United Kingdom

SEBASTIAN SHAKESPEARE: Peer's £2million gift to honour his mum, a victim of Auschwitz 

Lord Browne, the former BP boss, lived with his mother Paula for the last 20 years of her life — now he has paid her the ultimate filial tribute by making a £2 million donation to a Cambridge college in her honour.

The generous gift, made by the John Browne Charitable Trust, is to Murray Edwards College for women, enabling it to acquire a building, to be named Paula Browne House, in which undergraduates will both live and be taught.

‘So many people knew my mother, but very few were aware of her story until after she died,’ Lord Browne tells me. ‘This donation is a small way to remember her, in support of an institution with a mission that meant a great deal to her.’

Browne, who graduated with a First in Physics from Cambridge, says he learned of his mother’s traumatic wartime experiences only gradually. 

Lord Browne (right), the former BP boss, lived with his mother Paula (left) for the last 20 years of her life — now he has paid her the ultimate filial tribute by making a £2 million donation to a Cambridge college in her honour

His parents met in 1945 when Paula was working as a British Army interpreter. But only a year earlier, as a member of a Hungarian Jewish family, she had been transported to Auschwitz and put to work as a slave labourer. Of her five sisters, only two survived, together with her brother.

After her husband’s death in 1980, Paula lived with their son, by then flourishing in the business world. Yet only in the year before she died in 2000 did she say anything of what she had seen and suffered.

Similarly, her protectiveness caused her to shy away from acknowledging her son’s homosexuality: ‘She did not want to see happening to me what she had seen happen to other people.’

Now her name will live on in the city which came to mean so much to her family. ‘I owe Cambridge everything,’ reflects Lord Browne. ‘It made me grow up.’

The generous gift, made by the John Browne Charitable Trust, is to Murray Edwards College (pictured) for women, enabling it to acquire a building, to be named Paula Browne House, in which undergraduates will both live and be taught

For I can reveal she has been swept off her feet by Old Etonian investment banker Ted Morrison, 30, (pictured)

Violet the party girl finds love 

The Duke of Rutland’s eldest daughter, Lady Violet Manners, is overhauling her party girl image. Not only has she launched her own marketing company, but the 27-year-old, who once posed in a swimsuit on the cover of Tatler, is settling down.

For I can reveal she has been swept off her feet by Old Etonian investment banker Ted Morrison, 30 (above) son of interior designer Penny Morrison and fine art dealer Guy Morrison.

‘She’s already met his mother, who adores her,’ says a friend. ‘Violet thinks he could be the one.’ The couple have been making the most of London’s re-opening, going cycling through Hyde Park and eating pasta at La Famiglia near Violet’s flat in Chelsea.

The Duke of Rutland’s eldest daughter, Lady Violet Manners (pictured), is overhauling her party girl image. Not only has she launched her own marketing company, but the 27-year-old, who once posed in a swimsuit on the cover of Tatler, is settling down

Lady Bathurst enjoys a second honeymoon 

With the ‘rule of six’ in force, the Earl and Countess of Bathurst are forgoing a silver wedding anniversary party in favour of revisiting their honeymoon haunts.

‘We started off in Bognor Regis,’ says Lady Bathurst, who lives at their Gloucestershire stately pile, Cirencester Park. ‘I remember with great affection the slightly questionable but perfectly comfortable hotel we chose for the first two nights.

‘The proprietor regarded us with suspicion when we signed in as “Lord and Lady Apsley”. It was only the next day, when our wedding appeared in the Daily Mail, that he actually believed us — slightly sheepishly presenting us with a bottle of champagne.

‘We travelled the length and breadth of Britain. I was so excited I almost caused an accident by attempting to drive past a caravan and a huge lorry on a very steep hill. It was the first — and only — time in 25 very happy years that my husband has ever yelled at me.’

Life’s going swimmingly for Mrs Wood

While Ronnie Wood has had a quiet year after the Rolling Stones postponed their tour, his wife, Sally, has been making waves. 

I can reveal the mother of Ronnie’s four-year-old twin girls is producing The Vindication Swim, a new film about Mercedes Gleitze, the first British woman to swim the English Channel. 

Let’s hope it’s a box-office smash and doesn’t sink like, er, a stone.

I can reveal the mother of Ronnie’s four-year-old twin girls is producing The Vindication Swim, a new film about Mercedes Gleitze, the first British woman to swim the English Channel

Tennis champ Maria’s crêpe expectations 

Despite being the birthday girl, there wasn’t a cake in sight for Wimbledon champion Maria Sharapova when she turned 34 this week — at least not the normal kind.

Celebrating at the beach with her fiance, Prince William’s art dealer pal, Alex Gilkes, near their home in LA, the tennis star opted for crêpes instead. ‘Completely overwhelmed and feeling so loved,’ she said of her anniversary, which she ‘signed off with layers of delicate crêpes, Chantilly cream and stubborn candles.’

Maria, whose sweet tooth led her to start her own candy business, says her favourite indulgence is a stack of crêpes covered with Nutella.

Celebrating at the beach with her fiance, Prince William’s art dealer pal, Alex Gilkes, near their home in LA, the tennis star opted for crêpes instead

Mike Tindall came face to face with the Queen long before he first encountered Zara, his future wife. ‘He was 13 when he met the Queen,’ recalls his former maths teacher, Mark Fitzsimons, at Queen Elizabeth Grammar School in Wakefield. ‘It was when the Queen came to visit in 1991 as part of the school’s 400-year celebrations, but I very much doubt he would one day expect to marry her granddaughter.’

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Manchester United would like to sign Bellingham in the summer, not Sancho. Borussia do not intend to sell Jude