Boasting the Duchess of Cambridge among its most dedicated tennis-playing members, London‘s Hurlingham Club might seem the perfect refuge during these torrid times. But the reality, I can disclose, is starkly different.
To members’ fury, its tranquillity is being repeatedly violated by the piercing wail of police sirens.
‘Local residents have been ringing the police about alleged breaches of the rule of six,’ one angry habitué tells me. ‘They’re literally getting their telescopes out to try to catch us out. Unbelievable! So small-minded.’
The Duchess of Cambridge is among the London’s Hurlingham Club’s most dedicated tennis-playing members
He adds that the police have responded enthusiastically. ‘They come zooming round with the siren on, because it’s quite fun to do so, and say: ‘We’ve heard there’s a group of more than six in your grounds.’ ‘
Neither Hurlingham nor the Metropolitan Police will comment. But club members, who pay a subscription of £1,200 a year, are more forthcoming.
‘The club has been really on the ball, emailing warnings to make sure everyone complies completely with the [Covid] regulations and pointing out that the police are being called out to check up on us — we have to slip up only once and we’ll be slapped with a £10,000 penalty or forced to close.
London’s Hurlingham Club, in south west London, might seem the perfect refuge during these torrid times. But the reality, I can disclose, is starkly different
‘That’s what the locals really want. They’re watching when we arrive and leave and whenever there’s a break in play in case there are more than six people mingling for a nano-second.’
Let’s hope this doesn’t prove problematic for Kate. When brushing up on her own game, she’s accompanied by her security team, who sometimes retrieve stray balls for her. Please keep your distance, lads. You know it makes sense.
Freya Aspinal, 17, can be seen lying next to their beloved cheetah, Saba
Out of Africa: Freya purrs about reunion
Millionaire conservationist Damian Aspinall grew up surrounded by his father John’s exotic pets and counted them among his closest friends. And it’s clear his own offspring have inherited his passion.
In a new photo he shared online, his 17-year-old model daughter, Freya, can be seen lying next to their beloved cheetah, Saba. ‘I love this picture,’ says Damian, who hand-reared the animal at his Howletts Wild Animal Park in Kent, before releasing him into the wild earlier this year — the first time anyone has sent a captive-born cheetah back to its natural habitat.
An excited Freya, whose mother is actress Donna Air, adds: ‘Going to see this lil one in Africa very soon.’
Film star Rosamund Pike’s parents could never be accused of sponging off their famous daughter. ‘My parents still live in the [London’s Earl’s Court] student flat they rented when they were at the Royal College of Music together,’ says the 41-year-old Gone Girl actress, whose parents are former opera singers Caroline and Julian Pike. ‘Opera singing is a tough life.’
Victoria Beckham seen leaving her Dover Street store on December 07, 2020 in London, England
Fashion designer Victoria Beckham turned heads for an unusual reason yesterday when she paid a visit to her Mayfair store.
The former Spice Girl, 46, entered her shop at lunchtime without a face mask — which, under Covid restrictions, is banned by the Government.
However, the mother of four, who sported a £1,490 red dress and £450 hot pink heels from her own collection, was not breaking any rules, for she had briefly closed her store to the public for ‘festive filming’.
An insider assures me: ‘Everyone else on set was wearing masks. Obviously, as Victoria was on camera, she didn’t wear one.’
More from Sebastian Shakespeare for the Daily Mail…
Ruth aims for Ivy league
THE king of clubs Richard Caring transformed The Ivy into a successful chain of brasseries around the country. Now, Ruth Rogers is hoping the same can be done with fashionable London restaurant The River Cafe.
Ruth has opened Sylvia’s (named after her late mother), serving cut‑price food next to her Italian eaterie in Hammersmith, a favourite of Mick Jagger and Stella McCartney.
‘It’s very exciting,’ Rogers tells me. ‘It’s based on vegetables. We will have fabulous pastas and risottos and ravioli for the first course, then vegetables of the season. In the future, I can see us expanding into a chain.’
Sylvia’s £50 set menu makes it cheaper than The River Cafe, where a main course alone can set you back £44.
It’s royal hamper wars! While Buckingham Palace’s gift shop is selling just one — the Royal Christmas Hamper at £99 — Prince Charles’s Highgrove store has five.
Charles’s hampers start at £55, containing organic marmalade, preserves, loose tea, shortbread and fudge. Top of the range is the Highgrove Banquet Christmas Hamper at £395. Pricey, but then it does contain six bottles of booze, including the house’s own Laphroaig 12‑Year-Old Single Malt Whisky (costing, on its own, £69.95).
I’ll do anything! Rafferty Twists into shape for new film role
Most fledgling actors have to prove their chops before landing a part — especially if it’s the lead in a film.
But when you’re the son of Hollywood star Jude Law, it seems to be the other way around.
Rafferty, 24, who plays Oliver in Twist (the new Sky film adaptation of Dickens’s classic novel), says: ‘When they gave me the role I knew I had to prove that I really deserved that part.
‘The contemporary cut that the director wanted required great physical agility, so I started with Parkour courses [which require ‘running, jumping, climbing and quadrupedal movement’ over various terrain].
— to www.dailymail.co.uk