“If not now, then when?” said Boris Johnson yesterday when he announced the end of almost all Covid restrictions on 19 July. The number of new cases a day could soon top 100,000, says Health Secretary Sajid Javid. The government has argued that a spike in summer would be better than one during flu season, later in the year. Most controversial is the end of mandatory face coverings in crowded places: it’s “masking for trouble”, says the Daily Mirror. British tennis player Emma Raducanu, 18, retired during her fourth-round match at Wimbledon last night, reportedly due to breathing difficulties. FinnishLapland recorded highs of 33.6C on Sunday, its hottest temperature since 1914.
Dominic Cummings has launched another broadside against his old boss, Boris Johnson. Shortly after the Brexit referendum, he says in his latest newsletter, Johnson pulled him aside to discuss running for prime minister. “Boris told me with a laugh, ‘Obviously it’s ludicrous me being PM – but no more ludicrous than Dave or George, don’t you think?’”
Only 130 people live in the Tower of London: beefeaters and their families, a registered doctor, a chaplain and the constable of the Tower. Fortunately for comedian Tom Houghton, 36, the current constable – Lord Houghton of Richmond – is his father, so he has the run of a three-bedroom Tudor property that includes the plushly renovated Council Chamber (where Guy Fawkes was once tortured). But there are downsides. When you give the address for takeaway orders, says Houghton, “they just don’t believe you”.
Paris Couture Week kicked off yesterday with a digital show by fashion house Schiaparelli, founded in 1927. It once dressed Mae West, and this year styled Lady Gaga for Joe Biden’s inauguration and Beyoncé for the Grammys. The show included a lung-shaped gold necklace, breastplates and “matador couture”, inspired by Spanish bullfighters. Schiaparelli’s creative director, Daniel Roseberry, told Tatler: “I hope this collection reminds everyone who encounters it of the sheer delight that fashion can bring us in hard times.”
Sean Penn and Madonna were a tempestuous couple, says James Hall in the Telegraph. After they got married, the actor learnt that Madonna had been dating Prince when they first met. He was so cross that he punched a hole in the wall of her apartment. Madonna promptly phoned Prince and told him to fix the damage, “because you’re responsible for it, after all”. The Purple One did as he was told.
“I told you I was old.”
The epitaph on Captain Sir Tom Moore’s headstone, which was unveiled yesterday
It’s Damien Hirst, whose new cherry-blossom oil paintings have been unveiled today at the Fondation Cartier in Paris. Unlike his bisected cows, dot paintings and diamond-encrusted skull, they’re traditional and upbeat. “I always just try to keep reinventing myself,” he says. “My mum used to say, ‘There’s enough horror in the world, why can’t you just paint flowers?’ So maybe she got to me.”