EDEN CONFIDENTIAL: Album of music from Queen's life could be xmas No.1

EDEN CONFIDENTIAL: Music to royal fans’ ears! Album of music commemorating late Queen’s life will vie for Christmas No. 1 spot

How fitting would it be for the Queen to top the charts this Christmas? 

Decca Records is to release HM Queen Elizabeth II — The Commemorative Album, bringing together music from key moments of Her Late Majesty’s life and reign, from her wedding, coronation and jubilees, to the first recording of Sir James MacMillan’s Who Shall Separate Us?, composed for an eight-part choir, which was commissioned for her state funeral.

The double album ends with a rendition of God Save The King — onwards and upwards. Surely Sir Cliff Richard would waive his bid to top the festive chart to allow the nation to express its gratitude to Elizabeth II?

How fitting would it be for the Queen to top the charts this Christmas? Decca Records is to release HM Queen Elizabeth II — The Commemorative Album, bringing together music from key moments of Her Late Majesty’s life and reign

Final curtain for showman who arranged royal jubilees

He claimed to have burned down Moscow ‘more times than Napoleon could ever have imagined’ in his recreations of famous battles.

But the exuberant life of Major Sir Michael Parker — orchestrator of royal pageants and fireworks displays, including the Queen’s Silver and Golden Jubilee celebrations — has reached its final curtain.

The supreme showman died this week, aged 81, bequeathing a treasury of indelible memories — especially for those close to the action when things didn’t go entirely to plan. One such occasion was the lighting of the ‘Queen’s Bonfire’, a chain of beacons stretching the length of Britain, which Parker devised for Her Majesty’s Silver Jubilee in 1977.

The monarch was to light the first beacon using a torch from the 1948 London Olympics. The torch went out before being re-lit and handed to a young boy who, overwhelmed by the occasion, burst into tears. A generator also failed in Windsor Great Park, where thousands had gathered to watch on giant screens, so half the site was plunged into darkness.

‘Your Majesty,’ said Parker, ‘I’m afraid it’s all going terribly wrong.’ ‘Oh good,’ came the reply. ‘What fun!’ Ever after, I’m told by an old friend who served with Parker in the Queen’s Own Hussars, HM greeted him with twinkling eyes and the inquiry: ‘What’s gone wrong this evening?’

Remaining uninhibited, Parker stuck to his own rules. Rule One was: ‘Have a very big idea — then double it’; while Rule Two decreed: ‘If it’s easy to do, it’s not worth doing.’ Rule Seven was invaluable: ‘Always stand as close to the principal guests as possible, so you’ll be the first in with your excuses when things go wrong.’

The rules had evolved during Army service, which culminated in the recreation of the Battle of Trafalgar on a lake in Germany, during which trees on land caught fire, as did aluminium boats which sank. ‘The band continued to play,’ recalled Parker, ‘and frogmen appeared complaining that the water was f***ing HOT!’

Imelda looks rather Peaky!

With her flat cap and long coat, she looks like an extra from the BBC’s Brummie gangster drama Peaky Blinders… but this is Imelda Staunton, who plays Queen Elizabeth in season five of Netflix hit The Crown.


With her flat cap and long coat, she looks like an extra from the BBC’s Brummie gangster drama Peaky Blinders… but this is Imelda Staunton, who plays Queen Elizabeth in season five of Netflix hit The Crown (picture right)

The actress, 66, was spotted out and about in North-West London. Perhaps she wanted to pass unnoticed after her husband, Jim Carter, who plays butler Carson in Downton Abbey, became involved in a public row this week with a girls’ school near their home?

As I disclosed on Wednesday, he formally complained, in colourful terms, about the school’s plan to construct a padel court.

No one will forget his heroics on the athletics track, but Sir Mo Farah admits to being less impressive on the dance floor. 

‘I can’t dance or sing,’ he tells me at the MOBO Awards 25th anniversary in London. 

Sir Mo, 39, says this rules him out of joining Strictly. ‘I’m a joker, so I’d be up for doing more reality TV. It will probably be something crazy but not Strictly.’

No one will forget his heroics on the athletics track, but Sir Mo Farah (pictured at the MOBO Awards) admits to being less impressive on the dance floor

Aniston reunion with a Theroux?

His cousin Justin was divorced from Jennifer Aniston in 2018, but film-maker Louis Theroux hopes the Friends star won’t hold it against him. 

For Louis is desperate for her to appear on his new series of Louis Theroux Interviews.

‘I’d like to have Jennifer on, as the idea for season two is to expand our horizons to America, which will be exciting,’ Louis tells me. 

Previous interviewees include Dame Judi Dench, Stormzy and Rita Ora.

His cousin Justin was divorced from Jennifer Aniston (pictured) in 2018, but film-maker Louis Theroux hopes the Friends star won’t hold it against him

Swimwear designer Melissa Odabash boasts that she has an embarrassment of riches when it comes to royal customers.

The Princess of Wales is known to be a fan of her creations, and she’s not the only one. 

‘All the royals seem to like my swimwear,’ the 58-year-old model turned designer tells me at the opening night of A Gatsby Christmas at the London Cabaret Club at Victoria House in Bloomsbury.

‘It’s the other royal families, too. In Sweden, Norway, almost everywhere, all of the royal families seem to love my designs.’

Odabash was hired by the Princess of Wales’s sister, Pippa, to design a bridal bikini for her honeymoon.

Izzard’s school hypocrisy

Don’t expect Eddie Izzard’s old school to applaud her campaign to become Labour’s candidate for the safe seat of Sheffield Central at the next general election.

The comedian, 60, who is on the shortlist, attended Eastbourne College, where fees are £40,530 per year, yet Labour’s policy is to scrap private schools’ exemption from VAT. This would add 20 per cent, or more than £8,000, to the cost for pupils wanting to follow in Izzard’s footsteps. 

Don’t expect Eddie Izzard’s old school to applaud her campaign to become Labour’s candidate for the safe seat of Sheffield Central at the next general election

‘She loves coming down here to visit,’ one staff member tells me. ‘She is here every few weeks giving workshops to the drama pupils, yet she’s in favour of Labour’s policy to make it unaffordable for many parents to send their children here.

‘It is so hypocritical of her wanting to deprive children of the great education she had. After all, this is where she learned to act and discovered her gift for comedy.’

Baronet’s daughter Violet Naylor-Leyland has revealed that she used her powers of persuasion to get society milliner Victoria Grant to pose in the nude for her new book.

Speaking at Hatchards’ Christmas authors’ night in Piccadilly, London, the fashion stylist tells me: ‘I was so honoured when she agreed to be pictured naked on the stairs of her home wearing just a hat.’

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