Rainy Monday, Sunny Tuesday
Looking north from Hudson and North Moore. Monday, July 5th. 2:45 PM. Photo: JH.

The Season in London. For some, the entire world of Palm Beach, New York and Southampton was at Claridge’s a couple of weeks ago, all in London for the Season. There was Wimbledon, of course, and Sir Elton John’s White Tie and Tiara benefit as his country house, where it was rumored Rod Stewart paid 950,000 pounds for an antique Astin Martin at auction.

Then there was the Red Hot Chili Peppers concert in Hyde Park for thousands (the RH Chili Peppers were putting up at Claridge’s also. As were Betsy Bloomingdale, Arnella and Dick Savitt, Tita Cahn, who was heading for Copenhagen with Pat Newcomb and then traveling by boat to St. Petersburg. Also at the same snazzy hostelry – Nicky and Ira Harris, Betty and Francois Catroux who’d come to London for a dinner and then were returning to their house in Provence. Then there was David Ober, Annette and Oscar de la Renta, Joan Chorney (Marvin Davis’ sister); that Texas gal who hardly ever stays home, Joanie Schnitzer Levy and her husband Irv – who were about to held off to the Greek islands for a cruise on their yacht and then to the Hotel du Cap for Lynn Wyatt’s annual birthday party which takes place next Monday at her Villa Romana in Cap d’Antibes. The glitterati from all over the globe fall all over themselves in a rush to Madame Wyatt’s boitday.

Cristina de Caraman, Lord Charles Churchill, Charlotte Scott and Sally
Metcalfe at the Churchill dinner at Drones
Carol McFadden at Drones

But I digress. Wait-a-minute-where-were-we ...? Ah yes, London, for the Season. Charles Spencer Churchill, or more properly, Lord Charles, gave a little din din for an army of his closest and mosest and specifically Marianne and John Castle of Palm Beach at Drones on Pont Street where the list included Cathleen and Walter Ross, Countess Cristina de Caraman who was soon departing for Corsica to visit her pa; Sally and David Metcalfe, Charlotte Scott who owns the beautiful hotel Transierre in Seville; Carol McFadden, Arnold Scaasi and Parker Ladd, and Jim Mitchell, from New York.

Another American – by marriage anyway
– the Fifth Avenue chanteuse herself, Mlle. Yanna Avis opened at the Jermyn Street Theatre on Wednesday, June 23rd, with all kinds of people in the audience including Princess Michael of Kent, Denise Hale from San Francisco, Kate Ford with her daughter Kimberly du Ross, Bluey Mavrolean, Lord Charles, Carolyn Benson, Arnold Scaasi and Parker Ladd, and Jim Mitchell (am I repeating myself or don’t these people ever sit still?).

Blenheim Palace

The Duke and Duchess of Marlborough, Sunny and Rosita to their thousands of friends gave a ball, the following Saturday evening . Now that was a spectacular night, especially for all those rich Americans who think they’ve seen it all (and owned it too). Croon, June, moon and Blenheim with the ladies in their best couture and oodles of jools, and the gents in white tie.

Tables of ten set up in the Great Hall, with centerpieces of masses of summer flowers from the Blenheim gardens; smoked salmon, filet of lamb and summer berry pudding, all washed down with wines, champagne, port and brandy; with music and toasts to Her Majesty the Queen and President Bush and dancing till 3 in the morning.

Marianne and John Castle and Rosita, the duchess of Marlborough at the Blenheim Ball

