PLATELL'S PEOPLE: Don't share your private thoughts with Oprah, Megs

PLATELL’S PEOPLE: Don’t share your private thoughts with Oprah, Megs

Five thousand miles away, how Meghan must be longing to be by Harry’s side today of all days as he walks behind the coffin of his beloved grandfather.

How he, too, must wish that his wife — unable to fly as she’s heavily pregnant with their second child — could be here to offer counsel and comfort as he grieves.

To help him navigate the desperately fractured Royal Family. To help heal the rift with his brother William, not to mention Kate.

The Duchess of Sussex will still take part in the mourning. She will reportedly make ‘private arrangements’ to honour Prince Philip during his funeral.

Let’s just hope that doesn’t include sharing her innermost thoughts with Oprah Winfrey.

This is a time for quiet reflection, not public declaration of the deep bond she claims she had with Prince Philip, who she had little time to get to know and probably met only a few times.

Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, are interviewed by Oprah Winfrey

I hope for her sake she will let discretion be the better part of valour and not repeat her and Harry’s very public Remembrance Day performance of last year, when they conducted their own ‘private’ service for the fallen in a Los Angeles military cemetery. He had been denied the ‘right’ for his wreath to be laid at the Cenotaph in absentia.

They have no royal rights now, they gave them up for a life of luxury not duty in LA.

And I dearly hope Meghan will not have a celebrity photographer conveniently on hand — as the couple did on Remembrance Day — to capture her ‘private’ grief for the Duke and post it on their website.

Her ‘private arrangements’ should remain just that, private.

Our thoughts are with Philip’s close family, his children, his grandchildren and his Queen.

Is it too much to hope that, after the incendiary interview with Oprah that cast such a cloud over the Royal Family as the Duke died, the Duchess of Sussex has finally learned that silence can be golden?

Prince Harry, Prince Philip and Prince William at Twickenham Stadium in October 2015

Someone should point out to her that ‘silent’ is an anagram of ‘listen’ — and this is the moment to listen to the senior royals, understand their pain and follow the example set by Philip of quietly, privately supporting the monarchy.

How tragic that in her brief stint as a royal she failed to recognise the dignity and power of silence — that less is more, and particularly so when a family is deep in mourning.

As a fan of Jeremy Vine, I was surprised when he said of the funeral that ‘it will be 30 people who are all white’ and asked if that was ‘a problem’. 

What has race got to do with this sad occasion? Just let Philip’s loved ones mourn.

Why super Sophie was forgiven

The Countess of Wessex during a visit to Vauxhall City Farm in London

Some wonder why the Duke of Edinburgh was able to forgive Sophie, Countess of Wessex for her early blunders in royal life, while not Fergie, the Duchess of York.

Sophie fell from favour in 2001 when she had her own PR company after a News of the World undercover operation led to her uttering shocking indiscretions about politicians and the royals.

As Gyles Brandreth explained in his exquisitely personal book serialised this week in the Mail, Philip believed Sophie was ‘set up’ and through the decades has been a loving wife to his son Edward and closest of confidantes to the Queen. 

Plus she has never been photographed topless in a tabloid newspaper having her toes sucked by a man who was not her husband.

We will all miss Helen

 Helen had been married to fellow actor Damian since 2007 and shared two children with him – daughter Manon, 14, and 13-year-old son Gulliver (the couple pictured in February last year) 

How shocking that Peaky Blinders actress Helen McCrory has died of cancer, aged just 52 and with two children, Manon, 14, and Gulliver, 13.

Her husband Damian Lewis said she died ‘surrounded by peace and love’. Until the end she was fighting for her charities, yet the family kept her illness secret. Barely a year ago I passed her in the street and said: ‘You are wonderful.’

She gave me that dimpled smile, which we will all remember.

As her husband said: ‘Go now, Little One, into the air, and thank you.

The news agency Associated Press decrees the word ‘mistress’ archaic and sexist, saying it should no longer be used when referring to a woman ‘in a long-term sexual relationship with, and supported by a man who is married to someone else’.

Instead we must use non-pejorative terms like ‘companion, lover or friend’.

Jolly good, but perhaps women whose husbands engage in such liaisons might prefer the much simpler and apt term: home-wrecker.

Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012)

Amanda Abbington, 47, reveals that the separation from her husband of 16 years Martin Freeman, 49, has taken a terrible toll on their two children. 

We have given them ‘irreparable damage’, she says, while Martin strolls around with his new girlfriend, Rachel Mariam, 28. 

What a shame for his kids that the diminutive Freeman didn’t have the other qualities of Bilbo Baggins, the hobbit he played in J. R. R. Tolkien’s novel — who was famously hairy and short, yet towering in his loyalty. 

Lady of the Rings

Jennifer Lopez at the NBC/Universal Upfront Presentation in New York, May 2017

Despite declaring enduring love with a £3.8million engagement ring, Alex Rodriguez has separated from his unlucky-in-love fiancée Jennifer Lopez amid rumours he became enamoured with a reality TV star.

Surely the canny J-Lo has the last laugh, though — five fiancés, three of whom she wed, handed her a total of nearly £10 million in engagement rings between them, including a £1.8 million rock from Ben Affleck.

I hope feminist icon Jen had the integrity to give them all back.

Strictly Come Dancing are desperate to get one of our Covid scientists on their next series, with an insider saying Professor Chris Whitty is their top target. 

A clever choice to bolster their viewing figures as, with every cha cha cha, this doomsayer could chant: ‘Stay home and watch TV, or you’re all going to die.’ 

Westminster wars

Close observers of David Cameron are unsurprised by Lobbygate, in which he bent the ear of the Chancellor and ministers to get millions in state cash for Greensill Capital, who employed him. There always was something about Dave, an innate belief that privilege and power belonged to him and his few cronies, not the many.

What is most curious about the top civil servant Bill Crothers being a part-time director of Greensill while on a Government salary of £149,000 to run one of our biggest departments is how he found the time for his extra-curricular activities while responsible for the spending of £40 billion of taxpayers’ money.

Much mirth is made over the girth of Lord (Eric) Pickles, head of the Advisory Committee investigating jobs for former ministers and civil servants. Yet the plain-speaking Pickles has more integrity in one of his chins than the chinless wonders who have profiteered from simultaneously working in Whitehall and in the private sector.  

As the world’s economies tank, isn’t there something rather galling about China boasting an astonishing 18.3 per cent rise in their economic growth for the first three months of this year, given that they’re the country that gave us coronavirus in the first place? 

Well done the BBC for not donning sackcloth and ashes after a record 110,000 viewers complained when EastEnders and other shows were dropped to cover the death of the Duke of Edinburgh.

Give me an hour of Prince Philip’s life over 30 minutes of Phil Mitchell beating the hell out of people in the Queen Vic any day.

You are what you eat?

Despite huge success as Luther in the TV series, Idris Elba’s character is criticised by the Beeb’s diversity chief for ‘not being black enough’ — among other sins, he didn’t eat Caribbean food. 

I am duly shamed as the last time my Jamaican friend Noel and his son came here for lunch we shared macaroni cheese and spag bol, at their request.

Next time it will have to be jerk chicken, whether they like it or not.  

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