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Benedict Cumberbatch and Sophie Hunter (Pics: Gary Gershoff and Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images)
Benedict Cumberbatch and Sophie Hunter (Pics: Gary Gershoff and Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images)
Benedict Cumberbatch and Sophie Hunter (Pics: Gary Gershoff and Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images)

There was a time when every notable gentleman’s engagement to every eligible lady of good breeding would have been the subject of a public announcement in the Times. It’s a tradition that has fallen from use slightly, over the years, but that doesn’t mean it has been entirely abandoned.

And in the case of highly-regarded actor Benedict Cumberbatch and theatre director Sophie Hunter, it’s a perfect way to speak about something they have both been keen to keep out of the prying eyes of the press, in the press, without getting a PR person to alert the press with a press release.

Or to put it another way, it’s what a gentleman would do.

So here’s how the family of one of the most sought-after young men in the world announced that he is officially off the market:

The full text is as follows: “The engagement is announced between Benedict, son of Wanda and Timothy Cumberbatch of London, and Sophie, daughter of Katharine Hunter of Edinburgh and Charles Hunter of London.”

And in case you’re holding out some vain hope that this is a prank, Benedict’s publicist told Sky News: “I am delighted to confirm this morning’s announcement that Benedict Cumberbatch and Sophie Hunter are engaged.”

So now there’s nothing left to say but a hearty congratulations. Because that is also what people with good breeding do.

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By Fraser McAlpine