Harry and Meghan could have led royals into future instead of dwelling on past

IT was supposed to usher in the start of a more modern Royal Family.

After making the groundbreaking ­decision to ditch her ladies-in-waiting, ­Queen Consort Camilla hosted a major reception to highlight violence against women and girls.

The Palace's racism row is all happening in the same week that the trailer for the Sussexes' new Netflix series dropped

The Palace’s racism row is all happening in the same week that the trailer for the Sussexes’ new Netflix series dropped
Charles has always appeared to long for a more modern monarchy, now is the time for him to implement it

Charles has always appeared to long for a more modern monarchy, now is the time for him to implement itCredit: Getty

It coincided with the news that Prince Andrew’s ex-wife Sarah Ferguson, who had been out in the cold for the past 30 years, had been invited back into the fold for Christmas at ­Sandringham.

And Mike Tindall had even been ­treating I’m A Celeb viewers to a glimpse of his budgie-smugglers.

So far, so refreshing.

But the veneer of this new modern Royal Family was obliterated in seconds by a thoroughly old-fashioned racism row.

It started as an awkward conversation between Ngozi Fulani, a guest at a Buckingham Palace reception, and senior royal aide Lady Susan Hussey.

The charity boss went on to describe the conversation on Twitter, saying that Lady Hussey — the late Queen’s longest-serving lady-in- waiting — had repeatedly asked her where she was “really” from. Apparently, she refused to accept ­East London’s Hackney as an answer.

Ngozi said she was left feeling “violated” by the encounter and described it as a “form of abuse”.

To make matters even worse, the whole sorry saga exploded just as Kate and William jetted to Boston, in the US, to hand out awards for their Earthshot Prize, a ­ceremony celebrating environmentalism.

As they attended a basketball game between the Boston Celtics and Miami Heat, boos were heard around the ­stadium as they were introduced by an announcer on loudspeaker.

What I would say in defence of the Palace is that the race row was taken very seriously and within hours of Ngozi’s social media post, Lady Hussey was no longer in her role. This story, which is all about belonging and identity, touches a very raw nerve at the heart of the monarchy — their ­inability to reflect a diverse Britain.

And it also proves that The Firm needs a major rebrand if it truly wants to be seen as modern. The Palace simply cannot afford to have another race scandal ­following the catastrophic fallout from Meghan and Harry’s damning allegations.

The irony about this story is that Charles  kept Lady Susan on at the Palace after his mother died out of a sense of loyalty

The irony about this story is that Charles kept Lady Susan on at the Palace after his mother died out of a sense of loyaltyCredit: Getty

Needs more diversity

And talking of the Sussexes . . . this is all happening in the same week that the trailer for their new Netflix series dropped. The “racism” storm must surely have left them rubbing their hands with glee at what they will no doubt see as confirmation of all the claims they have made in the past.

But it’s also a sad reminder of the powerful impact that Harry and Meghan could have made.

Rather than shouting about the past from the sidelines, they could have been carving out a brighter, more progressive future for the royals from inside.

Because whatever your conclusions about this past week, there is no doubting that the Royal Family needs more diversity. They need younger, more aware people ­representing them and meeting the public on their behalf.

And they need to educate every staff member about what is an appropriate way to behave.

Most of all, they need to dismantle ­anything that might be perceived as ­coming from a place of prejudice and ignorance and plays into stereotypes of entitlement and supremacy.

The irony about this story is that King Charles presumably kept Lady Susan on at the Palace after his mother died out of a sense of loyalty.

Perhaps if he had not done that, they would not have blundered into this PR disaster.

Waiting in the sidelines for decades, Charles has always appeared to long for a more modern monarchy. Now is the time for him to implement it.

Seems like seven truly is heaven for marvel mum Hilaria

MY jaw nearly dropped to the floor when I saw pictures of Hilaria Baldwin in a peekaboo velvet dress.

Appearing alongside movie star husband Alec at the American Museum of Natural History’s 2022 gala, she turned heads with her slinky number.

Hilaria Baldwin turned heads with her slinky number as she appeared at the Natural History’s 2022 gala with Alec

Hilaria Baldwin turned heads with her slinky number as she appeared at the Natural History’s 2022 gala with AlecCredit: Rex

But what really shocked me was that Hilaria had given birth just two months earlier – to the couple’s SEVENTH child.

I would love to know what her secret is, maybe it’s really good childcare?

CHES IS THE ONE

WE all owe big thanks to Chesney Hawkes, who acted as England’s lucky charm on Tuesday.

Not only does the Hammers fan have excellent taste, but he delighted Three Lions fans with his half-time rendition of The One And Only.

I have no doubt he helped in turning the game from a goalless damp squib to a decisive 3-0 victory against Wales.

But I did giggle when 23-year-old Declan Rice admitted he’d never heard of the Eighties star.

He added: “Then I see him with the Rice shirt on. We’re pals now – and we’ve got to get him to the games.”

Chezza described the evening as “the best night any fan could ever imagine”.

He’s due to fly back to Qatar to boost England’s chances against Senegal after gigs in Skegness.

With his new found popularity, he could be playing Vegas soon rather than Skeggy.

HAMMER TIME  FOR HELEN EX

WE’VE all been there.

After a relationship breaks down you have the dividing of the goods – the boxes of memories that you now can’t wait to get rid of.

Strictly star Helen Skelton got rid of her ex-husband’s junk by flogging it on a TV show

Strictly star Helen Skelton got rid of her ex-husband’s junk by flogging it on a TV show

But Strictly star Helen Skelton had a novel way of getting rid of her ex-husband’s junk – flogging it on a TV show.

The presenter was open about how devastated she was in April when rugby league player Richie Myler moved out of their home – just after she’d had their third baby.

So who can blame Helen for wanting to draw a line under that chapter and start another?

And what better way to do that than by selling various sentimental items she shared with Richie while filming Celebrity Yorkshire Auction House?

She sold a total of 18 lots, which fetched £965 under the hammer, and could not have put it better when she said on the show: “This is a great opportunity to get rid of a load of stuff.”

Quite right too – out with the old rubbish to make way for new beginnings.

MY SANTA CHORES

WE’RE officially into the festive season.

It’s December 4 already, autumn is long gone and I’ve realised I have a month of putting up Christmas decorations and buying and wrapping presents to look forward to.

Oh, and then there’s the endless marathon of cooking, washing up and entertaining on the horizon.

Knowing my luck, when I open my advent calendar a small pile of laundry will fall out.

IT’S WED ALERT FOR BRIT

IS anyone looking out for poor Britney Spears?

The singer announced on social media that she had “married myself”, posting a video of her in her bridal veil and slinky white gown.

Britney Spears, who announced  on social media that she had 'married myself', needs a good friend right now

Britney Spears, who announced on social media that she had ‘married myself’, needs a good friend right now

She wrote: “Yeah . . . I married myself!!! I got bored, liked my veil and said, IS THIS CRAZY??? OR IS THERE SOMETHING TO IT???”

There is no need to go into the various – and possibly regrettable – social media posts that Britney has made over the past few months.

But I really do think the one thing she needs right now is a good friend.

I hope she has someone she can talk to.