WELL, well, well. It seems that one of the world’s most famous fugitives – Ghislaine Maxwell – has been found living at, er, her own house.
Yep. After at least a year of Where’s Wally-style intrigue as to her whereabouts, the British socialite was found living the quiet life in a cheeky twist on the classic Dunroamin retirement cottage — a Hansel and Gretelish gaff surrounded by woodland and called Tuckedaway.
The nearest town is Bradford, New Hampshire, in the US, where the 1,600 residents were seemingly oblivious to the presence of the woman described as paedophile Jeffrey Epstein’s “fixer” and who now stands accused of sex-trafficking offences herself.
And while locals were presumably using lockdown to clean out their kitchen cupboards and colour-code their wardrobe, it seems that “Ghee-lan” might have been alphabetising the copies of Epstein’s sex tapes she’s reportedly “squirrelled away” as collateral should the proverbial ordure hit the fan.
One source says: “If Ghislaine goes down, she’s going to take the whole damn lot of them with her.”
Whatever Ms Maxwell plans to do or say, one suspects that Brooklyn’s “grim” Metropolitan Detention Center, where she’s currently being held, is probably the safest place for her to be.
Because, let’s face it, the mere suggestion of her singing like a canary will be enough to cause a few sleepless nights in the McMansions of certain super-rich men who enjoyed Epstein’s hospitality over the years.
Not to mention our very own Prince Andrew who, despite being at “Pizza Express in Woking”, already looked like a worried soul when he crossed the Atlantic to, ahem, officially end his friendship with the man he claims he wasn’t close friends with.
He can make no such claim about former friend Ghislaine, who, if various embarrassing photos are anything to go by, enjoyed a very close friendship with The Queen’s second son and brought all manner of questionable types in to his orbit.
The photo of her, Harvey Weinstein and Jeffrey Epstein at Princess Beatrice’s 18th birthday party is awkward enough for the monarchy.
But this week the embarrassment levels soared with a newly revealed image of her and disgraced actor Kevin Spacey sitting on The Queen and Prince Philip’s thrones at Buckingham Palace while doing a royal wave. Oh dear.
Whatever the outcome of the FBI’s ongoing efforts to talk to Prince Andrew about his dealings with Epstein, this tawdry scandal highlights the perils of being a prince without portfolio.
Andrew was often seen as a “royal for sale” in super-rich circles where the questionable behaviour of certain acquaintances has now dragged the monarchy in to their mud.
It must surely prove a red flag for that other prince without portfolio — Harry — who, along with wife Meghan — has just signed up for a US speaking agency that, post-pandemic, will see them rubbing shoulders with those who can afford the big bucks ticket price.
They will need eyes in the back of their heads not to find themselves posing alongside someone who might ultimately jump up and bite them.
Meanwhile, given their regular and highly public bleatings about wanting privacy, might their search for the perfect house finally be over?
I hear there’s a great little place called Tuckedaway that might soon be back on the market.
SINGER August Alsina claims he had an affair with Jada Pinkett Smith and that her husband Will gave them his blessing.
The couple deny it, but in the past, Will has admitted their marriage vows didn’t include the “forsaking all others” bit because: “You don’t avoid what’s natural. You’re going to be attracted to people.”
According to August, the couple have now transformed from marriage to “life partnership” which, if his claims are true, clearly means they can sleep with other people.
So why don’t they just do a Gwynnie and Chris and consciously uncouple before consciously recoupling with someone else? The mind boggles.
August says of the Smiths: “I love those people literally like my family.”
Hmmm. Something tells me the feeling might not be mutual.
A FRIEND whose wedding is scheduled for October is currently in turmoil over whether to postpone it because of the 30-guest rule.
A tough decision that will involve weeks of reorganisation and significant financial loss.
And one made all the more galling by the sight of the hundreds of cheek-by-jowl revellers crammed in to London’s Soho on Saturday night with seemingly little concern or consequence from the authorities.
If pubs can be packed full of people, then why can’t weddings?
Actor Idris Elba says his parents brought him up to think that if he wanted success, “you have to be twice as good as the white man”.
Join the club, Idris mate.
It’s the mantra that most women over the age of 40 have grown up with too.
DURING the recent heatwave, I went online to buy a paddling pool.
The sun hasn’t made an appearance since.
So the only one showing an inclination to go in is the dog – which means that by the time the weather improves (if at all) his claws will no doubt have popped it anyway.
BERNIE ECCLESTONE has welcomed his fourth child – and first son – at the age of 89.
He’s even suggested that he and wife Fabiana, 44, might try for another.
“I want to be around for as long as possible,” says the former Formula One boss.
While one can only admire such a gung-ho attitude from someone on the threshold of becoming a nonagen- arian, what really goes through his mind when he stares into the windows of his baby’s pure, currently undamaged, soul?
There are no guarantees in life, of course, but being a parent makes us acutely aware of our own fallibility and the intense responsibility of sticking around for the milestone moments.
It was certainly something I thought long and hard about before trying for a baby in my early forties.
I did the maths – 46 when they start primary, 53 when they start secondary, 60 on their 18th and goodness knows how old when they have children of their own.
Sadly, whichever way you slice and dice it, Bernie’s maths won’t take him much past the primary school stage.
BOOKING a holiday at the moment is akin to gambling.
Every year we cross the Channel to stay with a friend (you never know how many friends you’ve got until you buy a house in France) but the daft quarantine rules meant we held off from booking a flight.
Then, when it was rumoured that an “air bridge” might be forthcoming, I decided to take a punt and book anyway – a risk that paid off when, one week later, France was named as one of the destinations where quarantine measures no longer apply.
Phew. However, the hire car that cost us £340 for a fortnight last year is now coming up as £515.
With that and the reported “covid tax” being applied by certain bars and restaurants, it’s going to be an expensive summer for anyone venturing to foreign climes.
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