today is Nov 30, 2022

How are we going to amuse ourselves in the ceremonial void between the Queen’s Funeral and the King’s Coronation? Luckily, here comes Netflix to the rescue, with plans to plug that infotainment gap with a grisly ritual of its own making — The Crown.

The new series, which will be released next month, focuses on the turbulent years between 1990 and 1997, and no one would argue that it was a low point for the Royal Family. Yet do the Windsors really deserve to be portrayed, as they have to date, as a parade of stuffed toff freaks with no redeeming features whatsoever?

In series three, the Queen was even shown visiting Aberfan in 1966 — after the colliery spoil tip disaster that killed 116 children and 28 adults — and being so unmoved by the tragedy that she had to fake her tears before facing the bereaved public.

Art is one thing, duplicitous emotional embroidery for the sake of dramatic plot lines is another.

I thought it was shameful at the time, and still do now.

This week we learn that the fifth series will continue in the same vein: the Queen is still a cold fish; Charles is an unfeeling brute; mad, marginalised Diana is a diamond-wearing schemer; and their children are collateral damage as the War of the Waleses plunges onwards, finally ending in divorce and separate quests for personal happiness.

How are we going to amuse ourselves in the ceremonial void between the Queen¿s Funeral and the King¿s Coronation? Luckily, here comes Netflix to the rescue, with plans to plug that infotainment gap with a grisly ritual of its own making ¿ The Crown

How are we going to amuse ourselves in the ceremonial void between the Queen’s Funeral and the King’s Coronation? Luckily, here comes Netflix to the rescue, with plans to plug that infotainment gap with a grisly ritual of its own making — The Crown

In addition, Diana — this time played by Australian actress Elizabeth Debicki — is seen as an enthusiastic paramour, trysting with both Hasnat Khan and Dodi Fayed.

There are scenes depicting her with her lovers. Is this entirely fair? God knows how William and Harry can stand it. Their mother cavorting with her boyfriends — all of it in glowing technicolour, to be watched and pored over by millions.

Prince Harry has spoken at length of how walking behind the coffin at his mother’s funeral was mentally scarring and emotionally damaging. We all rightly sympathised with him, and the terrible trials he’s endured as a privileged royal ever since.

So surely he will rail against this fresh offensive on the memory of his mother — a woman who is no longer around to defend herself against the imprecations of filmmakers disguising themselves as truth-seekers?

Surely he will be berating Netflix at the first opportunity for this gross intrusion of his family’s privacy, this invasion and depiction of his mother’s own mental state in her most intimate moments?

Or is that another deafening silence I hear from Montecito? The silence of a prince who has his own lucrative Netflix deals to protect. Not to mention his plans to harvest recent royal history for his own gain. God knows why I am so bothered about it all, if he is not. Yet I am. For surely these events are too fresh to be historic, too raw to be served up as entertainment for the masses?

The new series, which will be released next month, focuses on the turbulent years between 1990 and 1997, and no one would argue that it was a low point for the Royal Family

The new series, which will be released next month, focuses on the turbulent years between 1990 and 1997, and no one would argue that it was a low point for the Royal Family

The excavation and sexploitation of the recent past of a family who did not ask for this attention and who can do nothing about it seems very unfair.

Having a version of their most personal moments fictionalised, then lavishly distributed to an audience who have demonstrated in the past that they do not know the difference between make-believe and reality seems a very piercing, and very modern, form of cruelty.

Would Netflix dare to do this to any other prominent family? The Murdochs? The Beckhams? The Rainiers? The Trump-Kushners? The House of Bourbon? I wonder.

In the meantime, there is nothing much the senior royals can do, except sit with a trembling finger on the remote control while Prince Harry and Netflix do their worst.

What is the point of a streamlined Coronation? If you’re going to have one, then you have to go big or go home. Pump it up. Pimp it up, while you are at it. Take it to the max, King Charles.

Dust down the family silverware, don’t stint on the bling. Let’s have golden carriages and flags from here to eternity, down the Mall and beyond. For if we are going to have a Royal Family, then let’s be bloody having one, as Delia Smith almost once said.

Most of us have never seen a Coronation before, in all its wonderful and sacred splendour. It might help us make sense of an institution whose very existence makes less sense by the day. So may I humbly suggest that now is not the time to dump the pomp?

£67k Levi’s? I’ll raise you my dip-dyed shearling boa

A vintage clothing dealer called Kyle Haupert bought a pair of Levi’s jeans dating back to the 1880s for £67,000.

‘I’m surprised in myself for purchasing them,’ he said afterwards. We’ve all been there, Kyle. I felt much the same way about a dip-dyed shearling boa I bought back in the mists for a three-figure sum, then brought back home and thought . . . ‘WHAT?’ Ditto the beige cowboy boots, the sequin duster coat and a million other sartorial disasters. Yet I hope Kyle consoles himself with the thought that he has bought a slice of denim history.

