SEBASTIAN SHAKESPEARE: Poison pen letter sparks turmoil at ski club

SEBASTIAN SHAKESPEARE: Poison pen letter sparks turmoil at elite ski club

Prince Augusto Ruffo di Calabria and his daughter Princess Scilla Ruffo di Calabria

With barely 150 members, many of them royal, the Corviglia Ski Club prides itself on its discretion. Or it used to.

I can reveal that the elite club, in the exclusive Swiss resort of St Moritz, has been shocked by an extraordinary outburst which has led its president, Prince Augusto Ruffo di Calabria, issuing an urgent appeal for calm following the circulation of an email pseudonymously sent by a member who styles himself the ‘Sword of Truth’ to all life members.

They’re a rarefied roll-call encompassing Kate Moss’s boyfriend, Nikolai von Bismarck, Prince Ernst August of Hanover, the Earl of Caledon, dashing Winter Olympics star Lord Wrottesley and his billionaire father-in-law, Urs Schwarzenbach.

The email ridicules a London-based financier, who, in response to an appeal by the club for funds to support staff during lockdown, sent £800 — and inadvertently copied his email to every other member.

‘How generous! This amount is far greater than your previous five years of combined tips,’ alleges Sword of Truth in reply.

‘How kind you are to simultaneously communicate your extraordinary generosity to each of the Life Members. Your selfless act is even more remarkable when you keep in mind that we all thought you weren’t welcome in the club anyway.’

I can reveal that the elite club, in the exclusive Swiss resort of St Moritz, has been shocked by an extraordinary outburst which has led its president, Prince Augusto Ruffo di Calabria, issuing an urgent appeal for calm following the circulation of an email pseudonymously sent by a member who styles himself the ‘Sword of Truth’ to all life members

Prince Augusto, whose sister, Paola, is the former Queen of Belgium, has attempted to heal the financier’s wounds.

Declaring the sending of the email ‘a very cowardly act’, he adds: ‘I like to think our Club has high standards and that no Life Member would ever stoop to such an action.’

Describing the £800 donation as ‘extremely generous’, he explains that others were alerted to it only because the club’s original appeal for funds had, ‘due to a technical fault’, been sent ‘in such a way all email addresses were visible’.

Alas, that is unlikely to placate members.

‘Everyone’s private email address has got out,’ one tells me. ‘That’s what upset everybody. It’s a unique club, but you have a lot of egos . . .’

Last Tango In Halifax star Nicola Walker has discovered a silver lining to the current crisis: she can’t make a fuss about turning 50.

‘It was one of the gifts of lockdown: to be able to celebrate my birthday with just my son and my husband — that was an absolute delight,’ says Walker, who is married to actor Barnaby Kay. ‘I felt like, at 50, you’re meant to do something — it’s an unwritten rule.

‘But I didn’t do anything. I got up, went on a massive dog walk, and it was the best birthday I’ve ever had.’

Kate’s titanic insecurity

Oscar-winner Kate Winslet admits she still feels insecure because she left school at 16.

‘People still don’t believe that — because, of course, I speak nicely, so they think I’m classically trained,’ she says.

‘I really am the exception. I got lucky and I learnt on the job.’ The Titanic star adds: ‘But even now I feel I’m growing in confidence.

‘When people say to me ‘God, you’re so articulate’, I often think they’re crazy — because I definitely have a germ of insecurity in me.’

Delighted Paris says Yes (for the 4th time)

Hotel heiress Paris Hilton won’t be forgetting her 40th — herboyfriend, entrepreneur Carter Reum, got down on bended knee yesterday on her birthday. 

‘When you find your soulmate, you don’t just know it, you feel it,’ explains Paris, the great-granddaughter of Conrad Hilton. ‘He arranged a trip to tropical paradise. As we walked to dinner along the beach, Carter led us to a cabana adorned with flowers and dropped to one knee. I said yes.’ 

Paris — whose younger sister, Nicky, is married to British banking heir James Rothschild — has been courted by Carter, 40, for barely a year. 

But he’s an expert when it comes to expediency — his book is called Shortcut Your Startup: Ten Ways To Speed Up Entrepreneurial Success. 

Engaged three times before, could it be fourth time lucky for Paris?


Hotel heiress Paris Hilton won’t be forgetting her 40th — herboyfriend, entrepreneur Carter Reum, got down on bended knee yesterday on her birthday

Stage and screen star John Standing has been praised by his journalist wife, Sarah, for his best supporting role following her diagnosis of cancer of the lymphatic system. 

‘He has been amazing and funny,’ says Sarah. ‘He’s done a million jigsaws with me and we’ve watched endless Netflix.’ 

Sarah, 61, is the daughter of film director Bryan Forbes and actress Nanette Newman. 

‘You realise what’s important in life,’ adds Sarah, who has three children with the Old Etonian baronet, 86, and plans to add a new labrador to the family.

Marooned on the beach

Missing a holiday somewhere sunny during the school half-term? London socialite Amanda Eliasch says she’s been ‘stranded’ in the Caribbean.

The ex-wife of tycoon Johan Eliasch arrived in Barbados last month on a business trip to do a shoot for fashion magazine Genlux, but says her BA flight home was switched to March 24.

‘So I’m stranded,’ she tells me. ‘It’s an accidental Robinson Crusoe life.’

Bleach-blonde Amanda, who lives in a £8.3 million house in West London’s Chelsea, won’t, however, be slumming it: she’s staying in a luxury villa by the beach. She admits: ‘I’m living in the most fabulous setting; things could be a lot worse.’

Missing a holiday somewhere sunny during the school half-term? London socialite Amanda Eliasch says she’s been ‘stranded’ in the Caribbean

Gyles Brandreth admits recording Radio 4’s panel game Just A Minute has not been without hiccups. ‘We’re doing a new series now on Zoom,’ he says. ‘We assumed it would just be the people taking part in the programme who would be able to intervene. But half way through we realised there was a maverick person pressing a buzzer. Somebody had managed to break into the system.’

Jon Snow stars in the Game Of Cots

There’s a new prince in the North! Baronet’s son Kit Harington, who played King of the North’s son Jon Snow in sex and dragons drama Game Of Thrones, has become a father.

His wife and fellow Thrones star, Rose Leslie, 34 (left), has given birth to their first child, a son. Kit, 34, was seen taking the baby for a walk near their London home.

A spokesman says the couple — who married in 2018 at Rose’s ancestral seat, Lickleyhead Castle in Aberdeenshire — are ‘very happy’.


There’s a new prince in the North! Baronet’s son Kit Harington, who played King of the North’s son Jon Snow in sex and dragons drama Game Of Thrones, has become a father. His wife and fellow Thrones star, Rose Leslie, 34 (left), has given birth to their first child, a son. Kit, 34, was seen taking the baby for a walk near their London home

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