THE great niece of Hollywood legend Olivia de Havilland has branded Peter Andre “vulgar” after a council decided to pay him to switch on their Christmas lights.
Perth is handing over an undisclosed sum to the Mysterious Girl singer to kick off their festive celebrations this year.
But city designer Kairen Alexis Ruse – whose customers include Judy Murray – said the invitation would “dumb down” the Fair City.
Ms Ruse sells tweed two pieces for more than £600 from her upmarket boutique in the city’s South Street.
Her great aunt, who is 98 and lives in Paris, won two Oscars, one for To Each His Own and The Heiress, and also appeared in Gone With the Wind.
Ms Ruse, who had an earlier career as an actress, is angry with the decision to hire Andre for the November 22 switch on.
Perth and Kinross Council has refused to say how much it is paying Andre but it is thought to be more than the £7,000 paid to fellow Reality TV star Mark Wright last year.
She said: “It’s the dumbing down of the city that I am really against.
“We could we not have someone involved in the Commonwealth or Olympic games? Someone like Eilidh Child, who has actually achieved something, rather than bringing in this vulgar character from England.”
“The show doesn’t get going until until after the shops are closed. And even then they will be spending their money on attractions and fairground rides.
“I feel ready to quit, unless the council starts showing more support to local businesses. They need to start taking us seriously.”
Ms Ruse’s family connection to De Havilland means she is also the great niece of the star’s movie legend sister, the late Joan Fontaine.
Ms Ruse, 64, said her famous family members would be “speechless” about the council booking Andre.
She said: “In their days stars were stars and they got there on merit. They reached the pinnacle of their career because of hard work and talent. It was about class and style.
“They have an aura about them. Peter Andre has nae aura.
“I’m sure he’s a very nice man but is that the sort of person we want our young people to aspire to?”
The website for Ms Ruse’s Perth boutique states: “Kairen started her career as an actor, following in the footsteps of her musician grandfather and great aunt Olivia de Havilland.”
It continues: “Our bespoke service offers the discerning customer, individual attention, an impeccably hand tailored fit, sumptuous and elegant fabrics and the meticulous quality of craftsmanship.”
Sarah Wilson, 49, the co-owner of the Whispers of the Past shop in the city centre specialising in vintage items, said: “It’s a waste [booking Peter Andre]. It’s just stupid.
“Last year was bad enough with Mark Wright. We have at least three Commonwealth Games medallists living in the area that would have been more than happy to do it.”
The retailer who has had a shop in Perth for 30 years added: “Because they [the council] have city status it’s gone to their heads. It’s tacky.”
Perth Provost Liz Grant, who announced the line-up for the light switch on Monday, insisted the singer would “encourage” people to visit and “spend time and money in the city”.
She said: “I’m delighted that Peter Andre will give us a wonderful performance alongside Boney M. featuring Maizie Williams, Jack Pack and Sienna.
“Perth has become known for its fantastic events and this year’s lights switch on promises to be bigger and better than ever.”
She continued: “It is sure to encourage many people to visit our area and spend time and money in the city by making the most of the fantastic shopping, dining and many experiences on offer.”
A spokeswoman for Perth and Kinross Council said the budget for this year’s Christmas lights is £81,300 with £39,000 allocated just for the switch on event.
She refused to detail how much will be paid for Peter Andre’s appearance.
She said: “Perth & Kinross Council makes a substantial investment in Perth City Centre to make the area attractive to visitors…
“We hope that Perth’s growing reputation as an events destination combined with the range of entertainment and activities organised for this year will encourage even more people to visit the centre for the Christmas Lights Switch On weekend.
“It is unclear why having more people in the city would be a bad thing for local businesses.”
A spokesperson for Peter Andre declined to comment.