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They have, between them, starred in milk commercials on Chinese TV, notched up sponsorship deals with the likes of Land Rover and Rolex, and appeared on I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here!.
But there is, I can reveal, a more startling demonstration of how conclusively Zara and Mike Tindall – and Zara’s brother, Peter Phillips – have bidden farewell to royal convention.
Unlike the late Queen Elizabeth, or indeed the Duke of York – son of George III, that is, rather than the current holder of that title – and generations of the Royal Family, all of whom have entrusted their legal affairs to eminent London solicitors, Farrer & Co, the trio have endorsed a Chester law firm founded just 11 years ago by Mark Manley.
Their glowing tribute is inescapably displayed on the home page of the firm’s website. ‘We have always appreciated Mark’s knowledge and expertise,’ say the trio, ‘and most importantly the honest advice and guidance from Manleys’.
It’s quite a coup for Manley, a splendidly robust character who has recalled that, rather than coming from a cossetted Home Counties background, he grew up with adoptive parents – ‘rich in love but very much not rich in cash!’ – in a terrace house in Liverpool.
Mike and Zara Tindall have, between them, starred in milk commercials on Chinese TV, notched up sponsorship deals with the likes of Land Rover and Rolex, and appeared on I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here! (Mike pictured being evicted and being greeted by Zara)
Mike, Zara and her brother Peter Phillips have endorsed a Chester law firm founded just 11 years ago by Mark Manley (pictured)
‘We have always appreciated Mark’s knowledge and expertise,’ say the trio, ‘and most importantly the honest advice and guidance from Manleys’, say Zara and Mike Tindall and Peter Phillips in their endorsement of lawyer Mark Manley
But it’s far from the only tribute on his firm’s website, which is festooned with words of praise from former I’m A Celebrity winner Vicky Pattison, Manchester City player Benjamin Mendy, former soap stars Claire Sweeney and Ricky Whittle – and thrice-married, one-time Atomic Kitten, Kerry Katona.
Zara Tindall and her husband and brother decline to comment on their bond with Manleys – as does the firm.
But there’s no doubting the broad appeal of ‘The Singing Judge’, as Manley says he is affectionately known in piano bars on the Costa Del Sol. He is now, I’m told, acting for businessmen Scott Dylan and Jack Mason, who have acquired Maker&Son, the furniture firm founded by Sir Terence Conran’s son-in-law, Alex Willcock, and his grandson, Felix Conran.
As I disclosed last month, the firm has been subjected to a torrent of complaints from customers claiming to have been left empty-handed despite handing over thousands of pounds.
Willcock told me: ‘It was sold for £1. Shareholders lost all their investment — over £12 million. The board agreed to that deal so as to ensure that all customers would receive the goods they had ordered, that all suppliers would [be paid] and that staff would be able to continue to work. We are utterly devastated to see what has happened.’
Stars come down to Earth with a bump
PICK OF THE PARTIES
THE OCCASION: Launch party for the BBC Earth Experience, narrated by Sir David Attenborough, at The Daikin Centre, in Earl’s Court, West London.
FLEXI-TIME: Strictly Come Dancing star Katya Jones, 33, and her best friend, the former professional snowboarder Aimee Fuller, 31, show off their flexibility by larking around on the green carpet, where they were joined by former Strictly champion Rose Ayling-Ellis, 28. Katya tells me she still keeps in touch with all her former dance partners: ‘It’s not always about how far you go, it’s about the impact you make, the connections you make and the friends you make.’
ROYAL RECYCLING: Princess Beatrice, 34, complied with the eco-friendly dress code — ‘Pre-loved elegance’ — by wearing the Midnight Festival dress by The Vampire’s Wife, which she last wore at the Platinum Jubilee celebrations last year.
GOING WILD: BBC presenter Michaela Strachan, 56, who tried to blend in by sporting a camouflage dress, tells me: ‘I was labelled the soft underbelly of wildlife telly, but I’m happy with that.’
Strictly Come Dancing star Katya Jones (left top), 33, and her best friend, the former professional snowboarder Aimee Fuller (left bottom), 31, show off their flexibility by larking around on the green carpet, where they were joined by former Strictly champion Rose Ayling-Ellis (right), 28
LEFT: BBC presenter Michaela Strachan, 56, tried to blend in by sporting a camouflage dress. RIGHT: Princess Beatrice, 34, complied with the eco-friendly dress code — ‘Pre-loved elegance’ — by wearing the Midnight Festival dress by The Vampire’s Wife, which she last wore at the Platinum Jubilee celebrations last year
Hugh Laurie was at one point the highest-paid actor on U.S. television, earning $400,000 an episode for his role as a misanthropic medical genius in House.
Yet he remains exasperatingly low in confidence, says his friend, the Blackadder producer John Lloyd.
‘Jo Laurie, Hugh’s wife, always says @the thing about Hugh…@, who’s so talented, so good-looking and so in every way marvellous, @…is he thinks he’s A) ugly, B) talentless, and C) short.@ It’s hopeless.’
It was the building project that upset his next-door neighbour, the distinguished theatre director Michael Attenborough, so let’s hope it was worth it.
Former children’s TV presenter Jamie Theakston has put the new-build home he constructed in his back garden in West London on the market for £3.2 million. The impressive Victorian-style property has five bedrooms and three bathrooms.
It was built despite opposition from neighbours, who described the development — in a conservation area — as a ‘tragedy’ and an act of ‘cultural vandalism’.
Jane Seymour’s trick to look young
Jane Seymour attends a gala at her Malibu, California Estate in April last year
How does former Bond girl Jane Seymour manage to look so youthful on screen at the age of 72?
Apparently, it’s all down to a lighting technique she’s developed which the Hollywood star refers to as ‘Jane’s igloo’.
‘Nobody else needs one because they’re under 30,’ she explains. ‘Basically, the minute you take the top light off me I don’t have bags under my eyes.
‘If you have top light, my eyes become very baggy. So, I need something straight at me.’
Speaking to Definition magazine, the London-born actress, well remembered for her role as Solitaire in 007 film Live And Let Die, adds: ‘Mercifully, I can take a lot of light.’
Donna Air was counting her blessings at the premiere of Never Forget Tibet: The Dalai Lama’s Untold Story, after she fractured her spine in two places just before Christmas, leaving her bed-bound and in a neck brace.
‘I feel very blessed and very lucky to have made a full recovery,’ the actress, 43, tells me at the event at Everyman Borough Yards in London.
‘It was very debilitating, but I did a lot of reading and a lot of walking.
‘It was quite a different pace of life for me. It was a reminder to myself to cling to the things that really matter.’
A former girlfriend of the Princess of Wales’s brother, James Middleton, Donna has a daughter with casino and wildlife park owner Damian Aspinall.
King’s school ‘was like Lord Of The Flies’
Queen Elizabeth II and Charles at his alma mater, Gordonstoun School in July 1967
King Charles’s alma mater, Gordonstoun, gets a drubbing from fellow alumnus William Boyd, who was there at the same time.
‘I was at Gordonstoun for nearly ten years and it began to chafe at me as I got older,’ says the acclaimed author of novels including Any Human Heart.
‘I felt I was missing out on life.
‘It was a sort of secret society: there’s the public life of the school, where everything seems normal and proper and well regulated — and the private life of the school, which was very Lord Of The Flies.
‘Looking back on it, I see how badly educated I was.’
The King, who is said to have described the boarding school in Moray, Scotland, as ‘Colditz in kilts’, sent Princes William and Harry to Eton instead.