SARAH VINE: A doormat? No, Dominic West’s wife is right to keep the show going
At times like these we all need a bit of a distraction. And what could be more entertaining than the sight of a married, middle-aged actor making a complete and utter fool of himself?
Enter The Wire’s Dominic West, father of five and husband of the beautiful and aristocratic Catherine FitzGerald, photographed this week in Rome in the company of Lily James, his co-star in a new adaptation of Nancy Mitford’s The Pursuit Of Love.
James, 31, and West, 50, were pictured canoodling over lunch in a restaurant and taking in the sights together on the back of an electric scooter.
For Mrs West, the embarrassment must have been acute.
Married father-of-five Dominic West and was photographed getting close to actress Lily James in Rome. The actors are co-stars in in a new adaptation of Nancy Mitford’s The Pursuit Of Love
Bad enough finding out your husband is smooching the least interesting character in Downton Abbey. But to see him riding one of those overgrown children’s toys like a giant man-baby must have been the final straw.
Honestly, there’s only so much a woman can take.
And yet, amazingly, barely hours after West returned shamefaced from Italy, there was his wife, standing by her man.
Not merely standing, in fact: passionately kissing the old goat in front of photographers outside their home in Wiltshire.
As for him, he put on his best loveable rogue face before the couple gave out a hand-written note, signed by both of them, declaring: ‘Our marriage is strong and we’re very much still together’.
Today West and his wife, Catherine FitzGerald, have come out to say their marriage was ‘strong and we’re very much still together,’ despite the snap in Rome
Which was a little peculiar — although not quite as peculiar as the fact he appeared to be wearing exactly the same clothes (with the addition of a brown overcoat) as he had been in Rome.
Perhaps, somewhere out of camera-shot, lay the smouldering remains of a bonfire made out of all his best suits. And who would blame her?
Barely a few hours earlier, Mrs W had reportedly told a friend that the marriage was ‘probably over’.
Who knows how West earned his reprieve. Maybe he blamed the local vino: it looked like a well-lubricated lunch.
Or did he simply tell her not to be such an old prude? After all, back in 2016 he said to an interviewer that he thought wives should be more indulgent of affairs.
‘It’s daft to kick someone out over a fling, isn’t it?’ he said. ‘Everyone should turn a blind eye to men’s behaviour between the ages of 40 and 50. Let it all blow over.’
A wise man once told me that there are only ever two people who really know what goes on in a marriage. But whatever the nuances of this situation, there is something universal about the role of women in Catherine’s stage of life.
Just a few hours before the couple posed before photographers, Ms FitzGerald had reportedly told a friend that the marriage was ‘probably over’
She’s married to a successful, egotistical man who is clearly a hard dog to keep on the porch, with four children of their own and a stepchild to manage. Plus she has her own landscape business and a castle in Ireland which she helps to run as a hotel. So I don’t imagine Catherine has much time to indulge herself.
There are countless women like her. Long-suffering, middle-aged mums who look after everyone but themselves, who put up with everyone’s nonsense because, quite honestly, they don’t have much choice.
For what it’s worth, I don’t think he deserves her. Even without the Rome incident, it’s clear West is not a particularly kind person, or he would never have said what he said about Donald Trump getting Covid (he ‘jumped for joy’).
People may respect Catherine FitzGerald for her happiness, but she needs to remember that she, too, has a right to happiness, writes SARAH VINE
And if he cared about Catherine at all, he would at least have conducted his canoodling in private.
Catherine is beautiful, and I’m sure plenty of men would be happy to be by her side.
But I understand why she’s supporting him, and I think people will respect her for it. Just as long as she remembers she, too, has a right to happiness.
Our lockdown blues
Normally, we have to wait until Blue Monday in January for the most depressing day of the year — but I would say this past Monday was a close contender.
When the country went into lockdown back in March, there was a sense that, if we all pulled together, we could beat this thing. Plus we had the glorious weather.
But this week there was nothing but weariness and sadness, a feeling that all the sacrifice has been for nothing. I think the Government needs to be a bit careful: fair enough, it wants to get across the seriousness of the situation. But too much doom and gloom and you risk inducing a sense of hopelessness so profound that people stop trying.
The short-term physical health of the nation is, of course, the focus. But we cannot lose sight of our long-term mental health either.
Kate is a ray of sunshine
What a ray of sunshine the Duchess of Cambridge has turned out to be.
The Duchess of Cambridge is reassuring the nation with her breezy, can do demeanour as she launched the annual Wildlife Photographer of the Year Awards at the Natural History Museum
This week she launched the annual Wildlife Photographer of the Year Awards at the Natural History Museum.
There is something so reassuring about her breezy, can-do, Head Girl demeanour that, even if royalty is not your bag, no one can deny.
And so refreshing after months of empty virtue-signalling from those spoilt brats on the other side of the Pond.
Why ban birthdays at school?
Talking of the nation’s mental health, I really don’t see what possible advantage there could be in banning primary school children from celebrating birthdays at school.
Small people set such huge store by these things, and there is very strong evidence to suggest that they have little or no part in spreading the virus.
And besides, thanks to the rule of six, the only real chance they’ll get to celebrate is in class. Let them eat (birthday) cake, I say.
Covid’s grim impact on interest rates
There is a certain grim irony in the fact that, in crashing the economy to protect the elderly from Covid (average age of death from the illness is currently 82), we could well end up with negative interest rates.
This is the age group that relies on life savings and pensions — both of which will be hit.
As my father says, what’s the point in living until you’re 90 if you can’t afford to enjoy it?
Cleopatra’s gal power
Gal Gadot, aka Wonder Woman, has been accused of ‘whitewashing’ following the announcement that she is to star in a new film about Cleopatra.
Not only is Gadot not African, claim the diversity police, she is also Israeli, which is about as bad as it gets on the woke trigger scale.
Gal Gadot is facing backlash for appearing as Cleopatra in an upcoming film about the Egyptian queen
Of course, Cleopatra was actually Macedonian, and so in fact would have been Southern Mediterranean in appearance, which Gadot is.
As to her nationality — well, was it not the enslaved peoples of Israel who built the pyramids in the first place?
Or is that just one of those inconvenient truths we are not supposed to mention?
Real dressing down
I don’t envy Allegra Stratton, who starts next month as the Government’s press secretary in charge of those grim daily Covid briefings.
I have no doubt she’ll be brilliant — but it will be a tough gig, not least because she is a woman and as such will be judged not only by her ability to do the actual job, but by the way she looks and what she wears.
Like it or not (and I don’t), this is always the way with any female in the public eye. I only wish I could offer some constructive advice. But I’m not sure I’m entirely qualified, since I am the woman who turned up at what was arguably the most important photocall of my life — the day of the EU referendum — wearing a jacket that was two sizes too small. (I was going through one of my cheese and red wine phases).
I wore it with a Bet Lynch leopard-print shirt and a pair of trousers that served only to highlight the pallid phosphorescence of my ankles — a frankly catastrophic wardrobe choice that, sadly, the internet will never let me forget.
Rape allegations at Kenyan avocado farm
If it’s not cheap, chlorinated chicken and hormone-stuffed beef from America, it’s allegations of rape, punishment beatings and even murder on the Kenyan avocado farm that supplies Lidl, Sainsbury’s and Tesco.
Even more of a reason to support UK farms — and local, home-grown produce.
Allegations of violence at an avocado farm in Kenya are even more of a reason to buy British, writes SARAH VINE
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