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Fiona Webster.


What is the collective noun for a group of royal toadies? A slime perhaps.

They were out in force on Wednesday croaking and crowing over the demise of the Duchess of York.

It was the usual rag bag of royal groupies who'd never get a job in the real world, and Tory MPs yearning for New Years honours.

Toby Jessel, MP for Twickenham, pronounced Fergie "a person of sheer unabashed vulgarity - not in keeping with royal traditions."

While fellow Tory John Butcher, squawked: "She's more suited to be married to Bob Geldof than the Queen's son."

And terminally pompous right-wing historian Andrew Roberts pronounced that the problem lay in people of no judgment marrying into the Royal Family.

Vulgarity? It's hard to beat real royals in that field. Who was it who organised the royal It's a Knockout? Prince Edward, I believe.

And who dresses like Christmas trees? The lot of them.

Bob Geldof? Fergie would probably rather be married to him, or even Jeremy Beadle, than a husband who goes to Mauritius and watches videos all day, like Prince Andrew.

As to "judgment" - did Prince Charles' show good judgment by treating his wife like a breeding machine while keeping a mistress throughout his marriage?

THE problem is not the people who married into the Royal Family, but the members who are already there.

And the question is not so much why Fergie got a divorce, but why she waited so long.

It was a marriage doomed from the start. Fergie's downfall came the day her chum Diana invited her to tea in the hope that she would pair up with Andrew.

Di wasn't daft. She'd seen enough of her brother-in-law to know he might marry a two- headed pygmy as long as it laughed at his jokes.

In one engagement photo Andrew is grinning gormlessly as usual, while Fergie's eyes are popping, and her mouth seems contorted into a manic smile.

Critics reckon it shows she felt she'd hit the jackpot. But look again - she twigged she's got the booby prize.

Andrew got it wrong from the word go. He got down on both knees to propose, probably to peels of laughter.

Was he good company? He admitted before the wedding that if his conversation with his family drifted towards flying, Edward "did things with knives and forks".

In other words he was the family bore. When asked what they liked about each other, Fergie tactfully lied: "His wit, charm and good looks." (incredibly a thunder bolt did not descend, but her nose grew a couple of inches)

His reply? "Her red hair." Gee thanks, Andy.

And sex? Fergie confided mysteriously soon after they were married that they were incompatible physically - often a euphemism for a two-minute wonder.

Maybe they could have worked it out - but his being away a lot didn't help, though to Andrew it was simply how the rest of his family conducted their marriages.

Long separations put strain on relationships - ask any Forces wife. It takes years to get used to, and Fergie isn't patient. She had given up the ghost within months.

Less than four years after she was able to recite her vows by heart, opting to keep in the "obey" part, Steve Wyatt appeared on the scene.

BY 1983 she was bleating: "I want out of the whole thing. I have been the scapegoat of the Waleses for years."

Was it all Fergie's fault, as her critics would have us believe?

Fergie was well-meaning - like a loyal labrador, trying to please, but blundered into trouble like a blind St Bernard. In 1993 she said she wanted to be a goodwill ambassador for the UN. In 1994 she admitted to having an Aids test.

But whatever Fergie's faults - and there are many - Andrew and his family are as much to blame.

Every one of the Royal children's first marriages has ended in disaster. Incomers are expected to fend for themselves, no matter what their problems.

FERGIE started out flavour of the month, but it didn't take long for the Windsors to spit her out like a piece of sour apple.

Now she is carrying the weight of the Royal Family's demise on her shoulder pads. She's become the nation's punchbag.

Fergie once cooed that her wedding was the happiest day of her life. Now she says the end is the saddest.

Yet when the announcement was made, she was away skiing, and he was doing something naval. It summed them up perfectly.

The marriage was over long ago, and the children seem to be coping. What else has she got to lose?

She's giving up membership of a family that ostracised one of its own for the rest of his life - Edward VIII - because he married someone they didn't approve of.

A family so inherently dim, Prince Edward - for all his private education, got poor A levels yet blithely went to Cambridge, taking the place of some bright student who deserved it.

A family that for years paid no tax at all while privately amassing obscene wealth.

A family that likes to lecture others on saving money and pleads poverty, yet sits on an art collection worth pounds 11 BILLION.

Forget the bleating, the Royal Family can afford Fergie's pay-off out of their small change. Fergie is well out of it.

As to signing some agreement that ensures she won't kiss and tell - that won't stop her friends.

They think it's all over. It isn't yet.

Clare collared by Labour's dog-ma

LABOUR'S Clare Short shocked the nation to the core this week when she said she intended to be kind to animals.

A Labour spokesman who preferred to be un-named said: "Of course, Clare is entitled to her opinions but they don't mean Labour would in any way introduce creature kindness as a policy.

"We have advised her against speaking personally, because people assume we practise what we preach.

"Had Ms Short said she intended to send the animals concerned to a selective animal sanctuary miles from her home, we might have viewed the matter differently.

"Of course, we have not taken any action against the Member for Birmingham Ladywood, and I am sure she will enjoy her role as Minister For Litter when we get into power."

AT 73, Coronation Street's Maud Grimes is one of the best characters on telly.

She's stroppy, devious, rude, selfish and has a dodgy past - the perfect female role model.

Maud is a one-woman advert for the fun you can have creating havoc when you get old.

Yet unlike her EastEnders opposite, Aunt Nellie, who's just a pantomime baddie, Maud, played by Elizabeth Bradley, has a soft side - even if she rarely shows it.

But she could be living on borrowed time.

Ghastly Reg Holdsworth was sent packing months ago. Will wife Maureen and mother-in-law Maud follow?

Granada should canonise Maud, not kick her out.
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Copyright 1996 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
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Title Annotation:Features
Author:Webster, Fiona
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Apr 19, 1996
Previous Article:Duchess: I'll work to ease my pain.
Next Article:Don't Look now.

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