Stephen Glover: Will Rupert enjoy this modern tale of Antony and Cleopatra?

Rebekah Wade, editor of Britain's best selling daily newspaper The Sun, is known neither by her readers nor the general public. She has always avoided appearing on radio or television to defend her paper, or to offer an opinion about the state of the world.

So it is a great shock to see a four-page spread about Rebekah in the current edition of Tatler magazine. It is true that she herself remains grandly off-stage, as media royalty must, and is not quoted directly. Nonetheless the life of "the dazzling redhead editor" is illuminated by the man she is planning to marry this month, a former jockey and trainer turned writer and journalist called Charlie Brooks.

Mr Brooks, who is an old Etonian, and I would guess a bit of a rogue in the nicest possible sense, describes his ideal Sunday. He and Rebekah rise early "at their two-bedroom taupe-painted barn outside Chipping Norton". They then scoot off to Oxford airport to board a (presumably private) aeroplane for Venice, where they snatch lunch at Harry's Bar. By evening time they are back at Wilton's restaurant in Jermyn Street, where Charlie likes to put away nine native oysters, washed down by a glass of Meursault.

We are told by Vassi Chamberlain, the author of the gushing piece, that when not in Venice Charlie and Rebekah like to go on holiday with Elisabeth Murdoch and her husband Matthew Freud on their yacht, or stay with "the Oppenheimer Turners at their house in St Tropez (where they hang out at Club 55.)" They spend weekdays at their flat in Chelsea harbour. Charlie is evidently completely infatuated with his temptress.

It sounds quite an agreeable existence, if perhaps a little aimless, and certainly very far removed from the lives of most Sun readers, let alone previous Sun editors. Vassi Chamberlain breathlessly describes the golden couple as being at the centre of the Chipping Norton set, which is not to be confused with the Chipping Camden set, or indeed the one at Chipping Sodbury.

Apart from Charlie and Rebekah, it comprises such glittering figures as Jeremy Clarkson and his wife; the afore-mentioned Elisabeth Murdoch, daughter of Rupert, and her husband Matthew, a PR man; Charles Dunstone, the co-founder of Carphone Warehouse; and various county pals of Charlie's, some of whom sound even dottier than you might imagine. One gets an impression of pretty constant sluicing at a succession of lunches and parties.

And, my goodness, the editor of The Sun has become so very grand. Vassi describes how "a portrait of Rebekah by artist Jonathan Yeo, flamed-haired and smiling, sits almost forgotten [my italics] against a side wall." How insouciant!

Perhaps the biggest shock of all in an article of jaw-dropping revelations is the manner in which the 78-year-old Rupert Murdoch, proprietor of The Sun and the world's richest media mogul, is accorded a small walk-on part by Vassi. He is a figure as it were on the edge of Rebekah's court, playing cards on the Freud's yacht with Charlie, Bono (can you believe it?) and Emily Oppenheimer Turner "who is very much part of the new Oxfordshire set that has built up around Charlie and Rebekah".

There was a time when Rupert Murdoch did not pass his days playing cards with the likes of Bono. A time when he did not encourage his editors to swank around or become too big for their boots – not that any of them has come close to Rebekah as described by her Charlie. Larry Lamb, Andrew Neil and perhaps Kelvin MacKenzie all had to be cut down to size. When the Tatler piece is faxed to Mr Murdoch in New York, will he screw up his furrowed face and wonder whether she is behaving more like a tycoon than an editor?

I don't suppose any British newspaper editor has ever had the kind of life-style that Vassi Chamberlain invokes. It makes that gadabout Andrew Neil look like a boring stay-at-home. If the secret of being a good editor is to live a life not unlike that of most of your readers, or at least to be in a position to identify with their problems and preoccupations, Rebekah Wade does not obviously pass the test.

Given her habitual antipathy towards publicity of any sort, one can only assume that Charlie spilt the beans with her full approval. (If not, the nuptials, due at St Bride's in Fleet Street in a week or two, may have to be deferred a while.) My feeling is that she has outgrown the bonds of The Sun, and may have set her sights on a grander editor's chair, or perhaps a chief executive's office.

