Royal divorce order and Nancy Reagan's drug addiction in last week's dubious tabloids

An essential roundup of the most inessential journalism

"Charles Orders Meghan Divorce!" screams the cover of the National Enquirer, with an implausible story that could only have been leaked by Prince Charles or Prince Harry – and neither seem likely to have the American tabloid on speed-dial.

An unnamed "royal source," whatever the heck that is, claims that Charles gave Harry "an ultimatum: Divorce Meghan or you're out forever." Right. "Charles insisted divorce was the only way to save the royal family – and Harry himself."

But the royal family doesn't need saving from Harry or Meghan, whose criticism of "The Firm" has earned them as many critics as it has supporters. If the Royal Family needs saving from anyone, it's from Prince Charles himself, who lacks much of his mother's popularity, and on his eventual ascent to the throne may be severely tested in keeping the British Commonwealth together when nations including Canada and Australia have remained subject to the British Crown largely through the enduring popularity of the Queen.

In "Andrew's Puppy Present To Get Out Of Doghouse!", we learn that Prince Andrew gave the Queen two puppies after the demise of Her Majesty's last dorgi (a dachshund-corgi mix) and the death of her husband Prince Philip "as a way to get back into his mother's good graces." The claim, as ever, is from unidentified sources. Andrew was doubtless trying to ease the Queen's heartache, but not even he could be so naive as to imagine that a couple of pooches will win him forgiveness for embroiling himself in the Jeffrey Epstein child sex trafficking scandal.

"Masterson Blames Rape Charges on Scientology Haters" poses the notion that to accuse a Scientologist of rape is clearly religious persecution, at least according to former 'That '70s Show' star Danny Masterson.

As for "A-Rod's Revenge! Tells pals J.Lo strikes out in bed", would it have been better if she took a bunt? And does the infield fly rule apply when A-Rod is the batter up? According to unnamed sources, "Alex Rodriguez has trashed former fiancée Jennifer Lopez as a dud in the sack." I'm sure he has our sympathy.

Convicted ex-cop Derek Chauvin reportedly spent his first night in a high-security prison "blubbering like a baby" claim the unnamed "insiders" quotes in "Killer Cop Sobs In Solitary. Suicide watch after conviction in George Floyd murder!" which presumably means either prison guards or fellow inmates, which seems like a key demographic for 'Enquirer' readers.

Over in Globe, we have a "Shocker!" – a word that generally precedes a story that is neither shocking nor true – "Brad Pitt In Wheelchair!"

Strangely, he seemed perfectly capable of walking unaided at the Academy Awards last Sunday, yet Globe makes it sounds as though he's on his last legs. While it's true that Globe has acquired a photo of Pitt seated in a wheelchair, it's hardly the life-altering medical emergency that the headline implies.

It's standard protocol at hospitals and clinics for patients to be wheeled to their car after many medical procedures. Indeed, the rag goes on to confess that Pitt was merely having some wisdom teeth removed, which would have required anesthesia, hence the wheelchair. But the routine dental surgery prompts the 'Globe' to spread its headline across two pages: "Brad Pitt Wheelchair Drama!" Presumably because "Shocker! Brad Pitt Dental Drama!" doesn't have quite the same ring to it.

"Nancy Reagan Was A Hopeless Addict! First Lady couldn't say no to pills!" we now learn. She certainly told millions of Americans to "say no to drugs," but a new book claims that Mrs Reagan took so many "uppers and downers" that White House doctors told the President she had a "problem." All of which might have been news, if the book, 'The Triumph of Nancy Reagan,' wasn't quoting Reagan's deputy chief of staff Michael Deaver, who spoke about Nancy's drug issues way back in 1999.

An alleged trove of 2,000 "damning confidential photos" held by prosecutors will allegedly show Maxwell with Jeffrey Epstein's sex slaves, claim unnamed insiders in "Ghislaine Maxwell's Photo Nightmare!" This might be more interesting if the 'Globe' hadn't previously run much the same story in December 2020.

They're repeating it having obtained some additional photos, but they couldn't be less newsworthy: Ghislaine Maxwell seated behind the wheel of a car, sitting on a private jet, and demurely posing fully clothed for the camera. A nightmare indeed. Naturally, the 'Globe' calls it: "Shocking evidence she doesn't want sex crime jury to see." Right. Because the fashion police might arrest Maxwell for wearing that multi-colored harlequin dress and five-inch wide purple leather belt.

"J.Lo & A-Rod Mind Their Own Business!" reports the 'Globe,' which would make a pleasant change from gossiping about their former sex life.

In People Magazine, "Gabrielle Union & Dwayne Wade: Love, Fame & Standing Up for Our Family" dominates the cover. The actress and NBA star are all smiles as they discuss Union's past year struggling with perimenopause, gaining 20 pounds, losing her hair, seeing her skin change, dealing with COVID and "the PTSD I've had since I was raped at 19," and supporting their 13-year-old trans daughter. Could People have anything other than wide smiles on their faces?

Why does everyone tell People they've learned to love themselves—last week in the form of "Pop Star Julia Michaels – How I Learned To Love Myself"—then years later confess how much they were filled with self-loathing?

"Susannah Constantine: My Royal Friendship With Princess Margaret" poses unintended questions. Was it really a royal friendship? Could they have had a non-royal friendship? A working class friendship? The British socialite who hosts the podcast 'My Wardrobe Malfunction' talks about the shoulder straps of her dress breaking while she dined at Windsor Castle. Happens to the Queen all the time, I suspect.

Will the royal coverage ever end? No. In "Will & Kate's 10-Year Anniversary – Remembering The Big Day," the Royal wedding is recalled by their wedding dress embroiderer, cake baker, a couple of milliners, and their wedding reception harpist. Presumably the wedding valet parkers and bus boys weren't available for comment.

"George W. Bush – Painting With a Purpose," but maybe next time he should try a brush.

In "Oscars 2021 – The Return of Glamour" we see this year's Oscar fashions, Oscar jewelry, Oscar gowns and Oscar suits over 18 vacuous pages of celebrities congratulating themselves.

"Bethenny Frankel – What I Know Now." Just when you expect a couple of short sentences, you get four pages of the former Real Housewife's collected wisdom. "Appreciate your past, but don't get stuck in it," she says." Embrace your age – and your eyesight." "You have the strength to get through even the toughest times of your life." People pay therapists hundreds of dollars an hour for this sort of insight. Or they crack open a fortune cookie.

Us Weekly promises us "The George Clooney Nobody Knows" and surely wife Amal Clooney is reading with rapt attention. She'll be shocked to learn that George gave up riding motorbikes after his "near-fatal" crash in 2018. Who knew? Apart from everyone.

Just when you thought it was gone forever, this week comes roaring back Us mag's most brain-dead feature page, with actress Vanessa Lachey asking the question to which nobody wants to know the answer: "What's In My Bag?" "Keep in mind, I am a mum of three," says the TV personality whose Givenchy bag holds a clutch of necessities including a Chanel wallet, a bag of Simply Cheetos, and wet wipes. Such a delight to see this news-packed feature return.

Fortunately we have the crack investigative team at Us Weekly to tell us that Lisa Bonet wore it best, that TV's 'The View' host Sunny Hostin's "secret hobby is beekeeping" (it's so secret that's she's been discussing it on air and in print for years), and that the stars are just like us: they eat breakfast, feed parking meters and ride rollercoasters. Such thrill-a-minute lives.

Onwards and downwards . . .