it was a friendship, recorded Mark Lewisohn in his biography of Hill called Funny, Peculiar, of which neither Hill’s friends nor the media ‘knew a thing’.
London’s nightlife — when it returns — will be a lot less colourful following the death of restaurateur Patrick Gwynn-Jones, aged 92.
For close to 35 years Gwynn-Jones — who introduced Scandi dish gravadlax (salmon in a dill sauce) to the capital — presided over Pomegranates, near Dolphin Square, with an eccentric and raffish charm.
Customers included Princesses Margaret and Anne, Laurence Olivier and Frank Sinatra. Yet Gwynn-Jones never regarded it as a celebrity haunt, describing his cuisine as ‘paupers’ food’.
Michael Jackson’s 22-year-old model daughter, Paris, has felt compelled to defend the 13-year age gap between her and film star Emile Hirsch, 35
Michael Jackson’s 22-year-old model daughter, Paris, has felt compelled to defend the 13-year age gap between her and film star Emile Hirsch, 35.
The Once Upon a Time in Hollywood star, with whom Paris has struck up a close friendship, shared a picture of themselves online (left), which quickly attracted criticism about their difference in ages.
An indignant Paris responded: ‘One of my best friends is in their 50s. Another close friend of mine is 76. Age is but a number.
I enjoy the company of people of all ages. I am the student and teacher of people from five years younger than me to 60 years older. Nothing wrong with that.’
Pictured: Alexandra Richards is seen at the Emmys in 2019 in LA
Rolling Stones guitarist and former hellraiser Keith Richards has made no secret of how much he loves being a grandfather of five, even if he was in denial about it after his first grandchild arrived.
Having now ‘grown into’ the role (his own words), the 77-year-old will no doubt be delighted that his family is going to expand again, as his youngest daughter, model Alexandra, confirms she is six months pregnant with her first child.
‘Jacques and I are over the moon and very much looking forward to meeting this little one,’ the 34-year-old tells me, referring to her husband, the South African filmmaker Jacques Naude, 37.
Keith Richards will no doubt be delighted that his family is going to expand again, as his youngest daughter, model Alexandra, confirms she is six months pregnant with her first child
The couple married in 2019, two years after meeting at a mutual friend’s baby gender-reveal party.
They are currently living with Keef and Alexandra’s mother Patti — Richards’s wife of 37 years. Last year they moved into the family’s Connecticut mansion where Alexandra grew up.
‘We cook, make fires, create, play games, dance, and read,’ she says of life with Mum and Dad.
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