When the Sultan of Brunei announced his intention to include Sharia law in his country’s penal code, which would put gays at risk of being stoned to death, famous names, including George Clooney and American talk show host Ellen DeGeneres, shouted, calls for a boycott of the nine hotels he owns around the world.
Sir Elton John and Stephen Fry were among those who stated in 2014 that they would refuse to stay at the Sultan’s Mayfair outpost, The Dorchester.
So I am surprised that a large number of other prominent figures are planning to descend on the hotel tomorrow for a party to celebrate the opening of The Vesper Bar there. It was designed by Martin Brudnizki, who lives in West London with his partner, Jonathan Brook.
“Clearly, celebrity boycotts don’t last long,” notes one civic figure. “Once social media goes on the next fashionable train, they all quietly forget about it.” Another person involved in tomorrow’s launch is party planner and self-proclaimed ‘Queen Sloane’ Henry Conway, who celebrated his 40th birthday at The Dorchester earlier this year.
‘The Dorchester as a group has a very clear and positive LGBTQ policy,’ he tells me.
The Dorchester Hotel is ready for the coronation of King Charles
The Sultan of Brunei Darussalam Haji Hassanal Bolkiah poses upon arrival at the EU-ASEAN Summit at the European Council headquarters in Brussels
‘Of course I don’t agree with Sharia from a moral point of view.
“My opinion is that you can change it from the inside. The party I threw was very gay.
“You have to get the gay community at the table, that’s how you change this.”
He adds: ‘As a gay person, I’m very passionate about gay rights around the world. Little by little they slowly change.
‘I am firmly convinced that the youth will also change it. The sultan is an old man, very religious, very conservative, but the younger generation is not of that belief.
“I mean, the hotel has Liberace’s piano in the middle. That’s not an unsubtle message, is it?’
Brudnizki declined to comment, while a hotel spokesperson tells me, “The Dorchester has a longstanding reputation for diversity and inclusion.”
Marko bounces back from cancer to see Cousin get married
Good to see Mark Dyer back in shape this weekend. The former equerry to King Charles, who Prince Harry considers his mentor, attended the wedding of his niece, the classical soprano Alicia Lowes, to record-breaking rower Alex Simpson in Monmouthshire (right).
Dyer, 55, was successfully treated for stomach cancer last year.
Mark Dyer attends his niece’s wedding
His son Jasper, who was a pageboy at Harry and Meghan’s wedding, again performed the honors on Saturday in front of guests, including the Duke and Duchess of Northumberland.
Former Welsh Guards officer Dyer is referred to as ‘Marko’ in Harry’s controversial memoir, Spare.
No more ex-files for Scully and Crown’s Morgan
The truth is out there: X-Files star Gillian Anderson is back with her ex-boyfriend, Oscar winner Peter Morgan.
The Daily Mail revealed in 2021 that The Crown creator Morgan, 60, had left film producer Jemima Goldsmith, 49, “shocked and confused” when he left her after just a month, amid rumors he had returned to Anderson, 54, his previous girlfriend.
At the time, friends of Morgan and Anderson were keen to downplay suggestions that they were back together.
However, there was no doubt about the status of their relationship when they arrived at London’s Natural History Museum, where they attended the ‘wrap’ party to celebrate the end of the drama’s shooting.
Anderson, who played Margaret Thatcher in the show’s fourth series, joined other cast members, including an animated Dominic West (below), who appeared to be engrossed in lively conversation with a fellow partygoer outside the museum.
X-Files star Gillian Anderson is back with her ex-boyfriend, Oscar winner Peter Morgan
An animated Dominic West appears engrossed in lively conversation with a fellow partygoer
Dame Beryl’s parting gift to the Royal Ballet
The Swan Queen’s feathered headdress is the crowning glory of any ballerina chosen to dance the title role in the ballet Swan Lake. And Dame Beryl Grey, who first danced the part when she was 15, donated her swan costumes to the Royal Ballet in her will.
The celebrated ballerina, who died last year at the age of 95, left behind “my two costumes and a headdress from Swan Lake, my two costumes and a headdress from Giselle, my costume and headdress from Checkmate, and my pair of Carmen castanets.”
Newly published probate documents reveal she left an estate worth £1.7 million to her son, Ingvar Svenson.
A dance pioneer, Dame Beryl graduated from child prodigy to become the grande dame of the arts and performed internationally before becoming Artistic Director of the English National Ballet upon her retirement.
Little Richard is always said to be the one who taught Sir Paul McCartney how to do the “wooo” scream while The Beatles toured with the rock and roll singer before they hit it big.
But now Fab Four drummer Ringo Starr is eager to correct the record. “I loved all those interviews he (Richard) did where he told everyone he taught Paul how to yodel,” says Starr, 82, in the documentary Little Richard: King And Queen Of Rock ‘n’ Roll, available on BBC iPlayer .
“Well, he didn’t teach him—that was always the joke. Paul just decided to ‘wooo.’
Jilly Cooper, who attended the wedding when her friend Camilla Parker Bowles married Prince Charles, has not been invited to their coronation.
“Jilly understands that this isn’t the kind of event that all friends are invited to,” a friend tells me.
Camilla’s ex-husband, Brigadier General Andrew Parker Bowles, will at least be at Westminster Abbey. Cooper, 86, said he was one of three men who inspired her caddic character Rupert Campbell-Black in Bonkbuster Riders.
Princess Anne didn’t see the funny side when Frank Skinner tried to make a joke when she handed him his MBE last week.
He reveals, “She said, ‘Have you always wanted to be an entertainer?’ I said, “Well, I wanted to be a cowboy early on, but unlike you, I was never good on horseback.”
“There was a little element in her face of, ‘Keep me out of this.’ I realized I had made a mistake.’ Well it was hardly a rib tickle…