EDEN CONFIDENTIAL: Is Meghan’s chef’s £320 fee to cancel a bit much?

EDEN CONFIDENTIAL: Is Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding chef’s £320 fee to cancel a meal a bit too much to swallow?

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle hired Clare Smyth to take charge of the menu at their evening wedding reception

Chosen by Prince Harry and Meghan Markle to take charge of the menu at their evening wedding reception in May, Clare Smyth declared the experience ‘completely surreal’, adding that it was ‘really fantastic’ to have worked with the royal couple.

Regrettably, however, some of Smyth’s would-be customers at her two-Michelin-starred restaurant, Core, have been left with a sour taste in their mouths.

That’s not because of any deficiency in the dishes served by Smyth, named the World’s Best Female Chef 2018, but because of the swingeing financial penalties levied on those having to cancel reservations through no fault of their own — sometimes in distressing circumstances.

Indeed, several of those who had hoped to enjoy Smyth’s exquisite cooking at the restaurant in Notting Hill, West London, have taken to social media to express intense dismay — and to warn others.

‘We had to cancel at the last minute as a close family member was taken into hospital,’ writes one. 

‘When my husband phoned to cancel the table, he was told that we were going to be charged £320 as we hadn’t given 48 hours’ notice.’

Sympathy, adds this critic, was in short supply. ‘The restaurant pretty much said that was just too bad,’ she says. ‘We weren’t offered the option to rebook to use the £320 as a credit.

Smyth’s (pictured)  restaurant Core in Notting Hill, West London, has a 48-hour cancellation policy which has seen some people charged up to £320 when they cancelled 

The Duchess of Sussex and chef Clare Smyth are pictured at the Hubb Community Kitchen


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‘We do feel that the restaurant could have made some form of exception considering the circumstances.’

Another thwarted customer records cancelling when his wife, then eight months pregnant, fell ill. On telephoning Core to apologise, he was told that he would be charged a £150 cancellation fee. ‘It seems sad and greedy,’ he concludes.

His disappointment might have been still more acute if, like another would-be diner, afflicted by a ‘medical problem’, he had cancelled 45 hours in advance — only to be charged £130 as he had failed to comply with the 48-hour deadline on its website.

A Core spokesman says: ‘We have a standard 48-hour cancellation fee policy, which is clearly communicated when a reservation is made.’

Happily, there seem to have been no cancellations for Harry and Meghan’s reception at Frogmore.

The smart set’s talking about… Prince’s pal Daisy Jenks

Daisy Jenks, pictured at Mappin & Webb’s flagship boutique store opening in London, was spotted strolling around in Kensington Palace’s grounds after she was hired to make a film of a Christmas party

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge usually watch like hawks for paparazzi lurking outside Kensington Palace.

So courtiers were surprised last week to see a young lady, casually clad in a grey jumper and dark trousers, strolling round the grounds with a video camera like she owned the place.

However, I can reveal that she had special permission to be there, because she is Daisy Jenks, the wife of Prince William’s old friend Charlie van Straubenzee. 

Daisy, 27, is a society videographer and was hired to film a Christmas party hosted by William and Kate for the families of Armed Forces personnel. 

‘She volunteered to help create a video of the event that could be given to families attending the party,’ confirms a palace source.

The royal appointment will, no doubt, do wonders for Daisy’s video business, Jenks & Co, which she runs with her 24-year-old sister Kitty.

They were born in Surrey to businessman and publisher Philip Jenks and Alexandra Nicol, daughter of the German aristocrat Christiane Freiin von Canstein.

Daisy studied robotics at Cambridge, but found her calling making quirky wedding videos.

If any courtiers should doubt her status, at Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s nuptials, Daisy was seated in the Quire of St George’s Chapel, opposite HM.

With Pippa Middleton for a sister-in-law and model Vogue Williams as his wife, reality TV star Spencer Matthews is truly blessed.

And the erstwhile Casanova says things have got even better since Vogue gave birth to their first child, Theodore.

‘We’ve been sent loads of baby stuff,’ says the Old Etonian, 30. ‘I am thinking of opening a second-hand shop. I have got, like, nine prams.’ More children may soon be on the way, as Spencer boasts of his fecundity: ‘We did think it would take longer [to conceive], as Vogue had been on the Pill for years. Four days later — pregnant.’

William Hague pays tribute to his daredevil dad 

Nigel Hague went ‘wing-walking’ on a Boeing Stearman PT17 to raise money for charity

He went sky-diving aged 84 and ‘wing-walking’ strapped to a biplane two years later, but time has finally caught up with the father of former Tory leader William Hague.

Nigel Hague died on Monday aged 90 — a decade after his wife, Stella. ‘He was a true character and lived life to the full,’ his son Lord Hague tells me. ‘The whole family are going to miss him greatly.’

Head of the family soft drinks company — known locally as Hague’s Pop Factory — Nigel was splendidly forthright.

William Hague, left, is pictured with his father Nigel Hague, after winning the Richmond, Yorkshire, by-election in February 1989

When his son became Tory leader in 1997, Nigel said that the family wouldn’t send him a congratulatory message, explaining: ‘We don’t go in for that kind of thing.’

And in 2014, after Hague, then Foreign Secretary, announced he was retiring from frontline politics, Nigel expressed his satisfaction, reflecting that his lad could make much more money once he stopped ‘working with all those goons’.

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