Celebrities

EDEN CONFIDENTIAL: Chef Marco Pierre White wants to be Italian citizen

EDEN CONFIDENTIAL: Chef Marco Pierre White wants to become an Italian citizen because he’s so angry about way his late mother was treated by British authorities after emigrating

Fiery chef Marco Pierre White used to throw out diners he disliked when he was still the enfant terrible of Michelin-starred restaurants.

And now, I can reveal, the TV star has decided to apply for Italian citizenship because he’s so angry about the way his beloved late mother, Maria-Rosa Gallina, was treated by the British authorities after she emigrated here from the Veneto region of Italy after World War II.

‘My mother was sent to live with her nonna [grandma] in Leeds and met my father and fell pregnant, and had no choice but to marry him,’ he reveals.

Fiery chef Marco Pierre White (above) used to throw out diners he disliked when he was still the enfant terrible of Michelin-starred restaurants. And now, I can reveal, the TV star has decided to apply for Italian citizenship because he’s so angry about the way his beloved late mother, Maria-Rosa Gallina, was treated by the British authorities after she emigrated here from the Veneto region of Italy after World War II

‘Do you know what they [the British authorities] did to her? She had to surrender her Italian nationality to marry my father. That’s what the British government did to Italians.’

Venting his anger, he adds: ‘I would like an Italian passport and the reason why is because of my mother. I may never use it, but it’s just that acknowledgement that I’ve been accepted.’

The move is a poignant tribute to his mother, who died of a brain haemorrhage when he was just six years old. He was raised along with his two older brothers by his father, Frank, on a council estate in West Yorkshire.

He says his Italian heritage led to his being ‘racially discriminated’ against during his childhood.

Above, the chef’s mother. ‘My mother was sent to live with her nonna [grandma] in Leeds and met my father and fell pregnant, and had no choice but to marry him,’ White reveals

‘I was called a coward,’ he tells the Crazy Sexy Food podcast. ‘I was never beaten up, but I was picked on at school.’

If accepted for Italian citizenship, White, 59, wouldn’t have to give up his British passport, as Italy allows dual nationality. 

In 2017, Oscar winner Colin Firth was granted an Italian passport. His wife at the time, the film producer Livia Giuggioli, is Italian.

White’s perks would include being able to reside, work or study in Italy, in addition to having access to healthcare and voting rights.

Absolutely Fabulous star Joanna Lumley pities young people today

Absolutely Fabulous star Joanna Lumley pities young people today because they lack the freedom she had to make mistakes.

‘Their generation has been given much less leeway to drink, take drugs or sleep with people than we were,’ claims Lumley, 75. 

‘You were considered a spoilsport if you didn’t do those things when I was growing up. 

‘If somebody said: “He’s a bad egg, don’t go out with him”, I had to go out with him — I couldn’t not. 

‘And, actually, I don’t regret any of it, I really don’t.’

The smart set’s talking about… Chatto, the royal muse

Heartbroken when he split up with his first serious girlfriend during lockdown, Princess Margaret’s grandson Sam Chatto is now the picture of happiness.

For I learn that not only has Edinburgh University graduate Sam, 25, struck up a romance with London-based artist Eleanor Ekserdjian, also 25, but he’s become her muse.

I spotted the handsome pair at a recent party in St James’s, London, and Eleanor tells me: ‘We are a couple.’ 

Heartbroken when he split up with his first serious girlfriend during lockdown, Princess Margaret’s grandson Sam Chatto is now the picture of happiness. For I learn that not only has Edinburgh University graduate Sam, 25, struck up a romance with London-based artist Eleanor Ekserdjian, also 25, but he’s become her muse. (Above, the couple)

Inspired by her new love, the arts professor’s daughter has started depicting Sam in her work.

Eton-educated ceramicist Sam comes from an arty family himself: his mother, the Queen’s niece Lady Sarah, often submits her artworks for the Royal Academy’s summer exhibition, and his father is the actor-turned-artist Daniel Chatto.

Inspired by her new love, the arts professor’s daughter has started depicting Sam in her work (above)

Why Victoria star Nell is VERY amused

It’s often claimed Queen Victoria once said, ‘We are not amused’, to an equerry who had told a risque joke.

But even the stern monarch might have raised a smile at the antics of Nell Hudson, who played her dresser in ITV’s hit costume drama Victoria.

The actress, 30, danced animatedly as Italian folk singer Francesco Filizzola performed at the launch party for Il Borro Tuscan Bistro in Mayfair. 

Nell Hudson (above), 30, danced animatedly as Italian folk singer Francesco Filizzola performed at the launch party for Il Borro Tuscan Bistro in Mayfair

Her moves certainly caught the eye of chef Isaac Carew, who split up with pop star Dua Lipa in 2019.

‘They were dancing very closely together and even left the party in a taxi at the same time,’ one fellow reveller tells me.

Mum Claudia puts Clemmie in the spotlight

Claudia Schiffer’s illustrious modelling career started when she was scouted in a German nightclub aged 17.

Now that her daughter Clementine has reached that age, the supermodel is keen to give her a taste of the spotlight.

The 51-year-old shared a picture of Clemmie to mark her 17th birthday this week and was inundated with comments about their striking similarities.

Claudia Schiffer shared a picture of her daughter Clemmie (above) to mark her 17th birthday this week and was inundated with comments about their striking similarities

The teenager, whose father is X-Men film director Matthew Vaughn, shares Claudia’s high cheekbones, long blonde hair and natural pout.

The Vogue cover star declared in 2007 she wouldn’t deter Clemmie from modelling: ‘I would support her, but I would prefer that she wouldn’t start too young, but at 17.’

