EDEN CONFIDENTIAL: Duke's book promises tale of pal hijacking a bus

EDEN CONFIDENTIAL: Duke of Beaufort’s book promises candid tale of Eton pal hijacking a tourist bus

Forget Prince Harry’s memoirs. It’s a rather different book that’s sending a frisson of pleasure — and, it must be said, a tremor of unease (perhaps even, for some, a flicker of pure terror) — through the coroneted classes.

I can reveal that it is the handiwork of the twice-married Henry John FitzRoy Somerset, 12th Duke of Beaufort — sometimes known as Harry but, to intimates, always ‘Bunter’. The Duke, now 70, acquired this soubriquet in a carefree youth.

‘He’s written his memoirs,’ one of Bunter’s sporting chums tells me, adding that one chapter in particular seems destined to cause excitement. ‘It’s entitled “The Hooray Years”.’

I’m told that the Duke, who has long straddled the old and new worlds with style — he is both Master of the Beaufort Hunt and a singer with progressive rock band, The Listening Device — offers a characteristically candid insight into a legendary society episode.

Hooray: Bunter and Georgia. Pictured: Georgia Powell (left) and The Duke of Beaufort (right) attend Tatler’s English Roses, an event celebrating up and coming British girls, at the Saatchi Gallery in June 2017

Actress Tracy Ward (right) at her wedding to her then-husband Henry John FitzRoy Somerset (left), then-Marquess Of Worcester, on their wedding day at the Church of St Mary The Virgin in Chipping Norton in 1987

Bunter Somerset at the Business Connection Concert at the Hippodrome London in June 1985

It concerns the night when Tim Hanbury — a friend of Bunter since their schooldays at Eton — emerged from Annabel’s club in Mayfair, spotted a parked bus crammed with Japanese tourists and commandeered it.

The Duke, whose second wife is Georgia Powell, granddaughter of novelist Anthony Powell, declines to offer a sneak preview of his account.

This is scant consolation for Hanbury, whose daughters, Marina and Rose, are married to the Earl of Durham and the Marquess of Cholmondeley respectively. ‘I’m sorry,’ Hanbury tells me. ‘I’d much prefer that it doesn’t reappear.’

Greek playboy and sportsman Taki Theodoracopulos once claimed that the driver of the bus stopped to answer a call of nature. Realising this, Hanbury leapt in and drove off, ‘sideswiping’ most of the sleek, expensive cars parked nearby in the process, alleged Taki.

With the Japanese tourists ‘screaming for help’, Hanbury allegedly abandoned the bus and returned to Annabel’s, where the police were seen off by the unhesitating testimony of Sydney the barman.

Hanbury insists that this version is ‘vastly exaggerated’. Bunter’s will surely be the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

Laura is moved by King anthem debut

‘I could feel the crowd hold their breath before I started singing’: Laura Wright sings the national anthem before the England v South Africa cricket test match at the Oval on Saturday

Laura Wright was the first to sing the National Anthem at a sporting event after the Queen’s death, before the England v South Africa Test match at the Oval on Saturday.

‘I could feel the crowd hold their breath before I started singing,’ the mezzo-soprano tells me. ‘I only needed to sing four or five words differently, but the significance of those changes shook everyone.’

Wright, 32, who also performed for Her Majesty, adds: ‘Before the match began, I repeated [the words] over and over in my mind. I had to focus purely on the music so that the emotion of the moment didn’t affect my performance.’

Is rocker Jimmy Page too distracted by his planning battle with neighbour Robbie Williams to read his messages?

I ask only because Ozzy Osbourne says a request for the Led Zeppelin legend to play on the bat biter’s album didn’t even get a reply.

‘I thought getting Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page meant having the greatest guitarists on the planet, but I never heard from him,’ he says.

‘Maybe he’d lost his phone.’ But Clapton and Beck were happy to jam on the album, Patient Number 9.

Kate Moss’s daughter Lila Grace is determined to be a role model. The 19-year-old makes a point of not hiding the insulin pump she wears to help control her diabetes symptoms.

Here, the model is seen at New York Fashion Week, with her hotpants revealing the medical device on her thigh.

Her pump has been on show during a number of catwalk appearances, such as when she walked for Versace at Milan Fashion Week last year, earning praise for her courage.

Lila Grace Moss Hack, 19, makes a point of not hiding the insulin pump (circled) she wears to help control her diabetes symptoms

She previously revealed that she keeps an Apple AirTag, usually used to locate items such as keys, on her insulin pump reader so she doesn’t misplace it.

This lets her track her blood sugar levels. ‘I have some sugar tablets in case my blood sugar goes low,’ she explained.

‘A pod on my leg gives me insulin. This [reader] is very important to keep in my bag. It comes with me everywhere.’

In a traumatic week, Prince William has gone back to work. I hear he held a meeting with the Duchy of Cornwall’s finance committee via video link from Kensington Palace.

As the new Prince of Wales, he is also the 25th Duke of Cornwall and has inherited a £1 billion estate.

It makes him one of the biggest landowners in Britain, as the Duchy estate is made up of some 128,000 acres.

More impressive than Prince Harry’s Montecito mansion — even if that does have 16 bathrooms.

Waste not, want not for eco chic Jo

Jo Wood walks the runway at the VIN + OMI ‘Opinions’ catwalk show during London Fashion Week on Wednesday

Jo Wood, ex-wife of Rolling Stones guitarist Ronnie, looks like she popped out wearing a see-through raincoat over her bra and knickers.

In fact, the Strictly star, 67, was modelling an eco outfit ahead of London Fashion Week.

It was made by Vin + Omi, a sustainable brand which even makes clothes using garden waste, such as plant pots and nettles — some of which come from our new King’s Highgrove estate in Gloucestershire.

‘I love Vin + Omi,’ she tells me. ‘My dress was made from recycled paper and plastic.’

Felix Francis — son of the late Dick Francis, the Queen Mother’s favourite equine thriller writer — took over the family business and continued to deliver the first copy of his novels to Buckingham Palace.

‘I haven’t done it this year,’ he says at the launch party for his latest offering, Hands Down, at the Cavalry & Guards Club in Piccadilly, London. ‘I felt it would be inappropriate. I will do it in the fullness of time.’

Felix admits that he tries to protect the sensibilities of his royal readership.

‘You do hold back on the sex and swearing when the Queen is the first to read your novel,’ he once told me.

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