There were Churchills at every turn – Jack, Randolph, Luce and Winston, Charles and Jane, the Marquess and Marchioness of Blandford, Edward Spencer Churchill and Melissa Milne, Lady Alexandra Churchill, Lady Henrietta with Bob Gray (Lady Henrietta organized things with her father, the duke), Rupert Spencer Churchill, Serena and Neil Balfour (Serena’s late mother Lady Sarah was the eldest sister of the duke). Also Sir Anthony and Lady Bamford, HRH Prince Khalid Bin Bandar, Carolyn Benson, Betsy Bloomingdale, Shelby Bryan, Cristina de Caraman, Marianne and John Castle, Jackie and Paul Desmarais, Dame Vivien Duffield and Sir Jocelyn Stevens, Tina Fanjula and John B. River, Tom Ford, Sir Rocco and Lady Forte, David Furnish (his better half, Sir Elton was on tour — somebody has to work in this crowd), Lady Victoria Getty, Audrey and Martin Gruss, Denise Hale, Carolina and Reinaldo Herrera who had just flown in from their daughter’s wedding in Spain a few weeks before; Ben Holland-Martin, Liz Hurley and her fiance, Arun Nayar, Jade Jagger and Tom Bartlett (I told you it was thousands!); Tim Jefferies, fresh out of his fling with Alex von Furstenberg, Evelyn and Leonard Lauder, Viscount and Viscountess LinleyDavid and Serena; John Loeb and Sharon Handler, Stella McCartney and Alasdhair Willis, Lulu, Carole Mack, Aline Massey and Bob Gotcher, Jim Mitchell (I told you I was repeating myself), Mica and Bob Mosbacher, Billy Norwich, Mary and Mandy Ourisman, Marina Palma, Pauline Pitt and Tom Quick, Hilary Geary and Wilbur Ross, Sir Evelyn and Lady Rothschild, Wafic Said, Arnold Scaasi and Parker Ladd (what’d I tell you?), Nicholas Soames and Lady Soames, Andrew Stein (who used to be married to the current Lady Rothschild known as Lynn) and Samantha Dark, Mimi Stafford, Christine and Steven Schwartzman, Senator Mario D’Urso, Liz and Peter Ward, Sir Mark and Lady Weinberg (known by one and all as Anouska Hempel), Hilary and Galen Weston (who own The Fort where another Prince of Wales first romanced another married paramour, a Mrs. Simpson), Deborah Norville and Karl Wellner and Lynn Wyatt. Sorry, I missed more than a few, but this will have to do.

The day after the ball, for those who had the energy, Lord and Lady Bamford threw a magnificent luncheon at their magnificent pile, Daylesford House. About sixty attended before heading back to London for a dinner at the Tower of London where kings and queens used to imprison their own when they had disagreements over who’s who and what’s what. Lucky for our travelers, they’re not into that anymore.

L. to r.: Lord and Lady Bamford's Daylesford Farm; Arnold Scaasi and Parker Ladd; Hilary Geary and Deborah Norville.
Now, if that’s not enough, many of these intrepid travelers, quite a few who’d come from the American Friends of Versailles doings in Paris (and Versailles), were moving on down to the south to Antibes and Monte Carlo for Lynn Wyatt’s birthday, and also, for those special few, to the 18th birthday party that Princess Caroline of Monaco aka Princess Ernst of Hanover and her husband Prince Ernst are giving for her daughter, Charlotte Casiraghi in Monte Carlo. Charlotte is, as many know, the granddaughter of America’s adored, late great movie star, Grace Kelly, Princess Grace of Monaco.

The Casiraghi/Hanover/Monaco party is one of the most talked about events (by the tabloids anyway) in Europe this summer. It will take place at the Via la Vge, one of the most beautiful villas in the south of France overlooking the Monte Carlo Beach Club. The villa was used many moons ago for the Jason Robards-Jennifer Jones film of Scott Fitzgerald’s “Tender Is the Night” It was also once the vacation home of Princess Caroline’s very good buddy, Karl Lagerfeld, and is currently owned by the SBM (the Societe de Bans de Mer, which also owns the Casino as well as the Hotel de Paris and several other prime pieces of real estate, and is owned, in turn, by Princess Caroline’s father, Prince Rainier of Monaco). There you have it. Now everybody get some rest for summer’s just begun!

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July 7, 2004, Volume IV, Number 109


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© 2006 David Patrick Columbia & Jeffrey Hirsch/NewYorkSocialDiary.com