EPHRAIM HARDCASTLE: The nude encounter between Eton's next Provost

EPHRAIM HARDCASTLE: The nude encounter between Eton’s next Provost and Mohamed Al Fayed’s trusted lieutenant

Eton’s next Provost Sir Nicholas Coleridge is unlikely to share with his pupils his excitements as boss of Conde Nast, particularly his nude encounter with the late Mohamed Fayed’s lieutenant Michael Cole. 

It occurred in 1996 in the intimate four-berth steam bath at Michael’s London club, the Bath and Racquets. 

Michael had suggested the naked meeting in a bid to settle a libel action against Coleridge’s magazine Vanity Fair, which had forensically chronicled the Harrods tycoon’s private peccadillos. 

Nicholas agreed. Whispers my source: ‘By appearing naked, said Mr Cole, his adversary could rest assured he was not being recorded. And Michael was happy that no taping was possible.’ 

Surely the only element missing to complete the James Bond-like scenario was the former BBC royal correspondent murmuring in his birthday suit: ‘The name’s Cole, Michael Cole!’

Sir Nicholas Coleridge, Chairman, Victoria and Albert Museum, after being made a Knight Bachelor by King Charles III at Windsor Castle

Just when the furore over Woody Allen’s 1990s affair and marriage to Soon-Yi Previn, the adopted daughter of his former lover Mia Farrow, recedes into the mists of time, the film-maker embraces more controversy defending Spanish football boss Luis Rubiales for his Women’s World Cup lip encounter with Jennifer Hermoso. 

‘He wasn’t raping her,’ Woody tells the Spanish newspaper El Mundo. ‘It was just a kiss, and she was a friend. What’s wrong with that?’ He adds: ‘The kiss on the soccer player was wrong. But it did not burn down a school.’

Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle will be playing truant today because he is in Japan for an all-important knees-up of G7 parliamentary presiding officers. 

Interpreters at the Hiroshima summit are wished good luck trying to master our Lindsay’s Lancastrian accent. 

It being Japan, delegates will be expected to remove their shoes. Will Sir Lindsay be wearing his striped Chorley FC socks?

Lady Antonia Fraser seems to have lost interest in Meghan Markle. 

‘I thought she was interesting historically, like Marie Antoinette,’ explains Antonia, disclosing that she had written to Meghan in the early days of her marriage to Harry but did not get a reply. 

What did she write? ‘It was one of my Do Not Replies,’ she adds, referring to her frequent notes of support to people suffering. Posh or what?

Lady Antonia Fraser (pictured) seems to have lost interest in Meghan Markle

Following her much-publicised expletive outburst, Education Secretary Gillian Keegan can doubtless rely on the support of one infamous former party colleague. 

She is godmother to ex-Speaker John Bercow’s sons Oliver and Freddie. Branded a ‘serial bully’ after an independent inquiry last year, Bercow’s no stranger to sweary rants himself!

Legendary racing correspondent Sir Peter O’Sullevan once recalled a lunch at Windsor with the late Queen when she correctly identified every aircraft flying over the castle to Heathrow by its engine noise. 

Now Gyles Brandreth says HM could also mimic aeroplanes, saying: ‘She could do Concorde preparing to land, the approach, the wheels coming down.’ Are you having a giraffe, Gyles?

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