His critics would have hoped that, after resigning as chief executive of The Prince’s Foundation amid the so-called ‘cash for honours’ affair, Michael Fawcett would retire from commercial activity.
But Fawcett, 60, who began his career in royal service as a Buckingham Palace footman, is made of sterner stuff. I can reveal that, far from shutting up shop, he and his wife, Debbie — a former Palace housemaid — are intent on maintaining, and expanding, their hospitality business.
‘They’ll make it through this challenging time. They’ve got to — financially speaking,’ I’m told by a guest who attended parties which Fawcett orchestrated and oversaw as the then Prince Charles’s right-hand man.
‘All the events I’ve been to that Michael Fawcett has organised have been immaculate,’ adds my informant. ‘His attention to detail is second to none. Beautifully organised. That was why the King, as Prince of Wales, used him.’
Buoyed by this support, the Fawcetts have resisted trimming back staff numbers at Premier Mode, the events company they established 16 years ago. Although the firm suffered when Fawcett resigned from The Prince’s Foundation last year, it is still worth £80,000 — even after allowing for payment of bills totalling nearly £126,000, according to figures just published at Companies House.
There has been just one change in the company’s set-up: the couple’s son, Oliver, 26, who, like his sister Emily, 28, became a director in 2018, has stepped down. But it remains a family affair, with Fawcett its majority shareholder.
Fawcett’s position as Charles’s aide had become untenable following claims he had offered to try to secure a knighthood and British citizenship for Saudi tycoon Mahfouz Marei Mubarak bin Mahfouz, who ultimately donated more than £1.5 million to royal charities including The Prince’s Foundation.
Separate turkeys for the Jaggers?
It was very much a case of Paint It Black for two of the women in Sir Mick Jagger’s life. The Rolling Stone’s ex-wife Bianca and their only daughter, Jade, both wore dark outfits for a party to celebrate the latter’s jewellery range at The Savoy hotel in London.
Fashion model turned human rights activist Bianca, 77, opted for a long black leather trenchcoat, while 51-year-old designer Jade kept it simple in a little black dress which she paired with some of her best bling.
It remains to be seen whether the pair will spend Christmas together, with Bianca telling me: ‘Hopefully I’ll see my daughter, but I normally spend Christmas in London with friends.’
Aristocratic TV chef Gizzi Erskine’s departure seems to have led to the closure of the restaurant she co-founded last year with Libertines musician Carl Barat in Margate, Kent.
She quit in July as executive chef of the Love Cafe, explaining that it was evolving into something she ‘wasn’t entirely happy with’.
The venue, which opened with the promise of being a ‘sandwich bar on steroids’ is now ‘permanently closed’ and back on the rental market.
Harry hits jarring note for comic Frank
Prince Harry poses with a guitar in a trailer for his reality show with Meghan (pictured), but Frank Skinner is unconvinced.
‘The chord he’s playing is one I’ve never seen before,’ the comedian says. ‘So Buzz, my son, who’s ten, said: ‘Hold on a minute…’.
‘He got our guitar and we froze the frame and he hit the chord. It was the ugliest sound.’
Skinner adds: ‘I wonder if maybe Harry is trying to represent the discord they endured at the Palace? But I think more likely he was trying to pretend he could play guitar in a strange Owl And The Pussy-Cat sort of way.’
Mum’s the word, says Duchess
Prince Andrew daren’t show his face in polite company these days, but the rest of his family are having fun.
His daughter Princess Beatrice cuddled his ex-wife, Sarah, Duchess of York (pictured) at a festive event at Claridge’s hotel in Mayfair. They were at the Lady Garden Gala, in aid of the gynaecological health charity.
Fergie, 63, who still shares Royal Lodge, Windsor, with the Duke of York, says she’s proud of how Beatrice, 34, and her sister, Princess Eugenie, 32, have handled motherhood. ‘They were great children, but now they’re phenomenal mothers,’ she says.
Marjorie Wallace, founder of mental health charity SANE, was in a confessional mood this week at a special screening in London’s Courthouse Hotel of The Silent Twins — a film based on her book about the true and desperate story of June and Jennifer Gibbons (in cinemas tomorrow).
‘What’s a Sunday afternoon treat? Going to visit the twins in Broadmoor,’ she says. ‘It wasn’t the favourite expedition for my family.’
It wasn’t made any easier, Wallace tells me, when Broadmoor staff repeatedly mistook her for someone visiting another inmate — the Yorkshire Ripper.
‘They always thought that I was Peter Sutcliffe’s wife, Sonia,’ Wallace explains.
We all know he’s a master baker, but Paul Hollywood, 56, is also a secret genius. ‘I did a Mensa test when I left school,’ The Great British Bake Off judge says. ‘I was in the top two per cent. That’s weird. In school, I ended up with one O-level, which was art. And that was it.’ Nevertheless, he still managed to make plenty of dough.