Rihanna is not the only celebrity trying to blend in, writes Guy Kelly.
It was the bag that gave her away. There, in the background of an otherwise humdrum Instagram story in May, sat a tangerine elephant on a yellow rectangle that the average Briton would know anywhere.
It was the hallmark of a responsible consumer. And — in this case, at least — it was enough evidence to set the internet aflame: that Rihanna, the Barbadian music and fashion icon, had been in the UK long enough to decide she might like to shop in Sainsbury's ... for life?
A week later, it was confirmed. In an interview with the New York Times, the 31-year-old — a permanent resident on the loftiest steps of the A-list for a decade — revealed she had been living in London since at least the beginning of the year, and while she has to "keep it a little incognito", she likes to go "walking around the block", specifically to "a cute Jamaican market near where I live".
Rihanna's assimilation into British culture was back on the road a few weeks later when it was reported she tried to rent Osea Island in Essex to record her new album; later, she was caught clubbing in Mayfair, then tweeted about her love of high street stalwart Boots, and this week broke cover again by appearing at Chester-le-Street to watch the West Indies lose a Cricket World Cup match against Sri Lanka.
"Never thought we'd say these words," one cricket news account posted, "but Rihanna is in Durham watching the cricket."
There is a curious mixture of excitement and respect engendered by finding out a very, very famous international star has managed to exist among us, unbothered and unrecognised, for more than a passing moment. Rihanna — whose boyfriend, Saudi businessman Hassan Jameel, lives near her rented home in north-west London — is by no means the first.
Taylor Swift, another musician with a London-based boyfriend, actor Joe Alwyn, regularly moves around the city avoiding paparazzi and crazed fans, and is now rumoured to live in Highgate or Crouch End.
Earlier, in 2016, the US singer Frank Ocean revealed he'd spent even longer living undetected in the city. He told an interviewer he rented a flat, rode bikes, went on dates and made new friends without anybody ever publicising his location.
London is predictably rich in such tales. Residents living on a busy road in Clapham were taken by surprise in 2013 when the pretty Australian girl who lived in a flatshare of twentysomethings and looked uncannily like Margot Robbie, from The Wolf of Wall Street, turned out to be ... Margot Robbie, from The Wolf of Wall Street. Across town a few years earlier, it was discovered that Prince shunned five-star hotels in favour of staying in a flat owned by the singer Lianne La Havas in Leyton, east London.
Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie had a house in Surrey while they were married, and Tom Cruise lived for some time in a mansion in East Grinstead, Sussex, with Katie Holmes. Before that, he and Nicole Kidman had a prolonged and largely secret stay in the UK after filming Eyes Wide Shut.
Then there's Nicolas Cage, who adores everything about the West Country. Cage, who once bought the 18th-century Midford Castle near Bath, as well as a town house, is thought to have been introduced to the area by Johnny Depp, another rumoured owner of property in Bath.
Cate Blanchett, whose husband is English, put down roots and lived in Brighton for long enough for the novelty to wear off for locals, just as it did for neighbours of Björn from Abba, who moved to Henley-on-Thames, sending his children to a nearby public school in the '80s.
In the summer of 2006, Michael Jackson arrived in Co Westmeath, Ireland, with his children and stayed in a converted cowshed for a year. Locals managed to keep their presence secret for months, denying all knowledge when people from other villages would raise the rumour, and saying "Yeah, so does Elvis Presley!" to put them off the scent.