EDEN CONFIDENTIAL: Labour grandee Dame Margaret Beckett reveals why she took Prince Philip to task

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EDEN CONFIDENTIAL: Labour grandee Dame Margaret Beckett reveals why she took Prince Philip to task

Sir Keir Starmer, who 'often used to propose the abolition of the Monarchy', insists he is no longer a republican. Yet Labour grandee Dame Margaret Be

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Sir Keir Starmer, who ‘often used to propose the abolition of the Monarchy’, insists he is no longer a republican. Yet Labour grandee Dame Margaret Beckett has shed fascinating new light on her party’s relationship with the Royal Family.

The MP, 80, who led the party for two months after the death of John Smith in 1994, reveals that she once took Prince Philip ‘to task’ after he allegedly made a comment about the unemployed to which she objected.

Asked if the royals were wary of Labour, Beckett pauses for five seconds before replying ‘No…Actually, I did get the impression that your relationship with the Queen might be easier than [with] some other members of the family.’

Dame Margaret discloses: ‘I seem to remember taking him [the Duke of Edinburgh] to task about his attitude to the unemployed.’

Referring to her father, she says he ‘came back from the war with destroyed health, he was always unemployed, not through any issue of his. The Duke must have said something about the unemployed. I don’t remember what I said, but I do remember thinking, ‘This is probably not how you should speak to the Duke of Edinburgh’, but I did.’

Royal disagreement: The late Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip arrive at Riga International Airport in 2006 with Margaret Beckett

Royal disagreement: The late Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip arrive at Riga International Airport in 2006 with Margaret Beckett

Royal disagreement: The late Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip arrive at Riga International Airport in 2006 with Margaret Beckett

Relationship: The Labour MP (pictured) had extensive dealings with members of the Royal Family during her 45 years in Parliament

Relationship: The Labour MP (pictured) had extensive dealings with members of the Royal Family during her 45 years in Parliament

Relationship: The Labour MP (pictured) had extensive dealings with members of the Royal Family during her 45 years in Parliament

Party: She made history as Britain’s first female foreign secretary and the first woman to be Labour leader

Party: She made history as Britain’s first female foreign secretary and the first woman to be Labour leader

Party: She made history as Britain’s first female foreign secretary and the first woman to be Labour leader

The Labour MP, who was speaking at the recording of Matt Forde’s Political Party Podcast at the Duchess Theatre in London’s West End, had extensive dealings with members of the Royal Family during her 45 years in Parliament. She made history as Britain’s first female foreign secretary and the first woman to be Labour leader (albeit only interim).

By convention, politicians are not to meant to discuss private conversations with members of the Royal Family. However, David Cameron had to apologise to Queen Elizabeth after he spoke publicly about her joy at Scotland’s decision to vote against independence in 2014. He said Her Majesty ‘purred down the line’ after he told her the referendum result.

Boris Johnson was scolded by Downing Street officials after quoting the Queen as having said, ‘I don’t know why anyone would want the job’ [of prime minister], hours after he was sworn in by Her Majesty in 2019.

Duke of York has his day in Court

As Prince Andrew continues to stew over his exile from public duties, he can at least console himself with a very prominent mention in the Court Circular.

‘The King, accompanied by The Queen, the Prince of Wales, The Duke of York . . . held a Chapter of the Most Noble Order of the Garter in the Throne Room, Windsor Castle,’ the official record of the Royal Family’s engagements reads, listing Andrew ahead of Prince Edward and Princess Anne.

Andrew attended the lunch that followed, but was not allowed to join his fellow Companions on their public procession to St George’s Chapel.

If the King is ashamed of Andrew being seen in public in his velvet robe, which he wore at the Coronation, shouldn’t he be stripped of his membership of Britain’s oldest chivalric order?

Who was Macca’s girl in a bikini? 

Mystery: The girl, named only as Diane, is featured in a pic of fellow Beatle George Harrison in 1964 on Miami Beach

Mystery: The girl, named only as Diane, is featured in a pic of fellow Beatle George Harrison in 1964 on Miami Beach

Mystery: The girl, named only as Diane, is featured in a pic of fellow Beatle George Harrison in 1964 on Miami Beach

A secret fling that Sir Paul McCartney had in the U.S behind the back of his then girlfriend, Jane Asher, is recalled in his new book of photos.

The girl, named only as Diane — wearing a yellow bikini but head out of shot — is featured in a pic of fellow Beatle George Harrison in 1964 on Miami Beach. ‘It’s a great memory,’ Macca says. ‘There’s a photo of a girlfriend of mine, which sparks this memory of a date we had. It was all very platonic and very much a holiday fling.’

Rocker Sting stuns fans at Bach concert 

Rock star Sting has more classical tastes when he’s off duty.

The Police singer was spotted in the audience at the Bach festival in Leipzig the other day. Wearing a black T-shirt that showed off his toned biceps, Sting, 71, was hard to miss in a crowd of stolidly dressed German classical music fans. He heard the Thomanerchor boys’ choir at the city’s Thomaskirche and afterwards inspected and touched the flat, brass-topped grave of the composer.

‘Bach is the greatest,’ Sting remarked. He’s not the first pop musician to notice: Procol Harum’s hit A Whiter Shade Of Pale is partly based on Bach’s Air On A G String.

A fish and chip shop owner was surprised to get a phone order on behalf of billionaire Bill Gates.

‘We got a call telling me they were from Silicon Valley,’ Ozgur Toksoylu, of Oli’s Fish And Chips, in Islington, North London, tells me.

‘I said we don’t serve that far. I thought it was a scam; it turned out to be real.’

Gates then turned up in a driverless car to collect two cod and chips.

Forget Torquay — the new Fawlty Towers will be filmed in the West Indies.

‘We’ll probably set it somewhere like the Caribbean because then we’d have a truly multicultural cast, which is good,’ says John Cleese, who is working on the script with his daughter, Camilla.

‘We can get a lot of fun out of that.’

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