Belfast Telegraph

Lindy McDowell: The Royal Family may have modernised, but Charles and Philip still bear grudges over past toe-curling misdemeanours

By Lindy McDowell

With the countdown now on to this year's big Windsor wedding, no surprise to learn that those age-old, familiar Royal Family traditions are being adhered to...

The bride always wears white. The happy couple always travel by coach.

And there's always a 'snub' to Sarah, Duchess of York...

On this occasion the snub to Fergie is nowhere near as comprehensive as it has been for previous celebrations.

To the wedding of William and Kate, for example, she wasn't even invited. This time she has at least, got a partial invite.

There remains, however, a fly in the ointment of familial forgiveness. Or in this instance two flies.

Prince Charles and the Duke of Edinburgh.

The latter, first. The elderly Duke holds a long-term grudge against Her Fergieness dating way back to her toe-curling, toe-sucking escapades with a one-time 'financial adviser'.

And perhaps, as the family patriarch, his distaste for Fergie's undoubted lack of discretion could be regarded as understandable.

Prince Charles, though, has surely little room to talk, given his own chequered past.

Time to show a bit of generosity of spirit, Charles?

Apparently not.

According to reports, while Fergie has been invited to Harry and Meghan's wedding service and to the follow-up reception, she has not been invited to another 'exclusive' evening do which Chas is hosting for 250 of his closest friends.

A royal insider 'explains' the problem: "Numbers are limited to the evening party, she is not a member of the Royal Family any more and Prince Charles simply doesn't have time for her."

Come on. Surely 251 guests, as opposed to 250, wouldn't overburden the run on sausage rolls. And of those invitees, only a small number are other royals.

Obviously the real issue is that Charles can't stand Fergie. And Charles is too grand to make concessions in the interests of the feelings of others.

According to the same insider: "He just can't see why she is still such a big part of his brother's life."

Whether he can or not, the fact is that, well, she is.

And obviously a big part too of the lives of his nieces Beatrice and Eugenie. And indeed, it seems, of Prince Harry's life since it was Harry who insisted Fergie be on his wedding guest list.

Which brings us to another telling point. At least Fergie got on to Harry's guest list.

For excluded from it are bride-to-be Meghan's brother and sister who, because they don't have the same mother as her, are routinely referred to as her half-brother and half-sister.

They haven't even been half-invited.

Some might say the pair have brought this on themselves. Among other things they've called their soon-to-be-royal relative, a phoney, pushy and a social climber.

Still. Might it not have been an idea to invite them anyway?

If only because it might be better to have them inside the wedding marquee peeing outside...

Overall, I doubt very much if people still look to the Royal Family as an example of how they should lead their own lives. I doubt very much if they ever really did.

But the world has changed, even since the early years of the Queen's life when, first her uncle had to give up the throne because he was in love with an American divorcee, and then when her sister had to break off her relationship with a man who'd previously been married.

The world has changed and the Royal Family now reflects that.

But it also, sadly, still appears to retain an unbending, outdated determination to snub those who are out of favour.

Which granted, may make for a more relaxed atmosphere for Chas over the late night canapes.

But is really not such a good look for a royal 'firm' today, hoping to look relevant and open-minded and open-hearted.

Will funding roadblock halt marathon?

This year's Belfast Marathon was touched by tragedy. But how sad it would be if, due to policing costs, this would be the last one.

The marathon's organising committee chairman, the great David Seaton - just one of a number of people who've worked tirelessly down the years behind the scenes, warns that this is now a real possibility.

Surely a solution can be found for an event that brings so many people together, promotes a healthy lifestyle and raises many thousands for charities.

Jo's sweet smell of success very costly

Perfume maker and scented candle queen Jo Malone has described how, when she cleans out her teenage son's bedroom, she sprays it with smelly stuff from her own bestselling range.

She has, of course, a business to promote, but I can't see such extravagance catching on out here in the real world.

Not that some of us haven't ourselves had call to douse a teenage son's bedroom in scented spray.

The big difference being, however, that Febreze doesn't come in Oud and Bergamot. Or Pomegranate Noir.

Belfast Telegraph

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