The jeans, which are 140 years old, were discovered on Keith Richards at an early Rolling Stones gig . . . No, I’m joking, they were found down a mine shaft.

A vintage clothing dealer called Kyle Haupert bought a pair of Levi¿s jeans dating back to the 1880s for £67,000

A vintage clothing dealer called Kyle Haupert bought a pair of Levi’s jeans dating back to the 1880s for £67,000

Eco nuts and pious hipsters are milking the humanity of police 

Summer holidays are over and it is back to work for the nation’s eco protesters. Yes, I am afraid the Protesting Season is upon us once more!

Just Stop Oil, Insulate Britain and the Anti-Milk Mob have all been busy, busy, busy over the past few weeks. Just look at the Emilys and the Ruperts, the Fenellas and the Sebastians who have recently converged on the capital and elsewhere to do their worst.

Pious hipsters pouring milk on the floor of Harrods Food Halls, unemployed graphic artists assaulting wheels of cheese with yet more milk in Fortnum Mason, safe in the knowledge that some grub on minimum wage will clear up after them, after they have made their point that . . . well, what? I’m still unclear. Though the irony of wasting perfectly good food while people around the world are starving seems to be lost on them.

Meanwhile, we can all quietly seethe at Just Stop Oil nutters gluing their palms to the roads outside Parliament. Or retired, middle-management couples from Basingstoke putting on their anoraks, filling flasks with tea — hope there is no milk in there! — and riding the rails up to London for the day to wreak mayhem on the city streets. The end of the world is nigh, they claim — even if all of them, every last whiny protester, benefits from and uses oil, milk and God knows what other liquids to fuel their lives in the wholesale pursuit of annoyance.

By gluing themselves to Tarmac, the protesters are like Blanche DuBois in A Streetcar Named Desire — bear with me — because they rely on the kindness of strangers to thrive. Specifically, the decency and humanity of police officers, who do not want to use force to rip their hands from the road, leaving palm-shaped leaves of skin in their wake.

Yet the more tolerant the police, the more the eco nuts will take advantage of their good nature.

Meanwhile, law-abiding, tax-paying citizens always seem to be at the bottom of the police’s concerns, especially if we have the audacity to be burgled or find an intruder in our loft.

We should all get together and protest against the protesters. And blanch the Blanches in hot oil, for a start.

Autumn is here. The season of mellow fruitfulness, apple pie and early nights. Yet I find myself feeling far from mellow. If you were to shake my gold nuggets of grievance in the great sieve of forgive, very little happy dust would sift down.  

Everything is just . . . enraging. The price of steak, eco protesters, Prince Harry — see above, below, everywhere on this fuming page. 

The fact Shirley Ballas can¿t even say Fleur Flatfoot is a worse dancer than Richie Rubber-Knees (left, with dance partner Giovanni) without being accused of sexism is particularly lowering. Woke manners are making Strictly Come Dancing strictly unwatchable

The fact Shirley Ballas can’t even say Fleur Flatfoot is a worse dancer than Richie Rubber-Knees (left, with dance partner Giovanni) without being accused of sexism is particularly lowering. Woke manners are making Strictly Come Dancing strictly unwatchable

The fact Shirley Ballas can’t even say Fleur Flatfoot is a worse dancer than Richie Rubber-Knees (left, with dance partner Giovanni) without being accused of sexism is particularly lowering. Woke manners are making Strictly Come Dancing strictly unwatchable. 

The only thing keeping the spirit alive has been Tony Adams battling his own bones to produce the most heroic samba the show’s ever seen. Please don’t vote him off for being a dance dud. 

A rib-eye rip-off 

Times are tough for the restaurant industry — but sky-high prices are hardly likely to tempt customers back through the door. Take the rib-eye, for example.

Once upon a time, a rib-eye steak was a mid-menu staple — a mid-price dish of mid-quality beef that one could rely on as a value-for-money meal in any restaurant. Not any more.

At an eatery called Elystan Street, in Central London, a ‘rib-eye of aged Cumbrian beef with a bone marrow and red wine butter, potato galettes and field mushrooms’ is £52.

Times are tough for the restaurant industry ¿ but sky-high prices are hardly likely to tempt customers back through the door. Take the rib-eye, for example

Times are tough for the restaurant industry — but sky-high prices are hardly likely to tempt customers back through the door. Take the rib-eye, for example

At Gordon Ramsay Bar Grill, a rib-eye costs £47, with chips (£6), mushrooms (£6.50) and sauce (£3) all charged as extras.

In Manchester, at the Miller Carter Steakhouse a 12 oz rib-eye is a more reasonable (!) £28.95. While at Goodman in Mayfair, London, an Australian grain-finished rib-eye is £55, plus £17 for chips, mushrooms and peppercorn sauce. That’s a total of £72 for steak and chips. Plus 12 per cent service in almost all cases.

Who is buying this stuff? Who can possibly afford it? It is hard not to fear for the future — of restaurants and diners alike.