All in the family

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Glistening on the Hudson River. 5:30 PM. Photo: JH.

Wednesday, September 21, 2022. A beautiful Monday just passed, with temps in the upper 70s but no humidity, and gentle breezes running through. And the most magnificent collection of cumulus clouds, massive and puffy and bright white against the soft blue of the skies around the city. Sometimes a cloud would get in the way of our Sun but they were in transit; and soon it was back to the blue and white until sundown.

I didn’t watch any of the Queen’s funeral. I had work to do and I knew if I started, I’d stay with it. The word on it was impressive all around.

Although in the Comments of a couple of websites I peruse, there were lots of anti-Royalty nasty remarks about the procession as well as the Queen and all the rest of them. Ultimately it’s political even though the Royal Family no longer has any political power.

Her Majesty signed away the last of it, BUT she naturally possessed the grandeur of the human spirit. Those criticizing her presence need to see that she was the result of a human political process more than 1000 years old.

What impressed me deeply about QEII was that she employed her Divine Rights to represent Common Sense and Stability. She was, without question, a vote for humanity.

Meanwhile back at the Palace the Queen’s Funeral brought out the other side of the story with the copious public appearances of the family. Not like Gramma, that’s for sure. It was openly ironic that Harry, the only one of the group who actually served (two years in Afghanistan) in the military, was disallowed the wearing of uniform. The family behavior looks petty, quite unlike their dearly departed Her Majesty, the Queen.

Openly excluding Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan publicly was unkind and petty. Many if not all families have family dramas. They usually keep them within the family. The two princesses walking publicly looks like a walking sister-in-law drama. But aside from being outside looking in, we don’t know what was going on in the minds of any one of them under those unusual circumstances.

However, Prince Harry was a very important ingredient in the UK’s international relationships. He brought his mother’s legacy representing the UK.  He has her vibe as a public persona. He was a brilliant ambassador of good will. His brother does not have that vibe; he’s more like his father in presence. The world saw the value of Harry’s charm. In a very real way he replaced his mother in the Zeitgeist.

The two women look very serious surrounded (camera-wise) by the men and guards. Of course their expressions are serious because of the event. But the press has assigned a problem between the two, very likely false, made up to fit the photo on the tabloid cover. To the reader, the viewer, that’s the story to go by. Although it may be totally false. And why not? Two beautiful women all in black, princesses actually but born Commoners; both wearing expressions of annoyance. It’s in the script, makes you wonder.  That’s the plot.
But from the outside looking in, considering the environment, the world we are all inhabiting right now – what really fascinates this viewer is the girls’ ankles. So tiny, so delicate. Princesses all, you must admit. POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Monday night. I was having dinner with Paige Peterson who finally had just returned from a four month stay with her nonagenarian mother outside of San Francisco not far from the Golden Gate. NYSD readers know Paige as the hostess/mistress of the annual Thanksgiving Day Macy’s Parade which originates in her neighborhood. She’s also published a childhood memoir “Growing Up Belvedere,” a small island community off the coast; plus she’s illustrated children’s books written by Christopher Cerf, and by Jesse Kornbluth.

First I had to stop by the apartment on Park Avenue in the 70s, of Geoffrey Bradfield who was having a pre-birthday dinner party. Geoffrey has had several residences in the years I’ve known him. He’s always been a generous host, apartments, townhouses, penthouses, in the same general area in which he lives now and some great dinner and entertainments. They’re celebrations of a kind. This one, about 25 stories up, is surrounded by a terrace with the most fantastic city views from the houses and mansions of the residential neighborhoods to almost pencil-thin-looking residential towers. These are the views that draw people to New York and cultivate the imagination of those that come from all over the world.

The view, looking south, from Geoffrey’s aerie. It’s one of those views where you can just stare at it all day. No need to talk to anyone with your imagination doing all the talking to you.

Geoffrey, as his armies of friends know, is an international interior designer whose client list is in residence all over the globe. Although I think he recently “retired.” He doesn’t look like he’s old enough to retire but then I’m an old working stiff, so what do I know.

However, true or false, there was a story going around some time ago that Geoffrey was a very good, longtime friend of a British, wife of a well known and wealthy peer. She also happened to be the second wife. Anyway, when said peer died, he left much if not most of his fortune to wife number 2. (He had heirs by number one.) When she died, she left Geoffrey and another interior designer each $20 million. It’s believed that is why he decided to quit the business. Why not/you only live once  (as far as we know). However, it’s also a fact that he’s one of the most successful interior designers on the planet.

The serene scene at Geoffrey’s pre-birthday dinner party.

Some of the “team” looking after the evening.

I spent about a half hour at Geoffrey’s party. It was a good size crowd, forty or fifty, and everyone dressed for dinner – men in suits, women smartly turned out. It was all in celebration of his birthday and hosted by his British associate, William Featherby.

The happy couple — Geoffrey and William.

I left Geoffrey’s about 7:30 and hiked around the corner  from Park to Sette Mezzo on Lex to meet Paige who was already waiting patiently. It was fairly quiet but then Hunt Slonem, the painter, came in with Liliana Cavendish. They were “early” for the birthday dinner they were attending for none other than Geoffrey Bradfield.

Hunt, Liliana, and DPC chatting at Sette.

Then Gennaro, the restaurant’s proprietor, came over and invited me to follow him. We went out of the restaurant and up a short staircase and into a simple, tall, dining room where they were having the first party in the new dining room: the birthday dinner of Geoffrey Bradfield.

Returning, we chatted with Hunt. It’s fairly well known in the art world: Hunt collects mansions. He recently acquired a castle (and it looks like a castle — 68 rooms) on 400 acres.  He also has a plantation house in Louisiana. The best part is he uses them. He lives in them, entertains and works in them.

After hearing about castles in the clouds, Paige and I follow them and went upstairs to have a look at the new private dining room.

The scene at Geoffrey’s birthday dinner in Sette’s new dining room …

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