SEBASTIAN SHAKESPEARE: Princess Diana's dance partner Wayne Sleep laments royal wedding snub

Wayne Sleep (pictured) whisked Princess Diana off her feet at the Royal Opera House in 1985

Wayne Sleep (pictured) whisked Princess Diana off her feet at the Royal Opera House in 1985

Ballet star Wayne Sleep, who whisked Princess Diana off her feet at the Royal Opera House in 1985, is clearly rankled by not being invited to the royal wedding.

'Of course I would love to go,' he laments. 'I was so fond of her but that's the way it goes. Prince Harry probably doesn't realise we were friends.'

Just last week Sir Elton John, another close friend of Diana, revealed he had not received an invitation to the royal nuptials.

Sir Elton, 71, who sang at Diana's funeral in 1997, reportedly cancelled several Las Vegas shows so he could attend Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's nuptials on May 19.

Asked if he would be performing on the day, the Rocket Man said: 'If they asked me to — but I haven't been asked to the wedding yet. I would love to be at the wedding to see them because I think they are happy. I know they are so happy.'

Another who has been snubbed is Samantha Grant, Meghan Markle's estranged half-sister.

Samantha has claimed to have raised Meghan for 12 years in California. However, other sources say they were raised apart. She complained last week; 'I was the first-born Markle to my father. Excluding the Markles from this wedding would be highly inappropriate.'

Just last week Sir Elton John, another close friend of Diana (pictured), revealed he had not received an invitation to the royal nuptials

Just last week Sir Elton John, another close friend of Diana (pictured), revealed he had not received an invitation to the royal nuptials

At least Sleep, 69, has other plans to preoccupy him. 'I'm shortly holding a cocktail party for my friend, ballerina Dame Beryl Grey, for receiving one of the highest honours — the Companion of Honour — in the land,' he tells me at the Terrence Higgins Trust Prudential Auction at Christie's.

'She is 91 soon and has not had a celebration to commemorate so I'm doing it at my Chiswick cottage, which used to be Nancy Mitford's house. It's so easy to forget these old dames.' Oh no it isn't. 

 

Ex-FBI boss James Comey's new autobiography, A Higher Loyalty, includes a revealing nugget about Robert Mueller, the special counsel investigating alleged links between Donald Trump and Russia. 

Comey says the word at the FBI was that Mueller was so tough that when he needed knee surgery not long after 9/11, he refused to have an anaesthetic and bit on a leather belt instead. 

Look out, Donald! 

 

Bonkbuster author Jilly Cooper is enjoying researching her next novel, Tackle!, based on a Premier League football team.

'I've met the England manager, Gareth Southgate, at the St George's Park football centre in Staffordshire, and he was fascinating,' Jilly tells me at the London Diarists' Lunch at the Mandarin Oriental hotel in Knightsbridge. 

'He looks much better in the flesh than on camera.'

 
Former Lib Dem leader Paddy Ashdown is in Uzbekistan where he has been trying on an array of bizarre headwear

Former Lib Dem leader Paddy Ashdown is in Uzbekistan where he has been trying on an array of bizarre headwear

Joker Ashdown goes in search of his inner Bojo

Former Lib Dem leader Paddy Ashdown memorably said he would 'eat his hat' at the 2015 General Election if his party was reduced to ten MPs.

However he has still to make good on his promise.

The 77-year-old is in Uzbekistan where he has been trying on an array of bizarre headwear from the local markets and posting pictures online.

Sporting one that resembles a blonde Boris Johnson wig, he jokes: 'In Bokhara yesterday, I saw this hat. But — you will be glad to know — resisted the temptation to eat it.'

A couple of days later he tried on a black one, adding: 'Since the subject is hats, here is the local one from Khiva — which I also haven't eaten.'

 

 Is this Strictly the last time for Goodman?

Former Strictly head judge Len Goodman quit the BBC show last year partly because he was struggling to juggle the job with Dancing With The Stars in LA.

Now the 73-year-old tells me his U.S. job might not have much of a future either.

'This may be my last season,' he tells me. 'It's the end of my contract and they may not want to have me any more.

'They might have had enough of me. I don't want to retire totally but I'm quite happy doing nothing — reading a book and pottering in the garden.'

 

Dame Helen admits: 'I still get starstruck'

Dame Helen Mirren's trophy cabinet includes a Best Actress Oscar as well as Olivier and Tony awards.

Nevertheless, the 72-year-old claims to be a bag of nerves when she works with a 'big' name.

She says: 'I'm a little bit overwhelmed and 'fan-y' about them.

'If I'm going to work with a big star, I get up in the morning and say to myself: 'Do not make a fool of yourself, don't talk too much, don't be sycophantic, don't laugh at their jokes too much, just be yourself.'

'Then I walk up and there's Bruce Willis or there's a big star — I just fall apart.'

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