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Royal Watch

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A servant fired by the Duchess of York in September is shopping sordid stories about the duchess and her toe-sucking companion John Bryan. Tony Blackmore, 26, an erstwhile footman at Buckingham Palace, told the News of the World, through his lawyer, that—for $120,000—he would give details about hearing Fergie and Bryan frolicking in the tub at Romenda Lodge, her house in Surrey (“Fergie would squeal her head off,” he said); about being instructed to rumple the sheets in the guest room lest other servants suspect that the duchess shared a bed with Bryan; and about smuggling the balding Yank onto the premises in the trunk of his car. That, however, isn’t the end of Fergie’s servant problems. Pemba Gyaldzen, the 22-year-old Sherpa who met her on her 1993 trip to the Himalayas and later came to England as her guest, has returned home to Kathmandu, complaining that the quick-tempered duchess had made him fill in for staffers who deserted her. Said a friend: “She was using him like a general dogsbody, and he wasn’t being paid.”


On Nov. 15, anti-British demonstrators chanting “Andrew go home” burned the Union Jack in the center of Buenos Aires to protest Prince Andrew’s four-day working visit to Argentina. A Royal Navy pilot during the 1982 Falklands War, the prince had been dispatched to “promote the spirit of reconciliation,” according to a Buckingham Palace spokesman. Although the 100-odd protesters got to within 100 yards of the British ambassador’s residence—where Andrew was attending a reception—they were stopped by police and plainclothesmen.


In her new role as semiprivate citizen, the Princess of Wales enjoyed a top-secret soiree last month at the Berkshire home of singer Elton John, whose other dinner guests included Sylvester Stallone, Richard Gere and George Michael. “Sly and Gere had Diana in fits of giggles,” reported a guest who spoke to the Sun. “She clearly loved every minute of it.” In the meantime, Queen Elizabeth got her own jollies when she and 19 other family members picked a winning number in Britain’s new lottery on Nov. 20. Her share of the winnings was just 80 cents, but she was thrilled. Said a palace source: “She gets very excited when something she has bet on comes in.”