Jonathan Aitken’s improbable life has already seen him survive tuberculosis in childhood, a seven-month jail stretch and, most recently, an attempted assault on him at HMP Pentonville while he was on duty as an unpaid prison chaplain.
But now, I can reveal, the former Cabinet minister has shrugged off his closest brush with death to date — a heart attack induced by the coronavirus.
During the second phase of the illness, he went to hospital for gastric tests, only to be told he should also have an electrocardiogram, or ECG, test.
Aitken was shocked. He had felt no chest pain and was walking three or four miles a day in the park. But he returned for more tests and was told there was ‘no doubt’ that he was a Covid-19 heart attack victim
Aitken, 77, thought nothing of it until about a week ago.
‘Suddenly, I got rung up by a cardiologist,’ he tells me. ‘He said: ‘I’m sorry to have to tell you, but we’ve discovered, by looking at your tests, you’ve had a heart attack.’ ‘
Aitken was shocked. He had felt no chest pain and was walking three or four miles a day in the park. But he returned for more tests and was told there was ‘no doubt’ that he was a Covid-19 heart attack victim.
‘They explained they are discovering that the virus can cause blood clotting leading to coronaries, and said: ‘We have had four cases here at this hospital. You’re the fourth.’
‘I asked what happened to the other three. Long pause before the answer: ‘I’m afraid they died.’ ‘
Jonathan Aitken’s improbable life has already seen him survive tuberculosis in childhood, a seven-month jail stretch and, most recently, an attempted assault on him at HMP Pentonville (above) while he was on duty as an unpaid prison chaplain
After learning there was no treatment, apart from an adjustment to the blood-thinning pills he was already taking, Aitken returned to work.
He had a sad duty to perform at Putney Vale Crematorium, in South-West London — officiating at the funeral of his wife Elizabeth’s brother, Lord Ogmore.
‘I preached the address,’ continues Aitken, adding that the peer’s sons, Tudor and Dylan, spoke in memory of their father.
Their cousins, Damian Harris, Jared Harris and Jamie Harris — Elizabeth Aitken’s sons by her marriage to the legendary late actor Richard Harris — attended remotely.
‘It was Zoomed or streamed to people all over the world, including Elizabeth’s sons in California,’ explains Aitken.
‘So, even though only ten people are currently allowed at a funeral, it was quite a family occasion.’
The smart set’s talking about…
Sean Connery’s glamorous granddaughter
She’s the granddaughter of the original James Bond, Sir Sean Connery. And with her jet-set lifestyle, exotic holidays and sizzling romance, Saskia Connery appears to be emulating 007.
During lockdown, the 24-year-old has been sunning in the Bahamas with her boyfriend Philip Muhr, 32, a scion of the Austro-American Muhr banking dynasty.
Budding bikini designer Connery — whose label, Saskia Gabriella, will, she hopes, ‘make all women feel beautiful’ — is the daughter of Stephane, son of Sir Sean’s wife, French painter Micheline Roquebrune.
She splits her time between the West Indies and America, where she went to school, and often shares pictures online of her travels to cities including London and Paris, where she studied at the American University.
She says of her boyfriend: ‘We have been together for two years and are very happy.’
She’s the granddaughter of the original James Bond, Sir Sean Connery. And with her jet-set lifestyle, exotic holidays and sizzling romance, Saskia Connery appears to be emulating 007
It seemed a marriage made in gastronomic heaven when superstar chef Nathan Outlaw opened his new London restaurant, Siren, last year amid the regal comfort of the Queen’s favourite hotel, The Goring, as part of a £4 million refurbishment.
Alas, the partnership has fallen victim to the pandemic, I can disclose. ‘Very sadly, we will not be able to reopen Siren,’ laments owner Jeremy Goring, explaining the hotel will have to ‘operate differently’ when lockdown finally ends.
Admirers, including the Duchess of Cambridge, will now have to make the pilgrimage to the chef’s two-Michelin-star Restaurant Nathan Outlaw in Cornwall — where the set menu is £145-a-head. Plus petrol.
How Cara turns up in the strangest of places
Being related to one of the world’s most famous models has its amusing moments, reveals actress Poppy Delevingne
Being related to one of the world’s most famous models has its amusing moments, reveals actress Poppy Delevingne.
Poppy (right), whose sister is catwalk queen Cara (far right), discloses: ‘I’ll be doing something and a fan will go, ‘Look!’ and show me Cara’s face tattooed on their breasts or shoulders.
‘They’ll be like: ‘You have to autograph it.’ And I’ll be frantically signing a picture of my little sister’s face on someone’s boob. That’s always quite strange.’
This crisis hasn’t been bad for everyone. Pippa Middleton’s brother-in-law, Spencer Matthews, is toasting the success of his low-alcohol business, The Clean Liquor Co.
‘We saw a 700 per cent increase in clean gin sales from March to April,’ the former Made In Chelsea star boasts. ‘When lockdown began, a lot of people drank to excess to mask the stress of uncertainty.’
Eton-educated Matthews adds: ‘I would never wish the virus on anyone, but for business, actually, it’s been interesting. For us, it’s worked really well.’
