Nicknamed ‘the Steel Magnolia’ because of her reputation as one of the country’s most formidable divorce lawyers, Fiona Shackleton is now taking on the Queen’s solicitors.
Baroness Shackleton has accused Farrer & Co, which has acted for the Royal Family since the 1930s, of being a hotbed of anti-Semitism and sexism.
She was a partner in the law firm and represented Prince Charles when he divorced Princess Diana, and Prince Andrew in his split from Sarah Ferguson. Now, however, she’s revealed that she left Farrers after becoming the victim of prejudice because she was a Jewish woman.
‘Women were bullied and, being a Jew, I was bullied,’ reveals Lady Shackleton. ‘To be told, ‘We only got this client because we don’t employ a Jew in conveyancing, or ‘You’re not going to get equity because [you feel] it’s better to have two children’ ‘
Nicknamed ‘the Steel Magnolia’ because of her reputation as one of the country’s most formidable divorce lawyers, Fiona Shackleton is now taking on the Queen’s solicitors
She adds: ‘I was bringing in much more work than anyone but I would leave at 5.30pm to put my daughters to bed. They terrorised me into thinking I wasn’t very good.’
Her claims have alarmed Farrers, which will be wary of being drawn into the same type of anti-Semitism row that has torn apart the Labour Party and led to the suspension of its former leader Jeremy Corbyn.
‘The firm is saddened by Fiona’s comments,’ its spokesman says.
‘They do not reflect the firm of 20 years ago, nor do they bear any relation to the firm of today.
‘Fiona was an equity partner and her departure had nothing whatsoever to do with her gender or her faith.’
Lady Shackleton was a partner in the law firm and represented Prince Charles when he divorced Princess Diana
After leaving Farrer & Co, Lady Shackleton went on to become a partner at Payne Hicks Beach, where she acted for Sir Paul McCartney when he divorced Heather Mills.
Even though the former model received £24.3million, she was so enraged by the outcome that she emptied a jug of water over Lady Shackleton’s head in court. The pandemic has created a new peak for her business.
‘When you’re socially distanced, you’re topping and tailing the day,’ she says. ‘On holiday, you’re all banged up together. Ditto at Christmas. You’re hermetically sealed, there’s a lot of eating and drinking, then comes the New Year’s resolution — bin the missus.’
Weddings have been cancelled in their thousands because of the pandemic — and Rupert Everett, for one, is delighted.
‘When I went to my straight friends’ marriages, I loathed every one of them,’ admits the actor, 61. ‘None of them lasted beyond two years.’
Everett’s best-known roles were in My Best Friend’s Wedding and An Ideal Husband, but he declares: ‘Wedding cakes are hideous; wedding dresses are vile; the whole idea of trying to legalise a relationship seem to me, a child of the 1960s and 1970s, superfluous.’
Surely, this can’t be the same Everett who declared last month that he liked the idea of exchanging vows with his Brazilian boyfriend of 11 years, Henrique?
The smart set’s talking about… The tattooist getting under Frankie’s skin
She’s an aristocratic model who was chosen to strut down the catwalk in front of the Queen.
But when it comes to love, Frankie Herbert is after something a little more edgy.
I can reveal the daughter of racing manager Harry Herbert — whose brother owns Highclere Castle, where Downton Abbey was filmed — has struck up a relationship with Birmingham artist Robbie Jeffcott.
Frankie Herbert, the daughter of racing manager Harry Herbert, has struck up a relationship with Birmingham artist Robbie Jeffcott (pictured together)
The 24-year-old, who specialises in tattoo design and has many himself — on both arms and legs, including one of a dragon — has already won over Frankie’s inner circle.
‘Robbie’s a great guy, and her family like him,’ says my insider.
‘They’re both very creative, which makes them a great match.’
Frankie — who is the granddaughter of the 7th Earl of Carnarvon, ‘Porchie’, the Queen’s late racing manager — has even started referring to herself, Robbie and her beloved terrier, Chicken, as a ‘team’.
Mind the (age) gap: Star to wed Earl’s ‘toyboy’ son
Having performed the role of a Playboy playmate in the Oscar-winning Apocalypse Now — later appearing in the racy magazine herself — Colleen Camp also left a generation of teenage boys spellbound thanks to roles in two of the Hollywood blockbuster Police Academy movies and a Smokey And The Bandit film.
At the age of 67, she seems to have lost none of her power to captivate, for I can reveal that she is to wed the 34- year-old son of an Earl.
Colleen, who also appeared in Die Hard With A Vengeance and Eighties soap opera Dallas, has become engaged to Garrett Moore, son of the Earl of Drogheda.
Having performed the role of a Playboy playmate in the Oscar-winning Apocalypse Now — later appearing in the racy magazine herself — Colleen Camp (pictured in her heyday) also left a generation of teenage boys spellbound
‘We have had a magical and wonderful relationship over the last few years,’ Colleen tells me.
Now a producer, Colleen is two months older than Garrett’s mother, the Countess of Drogheda, but she’s overcome any problems caused by their 33-year age gap. ‘We have the same sense of humour,’ she says.
‘Laughter is something that truly was the key ingredient to our special bond.’
Garrett — whose Old Etonian father, the Earl, is better known as acclaimed photographer Derry Moore — grew up in London’s Notting Hill and works as an organiser of bohemian parties for a company called Immersive Cult.
The fashionable business has inspired a secret new project with Colleen.
