SEBASTIAN SHAKESPEARE: It's game, set and match to the new chairman at Kate ...

Bad blood boiled over just before Christmas at the Hurlingham Club — despite the fact it's where the Duchess of Cambridge takes Prince George for tennis lessons.

So intense was the ill-feeling that the club's new chairman, the Earl of Snowdon's cousin Luke Nunneley, felt obliged to berate certain unnamed individuals who, he said, routinely 'shouted down and insulted' fellow members, and sent 'abusive and insulting' emails.

But on Monday night, at the club's first ever annual general meeting to be conducted by Zoom, Nunneley decisively struck back against those whom he has characterised as 'the noisiest and most bad-tempered of the membership'.

'The AGM lasted two hours,' a female member tells me, adding that Nunneley handled it with a 'steely confidence', which helped him secure overwhelming support from members, who typically pay an annual subscription of £1,200.

Bad blood boiled over just before Christmas at the Hurlingham Club — despite the fact it's where the Duchess of Cambridge takes Prince George for tennis lessons

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Bad blood boiled over just before Christmas at the Hurlingham Club — despite the fact it's where the Duchess of Cambridge takes Prince George for tennis lessons

Kate Middleton plays tennis as she joins a session with a group during a visit to the Coach Core Essex apprenticeship scheme at Basildon Sporting Village in 2018

Kate Middleton plays tennis as she joins a session with a group during a visit to the Coach Core Essex apprenticeship scheme at Basildon Sporting Village in 2018

Almost 90 per cent of the 450 or so attending voted in favour of a new rule that will allow the committee to 'remove or suspend' a committee member.

'It was all very orderly,' adds my informant. 'No rancour, which made it unlike previous AGMs.'

The club in South-West London is set in 42 acres of idyllic grounds bordering the banks of the River Thames, and boasts of being 'a green oasis of tradition'.

But it has been more like a battleground ever since the abandonment of a £22million redevelopment — which landed the club with a bill for £2.55million in professional fees and led to the departure of the previous chairman, Julian Holloway, whose allegedly 'dictatorial' manner inspired critics to compare him with North Korea's Kim Jong-un and establish a website, 'Reform Hurlingham'. 

Kate Middleton plays tennis during a visit to the Lawn Tennis Association at the National Tennis Centre in London, England on October 31, 2017

Kate Middleton plays tennis during a visit to the Lawn Tennis Association at the National Tennis Centre in London, England on October 31, 2017

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge and Prince William, Duke of Cambridge in the Royal Box on Centre court during Men's Finals Day at Wimbledon on July 14, 2019

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Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge and Prince William, Duke of Cambridge in the Royal Box on Centre court during Men's Finals Day at Wimbledon on July 14, 2019

Although the AGM was held 'remotely', even the rowdiest of rebels was on best behaviour.

'No one 'turned up' in sweaty sports gear. Hair had been brushed, make-up applied.' Some had gone further. 'They'd colour-coded their book shelves!' Evidently the Nunneley effect.

'He wore a pale blue, well ironed shirt, matching his blue eyes,' swoons an admirer. 'It was all encouraging and unifying — at long last.'

Sounds as though Nunneley could even be the man to heal the wounds of Megxit.

Duke's salute to Army standards 

While many of us lounge around in pyjamas, the Duke of Gloucester is keeping up sartorial standards during lockdown.

Not only did the Queen's 76-year-old cousin wear a suit while holding a meeting via telephone this week with Major General Alan Hawley, of the Royal Army Medical Corps, but he made a point of putting on the corps' regimental tie.

The Duke, a grandson of George V, is Colonel-in-Chief of the regiment and lives at Kensington Palace with his Denmark-born wife, Birgitte. 

While many of us lounge around in pyjamas, the Duke of Gloucester is keeping up sartorial standards during lockdown

While many of us lounge around in pyjamas, the Duke of Gloucester is keeping up sartorial standards during

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