Thomas Van Straubenzee and Lucy Lanigan O’Keeffe, who is assistant head teacher at Thomas’s school in Battersea, where Prince George goes
Now, her godfather Thomas van Straubenzee has found love with one of the Battersea school’s senior staff.
I can reveal that he is courting its assistant head, Lucy Lanigan-O’Keeffe.
‘They are very happy and have been going out for some months now,’ one of their friends tells me. ‘It’s a serious relationship.’
Charity-minded Lucy, whose brother is Irish Olympic pentathlete Arthur Lanigan-O’Keeffe, runs the social action projects for Thomas’s schools across London.
Van Straubenzee’s pals are delighted he’s smiling again. He divorced Lady Melissa Percy, the Duke of Northumberland’s daughter, in 2016.
Their wedding was held three years earlier at her family’s ancestral home Alnwick Castle, which doubles as Hogwarts in the Harry Potter films. Princes William and Harry were among the guests.
Lady Melissa, or ‘Missy’ to her chums’, is now living in New York with hedge fund boss Remy Trafelet.
Expensive split: Simrin with husband Bhanu Choudhrie
Steel Magnolia and Divorce Diva in £100m court face-off
Look out! Two of this country’s most fearsome divorce lawyers will be going head-to-head at the High Court in London next Thursday.
Fiona Shackleton, known as the ‘Steel Magnolia’, will be representing Indian heiress Simrin Choudhrie in her £100 million divorce from her multi-millionaire husband Bhanu. In his corner, he has Ayesha Vardag, nicknamed the ‘Diva of Divorce’.
As if Baroness Shackleton of Belgravia wasn’t daunting enough as an opponent, Simrin, who starred in Channel 4’s Secret Millionaire, has been meeting the colourful barristers-turned-fixers to the super-rich, James Johnstone and Paul Pascoe.
Friends of the couple say sensational claims will be aired at the hearing, so let’s hope things don’t get out of hand. When Lady Shackleton represented Sir Paul McCartney in his divorce from his second wife, Heather Mills memorably tipped a carafe of water over her immaculately coiffed locks and then joked that she had been ‘baptised in court’.
Suits you Daisy, says Lady Helen
One of the most stylish royals, Lady Helen Taylor, was an ambassador for designer Giorgio Armani.
Now, the Duke of Kent’s daughter is lending her supporting to someone much closer to home.
This week, Lady Helen, 54, joined Daisy Knatchbull at the launch of her chic relation’s fashion label, The Deck, in Belgravia. Daisy, the 25-year-old great-granddaughter of the 1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma, is ‘specialising in tailoring for women’, so both royals sported suits at the party.
The young designer, whose father is Philip Knatchbull, boss of cinema chain Curzon, will doubtless shake up the fashion scene. At Royal Ascot in 2017, she defied convention by arriving in a morning suit, top hat and heels.
Helena Taylor (left) and Daisy Knatchbull at the launch of Daisy’s fashion label, The Deck, in Belgravia
Blue Peter’s new presenter Richie Driss, unveiled this week, is a little more worldly than some of his predecessors.
Before his elevation from being an online reporter, Driss, 30, shared the following scenario: ‘Open scene: Outside my flat. Mum: “Your neighbour’s cooking smells delicious! I’d love to try some.” Me: “Mum, that’s weed.” End scene.’
Whatever would Valerie Singleton say?
Boaty Cracknell’s down with the kids
Boat race hero James Cracknell is struggling to adjust to singledom.
The Olympic gold medallist confirmed his separation from TV presenter Beverley Turner before he helped Cambridge win on the Thames earlier this month, at the age of 46. Now, he tells me: ‘It has taken a while for me to get my head around being single again.’ Speaking at the BT Sports Industry Awards, he adds that being a postgraduate at Cambridge has, though, given him a youthful outlook. ‘I feel a lot younger having hanged with a lot of 20-year-olds for most of the year.’ Man . . .
Given his uncanny talent for creating conflict, Donald Trump has managed to set even our premier aristocrats against each other.
The Duke of Marlborough has become friendly with the U.S. President and hosted a banquet for him and Melania at Blenheim Palace when he visited last summer.
But the Duke of Beaufort, who lives at Badminton House 60 miles away in Gloucestershire, claims the Queen should not roll out the red carpet. Harry ‘Bunter’ Beaufort booms: ‘It is sad that Brexit has made us so desperate for an American trade deal that we are forced to offer a state visit to a president who is totally undeserving of such an honour.’ That’s one name to strike off the invitation list for the Buckingham Palace banquet then.
Baby is new chapter for TV history buff
More often immersed in the past, TV history buff Suzannah Lipscomb is now concentrating on the future. The 40-year-old has revealed that she’s given birth to her first child. ‘It’s been a year of new things for me: new book, new TV series, new house . . . and new baby,’ Dr Lipscomb confirms. She declines to disclose the tot’s sex or name. But she does enjoy being mysterious.
