JENNI MURRAY: Sorry Harry but parents don't owe children a living…

JENNI MURRAY: Sorry Harry but parents don’t owe children a living…

  • Jenni Murray said it’s not parents’ job to give financial support to adult children
  • She said it’s their job to watch proudly as they learn to stand on own two feet  
  • Prince Harry expressed fury at father turning off finance during Oprah interview 

Nearly 14 years ago my father lay in the hospice in Barnsley, dying. His lung cancer had been diagnosed only weeks before. The hospice gave him the best possible care and he was keen to ensure that everything was in place for me, his only child, when he was gone.

His records had been kept immaculately, his will was in place, but there was one form his solicitor said needed to be signed. ‘I’ll sign it,’ he said, ‘but you need to get one of the nurses to witness it.’

I was apologetic when I asked his favourite nurse if she could help. ‘I’m sorry,’ I said, ‘we should have sorted this out long ago.’ ‘It’s no trouble,’ she replied, ‘You should see what we sometimes have to deal with. Families rowing and raging over who gets what. We have to act as referees to protect the dying patient. It’s awful.’

I was reminded of that sad time when I read of the feud between Juliet Miles and Lauretta Shearer and their stepmother Pamela Shearer. Their father, the banker Tony Shearer, had cut his girls out of his will because he thought them ghastly and ungrateful in their demands for money. He left everything to his second wife. Now, four years after his death, the two daughters are fighting for maintenance from his estate.

Jenni Murray said it’s not parents’ job to give financial support to adult children after Prince Harry (pictured left, with wife Meghan Markle) expressed fury at his father Prince Charles turning off his financial support during his interview with Oprah

Money, it appears, is indeed at the root of all evil and I know the Shearer girls are not alone in being punished in the inheritance stakes by a parent they had displeased.

A friend had a difficult relationship with her mother who favoured her adored, lazy, impecunious son over her clever, competent daughter. When the mother died a couple of years ago the daughter received nothing.

The son inherited a considerable amount. The daughter tried to be pragmatic about what she perceived as a punishment, but couldn’t resist telling me: ‘I’ll be OK. I work hard to earn a living. He’ll just fritter it all away.’ She had no plans to contest it. ‘A will is a will,’ she said. ‘Her choice.’

I have sympathy for the children left out of a parent’s will and being hurt at feeling they were unloved, but, really, what does a parent owe an adult child when it comes to financial support?

Is it reasonable for an unemployed 41-year-old Oxford graduate and lawyer, Faiz Siddiqui, to sue his wealthy parents for ‘maintenance for life’, or for Prince Harry to express his fury at his father turning off the financial taps when he and his wife are multi-millionaires? No! It’s your job to house them, feed them, make sure they get a good education and give them love and security, but then watch proudly as they learn to stand on their own two feet.

Jenni (pictured) said it’s a parents’ ‘job to house them, feed them, make sure they get a good education and give them love and security, but then watch proudly as they learn to stand on their own two feet’

When George Clooney made his will in 2013 it prompted him to give £1 million each to 14 friends. He was aware that most were trying to put their kids through education and hadn’t got as lucky as he had. It made sense to him to give his pals the money at that time when they needed it most rather than ‘wait until we’re all buying dentures’.

My husband and I finally got round to writing new wills last summer. The old ones had been done years before we had children, but it was only when I turned 70, I suddenly realised it was time to get on with it, accept the possibility of mortality and leave things as clear for my children as Dad had tried to do for me.

It couldn’t be simpler. If I die everything goes to my husband and vice versa if he’s the first to go. When the end has come for both of us, it’s shared absolutely equally between our two sons.

No fights, no rows and they both say: ‘Don’t worry about us. It’s your money, you earned it, enjoy it while you can.’ My advice? Make a will, keep it clear and fair and write it in good time. You never know what might happen.

Emma Corrin made a curious choice of outfit fresh after winning a Golden Globe, when she received a Critics’ Choice award for her role as Diana, Princess of Wales in The Crown


Fresh after winning a Golden Globe, Emma Corrin made a curious choice of outfit when she received a Critics’ Choice award for her role as Diana, Princess of Wales in The Crown earlier this week. It was Schiaparelli couture (the first couture dress she’s worn) with golden pearl-encrusted molars around an open front with matching earrings. But what is she saying with this frock? Princess Diana bites back? 

Can it really be 50 years since Dave Allen hit the big time and made me laugh more than any comedian before or since? On Saturday night I watched two compilations of old shows on BBC2. In the first he sat on his stool, cigarette in hand, whiskey on the table, and then in Dave Allen Live: On Life, came a series of stand-up performances one of which I’d seen in the theatre. I wept with laughter again at his description of a teenage boy phoning to speak to Dave’s son and being barely comprehensible. Not only was he the most funny and articulate man ever, he was the most gorgeous too. My mother put on her make-up just to watch him on TV. 


My census form arrived on Monday and I filled it out. I know where I’m going to be on Census Day, Sunday, March 21 as I haven’t been anywhere else for the past three months…

I was keen to see how the sex/gender question would be handled. It caused controversy when the guidance said we should say male or female according to what is on a passport, birth certificate or gender recognition certificate.

As Fair Play For Women said in court, passports can be changed (with a letter from a doctor), so the guidance ‘enabled self-identification through the back door’.

A member of staff at No. 10 seemed barely able to lift the boxes from Daylesford Organic as carted food into Downing Street

I ticked female and worried that I couldn’t say I was female and was born a woman. To my relief, later I was asked whether my gender was the one I had been born with. It wasn’t compulsory to declare it, but I said yes.

It should have been required because sex as opposed to gender matters in this context.

Census information helps plan services such as healthcare. If you were born a man your healthcare needs will be very different from those of someone born a woman, regardless of how you identify now. It is not transphobic to say so. It’s a fact. 


What a lot of food was carted in to No. 10 by staff who seemed barely able to lift the boxes from Daylesford Organic. And £12,500 is a rather big food bill for one man, his slender fiancée and a baby boy. How has the Prime Minister managed to lose two stone in weight?


I wonder how many of you, like me, have sat around a table, discussing ideas, plucked up the courage to voice your suggestion, have it ignored, only to find, ten minutes later, one of the men says exactly what you just said and is told how utterly brilliant he is. I kind of thought about that when I read Elizabeth Emanuel had filed legal papers last week claiming she designed Princess Diana’s wedding dress, and that her ex-husband, David, had claimed credit for it for 40 years. 

Elizabeth Emanuel ex-husband David claimed credit for Princess Diana’s wedding dress for 40 years but, last week, Elizabeth filed legal papers claiming she designed the famous gown

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