'Henry the Eighth' needs to learn diplomatic moves


Hot news from the controversial Strictly Come Dancing finals in Co Offaly, where US president Barack Obama’s distant cousin, Henry Healy, experienced the downside of fame after agreeing to be a judge for this charity event.

More than 800 proud relatives, friends and supporters packed into the ballroom of the Tullamore Court Hotel to see the cream of local talent strut their stuff on the dancefloor.

In an attempt to inject some authenticity, Henry decided to style himself on the BBC’s resident Strictly curmudgeon, Craig Revel Horwood. Accordingly, the normally nice and laidback Henry was exceptionally stingy when awarding his marks and remarkably forthcoming with the acerbic comments.

This did not go down well with contestants, who had been preparing their moves for weeks. All hell broke loose when he dismissed the fragrant Sinead Hubble of Midlands 103 as “like something out of Downtown [sic] Abbey”.

Henry the Eighth, as he has become known, was roundly booed by the audience. His tough approach ended with the audience calling him all manner of names, the mildest of which was “Horrid Henry”.

This was a first for the affable Offalyman, whose day job is as a sort of ambassador for Ireland Reaching Out, a genealogy campaign aimed at connecting with the diaspora.

His performance was reported at length on local radio, where most of the interviewees were unimpressed by his honest assessment of the local hoofers.

At the postshow party there was praise for Henry’s tour de force, but others thought he had gone too far. One devastated female dancer told Obama’s startled cousin (eight times removed): “I will never drink as much as a vodka in Moneygall again.”

When it comes to diplomacy, the affable 27-year-old ambassador is learning fast.