Letters From London
Humorous Views on London Culture, Royals, Gossip and Politics
        
Sarah wants to help. Sarah understands your pain. Sarah has returned inspired by the
sycophantic American response to royalty. Sarah is one of us. Sarah is just like you… if you are
living on a council estate in Northern Moor, Wythenshawe, South Manchester that is. Sarah the
Duchess stayed at a guest house popular with the cast and crew of
Shameless while filming her
documentary
Duchess on the Estate.

“Oh. Oh it’s…lovely. Is this the royal suite? Um. Shouldn’t there be a few more rooms? Where
does my PA stay? My dresser? My makeup artist? My communications consultant? Do you mind
if I add a few silk cushions and maybe a pashima throw?”

Dressed for the office, swathed in (déclassé) pashima, slathered with 2” of foundation, sporting
a black suit, speaking in an American clipped syntax, the Duchess arrived to save the day for
those pathetic little peasants who have collectively lost the will to live – or leave their council flats.

The Duchess felt it her royal duty to introduce herself via her ‘relationship’ to/with the Queen.
“Have you ever heard of the Queen of England? Well….” She signed autographs as ‘Sarah The
Duchess of York’. Hmmm. Not a Fergie or Ferguson to be seen. She hasn’t been royal since
1993. Shouldn’t someone notify her by Royal Mail?

“I wouldn't want my children to be frightened to go outside,” referring to scroungers Princesses
Beatrice and Eugenie, failing to mention the more than £500,000 a year we spend keeping the
darlings wrapped in cotton wool and protected from those same council inhabitants – if per
chance the princesses had the need to fly to Manchester to experience their primary activity:
nightclubbing. £500,000 well spent, surely.

The Duchess ventured out at night herself in search of hoodies for on the spot rehabilitation.
“Touch me. Go on. I brought back magical healing powers from America. Marianne Williamson
gave them to me personally after my testimonials on her 18,000th new and improved book
printing. Wait. It’s A Course in Miracles.  Where are you going? The film crew didn’t get enough
recorded to fill two episodes…it’s for ITV…. Now I’ll have to go to the local pub for authenticity.
Bollocks! Where’re my anti-bacterial wipes?”

The Duchess raised an eye-watering £40,000 to create a community centre. Impressive. ‘Broken
Britain’ will be surely be cured now. In 10 days the Duchess found drugs, crime, and good god, a
lack of ‘community spirit’ while ‘getting to know’ the 66,000 locals.

Many of the local inhabitants responded with placards and annoyance. One 25 year resident was
particularly cross over a trailer for the programme: "My hands went up in absolute horror. I was
absolutely rendered speechless. The preview is portraying Northern Moor as the worst area in
Britain to live. We haven't got gangs of gun-wielding, knife-wielding yobs. It's a very, very, very
safe and lovely area for families with children."

A local councillor and a former lord mayor of Manchester, Glynn Evans, who has also been a
resident for 25 years described the documentary as a hatchet job. "We welcome any new
buildings to the community, but she didn't see all the new secondary school academies here or
some of the best primary schools in Manchester." He added there was no gun crime and it is not
a poverty stricken area. "I did not see the duchess once during her short stay. How can she have
given a true reflection of it?”

While her motivation may not be in question – although it easily could be – it is her style that is
off putting; it’s patronising and cool, defensive and detached…it lacks real humour and good will.
Unfortunately she comes across as self-absorbed and brittle and not quite believable. Somehow
my imagination will not quite stretch to see Sarah the Duchess of York and her new best mate
(whom she put in charge of the centre) shopping for £1,550 handbags and hanging out with the
princesses.

Defending herself on a talk show: "Do you know what, perhaps this will be the lesson to me to
never do another documentary in this country." Promises. Promises. Part two airs next week.