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EDEN CONFIDENTIAL: Camilla mourns one of her best friends Mary Christie who died at 83 

While Prince Charles spoke out this week about how he's missing hugging his grandchildren, his wife is mourning one of her best friends.

Mary Christie, chatelaine of Glyndebourne whose husband Sir George ran the country opera house, died of cancer on Thursday aged 83.

And the Duchess of Cornwall, who is at Birkhall in Scotland with Charles, has spoken to me of her sadness. 

While Prince Charles spoke out this week about how he's missing hugging his grandchildren, his wife is mourning one of her best friends

Camilla says: 'Mary was a life enhancer who will be sorely missed by many people from all walks of life.'

The Duchess spent her childhood at The Laines, an 18th-century country house in Plumpton, East Sussex. Mary married Eton-educated George Christie, whose father, John, founded Glyndebourne, eight miles away.

Camilla tells me: 'That special corner of Sussex, where we all grew up, will not be the same without Mary's warmth and laughter.'

Mary was only 24 when her husband took over at Glyndebourne and the couple presided over the opera house for almost 40 years. They transformed its fortunes and put it on a firm financial footing. Mary would charm potential sponsors and benefacters over dinner at the 600-year-old ancestral home.

Their son Gus took over the opera house in 2000 and Mary helped ensure stability when his 11-year marriage to Imogen, granddaughter of the late Poet Laureate Sir John Betjeman, broke down.

Mary Christie, chatelaine of Glyndebourne whose husband Sir George ran the country opera house, died of cancer on Thursday aged 83. The pair are pictured above

Mary said at the time: 'I've been married nearly 50 years. But marriage is much more complicated these days, and people don't seem to stay married for all those years any more.'

Gus went on to marry glamorous soprano Danielle de Niese. He says: 'My dear mother will be remembered, in the words of my late father, as 'the heartbeat which is at the core of Glyndebourne's existence'. Her devotion to Glyndebourne, and in particular her love of the gardens, has enriched the lives of so many of us.'

He adds: 'She will be missed by her children, grandchildren and extended family and we will dedicate Festival 2021 to her memory.'

The smart set's talking about... Freud's shirty granddaughter

As the daughter of a successful actor and novelist, Anna Morrissey was always likely to have creative genes. But the 22-year-old is taking after her fashionista aunt Bella Freud by becoming a graphic designer.

Anna, whose parents are The Walking Dead star David Morrissey and author Esther Freud, has created her own clothing label, Tummy Ache, which sells hand-made cotton T-shirts for £35.

The sustainably made shirts feature drawings based on themes such as 'tired' and 'power'. Her grandfather, the celebrated late artist Lucian Freud, would surely approve.

Anna's creative side kicked in when she was still a pupil at the £20,058-a-year King Alfred School in London: at the age of 16, she launched a blog with her cousin, Scarlett Curtis, the daughter of Love Actually director Richard Curtis, which focused on issues such as fashion, anxiety, and growing up.

'As someone who has struggled with anxiety, a tummy ache has always acted as link between mind and body,' Anna tells me.

Her father is already a fan of the T-shirts, commenting: 'Looks amazing! Can I have one?'

As the daughter of a successful actor and novelist, Anna Morrissey was always likely to have creative genes. But the 22-year-old is taking after her fashionista aunt Bella Freud by becoming a graphic designer

Pussycat Dolls star Ashley Roberts was once linked to Prince Harry after he was spotted 'flirting' with her at a nightclub next to Kensington Palace

Pussycat Dolls star Ashley Roberts was once linked to Prince Harry after he was spotted 'flirting' with her at a nightclub next to Kensington Palace.

However, the American singer's lurid outfits ruled her out as a potential royal bride, she claims.

'I remember there were rumours that I'd been dating Prince Harry and I thought, 'Could you even imagine my latex wardrobe being all around the Royal Family?' ' she says.

'I think I'd be kicked out.'

Ashley, 38, split up in January with professional dancer Giovanni Pernice, whom she'd been courting for a year since they met when she competed on Strictly Come Dancing.  

A falstaffian figure, ebullient moneyman Tim Hoare certainly lived life to the full. Now his third wife, Ginny, seems to have been left counting the cost. 

I can reveal that the flamboyant financier, who died last summer aged 69, left a fortune of £15.8 million — but £12 million of it went to pay off his outstanding affairs. 

Hoare, whose funeral was attended by Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie, left everything to Ginny.

Hoare may be better remembered for his un-PC exploit of shooting a leopard dead in Tanzania in 2006. 

After his return home, London aristocrat Debonnaire Bismarck, who'd been with Hoare's party in Africa, was seen in a leopard-skin coat and gossips wondered if it came from the unfortunate big cat. 

In fact, the fur was bought by Debbie's husband, Count Leopold 'Bolle' von Bismarck, as a prank.

