Another royal palaver: expat says I'm not wearing this in row over Kate Middleton's dress

Oh dear oh dear. Our diarist has noted in the past that royal decorum was not fully upheld on a recent trip to the Solomon Islands. Here's an update.

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The Independent Online

Rebecca Deacon, Kate Middleton’s PA, has been dragged into a row that rumbles on in the Solomon Islands, a Pacific paradise visited by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge earlier this month. From the islanders’ viewpoint, an otherwise idyllic visit was spoilt when the royal couple turned up  to a state feast incorrectly dressed in clothes made 2,800 miles away in  the Cook Islands. William was supposed to be wearing a specially tailored Solomon Islands shirt, and his wife should have been in a summer dress. The Solomon Islands government blamed an expatriate named Keithie Saunders for leaving the offending items in the royal couple’s hotel room.

She has now come out fighting in the Solomon Star, saying that she pinned a note to the clothes explaining that they were a gift from the Cook Islands. She added: “When the Duchess came out in the Cook Islands dress, I was so shocked I immediately went to Rebecca Deacon and asked her why the Royal Highnesses were wearing Cook Islands clothes. She said she didn’t see the note pinned to the dress. I asked her what we should do about this awful business. She asked me not to say anything, and leave it to her.”

Shades of discernment from Harriet

Interviewed in the current issue of The House magazine, Harriet Harman admits that by way of “research” she has read “three-quarters” of the soft-porn bestseller, Fifty Shades of Grey (would that be Thirty Seven and a Half Shades?). Her verdict: “Women are probably more interested in a man who knows how to unstack the dishwasher rather than tie them to the bed. But the blockbuster that reveals that has yet to be written.”

Ms Harman, left, also disclosed that she has joined more than 37,000 supporters of an online petition calling on The Sun to stop carrying pictures of young women’s naked breasts on Page 3. The petition is at

My kingdom for a vote for Ukip

Those who want Richard III to have a state funeral in York  – should the bones found under a Leicester car park prove to be his –  have the backing of another popular historian. Last week, it was Peter Ackroyd. Yesterday, Tom Holland tweeted:  “Hadn’t realised that it’s Ukip policy to have Richard III given a state funeral at York Minster. I think I’ll vote for them.”

Please stay on the line, Mr President

A short item at the bottom of this column yesterday has caused pandemonium in Downing Street. It recorded that Charlie Brooks, husband of Rebekah, had told the Racing Post that he was playing tennis with David Cameron in Chequers when a call came through from Barack Obama, but the Prime Minister was so set on winning that he said he would call the President back. Oh dear. It was all in reported speech, but perhaps we should have added a little editor’s note explaining that this is a tall tale told by Brooks, not something that actually happened.

If the Prime Minister really had snubbed the US President, it would have been on the front page. However, the Downing Street machine went into a spin as the story escaped from its pen and ran amok on the web. They checked their log, established that no call ever came through from Barack Obama while Brooks was at Chequers. They pointed out that if it had, the call would have been preceded by a 15 minute warning. Moreover, the Prime Minister and Mr Brooks played tennis in the morning, when it is the middle of the night in Washington.

So, Barack, don’t be offended – if you really had rung, the PM would have dropped his tennis racket and gone to the phone.