Two years ago she told me she’d been secretly engaged for six months to actor Tom Hutch, who is believed to be the dad.
TV history buff Suzannah Lipscomb (pictured), 40, has revealed that she’s given birth to her first child
Ozwald Boateng’s daughter Emilia, 19, (pictured) has been signed up by Storm Models
The smart set’s talking about… Boateng’s model daughter
With his fresh young take on men’s suits, Ozwald Boateng gave bespoke tailoring a new lease of life when he opened a shop in Savile Row at the age of 24.
Now 52, Boateng hopes his statuesque daughter will make her own mark on London’s fashion scene.
I can reveal that Emilia Boateng, 19, has been signed up by Storm Models — the agency that helped make Kate Moss and Cara Delevingne international stars.
Standing tall at 5ft 11in, Emilia turned heads at a recent National Portrait Gallery gala — hosted by the Duchess of Cambridge — which she attended with her father.
Her career got off to an auspicious start when she modelled in Lagos, Nigeria, where she walked down the catwalk in a purple Ozwald Boateng suit alongside family friend Naomi Campbell.
Emilia — whose mother is Ozwald’s second ex-wife, the Azerbaijan-born former model Gyunel Taylor — still has time for a scrummy romance.
She’s going out with Harrow-educated rugby player Elliott Obatoyinbo, 20, an electric winger for London Scottish.
TV chatshow king Corden’s £140 million movie plans
CHATSHOW funnyman James Corden once joked that watching his ‘embarrassing’ film, Lesbian Vampire Killers would be too harsh a punishment for prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay.
Happily, that has not deterred him from seeking to become a Hollywood mogul.
I can disclose that the comedian has amassed a staggering £140 million in his film and television company.
The huge sum, listed as ‘investments’, is revealed in newly filed documents for his business, Fulwell 73 Productions. It gives the 40-year-old a fabulous war-chest with which he and his co-directors — including Ben Winston, son of fertility expert Lord Winston — can fund future projects.
‘James is really serious about films,’ one of his friends tells me. ‘He has now won serious backing to make this a success.’
It’s an astonishing accomplishment for the London-born star, who now numbers David Beckham as a chum and Gwyneth Paltrow among his neighbours.
Corden, whose early credits were limited to a bit part in Channel 4 soap Hollyoaks and an appearance in a Tango ad, now hosts hit U.S. programme The Late Late Show, which is seen in 136 countries. Its Carpool Karaoke feature was a sensation, as the likes of Sir Paul McCartney, Adele and Madonna took their turn to sing their hits while sitting in the passenger seat of a Range Rover.
On a reported £1.5million-a-year, Corden lives in a £7.5million LA mansion with his wife, Julia, and their three children.
But Corden’s appetite is evidently unsated. He recently reflected that the world of entertainment was ‘a big banquet table’ from which the ‘chubby or fat or big’ were excluded because television executives never showed them falling in love.
‘I was like, “If that’s not going to happen, then I’m going to try to make something happen for myself”,’ Corden added.
And with £140 million behind him, now he can.
Not everyone’s cup of tea, I grant you, but former City grandee Anthony Bolton has composed an opera about the death of Alexander Litvinenko — the former Russian spy poisoned with polonium over a cuppa in Mayfair in 2006. The performance will take place at Grange Park Opera in the grounds of West Horsley Place, the Surrey house which former University Challenge host Bamber Gascoigne inherited from his aunt. Starter for ten: is it too soon to sing about such murky events?
Bells will be ringing, says PR guru’s gal
Cheering news for Tim Bell, whose PR firm Bell Pottinger was closed down after a racism scandal in South Africa. His vivacious daughter Daisy tells me she’s become engaged to a strapping Aussie, Andrew Gray (pictured).
‘We were in Mexico over Easter and he asked me to marry him during a romantic dinner on the beach,’ says PR executive Daisy.
Daisy, 30, was with Prince Harry’s ex, Cressida Bonas, when she first set eyes on the banker, 33, in a bar on Bondi Beach, Sydney. ‘It was love at first sight,’ she gushes.
Andrew followed her back to London and they now live near Lord Bell — who was a confidant of Margaret Thatcher — in Belgravia.
Daisy Bell, daughter of Tim Bell, whose PR firm Bell Pottinger was closed down after a racism scandal in South Africa, an fiance Andrew Gray
(Very) modern manners
When attending a classical concert, it might be better not to share your thoughts on the music with strangers in case you strike the wrong note
At a Royal Albert Hall performance of works by the celebrated composer Sir Karl Jenkins, one amateur critic opined to the lady seated next to him that the sounds being made on stage were ‘intolerable’.
She looked at him and replied, smiling: ‘That’s a shame, I’m really rather enjoying it. But, then, I am his wife.’