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EDEN CONFIDENTIAL: I'd love to finish my degree at Oxford, says Kate Beckinsale 

A beautiful Hollywood actress with all the enviable trappings to match, Kate Beckinsale has sadly always felt lacking in life.

Haunted by regret for abandoning her academic ambitions as a young woman, she is now planning to realise her dream of getting a degree.

Asked if she would now like to return to Oxford University, the Pearl Harbor star replies: ‘yes’.

Kate, 48, had enrolled at New College but reveals she dropped out in her second year, aged 22, because a fellow student and friend had died in a tragic accident.

A student of French and Russian literature, Kate — daughter of the late Porridge star Richard Beckinsale — was a contemporary of TV presenter Victoria Coren Mitchell

‘My friends were party people and I wasn’t. They’d all moved into a house and I stayed in the college, where I then got mono [infectious mononucleosis, or glandular fever], and went home,’ she says. ‘While I was home, one of my dear friends there ended up jumping out of a window and dying. All my other friends were rusticated — basically expelled for a year and then you come back.

‘When I was considering going back, nobody was there and there was this horrible whiff of death everywhere. That was the reason I didn’t go back.’

A student of French and Russian literature, Kate — daughter of the late Porridge star Richard Beckinsale — was a contemporary of TV presenter Victoria Coren Mitchell, who has described her as ‘whip-clever, slightly nuts, and very charming’.

Oxford UniversityHertford Bridge, popularly known as the Bridge of Sighs, is a covered bridge over New College Lane

When Kate dropped out, she assumed her academic dreams were dashed —until a recent trip back there informed her otherwise. ‘I took my kid to my college and my French tutor was still there,’ says Kate, who has a 22-year-old daughter, Lily, with actor Michael Sheen. ‘She said, “You know you can come back any time?”’

Her tutor’s words, she says, have inspired her to go back and finish what she started.

Kate adds: ‘I remember, at the time, thinking, “It’s such a shame university is at this time of your life when you’re thinking, “Who should I get off with and am I a lesbian and what posters do I want on my wall?”

‘Wouldn’t it be better once you’ve actually lived a bit to go, “I really like this”.’

Rural life? It’s a-Maisie-ing

Maisie Williams said: 'I thought I was going to have to pretend I’m loving country life. I was worried I was going to be like, “Where’s Deliveroo?” Actually, it’s been easy'

Pint-sized Game Of Thrones star Maisie Williams has moved to rural Sussex with her boyfriend, businessman Reuben Selby, 24 — and admits the extra space will help with all the freebies she is sent.

‘I’ve spare make-up and clothes and everything and just want a place people don’t even have to pack a bag for. They can come down and everything’s all made up for them.’

The 24-year-old adds: ‘I thought I was going to have to pretend I’m loving country life. I was worried I was going to be like, “Where’s Deliveroo?” Actually, it’s been easy.’

Love Isle Laura’s a wheel yoga fan

The 36-year-old, who gave birth to her first child in March, has been practising her ‘wheel’ yoga pose in the privacy of her garden

Terrified of being judged by other women at the gym, lithesome Love Island host Laura Whitmore is working out at home instead.

The 36-year-old, who gave birth to her first child in March, has been practising her ‘wheel’ yoga pose in the privacy of her garden.

‘The first time I moved to London, I joined a gym where everybody looked like gods and goddesses,’ says the Dublin-born presenter and ex-model.

‘I thought: “I came to the gym to not feel like I’m being judged.” Not that they were, but I definitely felt it. So I definitely like working out at home.’

■ Bond girl Madeline Smith, who played Italian agent Miss Caruso opposite the magnetic Sir Roger Moore in 1973’s Live And Let Die, cannot understand why women in her profession usually refer to themselves as actors. ‘Please stick with actresses. Let’s keep it going,’ says the Sussex-born star, 71. ‘We want to be girls or ladies, we really do.’ 

Top restaurateur Jeremy King, who co-owns The Wolseley, Colbert and The Delaunay, is celebrating his campaign to get Sadiq Khan to roll back his ‘crippling’ congestion charge in the capital. Earlier this month I revealed King held a meeting with the London mayor to ask him to stop the levy as it was harming business. His charm clearly did the trick as Khan has now announced it will be rolled back from 10pm to 6pm to lure diners back to restaurants. ‘On the one hand I’m delighted that the Mayor has seen sense and given London the boost it needed,’ King tells me. ‘On the other hand, why on earth is the charge remaining at weekends in the daytime?’ 

Still strictly no dancing for Nic

Nicola Adams said she was dodging the dancefloor again this week at the opening party of Park Row Restaurant in Soho

Boxing champ Nicola Adams was devastated when she had to drop out of Strictly last year because her ballroom partner tested positive for coronavirus.

She was dodging the dancefloor again this week at the opening party of Park Row Restaurant in Soho, where she stood firmly by the bar with her model fiancee, Ella Baig, 23, instead.

Has she done any dancing at all since her stint on the BBC series? ‘No,’ she tells me.

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