SEBASTIAN SHAKESPEARE: Queen is hit by death of second close friend

SEBASTIAN SHAKESPEARE: Queen is hit by the death of a second close friend as Lady Moyra Campbell passes away aged 90

With Windsor Castle and its 5,000-acre Great Park at her disposal, the Queen might seem better placed than most to weather the second lockdown.

But Her Majesty still feels the pain of isolation nevertheless. I can reveal that one of her closest friends has died, with the Queen unable to visit her before the end of her life.

Lady Moyra Campbell, who was 90 when she died on Sunday, was one of the monarch’s six maids of honour at her coronation at Westminster Abbey in 1953. 

The Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II is pictured above, with her good friend Lady Moyra Hamilton pictured far left

Lady Moyra Campbell pictured at her home in London

‘It’s very sad,’ a royal source tells me. ‘Her Majesty kept in touch with all her former maids of honour.’

Lady Moyra’s death, at a nursing home in Belfast, came just seven days after the passing of Lady Elizabeth Anson, who was one of the Queen’s closest confidantes and her cousin.

Known at the time of the coronation as Lady Moyra Hamilton, she was the only daughter of the 4th Duke of Abercorn and a first cousin of Princess Diana’s father, the 8th Earl Spencer.

Lady Moyra Campbell, pictured above in the 1950s, was aged 22 when the Queen chose her to be one of her train bearers 

On the 60th anniversary of the Coronation in 2013, Lady Moyra joined her five fellow maids of honour (File image of Lady Moyra above) 

Lady Moyra was aged 22 when the Queen chose her to be one of her train bearers who carried her six-yard Robe of State. 

On the 60th anniversary of the Coronation in 2013, Lady Moyra joined her five fellow maids of honour, with whom she was still good friends, in recalling what she said was the greatest day of her life for the Radio 4 programme The Reunion.

She said they were touched by the cheering crowds along the route. Race-horse-loving Lady Moyra specially remembered the 6ft 3in Queen of Tonga, who refused a hood and rode through the pouring rain in an open carriage. 

‘She was one of the stars of the day,’ she said. ‘I later called a newborn colt Tonga in her honour, but sadly he wasn’t quite the success she was!’

The BBC may be under fire over its controversial Panorama interview with Princess Diana, but not all of the Corporation’s executives feel the need to skulk in corners. 

Its most senior female executive, Charlotte Moore, appears in an extraordinary photoshoot for a glossy mag introducing ‘The Culture Fixers’. 

Moore, who is the BBC’s ‘chief content officer’, appears draped in a £1,240 Alexander McQueen dress, topped off with £5,000 worth of Tiffany & Co earrings. 

Will it encourage Tim Davie, the jeans and open-necked shirt attired director-general, who beat Ms Moore to the top job, to add a little glamour to his wardrobe? 

Oops! Shirley is out of step

Strictly head judge Shirley Ballas is an outspoken critic of how contestants move. But in real life she’s less than perfect when it comes to coordination — and it annoys her toyboy lover, Daniel Taylor, 48.

‘When I’m out and about with Danny, I’m forever tripping over and he says: ‘Please, Shirley, you have conned the country that you have balance,’ ‘ laughs Ballas, 60. 

‘I always have my left arm in his, holding on for balance. Danny and I always find it an absolute hoot.’

The former ballroom champion adds: ‘I usually pride myself on my coordination but I have issues. I’m always dropping dishes and glasses. It is very embarrassing. I’m a little bit cloppity-clop.’

Strictly head judge Shirley Ballas is an outspoken critic of how contestants move

Carole’s Zoom family Xmas

Carole Middleton has spoken of her sadness at being separated from her grandchildren during lockdown. The Duchess of Cambridge’s mother is grandma to Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis, as well as Pippa’s son, Arthur.

‘We may not be able to get together but, after a year like 2020, we need to remember what’s important this Christmas,’ Carole says. ‘For me, what really matters is that my family feels connected.

‘I normally let my grandchildren help me decorate the tree. This year, I’ll ask them by video call to decide which decoration should go where. It may need to be tastefully rearranged later.’

Carole Middleton has spoken of her sadness at being separated from her grandchildren during lockdown

Victoria is disconnected

Only Connect host Victoria Coren Mitchell is furious that Nigella Lawson has come between her and Jeremy Paxman. Coren Mitchell’s TV quiz has been moved to 7.30pm on Mondays to accommodate Nigella’s new cookery show, which now precedes Paxo’s University Challenge.

‘I don’t know why BBC Two does this sort of thing, but, historically, when we get moved around, half our audience end up missing it,’ she complains.

Victoria insists she doesn’t blame the domestic goddess herself.

‘This is not about Nigella’s show being in ‘the Only Connect slot’,’ she adds, diplomatically. ‘It’s not her fault — she would normally be at 8.30. This is just schedulers’ playtime.’

She’s a friend of George Clooney, but Mariella Frostrup doesn’t seem to have made such a big impression on other Hollywood stars. 

Recalling how she saw Harrison Ford at a cafe in Kensington, London, the broadcaster says: ‘I went: ‘Hi, how are you?’, and then I thought: ‘Oh, my God, it’s Harrison Ford.’ He went: ‘Hi’, but he probably thought: ‘Oh, yeah, might have on a bad night . . .’ 

Whoops! Harry’s in a new publicity blunder

Prince Harry and Meghan were banned from using their HRH titles when they quit royal duties, but they seem to be in no hurry to let people know.

Harry takes part in a comedy event next week to raise money for U.S. military veterans. And on the Stand Up For Heroes website, he is advertised as ‘HRH Prince Harry, the Duke of Sussex’. It’s another PR gaffe after taking a cameraman to capture the couple laying a remembrance wreath.

Hard-living Keith Richards has learned another meaning of the word ‘weed’. 

The Rolling Stones guitarist is using lockdown to tend his plot in West Sussex. ‘I saw the garden grow, really quite unbelievable,’ he says. 

‘I spent the whole summer admiring the garden and also doing a bit of gardening myself; watering the veggies and the stuff. I got into a more normal way of life, which is un-normal.’ 

Clearly, a Rolling Stone who gathers no moss.

Hirst not so smart with his phone

Dining outside Scott’s in Mayfair is de rigueur if you’re famous — it was, of course, where Charles Saatchi was pictured with his hand around the neck of his then wife, Nigella Lawson.

But for the world’s richest artist, Damien Hirst, the restaurant table came at an unfortunate cost. 

The Turner Prize winner, 55, reveals he was the victim of a theft while enjoying an alfresco lunch with his girlfriend, former dancer Sophie Cannell, 26.

Hirst, who visited just before the new lockdown, has shared an image of the suspect, captured on CCTV: ‘My phone got nicked off the table at Scott’s by this young kid.

‘He pretended to be begging and showing me a bit of paper while he swiped my phone. I feel like a d***. Food was good, though.’ Hirst, who is worth £200 million, adds: ‘Glad it wasn’t my wallet!’   

Targeted: Damien and Sophie were enjoying an alfresco lunch

CCTV footage of the suspect

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