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EPHRAIM HARDCASTLE: Will King Charles attending the Cop28 summit in Dubai next month help to defuse the combustible Middle East?


Will King Charles’s attendance at climate change summit COP28 in Dubai next month help to defuse the combustible Middle East? 

Unlike other leaders, Charles can speak to all sides with confidence and understanding. He has always had good relations with Jordan, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, Qatar and Oman. And he is a friend of Israel. 

His grandmother, Princess Alice, spent the Second World War sheltering Jews in Athens; for this she was accorded honour status by Israel. 

In 2020, the King finally fulfilled a long-wanted official visit to Jerusalem and the Palestinian territories and attended the World Holocaust Forum. Could HM be a peacemaker?

A source at the MCC whispers that the club has renewed its bid to persuade King Charles to become patron at Lord’s. Despite having little interest in the game, the Queen was patron throughout her reign. 

Charles hasn’t followed suit though he once took the wickets of England stars Bill Edrich and Ken Barrington when he played for the RAF in 1971. In 1975, his Lord’s Taverners XI took on an MCC XI and tied. But HM’s interest waned after he married cricket fan Diana. He left it to her.

King Charles speaks with Rishi Sunak, Stella McCartney and US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry during a reception at Buckingham Palace ahead of the Cop27 Summit in 2022

King Charles speaks with Rishi Sunak, Stella McCartney and US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry during a reception at Buckingham Palace ahead of the Cop27 Summit in 2022

King Charles addresses assembled guests at a reception and dinner in honour of the Coronation at Mansion House

King Charles addresses assembled guests at a reception and dinner in honour of the Coronation at Mansion House

Paying tribute to theatre impresario Bill Kenwright, Britt Ekland thanked him for reviving her career by casting her as housekeeper Mrs Pleasant in his 2020 touring production of thriller The Cat And The Canary. 

But Bill was irked when Britt complained about backstage ‘draughts strong enough to fly kites on and buckets required in the dressing room to collect rainwater’. ‘Maybe I should change her cast name to Mrs Unpleasant,’ quipped Bill, who has died aged 78.

My revered colleague Keith Waterhouse, author of Billy Liar, would be tickled by the account by the movie’s star Tom Courtenay in Empire magazine about leaving co-star Julie Christie, pictured in her prime, on the London-bound train. 

‘I get off the train to get some milk,’ recalls Tom. ‘People always say to me, ‘Why the hell didn’t you stay on the train with Julie Christie?’ The script said: ‘Billy doesn’t get on the train.’ So what was I going to do? Get them to change it?’

Succession’s Dame Harriet Walter expresses regret that, at the age of 73, she has left it too late to be a mother. ‘I do feel weird sometimes that I haven’t actually done that thing of giving birth,’ she tells Vogue. ‘Here I am, at the end of my life, and I never did that,’ she says, adding: ‘I punish myself and think, ‘Gosh, am I very selfish because I’ve travelled light-footedly through life?’

Late to the dressing room, Jilly Cooper, who has immersed herself in the game of football for her new blockbuster Tackle!, pays tribute to Sir Bobby Charlton. ‘Heaven is so lucky that sweet, splendid Bobby has moved up there,’ she said, adding: ‘I bet all the angels are angling to play for his new Paradise United team and the Holy Ghost to be his new goalie.’



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