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SEBASTIAN SHAKESPEARE: Oliver star Mark Lester prepares to wed for the third time

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As the child star of classic musical Oliver!, Mark Lester was treated with stupefied astonishment and dragged off by his ear when he dared ask for more.

Happily, the 61-year-old actor has received a far friendlier reaction when he dared ask for more again — proposing marriage to his latest love.

I can reveal that Lester, who was a close friend of ‘king of pop’ Michael Jackson, has become engaged to an American woman 21 years his junior.

Brooke Hamilton, who is the PR chief of a U.S. tech firm, will be Lester’s third wife.

I can reveal that Lester, who was a close friend of ¿king of pop¿ Michael Jackson, has become engaged to an American woman 21 years his junior, Brooke Hamilton. The pair are pictured together above

I can reveal that Lester, who was a close friend of ‘king of pop’ Michael Jackson, has become engaged to an American woman 21 years his junior, Brooke Hamilton. The pair are pictured together above

‘At first, I thought: “Hmm, do I really want to?”’ he admits. ‘But I’ve always had the attitude: Never say never.

‘When I met Brooke, we just clicked straight away; all my children adore her and my parents really like her. She’s just a very easy person to get on with. I’ve been over to the States a few times and I thought: “Hey, why not?”’

Lester, who was cast in Oliver! at the age of eight, has been courting Brooke for two years and proposed to her in a restaurant in the Portuguese capital, Lisbon, on her 40th birthday at the weekend.

As the child star of classic musical Oliver!, Mark Lester was treated with stupefied astonishment and dragged off by his ear when he dared ask for more

As the child star of classic musical Oliver!, Mark Lester was treated with stupefied astonishment and dragged off by his ear when he dared ask for more

He declines to say if fellow diners joined him in a chorus of ‘Consider yourself one of the family’.

Now an osteopath in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, Lester has four adult children with his first wife, Jane, a radiographer. He is godfather to all three of Jackson’s children.

Lester has four adult children with his first wife, Jane, a radiographer. The pair are pictured above on their wedding day

Lester has four adult children with his first wife, Jane, a radiographer. The pair are pictured above on their wedding day

After the singer’s death in 2009, Lester claimed he could be the biological father of Jackson’s daughter, Paris, because he had acted as a sperm donor for him. 

However, the Jacksons’ lawyer rejected the claim.

Lester tells me that neither he nor Brooke has any interest in adding to his brood. ‘We’ve had the conversation, and going through changing nappies again is not something I really want to do,’ he says.

The couple have not yet set a date for the wedding, but Brooke’s cooking has no doubt left Lester’s son Felix humming Food Glorious Food.

Says Lester: ‘He’s just gone off to university and comes back especially to enjoy her American-style pancakes.’

With pretend blood smeared on her forehead, Chelsy and her friend, the tech entrepreneur Marina Pengilly, rocked up to the Aladdin and the Feast of Wonders party at The Vaults Theatre in Waterloo

With pretend blood smeared on her forehead, Chelsy and her friend, the tech entrepreneur Marina Pengilly, rocked up to the Aladdin and the Feast of Wonders party at The Vaults Theatre in Waterloo

With blood of bat, Chelsy’s a scream for Halloween

While the Duchess of Sussex struggles to ‘thrive’ and ‘feel happy’, her husband Prince Harry’s long-term former girlfriend, Chelsy Davy, is having a ball.

The 34-year-old jewellery designer, who courted Harry on and off for seven years, slipped into a little black dress and red cape at the weekend as she joined in Halloween festivities in London. 

With pretend blood smeared on her forehead, Chelsy and her friend, the tech entrepreneur Marina Pengilly, rocked up to the Aladdin and the Feast of Wonders party at The Vaults Theatre in Waterloo.

Organisers described the thrash as a ‘thrilling theatrical adult pantomime featuring a dazzling cast of cabaret performers, drag kings and queens’. And not a prince in sight.

Is May cashing in on her name?

She’s declared little more than a discount card from her favourite high street shoe shop, Russell & Bromley, in the Register of MPs’ Interests.

So is Theresa May in the mood to follow in Tony Blair’s footsteps by cashing in now that she’s out of office? For she has, I can disclose, just established a firm called The Office Of Theresa May, which she registered at Companies House last week.

