INTRODUCING the Artist Formerly Known As Prince Harry . . .
Thirteen months after flouncing out of Britain, trading the Royal Family for a showbiz one, Harry Windsor has made his first solo celebrity appearance.
While the rest of us braced ourselves against sleet, snow and generally more midwinter misery, the podcaster was snapped lapping up the sunshine alongside A-list pal, James Corden.
Granted, he was aboard an open-top bus. But this wasn’t the chewing gum-floored C39 bus out of Widnes. Oh no. This was a jazz-hands Hollywood bus.
Harry’s signing to The Late Late Show says everything we need to know about the man he is becoming.
Upon stepping back from his senior royal duties last January, self-proclaimed feminist Harry and his actress wife, Meghan Markle, earnestly pledged to “engage with grassroots media organisations”.
As part of this progressive new PR strategy, the revolutionary couple insisted they would be using “young, up-and-coming journalists”. Similarly, they would “foster inclusivity and diversity” in all subsequent coverage.
Meghan, especially, has wanged on at length about the importance of “female empowerment”.
White, male, multi- millionaire, middle-aged James Corden is many things. Young, diverse and grassroots he is not.
The performer, who grew up in the Home Counties, has twice hosted the Grammys, performed a skit at last year’s Oscars, and is one of the most well-connected men in Hollywood.
He is brilliant, and this is not a slight against him.
In fact, in an increasingly competitive US market, securing Harry is an incredible coup for one of the UK’s most successful — and privately likeable — exports.
Previous guests on his Carpool Karaoke — the slot Harry will appear on — include Adele, Michelle Obama, Paul McCartney, Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber. Ya know, those niche, little-known artists.
With the Americans’ obsession for all things royal, Harry Windsor is already more famous than any of James’s previous guests.
When it airs, the duo’s slot promises to break all online traffic for an already globally successful show.
Whether Harry has any input into the final edit, water-tight NDAs (non- disclosure agreements) presumably mean we will never know.
While there is no questioning James’s talent or popularity, Harry’s decision to make his chat show debut on such a behemoth seems incongruous.
Buoyed by endless Zooms from any one of the rooms of his £11million Californian mansion, the AFKAPH determinedly continues to plough his own showbizzy furrow.
BIG RED CAVALRY
Private jet-loving Harry is no stranger to accusations of hypocrisy.
Pride of place on his woke CV is a commitment to climate change.
Naturally, then, Harry decided it would be a smart idea to appear on telly atop a gas-guzzling double-decker.
To make things even more environmentally efficient, just five people were on board the top deck of said double-decker.
That definitely doesn’t happen on the C39 — not even in Covid times.
Trailing them were two police motorbikes and a Range Rover. Leading the big red cavalry were two more motorbikes.
Since denouncing his HRH title, Harry agreed to stop receiving public funds for royal duties.
No one can bemoan Harry and Meghan their right to make money.
We live in a capitalist society and are in the midst of a global pandemic.
Harry may have lost his divine right, but he has the right to earn a living.
But in the couple’s ongoing bid to “end global poverty”, deals worth in excess of £140million with Netflix and Spotify — and now an appearance on the planet’s most famous showbiz segment — jar.
Harry needs to decide if he’s a minor royal, a campaigner, a tycoon, a family man or a superstar. He can’t have it all.
Strife dogs pricey
IF ever you’re feeling a little glum, it’s worth remembering things could be worse.
Take Katie Price. A potted summary of her past two years reads a little like this.
Her Alsatian, Queenie, was run over by a Domino’s delivery driver, her puppy Rolo suffocated beneath a chair, her dog Sparkle was killed on the A42, her horse escaped and was run over by a 4×4, she broke both feet falling off a hotel ledge, she was the victim of a kidnap plot, her house was burgled, her ex-boyfriend cheated on her and her garden became a hotspot for doggers.
Or as Katie herself explains, cheerfully: “There’s never a dull moment in the life of the Pricey.”
An attitude we could all do well to adopt.
