Nigel Richard Patton Dempster (1 November 1941 in Calcutta, India — 12 July 2007 in Ham, Surrey) was a British journalist, author, broadcaster and diarist. We will all miss him.”. High society: Daily Mail diarist Nigel Dempster with Princess Michael of Kent. Dempster was particularly fond of baronets, the colonial in him perhaps not quite fully comprehending their insignificance. He next worked for Lloyd’s, the insurance giant, and was a stockbroker. Dempster retired from his Daily Mail column in 2003 but was retained by the paper until his death. She would never have divorced him, she said, had she known he was ill.
This appalling illness — diagnosed four years before Dempster’s death at 65 — can incubate for up to 15 years, manifesting itself slowly, then suddenly accelerating. Princess Margaret — once the trump card in his dazzling pack — was dying after suffering a stroke and then badly scalding herself in the shower at her home on Mustique. In the end they die, not from PSP but from a weakened system. Dempster contributed for several years to Private Eye, helping to write the venomous Grovel column. "I'm going, and so should Dempster," announced a bloodied Helliker in the editor's office. In the column, he referred to himself as GLE, for Greatest Living Englishman. But his doctors failed to diagnose what was wrong. It was Dempster who was the first to report that the rock star Bryan Ferry and his posh wife Lucy were to separate and Dempster who broke new ground by recording the It girl phenomenon in the shape of Tara Palmer-Tomkinson, Tamara Beckwith and Lady Victoria Hervey.
56,514 people are reading stories on the site right now. This happened several times — but Winner did not find out until later which miscreant had dared to interrupt his garrulous flow. At London's Harry's Bar (classic Dempster territory) King Hussein of Jordan and King Constantine of Greece were seen "queueing" for an audience at Dempster's table. At his funeral, the priest declared that Dempster might have to spend a million years in purgatory — and paused just long enough to shock the congregation, before adding that, in eternity, a million years would pass in the snap of a finger. He was also the first to announce the engagement of Prince Andrew to Sarah Ferguson.
Well-connected and long-serving gossip columnist for Fleet Street and Private Eye. As the column lost its verve and (through death) many of its regular characters, he still relayed "hot" updates about the Earl of Lichfield, the Linleys and the Aga Khan, but the items were never quite as interesting or disobliging as they might once have been.
He married secondly, in 1977 (dissolved 2002), Lady Camilla Harris (née Osborne), only child of the 11th and last Duke of Leeds. But when told that he was writing his swan song, she changed her mind.
Born on 1st November 1941 in Calcutta, he had a public-school education at Sherborne, after which he took various jobs in the City, including a stint as a broker for Lloyds of London.
He was married twice, first to Countess Emma Magdalen de Bendern, a daughter of Count John Gerard de Bendern. We are no longer accepting comments on this article.
Everyone assumed he’d drunk himself under the table the night before. Friends suggested he was pained that she never sought him out. Mr. Wilson sued because Mr. Dempster had used the word “tired” to describe him. It could happen now only because Dempster had become a sort of national treasure, as famous as many of the people whose lives he recorded.
‘He would have hated Ascot now,’ said Nicky Haslam. Mr. Dempster fed the seemingly insatiable appetite of middle-brow, middle-class, largely middle-aged readers for word of how minor aristocrats and wayward members of the British establishment were misbehaving. November 1,
He is survived by a stepdaughter, Emily Kate Godolphin Harris, and a daughter, Louisa Beatrix Dempster, both from his second marriage.
Unhappy stints as a broker at Lloyd's, on the London Stock Exchange, as a hospital porter and as a salesman for Searcy's vacuum cleaners finally led to something more up his boulevard: he joined a public relations company run by the Earl of Kimberley. Dempster responded not only by reprinting the estimate but also, for the convenience of kidnappers, by listing Lambton's address and telephone number. His father, Eric Richard Patton Dempster, was an Australian mining engineer. There, he wrote the ‘William Hickey’ column. He resigned from his job at the Daily Mail in 2003.
With his kipper ties, rakish sideburns and marathon lunches, the effects of which would later be burned off in the squash courts, Dempster felt at home in an era when men thought nothing of goosing pretty girls and listening to the share tips of well-placed City friends. The suit was dropped after Mr. Wilson resigned. "May Richard Ingrams rot in hell," Dempster once wrote, "Just so long as he arrives there holding the hand of Ian Hislop.". Dempster practised the art of diary writing for four decades.
