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  Opinion   Columnists  01 Aug 2022  Kishwar Desai | When libel WAGs a friendship; will Harry’s memoir pack a bombshell?

Kishwar Desai | When libel WAGs a friendship; will Harry’s memoir pack a bombshell?

Kishwar Desai, is the chair of the Arts and Cultural Heritage Trust, which is setting up the Partition Museum at Town Hall, Amritsar.
Published : Aug 1, 2022, 12:12 am IST
Updated : Aug 1, 2022, 12:12 am IST

Packaged for Christmas, Prince Harry will, along with his ghost-writer J.R. Moehringer, tell all in a new book

 Rebekah Vardy (L) and Coleen Rooney. (AFP)
  Rebekah Vardy (L) and Coleen Rooney. (AFP)

As the women’s football team prepares for an almost certain victory (I am writing before the Lionesses hit the ground at Wembley) the media has been captured by the endless Instagram battle between the wives of two male footballers: Wayne Rooney and Jamie Vardy.

Their wives — Coleen Rooney and Rebecca Vardy, once the dearest of friends, fell out due to the suspected leaks of information from Coleen’s account to the press. For some time she was puzzled about whodunit — and like a sleuth set up a sting. And then found out it was her ‘friend’ Rebecca who was allegedly selling the information to the media. As the wives and girlfriends of footballers are known as WAGs, the case was quickly dubbed ‘Wagatha Christie’ by the tabloid press. Rebecca denied the accusation and took Coleen to court. And so a colourful exchange of information by highly paid lawyers took place — and many of us learnt both how duplicitous and how persistent social media can be. I don’t think I ever wanted so much detail while TV channels and even serious newspapers took the case, as well as the two women at the heart of it, apart.

Rebecca ultimately lost the case this week— and the judge ruled that Coleen’s private Instagram information had been sold by Rebecca to various journalists. Now Rebecca has to pay millions not just to her lawyers but also to the lawyers of her bete noire — the once incandescent, and now happily calm, Coleen.

But as the two fabulously dressed and made up women stepped out of the court it was difficult to spot the winner or the loser. And many of us could not understand why so much money had spent on a spat that could have been resolved with a simple tweet saying “sorry”.

Meanwhile — how does one recover millions? Usually it’s by becoming notorious and then writing a book about it…

This is certainly a route being taken by Prince Harry — and so, folks, in case you missed the very public wall-to-wall coverage of the Royal Family fall out, here comes the latest version. Packaged for Christmas, Prince Harry will, along with his ghost-writer J.R. Moehringer, tell all in a new book. It’s interesting how young people are writing their “memoirs”. In the old days, you actually had to achieve something before you wrote about your life — or if anyone was interested in it. But it seems there is an endless appetite to know more about the royal rebel, whose major achievements so far have been, in short, romancing some really interesting women, marrying one of them and then quitting the palace for the land of the free. And yes, he has done some good charitable work. But the more interesting parts of the book will predictably rely largely on his relationships: with his grandmother, his mother, his father and brother. Yes, we did hear some of this in the interviews he has given — but in all the pre-publicity for the book it appears there will be still more surprises in store. So look out for the memoir in your Christmas stocking!

I remember once upon a time when India was the place for strikes and, without warning, all transport would be shut down. Now the “inaction” is the bane of the UK, where some of the left wing members of the Labour Party continue to support the strikes despite the problems these cause commuters. Of course, due to the cost of living crisis it is understandable that workers would ask for higher wages. But on this weekend, the rail strike has meant that people planning a quick getaway had to resort to driving — and there were enormous traffic jams near Dover. Things have got worse because Heathrow is unable to handle the traffic and flights are being cancelled all the time.

The airport authorities blame the airlines who have not recruited enough staff to ease the problem, post Covid. So it looks like it will be at least one year before the airports are back to normal — and possibly it will take a new Prime Minister before the issues of price rise and wages are resolved.

Yes, that brings us to another long running TV show — The Hustings. These are the “debates” featuring Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak as they tour the countryside wooing the Conservative party faithful — the card carrying members. The candidate who procures the largest number of votes will be the next Prime Minister, by early September.

As often happens in politics, a week is a long time. Rishi had won over the highest number Tories in Parliament just last week — but among the Party faithful, it is the foreign secretary, Liz, who is way ahead. Her popularity is almost at 70 per cent among the voting Tories, while Rishi trails at half of that. However, there is still a month to go.

Meanwhile Boris announced “Hasta La Vista, Baby” in his goodbye speech in Parliament — and many say he may actually be back(!) — though it looks quite impossible at the moment. In his usual incorrigible fashion he decided to get married this week to his wife Carrie with whom he has two children. This was a public ceremony with friends and family which they could not enjoy previously due to Covid. And so we know that at least someone is having fun! And it has to be Boris!


Tags: prince harry, coleen rooney