Wednesday 26 April 2017

No winners in a sordid tale of a celebrity home

The chef, her ex, their children, the assistants -- no one is coming out of this mess a victor, says Ruth Dudley Edwards

File photo dated 10/12/2013 of sisters Elisabetta (left) and Francesca Grillo. The jury in the trial of the two former personal assistants accused of defrauding Nigella Lawson and Charles Saatchi is due to continue its deliberations today. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Friday December 20, 2013. Francesca, 35, and her sister Elisabetta, 41, are alleged to have used company credit cards to spend £685,000 on items, including designer shoes and clothes, for themselves. See PA story COURTS Saatchi. Photo credit should read: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire
File photo dated 10/12/2013 of sisters Elisabetta (left) and Francesca Grillo. The jury in the trial of the two former personal assistants accused of defrauding Nigella Lawson and Charles Saatchi is due to continue its deliberations today. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Friday December 20, 2013. Francesca, 35, and her sister Elisabetta, 41, are alleged to have used company credit cards to spend £685,000 on items, including designer shoes and clothes, for themselves. See PA story COURTS Saatchi. Photo credit should read: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire

A quote from Confucius -- the Fifth-Century BC Chinese philosopher -- emerged during the gossipfest surrounding the fraud trial of the Grillo sisters. "Before you embark on a journey of revenge, dig two graves," he said.

Nigella Lawson was indeed, as she has said, treated as a defendant rather than a witness and "maliciously vilified" in court. Her reputation has taken a terrible pummelling. For a very private woman with a glamorous yet pure facade, the revelations about drugs, depression, extravagance and marital subservience are humiliating. Nor does it burnish the image of a Domestic Goddess to know she ran a chaotic household.

Still, like the British prime minister -- who inadvertently almost caused the case to collapse when he declared himself on Team Nigella -- the British public are mostly on her side.

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