Public swimming pools are still closed, but at the home of Britain's richest artist, Damien Hirst, it's not just the humans who can take the plunge

(Very) modern manners

Public swimming pools are still closed, but at the home of Britain's richest artist, Damien Hirst, it's not just the humans who can take the plunge.

His girlfriend, former ballerina Sophie Cannell, 26, who is 28 years his junior, has revealed that she enjoys a dip in their indoor pool with their three French bulldogs: Pablo, Chapo and Blanco.

And to prove it Sophie shared these photos of their doggy paddle.

The pampered pooches have had a lucky escape: Turner Prize-winning Hirst — who's worth £315 million — is, of course, best known for pickling animals in formaldehyde. 

His girlfriend, former ballerina Sophie Cannell, 26, who is 28 years his junior, has revealed that she enjoys a dip in their indoor pool with their three French bulldogs: Pablo, Chapo and Blanco. And to prove it Sophie shared these photos of their doggy paddle

Hollywood star and a pack of trouble...

Jamie Lee Curtis has sprinkled stardust on the West Country, delivering a video supporting an online art show in aid of local charity, Children's Hospice South West

Jamie Lee Curtis has sprinkled stardust on the West Country, delivering a video supporting an online art show in aid of local charity, Children's Hospice South West.

But the Hollywood star's endorsement has, alas, coincided with a spurt of bad blood between artist Teresa Davis and the show's organiser, Robert Guest. 

The painter, whose largest works sell for around £20,000, was called by Robert, cousin of Curtis's husband, Lord Haden-Guest.

'He clearly liked my work and said it was for the charity,' she tells me, explaining that she agreed to help.

She submitted six paintings, only for Guest to call a week later, retracting the invitation. 'He was rather embarrassed,' Davis says. Guest explains that two of her pictures were 'deemed unsuitable — one of hunting regalia and another of foxhounds'.

Some scent intervention by Curtis — a prominent supporter of animal rights' group Peta — but Guest assures me they are barking up the wrong tree.

The Duchess of York's timely decision to launch a charity, Sarah's Trust, this week has prompted friends of beleaguered Prince Andrew to spy the chance for a comeback. 

'While Andrew is not carrying out royal duties, he can throw himself into charity work,' one pal tells me. 

Andrew has already been snapped (right) packing goodie bags for care workers at Royal Lodge, the mansion he and Fergie share on the Queen's Windsor estate.

A friend of the Duchess insists the charity is very much her project. 

The Duchess of York's timely decision to launch a charity, Sarah's Trust, this week has prompted friends of beleaguered Prince Andrew to spy the chance for a comeback

Web guru Tim comes unstuck

How reassuring to discover that even Sir Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the world wide web, sometimes struggles with technology like the rest of us.

I hear the computer scientist attended a meeting held by Christ Church, Oxford, where he's on the governing body, using the video platform Microsoft Teams.

A college source tells me: 'Sir Tim couldn't make himself heard and some of the dons were shouting, 'Tim! you have to take yourself off mute'.'

Known as 'the Loins of Longleat', the Marquess of Bath did not lead a saintly life. He has, however, managed to make it to heaven — well, the gates at least.

I can disclose that the ashes of Lord Bath, who died of coronavirus in April aged 87, were scattered at Heaven's Gate, a glorious spot in Longleat forest on his in Wiltshire estate. 

Several of his former 'wifelets', as he fondly called his lovers, are said to have attended the ceremony.

Hesketh toasts a new arrival

When former motor-racing team owner Lord Hesketh was Conservative treasurer, he used to fill the bath in his hotel suite with bottles of Pol Roger and crushed ice at his party conference bashes.

So it will be bottoms up this weekend because, I can reveal, his son and heir Freddie has become a father — just four months after he married glamorous PR woman Petrina Nystrom at Chelsea Old Town Hall. 

Petrina, 32, and 31-year-old aircraft consultant Freddie have named their daughter Eva Florence Fermor-Hesketh.

Taking a leaf out of the Duchess of Cambridge's book, they had the baby at St Mary's Hospital in Paddington.

'Freddie and Petrina can't wait to show Eva off to the family —with social distancing, of course,' a friend tells me.

Disney courts Meghan with movie offers

Already living the Hollywood lifestyle at entertainment tycoon Tyler Perry's £14 million mansion in Los Angeles, the Duchess of Sussex could soon have the film career to match.

I hear Meghan has been 'deluged' with lucrative offers from the moguls of Tinseltown since she agreed to provide a voiceover for a Disney documentary about elephants.

'Disney were absolutely delighted with the job Meghan did for them,' says my Hollywood source. 

'She only signed for one project, but there is discussion about other films and ideas they may be able to work on.'

Opportunities to work in film and television have flooded in from rival studios, but the Duchess is believed to favour working on projects with 'an edge', which is likely to leave Disney frontrunners to work with her again.

The insider says: 'For Meghan, it has to be the right project and something she really believes in and invests in.'

I hear Meghan has been 'deluged' with lucrative offers from the moguls of Tinseltown since she agreed to provide a voiceover for a Disney documentary about elephants

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