Lay off Her Maj
BUCKINGHAM Palace has been quick to deny leftie reports that the Queen blocked legislation to hide her private wealth.
They insist it’s “simply incorrect” to suggest her lawyer lobbied the Government to change a draft law to conceal her fortune from prying eyes.
Even if she had, so what?
The Queen is 94. By anyone’s standards, she’s had a good pandemic.
Trudging around the UK, in her dependable, two-inch heels and trusty white gloves, she has gone above and beyond the call of duty, inspiring a nation at its lowest ebb.
Lottery winners don’t have to declare their millions. Why should she?
Special French agent
AS moping Emmanuel Macron and his mates have shown over the past few weeks, we really aren’t missing the French in the wake of Brexit.
But credit where it’s due. They are good for something – telly.
Having almost exhausted streaming services and that thing called terrestrial TV, I stumbled upon Call My Agent!, on Netflix, about a showbiz talent agency.
With proper stars – including Sigourney Weaver and Juliette Binoche – playing themselves, it’s really, really funny. Even with subtitles. In fact, especially with subtitles.
There are also some great Gallic thrillers – Lupin, La Mante and Spiral.
Given I now have the concentration span of a gnat, these shows mean I can no longer watch TV while gormlessly scrolling my phone every four minutes. A revelation.
LOW BAR FOR VALENTINE’S DAY
VALENTINE’S Day is looming again. Last February 14th I got a letter from the council concerning my Single Person’s Tax Allowance. Which was a nice touch.
The previous year I received a £60 parking fine, and a card from my parents’ dog.
This year, it’s fair to say, the bar is set low.
Punish puppy thieves
I’M becoming a 2021 cliché and getting a puppy.
Like thousands up and down the country, I was hit by the surge in lockdown prices, and yet Dora, the extortionately-priced Dachshund, arrives imminently.
With the number of reported stolen pets up 220 per cent since last March, often the animals’ microchips are brutally knifed out.
Only 22 per cent of stolen pets are reunited with their owners – and less than five per cent of these cases result in conviction.
Under the 1968 Theft Act, these heartless criminals are punished exactly the same as those who nick an iPhone 12, because pets are classed as “property”.
Unless the risk of making £3,500 from a stolen French bulldog outweighs the risk of being caught and properly prosecuted – or even jailed – this trend will continue.
For many, our dogs are our children. Stealing them is akin to kidnap. The law needs to reflect this.
Amanda's still pretty nifty at 50
NEXT week, Amanda Holden turns 50.
Yesterday The Sun revealed how, over the past 12 months, she’s made £1million flogging her homeware range on shopping channel QVC.
At the end of last year Amanda was promoted to head judge on Britain’s Got Talent and her debut album, Songs From My Heart, became 2020’s highest-charting debut record for a female artist in the UK.
And while most of us are still blobbing around, not even bothering to pretend we’re still making banana bread, Amanda will soon hit our screens as co-host of new BBC1 primetime show I Can See Your Voice.
She stars alongside another brilliant, fearless woman in the form of Alison Hammond.
To say Amanda’s still got it is an understatement.
A yoga and running devotee who looks like she’s never snacked between meals in her life, Amanda has the body of a 25 year old and the work ethic of a coal miner.
Traditionally, in showbiz years, women over 30 are pushing it.
Women over 40 are past it. And women over 50 may as well be put down.
Stars like Amanda, who exude old-school glamour, are shattering this myth – and proving that 50 really is the new, well, whatever you want it to be.
JACKIE’S GIANT LEAP FOR WOMANKIND
JACKIE WEAVER has quite rightly been getting all the plaudits for ejecting bad-tempered attendees at a Zoom parish council meeting, but it’s “Aled’s iPad” I’m more obsessed with.
Two characters trying to grab control of the meeting. We all know an “Aled’s iPad”.
A small-minded, M&S cardie- wearing bloke who’d rather stick pins in his eyes or walk barefoot on Lego than be told what’s what by a woman.
By kicking out these pesky blokes on to the Zoom naughty step, it was one small virtual step for man, one giant leap for womankind.
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