Why Harry's CO may have to sit out his parade

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The Independent Online

* There is news of a minor disaster at Prince Harry's barracks at the Household Cavalry.

Next week, the Cavalry are due to line up of for inspection by the Queen at the annual Trooping the Colour ceremony.

The event - which marks the Queen's official birthday celebrations - is usually led by Major General Sebastian Roberts, Major General Commanding of the Household Division.

As a result of a recent accident, however, there are fears that Roberts will this year be forced to sit the ceremony out.

"He fell off his horse in Richmond Park last week," says a friend. "Unfortunately, he suffered a pretty nasty bash on the knee and is still limping.

"It's still touch and go, but it looks like he may be a spectator on the day."

If so, it will be a particular blow to Roberts, who would have hoped to have overseen Prince Harry's appearance in the parade. He recently described the young Prince as "an enthusiastic and capable officer".

"Yes, we can confirm that the Major General has sustained some injuries after a riding accident," says a spokesman for the MoD when I call.

"But this hasn't prevented him from carrying out the essential preparations for the Queen's Trooping the Colour ceremony.

"However, as to whether he'll be able to be back in the saddle in time for next Saturday it would be unwise for us to speculate at this time."

* Following in the flashy footsteps of Ewan MacGregor, Joseph Fiennes is the next young British actor to develop an unhealthy passion for motorcycling.

According to friends of the Shakespeare In Love star, Fiennes recently approached the biking giants Triumph to express his interest in taking up the sport.

As a result, Triumph have not only leased him one of their scramblers on a year-long loan, they've very generously offered to throw in a bunch of lessons to teach him how to ride it.

"We heard from a source that Joseph likes our bikes a lot, so we've lent him one for the rest of the year," explains a Triumph spokesman.

"It was a mutual arrangement and there are no plans for Joseph to do any promotional or advertising work for us."

* I do hope Steven Berkoff is not losing any of the passion that once made him one of the most in-demand movie villains around.

Speaking at the reopening of the Roundhouse on Monday night, the former Octopussy star sounded less than thrilled about his next project.

"I start making a film in London on Friday, though I have to stay, I can't actually remember what it's called," he told me.

"Really, it's not much to speak of."

Whether Berkoff was joking or not, he might be right on this one. It's a British flick titled Naked in London, which bills itself as a "tense psychological drama of jealousy, passion, and paranoia" starring Michael Greco, who you might remember once played the hapless Beppe di Marco in EastEnders.

* Could Prince Charles's famously frosty attitude towards politicians be starting to the thaw? Normally, when the Prince wants to make his political opinions known, he fires off one of his dreaded "black spider" memos.

But last night, the Prince invited a number of high-profile Tory MPs to a drinks party he hosted at Highgrove.

Some reckon it's another sign that the green-fingered Charles is becoming increasingly enchanted with David Cameron's eco-friendly brigade.

"It's a private event," says a spokesman from Clarence House. "He throws one every year to various public figures as a way of saying thank you."

* Try as he might, Eddie Izzard just can't seem to get a decent run on the Hollywood treadmill. The cross-dressing comedian has been a star on the stand-up circuit over the years, but is still looking for his first big film break. Izzard's big chance came a couple of years ago when he was offered the chance to appear in the blockbuster Ocean's Twelve, only to discover his role was reduced to a walk-on part. Now, he's hoping the film's sequel might fare better.

"George Clooney told me he was making another Ocean's film, so I agreed to be in it, even though I haven't read the script," Izzard tells me.

"I only had two scenes in Ocean's Twelve, so maybe by the time I make Ocean's Ninety-Six, I'll have 184 scenes"

pandora@independent.co.uk

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