Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the most deluded of them all?

Two women have been in the forefront of the news recently. Both celebrities. Both putting themselves in the media spotlight to ridiculous effect. Both strutting their stuff on a foreign stage. And both about the same age. (One after years claiming to be 36.)

I am referring, of course, to Sarah, Duchess of York and Nancy Dell’Olio.

In the documentary Finding Sarah, made for the American Oprah Winfrey Network, the Duchess of York claims her mother regularly beat and emotionally abused her. Claims contradicted by her sister, Jane Ferguson. Discussing the claim that the Duchess was told by their mother she bore the sign of the Antichrist on her forehead, Jane said: “I don’t remember that verbal abuse, but that’s Sarah’s experience.”

The six-part documentary, for which the Duchess allegedly received a fee of around £200,000, is the latest in a series of televised confessions she has participated in since her divorce – seemingly to stave off bankruptcy.

In the past year, she’s been interviewed by Oprah on topics ranging from her absence from the royal wedding to her role in the scandal in which she admitted trying to sell access to the Duke of York to an undercover News of the World reporter. In Finding Sarah, she visits a horse whisperer, a shaman in the Arizona desert, takes a 26-mile Arctic trek and, finally, a one-way ticket to Jupiter. I made the last bit up but you get the idea.

Blaming her parents – neither of whom are alive to rebut the claims – for abandonment and trauma, the Duchess emerges as a woman with an extremely confused self image – and memory.

Similarly, Nancy Dell’Olio, Sven-Goran Eriksson’s former partner, now Trevor Nunn’s. Famously told by Newsnight’s Jeremy Paxman that: “I don’t have the faintest idea of what you’re talking about”, she comes across as equally preposterous, self-regarding (“I know I’m fascinating”.) She recently revealed that not only have her beauty and charisma caused jealousy since childhood, but also how hectic her schedule (starting at 11.30am) is of pampering, lunches and evenings out, adding: “I don’t know anyone who does as much as I do.” A failed media star, particularly as presenter of the “disaster” TV programme, “Footballers’ Cribs” – called “Footballaz Crisps” by Nancy – it’s anyone’s guess what – or whom – she’ll have a go at next.

It’s hard to know which of these two poor, deluded women to feel more sorry for … 

Photo credit: ALA

Nora Johnson’s novel, The De Clerambault Code (www.nora-johnson.com) available at Amazon in paperback and as eBook. Profits to Cudeca

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