Claudia, who lives in a 14-bedroom Grade I-listed Tudor mansion in Suffolk, also has a son Caspar, 18 and daughter Cosima, 11, with Vaughn.

Claudia’s illustrious modelling career started when she was scouted in a German nightclub aged 17. Now that her daughter Clementine has reached that age, the supermodel is keen to give her a taste of the spotlight

He’s spent decades writing historical works, but now Earl Spencer may be breaking into Hollywood. 

I hear that Princess Diana’s brother, who lives at their family’s ancestral home Althorp, has had one of his books snapped up by top film producers.

‘It looks set to be made,’ he says, coyly. ‘I realise I cannot rely on that until filming actually starts.’ 

Although he won’t name the title, the book is thought to be Killers Of The King, from his English Civil War trilogy. 

Charles Spencer, 57, has an ambitious wish-list for actors to appear in screen adaptations of his books; he’s previously said he would like Colin Firth, Benedict Cumberbatch and Rosamund Pike to take star roles. I’ll get my popcorn ready. 

Harrow’s new subject: the menopause 

Harrow, whose alumni include Winston Churchill, Benedict Cumberbatch and pop star James Blunt, has enlisted a social media ‘influencer’ to teach boys about the menopause.

The move by the boarding school, which charges fees of £43,665 a year, is designed to demystify what students’ mothers, relations and teachers could be going through. 

Next term, sixth-formers will take part in the interactive workshop with Lesley Salem, a ‘menopause influencer’ and founder of online community Over The Bloody Moon.

Simon Sampson, from the school, says the initiative will support ‘Harrow boys to grow up as considerate young men, compassionate partners and more understanding colleagues’.

Sophie’s nursing Kaz after crash 

Married life is off to a bumpy start for lingerie model Sophie Anderton. 

I hear her new husband, Count Kaz Balinski-Jundzill, has had a serious accident after coming off his bike during the Rally Raid Ireland race in Bosnia — breaking a leg and an ankle.

It was only in August that Sophie, 44 — the face of Gossard bras in the Nineties — married ‘the love of her life’.

Married life is off to a bumpy start for lingerie model Sophie Anderton. I hear her new husband, Count Kaz Balinski-Jundzill, has had a serious accident after coming off his bike during the Rally Raid Ireland race in Bosnia — breaking a leg and an ankle. (Above, the couple)

Kaz, 52, was taken to hospital for a few weeks before moving to a hotel to recover. Now, he’s being nursed back to health by Sophie at his 1,500-acre estate in Ireland.

‘He can’t wait to get back on his Honda CRF Rally Replica,’ says a pal. ‘It’s his passion. A dangerous one.’

Shirley Valentine star Tom Conti is clearly not afraid of being ‘cancelled’.

He’s dared to brand eco-saint Greta Thunberg the ‘high priestess’ of hysteria, saying: ‘Greta is a silly girl. Her heart is in the right place, but her head is not.’

Shirley Valentine star Tom Conti is clearly not afraid of being ‘cancelled’

And Conti, 79, hasn’t been convinced by the BBC’s saturation coverage of the Cop26 environmental summit in Glasgow, calling it ‘a waste of time and money’.

Speaking on Rob McGibbon’s YouTube show, Conti claims: ‘There is no climate emergency. The world is not going to come to an end and CO2 is a wonderful gas — without it nothing will grow.’

On his granny’s secret service

Inspired, perhaps, by his appearance on the red carpet at the world premiere of No Time To Die, the Duke of Cambridge has paid a private visit to the real James Bonds.

I hear the future king went to MI5’s London HQ, Thames House, on Thursday, where he may have been able to catch up with some old acquaintances, as he spent three weeks at our spy agencies in 2019.

Inspired, perhaps, by his appearance on the red carpet at the world premiere of No Time To Die, the Duke of Cambridge has paid a private visit to the real James Bonds

At the time, Prince William said it was a ‘humbling’ experience working with ‘people from everyday backgrounds’ who cannot tell their family and friends about their secret work.

Sources refuse to tell me what was discussed this week, with one joking (I hope): ‘I could tell you, but then I would have to kill you.’

Secret Diary Of A Call Girl star Billie Piper made her directorial debut with the film Rare Beasts, but in the process discovered that actors are scared off projects led by women. 

‘It’s hard for a lot of guys to play second fiddle or be framed in a light that isn’t entirely complimentary,’ Billie claims. 

It comes after her friend Lucy Prebble — who wrote the Sky series, I Hate Suzie, in which Piper starred — claimed that women were struggling to attract ‘bankable male stars’ to their projects for the same reason.

He wrote the only authorised biography of The Beatles and made footballer Wayne Rooney sound eloquent when he ghosted his memoirs, but Hunter Davies is discerning about which members of the Royal Family could be his subjects. 

‘I’d love to do the Queen’s biography,’ he tells me at his book launch for My Year on Hampstead Heath, at Keats House in North London. 

‘I wouldn’t do any other royals — she’s the only interesting one. She’s witty and funny.’ 

(Very) modern manners

Dating apps may have become ubiquitous, but smartphones have killed off the lothario, according to legendary seducer Angus Gibson, former fiance of Tessa Dahl and friend of Sarah, Duchess of York.

‘In my day, I was running around Annabel’s, getting with fast women — well, hard-to-catch women — it was a more relaxed time,’ he tells me at the West End launch party for Stephen Bayley’s book about Sir Terence Conran, Terence: The Man Who Invented Design.

‘Nowadays, everyone has smartphones, nights out are all fake for social media, and you certainly couldn’t canoodle in the corner.’

Perhaps, revellers should be required to leave their phones in the cloakroom…

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