Another nightmare trial for the Duchess
Just when Sarah, Duchess of York could do with some good news, ITV is planning to screen a documentary that will bring back the worst kind of memories for her.
I hear that Fiona Bruce is lined up to present a programme about Fergie’s former dresser, Jane Andrews (pictured with the duchess), who killed her boyfriend, the banker Thomas Cressman, at their home in Fulham after he refused to marry her.
It will be shown in September to mark the 20th anniversary of Cressman’s murder.Some of Cressman’s friends are appalled.
‘I refused to take part,’ says royal pal Basia Briggs, who generously agreed to let Andrews stay at her Chelsea home during the murder trial.
‘Why do they have to keep dredging it all up again? I’ve had no contact with Jane in 20 years and I think she should be left alone.’
Andrews was released from prison last summer, and Basia adds: ‘She’s served her time and I hope she makes a success of the rest of her life.’
I hear that Fiona Bruce is lined up to present a programme about Fergie’s former dresser, Jane Andrews (pictured with the duchess), who killed her boyfriend, the banker Thomas Cressman, at their home in Fulham after he refused to marry her
Baby boy carries on Lucky Lucan name
Lord Lucan was allegedly spotted in Australia in January. So, if anyone happens to bump into the fugitive peer, do let him know he’s become a grandfather. And his heir has been named after him.
I can reveal that the wife of his son, 52-year-old George, the 8th Earl of Lucan, has given birth to their first son.
The couple have given him the middle name John after ‘Lucky Lucan’, who fled in 1974 having bludgeoned their nanny to death with a length of lead piping.
The baby’s full name is Charles Lars John Bingham. ‘The ‘John’ is after my grandfather and George’s father,’ confirms his Danish-born mother Anne-Sofie, who founded the clothing label Lucan Fashion.
I hear Harry and Meghan have made a super-rich new pal in American billionaire property tycoon Rick Caruso. ‘I was just very impressed by both of them,’ he says.
‘They’re surprisingly down-to-earth. We’re very lucky to have them.’ Intriguingly, Caruso, a Republican, is among the business leaders tasked with reigniting the U.S. economy by Donald Trump — whom Meghan called ‘misogynistic and divisive’ in 2016.
But there was a meeting of minds with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. ‘We talked about their charity work,’ Caruso says.
Harry, who called his foundation for injured ex-servicemen and women Invictus, may be heartened that it’s also the name of Caruso’s 214 ft yacht.
Kirstie Allsopp has revealed how her parents bought a house and were stunned to find a secret safe packed with cash and jewels.
‘It’s extraordinary what people leave behind,’ says Kirstie. ‘My mum found a man who could crack open a safe, and in it was a huge amount of silver and valuable stuff. My father, of course, insisted that it was all returned to the previous owners.’
(Very) modern manners
Seemingly endless engagements have become fashionable. At least, that’s what art dealer and barrister Detmar Blow appears to think.
Four years ago, he proposed to film-maker Martha Fiennes — who accepted and later slipped an ‘unbelievable’ Mogul engagement ring, ‘like a spaceship’, on to her finger with a gasp of pleasure.
But they still have no plans to exchange vows. ‘The engagement status suits,’ says Detmar, whose first wife was the late, inimitable stylist Isabella Blow.
‘There are no plans to change this — we are not unique,’ he tells me, mentioning fashion designer Paul Smith and his partner Pauline Denyer, and Bob Geldof and Jeanne Marine as other couples who have taken a decade or two to tie the knot.
Unlike them, though, Blow has Hilles, the captivating Arts and Crafts house in Gloucestershire built by his grandfather, at his disposal — complete with licence to hold weddings.
Adding to Kate’s agony
Not only is the amiable television presenter struggling to cope with the illness of her husband, Derek Draper, who’s in intensive care with Covid-19, but she’s facing a legal battle with her former agent, Jonathan Shalit
Poor Kate Garraway.
Not only is the amiable television presenter struggling to cope with the illness of her husband, Derek Draper, who’s in intensive care with Covid-19, but she’s facing a legal battle with her former agent, Jonathan Shalit.
I hear that, before Derek fell ill, Shalit’s agency, InterTalent, sent her a string of legal letters claiming she owes him more than £100,000.
‘Kate is terribly upset by this,’ one of her ITV friends tells me.
‘She disputes the claims and does not need this right now.’
Shalit confirms: ‘InterTalent was involved at the start of the year in legal correspondence with Kate negotiating the amount of money she owed the company.’
He adds: ‘As soon as I heard Derek was ill, I wrote to Kate and her lawyers saying that any legal action must be suspended immediately.’
Lockdown has left comedian Sue Perkins and her girlfriend, Naked Attraction host Anna Richardson, in stitches
Lockdown has left comedian Sue Perkins and her girlfriend, Naked Attraction host Anna Richardson, in stitches.
‘Sue and I will knit, crochet or stitch something every day, and we have little Zoom calls with our friends where we’re all doing needlework,’ Anna says.
‘One of my friends is a master crafter, so we’ll sit and learn. It’s like a Fifties union of mothers.
‘I’ve managed to knit a scarf I can sit on! It’s so massive it’s like a blanket — that’s as good as it gets.’
Source: Daily Mail – Articles