THERE'S A beautiful flower shop that also doubles as a coffee bar close to where I live in Weybridge, Surrey, called Dandini's. I went there to buy some flowers a couple of weeks ago and had a chance encounter with a lady who recognised me. She proceeded to tell me about some photographs she had seen belonging to an old friend of hers, Mrs Nonie Brasier-Creagh. These photos had been taken by Nonie's grandfather, Mr Richard Speaight, the official photographer employed by the Duchess of York nearly 80 years ago to take the original photographs of her daughter, the baby Elizabeth — our Queen.
These remarkable pictures were taken minutes before the first official photograph and showed Speaight cradling baby Elizabeth in order to demonstrate to the Duchess the best way to pose. Subsequently, the pictures were consigned to an envelope and kept in a chest to be passed through two generations before finishing up in the possession of Mrs Brasier-Creagh. Nonie and her brother John then contacted us and we negotiated a double exclusive on their behalf with The Mail on Sunday, above, and the Sunday Mirror, both of whom carried spreads at the weekend.
Following on, we negotiated a worldwide syndication deal, which has led to these historic pictures being seen all over the world — and all from a chance encounter over flowers and a coffee.
TALKING ABOUT babies, I understand that there's a huge interest on both sides of the Atlantic for the first exclusive pictures of Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt's baby. Apparently, the amount of money being bandied about could well lead to it being the biggest baby ‘buy up' of all time. I'm sure this information will have been picked up by Chantelle and Preston, who will probably be getting a lot of early nights in the foreseeable future.
FROM CONCEPTION to revulsion, I was asked to comment at the weekend on reports that Gary Glitter could well be brought back to this country at the end of the year to face possible charges and a potential seven-year prison sentence in the UK. I would suggest, whether this is the case or not, that it would be worthwhile the police having lengthy discussions with Glitter's only daughter. As a result of Glitter's former partner, Alison Brown, coming to see me a few years ago, I was subsequently introduced to his daughter.
I would love for them to hear all the details that she revealed to me about her father and their relationship.
I WAS reading at the weekend about the continued declining fortunes of newspapers, particularly among the red-tops. I'm sure there are many and varied reasons for the slumping circulation figures.
One reason I'm sure of is that the big tabloid exclusives, particularly, have become increasingly about window dressing and less and less about substance. Appetites get whetted, but not satisfied.
The fee for this column is donated to CHASE (Christopher's) Children's Hospital