Its purpose is coyly designated as ‘other business support services not elsewhere classified’. May is listed as its sole director and shareholder. 

She has, I can disclose, just established a firm called The Office Of Theresa May, which she registered at Companies House last week. Its purpose is coyly designated as ¿other business support services not elsewhere classified¿

She has, I can disclose, just established a firm called The Office Of Theresa May, which she registered at Companies House last week. Its purpose is coyly designated as ‘other business support services not elsewhere classified’

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Cooking whiz Dimbleby’s barbie goes with a bang

Think carefully before accepting an invitation to a barbecue at the home of David Dimbleby’s son Henry, co-founder of the healthy fast-food chain Leon.

His friend, the comedian Alexander Armstrong, calls him a ‘tremendous chef’ before revealing that Dimbleby almost killed him and his wife, Hannah, when he made them a paella.

‘The cooking took place on the terrace outside the back of their house, where they’d just laid some rather smart slate paving stones,’ Armstrong says. 

‘Suddenly, there was a bang — like a bomb going off. One of Henry’s new paving stones exploded in the intense heat of the glowing cinder pile.

‘As well as sending bits of slate flying about, it had thrown up red-hot embers in every direction. When we sat down to eat, nearly all of us had bits of rubble in our hair and burnt bits in our clothes.

‘My wife was wearing this wonderful pair of boots. Sadly they never made another appearance. We were so lucky that the outcome hadn’t been worse.’

Think carefully before accepting an invitation to a barbecue at the home of David Dimbleby¿s son Henry, co-founder of the healthy fast-food chain Leon

Think carefully before accepting an invitation to a barbecue at the home of David Dimbleby’s son Henry, co-founder of the healthy fast-food chain Leon

Historian Simon Sebag-Montefiore has paid tribute to his mother, April, who died on Sunday night aged 92, describing the actress and author as ‘exuberant, cultured, literary and witty’. 

Perhaps one of April’s cousins will give her life the film treatment — her forebears, like Gwyneth Paltrow’s, were Paltroviches. It’s certainly an epic tale. 

Her Jewish parents fled persecution in Russia, boarding a ship for New York — only to be duped and dumped in Ireland, where they were victims of the Limerick pogrom in 1904. They fled again, this time to England — and safety.

Malin wants to go social climbing…

Mayfair gallery owner Tim Jefferies’s estranged wife, Malin, has found the ideal way to get over their marriage break-up — by attempting to climb the highest mountain in Africa.

Swedish model-turned-cashmere knitwear designer Malin, who has two children with former man-about-town Tim, will join a group of like-minded women in training to scale the 19,000ft Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania next summer for charity.

A friend says: ‘A mood-boosting shot of endorphins could be just the remedy for a broken heart. She will soon be on top of the world.’

Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes has a new ITV costume drama out next year, Belgravia — but he wasn’t allowed to film it in the wealthy London district of the show’s title. 

‘You can’t shoot in the real Belgravia because there’s too much security,’ its star, Philip Glenister, tells me. 

‘We actually shot the scenes in Edinburgh because of all those wonderful squares.’ 

Lord Fellowes says: ‘I am really delighted by what the team has achieved. The series looks marvellous to me.’ 

Saving the next dance for Mick

It’s the final curtain for Sir Mick Jagger’s girlfriend, Melanie Hamrick.

At the weekend, the 32-year-old U.S. dancer retired from the American Ballet Theatre in New York, where she has performed since she was 17.

‘It feels time to close this chapter,’ says Melanie, who has a son aged two, Deveraux, with 76-year-old Mick. 

‘It’s hard when you have a child and the life I have now.’

She adds: ‘I’m creating a new show that’s going to be a rock-dance festival. I want people to get excited about coming to the theatre. Mick inspired me. After his concerts, you’re awake for hours wanting to dance.’

At the weekend, the 32-year-old U.S. dancer retired from the American Ballet Theatre in New York, where she has performed since she was 17. ¿It feels time to close this chapter,¿ says Melanie, who has a son aged two, Deveraux, with 76-year-old Mick

At the weekend, the 32-year-old U.S. dancer retired from the American Ballet Theatre in New York, where she has performed since she was 17. ‘It feels time to close this chapter,’ says Melanie, who has a son aged two, Deveraux, with 76-year-old Mick

 

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