Pardon? Sorry, not granted yet, Hugh

THE public reconciliation that all of Britain seems to have been waiting for failed to occur yesterday, and Hugh Grant, once the archetype of the elegant young English actor, and Elizabeth Hurley, once enthusiastically his girlfriend, went their separate ways.

Miss Hurley, 29, wearing a short, dark blue summer dress with a pink and white ladybird motif, and looking, observers said, like a million dollars, departed glumly from the couple's rented mansion near Bath.

There was no public sign of forgiveness for Mr Grant's fall from grace in being caught by the Los Angeles vice squad last week with a prostitute. Miss Hurley left in a chauffeur-driven silver Mercedes with only a few suitcases; Mr Grant, 34, did not.

Nothing seems to have improved since the couple had a stony-faced lunch together on Friday in the seclusion of their garden, where barely two dozen photographers were able to catch a quick 25-minute glimpse of their private moments together.

Mr Grant will be hoping the turmoil in his life will have subsided by the time his new film, The Englishman Who Went Up a Hill, But Came Down a Mountain, is released on 4 August. Box office receipts will be crucial to his rehabilitation as a star.

But neither his hopes, nor Miss Hurley's demeanour, are likely to be improved over breakfast this morning if either of them are reading today's Sunday tabloids. The prostitute concerned, Miss Divine Brown, tells everything in one; and is pictured wearing nothing in another.