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While Dempster could still talk, the local priest came round to hear his confession and later to give absolution.
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Whether he was or not, Dempster’s ex-wife Camilla took him back into their marital home in Richmond when his condition worsened.
He published gossip about public figures, using his contacts to get new information. Bounced into a second lockdown he didn't want, is Boris Britain and EU fail to close gaps over fishing rights and... Macron calls for strengthening of border controls in EU's Schengen zone following spate of jihadist attacks... Primary head apologises after blaming Bangladeshi families for causing Covid infections at her school by... Banks block £1BILLION of fraudulent applications for government's £40billion 'bounce back' coronavirus... Now even CYCLISTS turn on Sadiq Khan's cycle lanes: Furious biker launches petition to end 'chaotic' green... 15 police shut down gym that refused to close while second studio boss defies lockdown by insisting his... Health Secretary Matt Hancock says people can still travel abroad for assisted dying during the coronavirus... Extracted from Nigel Dempster And The Death Of Discretion by Tim Willis, published by Short Books on Thursday at £16.99. In a tribute after her death, Dempster labelled himself a ‘court jester’ to the Princess. Nigel made the DVD to raise awareness in the hope that it would help people affected by PSP, their families and carers receive better access to care and support, and also highlight the need for more research in to causes, treatments and ultimately a cure.” Nigel Dempster died in 2007 at age 65 with PSP. When a sub-editor dared to raise a query Dempster threw the press cuttings into the man's wastepaper bin and jumped up and down on them with both feet. As he was fond of saying: ‘If the trade of the gossip columnist is trivial, then all life is trivial.’.
Another friend, Michael Corry-Reid, said that ‘Nigel was telling the same stories twice, without noticing.
It was, of course, Nigel Dempster, who — even in his later years — had lost none of his capacity to keep an audience in stitches, in this case, his own staff. Dempster, who was 65, was credited with creating the modern newspaper gossip column. As for his wider legacy, it lies — for good or ill — in the continuing identification of his name with the craft of good gossip. He could no longer eavesdrop so easily, and at parties he found himself pestered by other diarists.
Vivien Merchant, wife of the playwright Harold Pinter, read about her husband’s affair with Lady Antonia Fraser in Mr. Dempster’s column.
Margaret, Duchess of Argyll observed that "they used to wear two hats, one that of a journalist, one that of a friend.
There, he wrote the “Grovel” column with journalist Peter McKay. Thu 12 Jul 2007 19.19 EDT. Now they expose themselves. He was now drinking more, writing less, and spending thousands on bad horses, often his own. His subjects, drawn chiefly from the ritzier enclosures at Ascot and Cowes, were often men and women of the slimmest achievement but Dempster made them stars of faux scandal.
Legendary gossip columnist Nigel Dempster has died after a long illness, the Daily Mail said. ‘We know that politicians are all liars and cheats,’ he once said, sweepingly slandering the lot of them. I can’t remember the last time I exposed an MP for having an affair with his secretary. Some of his scoops were deliciously newsworthy, as when he wrote that the House of Commons was ordering nearly $30,000 worth of German crockery just as the government was waging a “Buy British” campaign. The late Sir David English, creator of the modern Mail, spotted the potential of the quick-talking, charismatic Dempster and gave him his own diary page. Mr. Dempster professed to welcome legal attacks, saying lawsuits “are the Oscars of my profession.”, He pooh-poohed those who suggested gossip was trivial, saying that because of British laws on secrecy, Fleet Street’s journalistic practices and readers’ habits made gossip a principal way that “actual information gets through to the proletariat.”, He continued, “The British have traditionally got their information through the passing of tidbits.”. He recalled how, once, when driving with her to a party on Mustique: ‘My hand slipped from the gear stick and landed in one of hers folded on her lap, which immediately tightened around mine. Other efforts, such as Nigel Dempster's Address Book (a 1990 society glossary) can nowadays be most easily found on the secondhand book tables at provincial fêtes.
He failed to capitalise on the "Diana boom" and foolishly boasted that he had never met the Princess. For the last five years of his life, the man who’d drunk champagne with the leading figures in society stuck religiously to orange juice. He was an enthusiastic stock investor and some years more than doubled his salary on the markets.
He liked to work on Sundays and Bank Holidays, finding such days difficult at a home that had become increasingly lonely.
He also wrote a column, “Grovel,” for Private Eye, a robustly irreverent magazine that barely hid its often libelous allegations under the camouflage of satire.
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