EDEN CONFIDENTIAL: Pippa Middleton and her husband James Matthews win approval for a brand new swimming pool and a tennis court at their £15 million Berkshire estate
She’s dazzled pretty well everyone, ever since she first stepped into the public eye at her elder sister’s wedding, soon after which she prompted one male admirer to conclude – following a brief and entirely professional encounter – that ‘she could flirt with a brick wall’.
Now, in evidence that her powers of persuasion remain second to none, the Princess of Wales’s younger sibling Pippa Middleton, 40, has cut through the thicket of regulations which confront anyone attempting a home improvement.
Her prize? Approval for her latest dream – the creation of both a brand new swimming pool and an Astroturf tennis court at the Berkshire estate which she and her husband, hedge fund chief executive James Matthews, 48, snapped up last year for £15million.
It’s quite a triumph – and not just because, at 82ft x 19ft, theirs is twice the size of a typical private pool and is matched, locally, only by those in Newbury and Hungerford leisure centres.
What made Pippa’s plans especially contentious was her desire to site the pool inside what, until now, has been a magnificent kitchen garden, rather than opting to extend the estate’s existing pool.
Pippa Middleton, 40, has cut through the thicket of regulations which confront anyone attempting a home improvement
Pippa has approval for a brand new swimming pool and an Astroturf tennis court at the Berkshire estate which she and her husband, hedge fund chief executive James Matthews, 48, snapped up last year for £15million
The council’s conservation officer expressed concern about the cessation of ‘horticultural use’ in favour of ‘recreational/leisure use’, and the potential loss of ‘historic fabric’ in one of the kitchen garden walls during the building process.
The council’s senior archaeologist, Sarah Orr, was scarcely more encouraging, pointing out that the estate’s 17th century manor house was close to ‘many Middle Stone Age sites’, several of them little more than a quarter of a mile away.
A new pool could ‘have an impact on surviving archaeological deposits,’ warned Orr, before recommending ‘the digging of trenches or test pits’ where work was proposed.
But Pippa kept going, with the plans being amended no fewer than seven times until victory was achieved.
Just one final detail requires her attention: no external lighting is to be installed over the tennis court or pool, insists the council, until ‘a lighting strategy has been submitted and approved’.
Then it’ll be lights, camera, action! In private, of course…
It’s rare to meet anyone in showbusiness who doesn’t pay a therapist, but Oscar-winner Don Black prefers the curative powers of the old green baize.
‘I play snooker very badly in the pub,’ the lyricist tells me at the BMI London Awards at The Savoy hotel. ‘I love it.’
East London-born Black, 85, whose hits include the title songs for Born Free, Diamonds Are Forever and Thunderball, says: ‘I’ve played it all my life. For me, it’s better than therapy.’
It’s a royal mix-up for rocker Richard – and the two Zaras
Folk-rocker Richard Thompson, 74, of Fairport Convention, might seem to have little in common with ex-England rugby star Mike Tindall. But the pair both married women called Zara Phillips — leading to some amusing mix-ups.
‘My wife still gets confused with the late Queen’s granddaughter,’ says the London-born guitarist, who has lived with the playwright in the U.S. since 2021.
‘My Zara gets a lot of emails inviting her to equestrian events, asking her to open schools, gymkhanas… all of which she politely forwards to the other Z.’ But does the King’s niece get invited to gatherings of ageing rockers?
Why Sydney’s the sweetheart of Paris
Sydney Sweeney, who made her name in hit TV dramas Euphoria and The White Lotus, appears just as at home in the fashion capital as she does in Hollywood.
Yesterday the U.S. actress, who is seen writhing around on a convertible Mercedes in the video for the Rolling Stones’ new single, Angry, was the talk of Paris Fashion Week.
Sweeney, 26, tottered along to the Miu Miu show in a pair of black patent platform heels, a black tweed cropped jacket and matching micro shorts that revealed the top of her white knickers.
The lawyer’s daughter has been engaged to restaurateur Jonathan Davino, 39, for almost two years.
Sydney Sweeney, who made her name in hit TV dramas Euphoria and The White Lotus, appears just as at home in the fashion capital as she does in Hollywood
While many are worried about artificial intelligence (AI) bots taking over the world, Princess Beatrice is excited about the potential benefits of the technology.
‘This amazing collaboration between AI and humans is just starting out,’ she tells podcast Lessons in Dyslexic Thinking.
Beatrice, 35, who has the learning difficulty, adds: ‘I am inspired to see the way that we could probably solve some of the world’s biggest problems if we put dyslexic thinking in the heart of the narrative.’ Bea, it should be noted, works for Afiniti, which describes itself as a ‘world-leading applied artificial intelligence company’…
Laurence Fox, suspended by GB News last week after his vulgar sexual remarks on air about journalist Ava Evans, appears to have some sympathy from one of Britain’s most prominent aristocrats.
The Duke of Beaufort, who owns the 52,000-acre Badminton estate in Gloucestershire, asks how odious the comments were.
‘GB News has apologised for “appalling” Fox comments,’ His Grace says. ‘Unattractive yes, but were they appalling?’
Sir Roger’s lookalike sons? They’re just disarming, darling!
Sir Roger Moore, who died in 2017 aged 89, is much missed, but his sons left James Bond producer Barbara Broccoli shaken and stirred.
Geoffrey, 57, (pictured far left), and Christian, 50, towered over Broccoli, 63, at a party at Bonhams auction house in London’s Mayfair, where their father’s James Bond collection is to go under the hammer today. Following in Sir Roger’s footsteps, actor and restaurateur Geoffrey fancies succeeding Daniel Craig as 007.
‘Of course, I’d love to be James Bond,’ he tells me. ‘I could actually have some fun with it.’
Geoffrey and Christian’s mother was Sir Roger’s third wife, the Italian actress Luisa Mattioli, who died at the age of 85 in 2021.
Geoffrey, 57, (pictured far left), and Christian, 50, towered over Broccoli, 63, at a party at Bonhams auction house in London’s Mayfair
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