The Duke of Sussex celebrated his 36th birthday this week in Santa Barbara and of course there was a party, we think. Back in the bad old days he’d have been pressing the flesh at some snooze of a charity, before thrashing his brother and sister-in-law in a sprint for the cameras and then heading to Bodo’s Schloss. This year, very different.
If the rumours are true, David Foster, the 70-year-old, five-times married Canadian songwriter and producer, was designated party organiser. What you might expect from a Foster party we do not know but we’re guessing the presence of people he has worked with – so Celine Dion and Barbra Streisand and his wife Katharine McPhee, the star of Waitress – and Foster himself is always happy to hit the piano at parties, she says. Great! That’s the tunes sorted. Wills would have laid on Stormzy but this is California, not KP. Everything’s different now.
Watch: What we know about Harry and Meghan's mega deal with Netflix
The guest list, for example. All change. Out go the van Straubenzees, Beatrice and Eugenie, Tom “Skippy” Inskip and the Etonians. Instead we’re fairly sure this was the approved hard-hitters list:
Gloria Steinem – not a big chum of Prince Harry’s, but a scion of the feminist movement, and recently she and the Duchess of Sussex looked nice together in conversation outside the Sussexes’ guest cottage. Or was it their garden room? Either way, Steinem sitting in one of your Adirondack chairs, wearing her signature aviators is now (post-Mrs America, really) like having royalty at your party.
Glennon Doyle – the author of Untamed: Stop Pleasing, Start Living – and her wife Abby Wambach. The Sussexes have said they “adore” mental health guru Doyle and she is to 2020 celebs what the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi was to The Beatles. That good.
Oprah. Needs no introduction. Also local.
Elton John. Because he’s a neighbour and is said to have introduced the Sussexes to their house finder Martyn Lawrence Bullard. Also Elton is the go-to celebrity for square-shouldered support when your life hits turbulence (we draw your attention to Barbara Amiel’s memoir, which mentions that in her darkest hour Elton didn’t just reach out, he took her out to lunch and bought her diamonds). Elton is the godfather of mighty fallens everywhere, and we bet he’s Archie’s godfather too.
Martyn Lawrence Bullard. He may do the house.
Ted Sarandos or someone very high up in Netflix.
Someone very high up in Disney.
Serena Williams. Meghan’s bezzie.
James and Julia Corden. James for authentic British larks (but no fake breasts and dogging jokes this year, no crisps, no nitrous oxide, no shots, no dried ice and no getting naked) and Julia also happens to be Vicky Charles’s business partner.
Vicky Charles, the interior designer of Frogmore Cottage and hotly tipped to be doing up the new place if the job doesn’t go to MLB.
The Clooneys. They may have come. But they’re probably at Lake Como and George hates the jet lag.
Quite a party.
Is it just me...
Who is mesmerised by the Sasha Swire diaries for all the obvious reasons? Will anyone mentioned in them speak to her again? Will anyone, anywhere, trust her again? How can you repeat things that happened in private and not see it as a betrayal? Did she really think DC would not mind the world knowing he constantly talks about sex, and once announced on a walk that her scent was making him long to push her into a bush and “give her one”? There’s all that, but the bigger question is what was the scent she was wearing? Think we all need to know that.
Is it OK to…
Be perplexed by this picture of Dominic Cummings heading into Downing Street? You will notice that for once he’s wearing a suit, but somehow looks messier than he does in his usual shorts and T-shirt. What he looks like is a student who has been dragged by his parents to some stuffy adult function. (Make sure you wear a suit!) And having failed to remember a shirt, he’s borrowed one of his dad’s. By the time the parents have noticed it’s a too-big double cuffer, requiring cufflinks, it’s too late. That’s what he looks like, a trapped boy.