Queen agrees to lobby Olympic chiefs over the fine bone china
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* With Cherie Blair signed-up as an "ambassador" for London's 2012 Olympic bid, moves are being made to bring our other "first lady" on board as well.

* With Cherie Blair signed-up as an "ambassador" for London's 2012 Olympic bid, moves are being made to bring our other "first lady" on board as well.

The Queen is in negotiations to take an active role in the effort to bring the Games to the UK. She has always supported the bid in principle, but will now take a "hands on" role in the lobbying process.

In February, the International Olympic Committee's evaluation commission visits London to make its last - and most important - report, to be shown to IOC members before next July's final vote on the venue.

The committee's itinerary is yet to be finalised, but Pandora gathers that the Queen has agreed to host a private tea party for the half-dozen inspectors, on the final day of their visit.

"This is a coup, because it's something none of our rivals can offer, and it's the sort of thing IOC officials will absolutely love," says a source close to the bid. "Obviously, they will visit various venues, and be taken to Downing Street, but the Buckingham Palace tea party is what you'd call a winning card."

Apparently, Princess Anne has been instrumental in setting the whole thing up. Notwithstanding royal protocol, she's now said to be encouraging her mother to engage in some serious lobbying, over the fine bone china.

* IN A move that will send shock waves through the art world, Grayson Perry is about to update his wardrobe.

The transvestite potter who won last year's Turner Prize, tells me that he's giving his female alter ego, Claire, a fashion makeover.

"I have decided to start wearing something different," Perry told me at the opening of this year's Turner Prize exhibition.

"It's going to be a lot more uncomfortable than what I'm used to, but I don't want to say exactly how, at this stage."

Whatever does happen, Perry isn't going to throw out his collection of dresses, though.

"The little girl will always be my stock in trade, but it doesn't have the same effect these days," he adds.

"I was walking to the V&A the other day, and realised that people have got used to it: I don't get hassled any more."

* THE COMEDIAN Dylan Moran is causing a headache for the makers of the new Tristram Shandy film, which is about to go into production.

In order to take part in the ambitious flick - which stars Steve Coogan, Gillian Anderson and Stephen Fry - Moran, above, who plays Dr Slop, is learning how to ride. And that's not going well at all.

"In spite of being Irish, Dylan is terrified of horses," I'm told. "He's been sent to the rather swanky Hyde Park stables in London to learn, but they say that he's getting absolutely nowhere.

"There's only one more week of lessons until he needs to start filming, so we're starting to look around for a stunt rider to do the relevant scenes."

* AFTER GOING to ground on Tuesday, the Tory MP Jonathan Sayeed has made a belated attempt to explain himself.

Apparently, his e-mail encouraging me to ask Trevor McDonald "Do you feel embarrassed at having benefited from positive discrimination?" (see yesterday's Pandora) was all a big mistake.

What Sayeed had meant to ask was: "Do you feel embarrassed at the allegation of having benefited from positive discrimination?".

Unfortunately the fat-fingered MP had hit the wrong buttons on his computer keypad, before clicking the send button. "That's what comes from not being a typist," he explains, snappily.

* As if Boris Johnson hasn't eaten enough humble pie already, he'll now have to issue a grovelling apology to his own parliamentary secretary.

The poor woman, Melissa Crawshay-Williams, has reported sick with stress after being forced to deal with a tide of abusive messages from disaffected Liverpudlians.

According to Johnson - whose Spectator magazine accused Scousers of having a "peculiar, and deeply unattractive psyche" - Crawshay-Williams, who runs his internet site, has been at the sharp end of the backlash.

"My poor Commons secretary was so overcome by the avalanche of electronic hatemail, that she has had to retire to her bed," he explains. "I can't really be surprised."

pandora@independent.co.uk

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