Diary: More painful news for Zara

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The Independent Online

It pains me to break this particular piece of news to Zara Tindall (née Phillips), but there is – or was – yet another lady in her new husband's life. According to my sources, the Princess Royal's daughter was not, in fact, the first young woman to whom Mike Tindall proposed. I'm told the England rugby star went down on one knee and presented an engagement ring to one Frannie Cornwell, from his home town of Pontefract, West Yorkshire. He was six at the time, and she was his classmate at Inglewood Junior School. Luckily, the couple never made it to the altar.

* You may be concerned by the prospect of a double-dip recession, but rest assured that ultra-high net worth individuals are feeling the pinch, too. Or so the Financial Times assures us in its special "Yachts and Marinas" supplement, published yesterday. "Aspiring superyacht owners are not immune to the financial and economic crises that have buffeted the west," the paper claims. Then again, "they are still buying big boats". According to Barry Gilmour, chairman of yacht services company Royale Oceanic, "The psychology is: 'I've got a couple of billion, I've got three houses and a helicopter, and I still want to enjoy myself. What the hell! Let's go for it.'" And why not, when so many of them live so close to open water in Monte Carlo? The FT also suggests some "toys to complement the modern superyacht", including the Innespace Sea Breacher submersible watercraft (£72,000), the Corum Seafender 46 chronograph watch (£6,500) and the Elektra electric powerboat (£211,000-£285,000).

* Ken Livingstone: he never learns, does he? It's mere weeks since the ex-Mayor made that unwise joke about Hitler, causing great mock offence to his enemies, and here he is cracking gags again. "The Other Ken" Livingstone was interviewed by Nick Ferrari on LBC yesterday with his celebrity supporter Eddie Izzard, and succumbed to the urge to compete for laughs with the professional comedian. "If you could go for a drink with Ken, Boris or Brian Paddick," asked Ferrari, "who would it be?" Ken, Izzard replied without hesitation, at which Livingstone himself piped up: "But you could take Boris and put poison in his drink." Neither Guido Fawkes nor The Daily Mail seemed to have reported these tame, or perhaps breathtakingly outrageous, comments at time of writing. Do your worst, chaps.

* On the subject of ill-advised attempts at humour (a subject with which I am well familiar) we return to George (né Gideon) Osborne's unfortunate acceptance speech at the GQ Men of the Year awards. Gideon managed to make even Kate Winslet sound measured, when he implied that his parliamentary colleagues – not to mention the readers of GQ magazine – were "wankers". On Tuesday, GQ editor

Dylan Jones reported on Twitter that he had visited Downing Street, where Gideon "apologised for his outburst at the Men Of The Year Awards". The Chancellor was sanguine about the negative reaction to his comic routine, insisting: "All publicity is good publicity." And he would know, having enjoyed frequent bouts of good publicity in the past, courtesy of such friends and acquaintances as Natalie Rowe, Oleg Deripaska and Andy Coulson.

* Also a presumed subscriber to the "all publicity is good publicity" notion is bulldog-browed knife-wielder Gordon Ramsay. And Gordon Ramsay Restaurants happens to be in search of a new recruit for their publicity team. The role of Public Relations Executive at Ramsay's outfit is a "very rare and exciting opportunity," says the relevant job ad. The successful candidate will (among other things)... "remain calm under pressure... have exceptional verbal and written communication skills [and] understand the importance of confidentiality". It's a tough job, but somebody has to do it. And I wish them the very best of luck.

highstreetken@independent.co.uk

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