Virginia Ironside: The old dear has calmed down at last

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The Independent Online

So Michael Winner has finally set a wedding date. But why wait so long? I imagine the main reason is financial. He isn't going to live for ever, and he must be particularly aware of his mortality after a dreadful health scare four years ago, which he suffered after eating a dodgy oyster in Barbados.

It was then that he became engaged to Geraldine. He is, apparently, worth millions, and an easy way of avoiding death duties is to leave the whole caboodle to your wife. Were Geraldine not his wife, a huge proportion of his estate would have to go to the Treasury.

But he's been hedging his bets. And after 40 years together, Winner must now be pretty certain that neither is likely to change their personality or run off with a younger or more interesting model.

Finally, when he got engaged he said that he intended now to be "totally faithful". It seems that Winner, the old dear, has calmed down at last.