But would even that suffice? One suspects that all the glories of Chipping Norton may not be able to contain her much longer. The world itself is hardly big enough for this latter-day Cleopatra and her devoted Antony.

Berlusconi's ire is an indication of how he runs his own papers

Accusations sometimes tell us more about the accuser than the accused, as in the case of the Italian Prime Minster Silvio Berlusconi and The Times.

The paper recently carried a first leader criticising Berlusconi for alleged womanising, which it suggested could no longer be regarded as a private matter. No one, apart possibly from the Marquis de Sade, would have disagreed. The Times also ran an unexceptionable piece by Mary Beard following revelations of Berlusconi's friendship with an aspiring teenage model which has driven his wife to divorce.

The Italian Prime Minister now accuses the paper of running these pieces as a vendetta. Its owner, Rupert Murdoch, is at odds with the Italian government over its introduction of a 20 per cent tax rate on Pay TV companies, which has affected his Sky Italia business.

Is it likely that Mr Murdoch would instruct the editor of The Times to attack Mr Berlusconi? The paper needs no encouragement to do so since Berlusconi's shortcomings are so vividly apparent. Other newspapers have required no vested interest in order to find fault with him.

Silvio Berlusconi is a media owner. His automatic assumption that Mr Murdoch is behind attacks in The Times suggests to me that he would happily tell his newspapers to savage his business opponents.

*Let me give a word of advice to the next leader of the Labour party, as well as to David Cameron. When The Guardian's Polly Toynbee nuzzles up to you, do not go weak at the knees.

As I have pointed out before, Polly lauded Gordon Brown when he became Prime Minister. Last September she dropped him, only to pick him again a few weeks later after he had staged a mini recovery. Now she has finally plunged the knife in again, and I suppose this time there is no coming back. Beware of Polly's kiss.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Sport
Scunthorpe goalkeeper Sam Slocombe (left) is congratulated by winning penalty taker Miguel Llera (right)
football
Life and Style
A woman walks by a pandal art installation entitled 'Mars Mission' with the figure of an astronaut during the Durga Puja festival in Calcutta, India
techHow we’ll investigate the existence of, and maybe move in with, our alien neighbours
Arts and Entertainment
Sir Ian McKellen tempts the Cookie Monster
tvSir Ian McKellen joins the Cookie Monster for a lesson on temptation
News
i100
Travel
Tourists bask in the sun beneath the skyscrapers of Dubai
travelBritish embassy uses social media campaign to issue travel advice for festive holiday-makers in UAE
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Guru Careers: Finance Account Manager

£Neg. (DOE) + Excellent Benefits: Guru Careers: A Finance Account Manager with...

Ashdown Group: Helpdesk Analyst

£25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established media firm based in Surrey is ...

Sphere Digital Recruitment: Display Account Manager

£25,000 to £35,000: Sphere Digital Recruitment: The Company Our client are th...

Sphere Digital Recruitment: Sales Director

£80 – 120K : Sphere Digital Recruitment: Sales Director – Ad tech - £80 – 120K...

Day In a Page

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas
La Famille Bélier is being touted as this year's Amelie - so why are many in the deaf community outraged by it?

Deaf community outraged by La Famille Bélier

The new film tells the story of a deaf-mute farming family and is being touted as this year's Amelie
10 best high-end laptops

10 best high-end laptops

From lightweight and zippy devices to gaming beasts, we test the latest in top-spec portable computers
Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

The batsman has grown disillusioned after England’s Ashes debacle and allegations linking him to the Pietersen affair
Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

The Williams driver has had plenty of doubters, but hopes she will be judged by her ability in the cockpit
Adam Gemili interview: 'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

After a year touched by tragedy, Adam Gemili wants to become the sixth Briton to run a sub-10sec 100m
Calls for a military mental health 'quality mark'

Homeless Veterans campaign

Expert calls for military mental health 'quality mark'
Racton Man: Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman

Meet Racton Man

Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman
Garden Bridge: St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters

Garden Bridge

St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters
Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament: An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel

Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament

An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel
Joint Enterprise: The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice

Joint Enterprise

The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice
Freud and Eros: Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum: Objects of Desire

Freud and Eros

Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum