People: Queen seeks tea and sympathy at Waterloo

TIRED, perhaps, of the endless gossip about her daughters-in-law, the Queen is taking a mid-week break to Belgium. King Baudoin and Queen Fabiola do not have any children, so Her Majesty will be able to get away from it all. Brussels boasts numerous attractions, but the Queen has opted for quiet contemplation at the battlefield of Waterloo. She will then take tea.

Let's hope someone has warned her that visitors cannot take chips on to the battlefield (as a sign at the entrance makes clear) and that, for Belgians, making tea involves quickly introducing a tea-bag to a cup of warm water.

'I DON'T think princes should marry princesses. They should marry the person they love.' Romantic words from top model Claudia Schiffer during a promotional visit to Madrid. But which prince was she talking about? Prince Albert of Monaco, with whom she firmly denied 'either romance or a wedding'? Or Crown Prince Felipe of Spain, whom she bumped into outside a Majorca discotheque at 5am last summer. 'He's charming. It's not surprising he was voted one of the world's 50 most handsome men,' she said.

HOLLYWOOD'S first hard man, Sylvester Stallone, star of the mountainous new thriller Cliffhanger, has confessed he is afraid of heights. Stallone told Entertainment Weekly magazine that he balked when he came face to face with the 13,000ft peaks in the Italian Alps.

'I went into shock. I panicked,' he said. Despite a reported salary of dollars 15m (pounds 9.7m), Stallone said he told the director, Renny Harlin, to 'forget it'. Stallone remained adamant until a photographer persuaded him, for a publicity shot, to venture out on to a ledge jutting out 3,000ft above a frozen abyss. 'From that day on I lived in fear,' Stallone said. 'Every day I knew they'd think of something new and more risky. And they did.'

AND moviedom's antipodean action man, Paul Hogan, star of Crocodile Dundee, yesterday launched his next project, Lightning Jack, by listing the film on the Australian Stock Exchange. Hogan is offering 35 million shares in the film, a western about an Australian outlaw seeking fame and fortune in the United States in the 1870s, at Adollars 1 (45p) each.

His last film, Almost An Angel, was a box-office flop. Hogan said the new film would succeed because it was a big, bold outdoor adventure which was funnier than Crocodile Dundee but not as romantic. 'People don't like me doing certain roles the same way they don't like to see Clint Eastwood as a lawyer . . .'

TOO much democracy leads to homosexuality, moral decay, racial intolerance, economic decline and single-parent families, according to Mahathir Mohamad, Malaysia's Prime Minister. 'We . . . should not be the slave of democracy,' Mr Mahathir told a gathering in Kuala Lumpur, adding that democracy had become a 'religion' in the West and had led to gross moral decay.

STUDENTS at the University of Rochester in New York state graduated in a blaze of glory, as Cab Calloway led them in a sing-along to 'Minnie the Moocher'. The King of Hi-De-Ho, as he was introduced, celebrated his honorary doctorate in fine arts with a show-stopping rendition of the song, accompanied by the 9,000 graduates and guests.

(Photograph omitted)

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