There’s a fine line between adoration and being scary

Stephen Morgan MP

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If I’d filched a half-eaten slice of toast from Buckingham Palace on the day Prince Charles married Princess Diana, you wouldn’t find me crowing about the fact.

More likely I’d be hanging my head in shame, safe in the knowledge that I’d well and truly lost my marbles.

Yet on Thursday, a woman from Derbyshire will hand over said piece of toast to an auctioneer, who will then attempt to flog it for as much as £500.

To most of us it’s just a rather uninteresting, everyday breakfast item. But to the woman who has preserved it for 31 years, it’s a souvenir that has sentimental value. Why? Because she thinks Prince Charles’ lips touched it on the morning he walked down the aisle.

It’s a wonder that she didn’t see sense and bin it when the unhappy pair divorced. In fact, it’s a wonder that she picked it up in the first place.

But sadly, the human race seems to have a strange fascination for famous folk and that extends to treating anything they’ve come into contact with – or even any body fluids they’ve secreted – like sacred objects.

The lady with the toast is by no means a lone wolf. We’ve all heard of the people who claim to have a few precious drops of Tom Jones’ sweat saved in a phial from the time he took a break from pelvic thrusts to wipe his face on a towel, then chuck it into the audience at some gig or other in the ’80s. Or the women who go gaga because Donny Osmond once touched their cheek.

It’s not just normal people who find this kind of behaviour scary either. Madonna’s clearly so worried about the sanity of her fans that she apparently travels with a sterilisation team who mop up after her to prevent them from gaining samples of her DNA or other precious souvenirs.

Now if I was a rock star, I’d be quite tempted to see how far I could push this phenomenon.

I mean, if you’re Cher and you blow your nose on stage for example, will some zealot be prepared to nick the tissue you used and preserve it for posterity?

For the sake of the country, I truly hope no-one buys the slice of toast that may once have been nibbled by Prince Charles before he walked into a cathedral to marry a woman he didn’t really love.

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