At the age of 67, Coleen (left) seems to have lost none of her power to captivate, for I can reveal that she is to wed the 34- year-old Garrett Moore (right), son of the Earl of Drogheda
‘We are working on something very special inspired by Garrett’s remarkable company,’ Colleen says.
Their wedding will not be the first time the actress has walked down the aisle. She has a daughter, Emily, with her first husband, John Goldwyn, 62, a movie mogul and grandson of Holywood pioneer Samuel Goldwyn.
Following their divorce, Goldwyn went on to marry hotelier Jeffrey Klein, with Emily, 30, leading the couple in the exchange of vows and rings at their ceremony in 2011. Garrett tells me he has a ‘special bond’ with his new fiancee.
‘Colleen and her work are so inspirational and filled with light at this strange time that one forgets all else.’
Referring to two Hollywood classics involving older women, he jokes: ‘It may seem like Harold And Maude to some on the sidelines, but I prefer the idea of Mrs Robinson in The Graduate.’
When Autumnwatch star Chris Packham’s beloved miniature poodle Itchy died in 2016, he was so bereft that he kept the dog’s body in the freezer to help cope with his loss. The presenter spoke of his deep grief last year when his 16-year-old poodle Scratchy died.
His worried stepdaughter — and Autumnwatch co-star — Megan McCubbin joined his girlfriend Charlotte Corney in buying brother and sister pups Sid and Nancy to help ease the former punk rocker’s heartache. Sid and Nancy’s mum now has a new litter due in the spring, and Chris is keeping two of her brood.
The BBC naturalist tells me ‘It’s breaking news. I’m getting two poodle pups — Siouxsie and Budgie. There will be a lot of poodle energy in the house.’ Sounds like it’ll be anarchy…
No Hollywood ending for baker’s ex
Great British Bake Off judge Paul Hollywood has stopped his ex-wife from getting any more of his dough.
I can reveal the former baker has removed Alexandra from the board of companies which run his financial empire. She had been secretary of Paul Hollywood Ltd since 2004 and a director since 2014.
But both positions have been ‘terminated’, according to newly filed documents at Companies House.
Great British Bake Off judge Paul Hollywood has stopped his ex-wife Alexandra (pictured) from getting any more of his dough
She has also led the board of PJH Media, where she served as secretary since it was set up in 2013. Both companies help control TV star Hollywood’s estimated £10million fortune.
Hollywood, 54, and Alexandra, 56, split in 2017 after she had initially forgiven him for a 2013 affair with American Baking Competition costar Marcela Valladolid.
‘I’m not going to lie and say it hasn’t been difficult, but I’m not broken,’ Alexandra said last year.
‘Divorce hurts. I was married for 20 years. But you keep going.’ Hollywood now lives with his new girlfriend, pub landlady Melissa Spalding, 36.
Author Hunter Davies’s claims that Call My Bluff presenter Robert Robinson pulled rank to buy a valuable LS Lowry painting on the cheap have enraged the late broadcaster’s daughter Suzy.
Davies once worked for Robinson at the Sunday Times. ‘Hunter has been trotting out his tales of injustice and sense of inferiority to my late father since 1962,’ she says.
‘His lifelong envy of my father’s talent, success and public profile is perhaps to be pitied and excused.’ Ouch.
Strictly Nicola is still going for gold
Is this why Olympic hero Nicola Adams signed up for Strictly Come Dancing?
I hear she had to take a pay cut of more than £100,000 last year as she wound up her boxing career.
She’s likely to see her earnings rocket this year after quitting the ring and signing up as the first same-sex couple on the hit BBC show.
Olympic hero Nicola Adams is said to have introduced her girlfriend, Ella Baig, 21, (pictured together) to her Strictly partner Katya Jones
But in her last year as a boxing pro she paid herself just £46,415 compared with £169,500 the year before, new figures for her company, KN Management Ltd, reveal.
Adams, 38, became a household name after winning Olympic gold in London 2012 and went on to repeat the success with another gold in Rio in 2016.
She’s said to have introduced her girlfriend, Ella Baig, 21, to her Strictly partner Katya Jones, saying: ‘Our family and friends have been taking the mickey about the ‘Strictly curse’ but she’s fine. There’s nothing that can compete with what Ella and I have.’
Struggling to find love in lockdown? Not the Earl of Lauderdale.
At 83, the peer’s managed to find a new girlfriend and get married scarcely six months after the death of his wife, Ann.
I hear the Earl tied the knot with his old pal Sarah Lindsay Sasse, 84, last month at St Mary’s in London’s Belgravia.
His sister, the former Tory MP Lady Olga Maitland, tells me: ‘We’re very happy for them, as they’ve been good friends for a long time. Sarah is lovely.’
(Very) modern manners
Fancy going to bed with a supermodel?
The face of Calvin Klein lingerie, Natalia Vodianova, has launched a new app to help people struggling with insomnia during the pandemic.
‘A lot of people around me, including my husband, find it hard to sleep,’ explains the mother of five, who recently wed French billion-heir Antoine Arnault.
The face of Calvin Klein lingerie, Natalia Vodianova, (pictured) has launched a new app to help people struggling with insomnia during the pandemic
‘He’ll wake up five or more times a night.’
The app-features a ‘calm voice’ guiding the listener back to sleep through meditation.
‘Supernova’, 38, adds of her own domestic routine: ‘I try to switch my phone off at 9pm. It doesn’t always work, but when I do I feel calmer before bed.’