Timeless Courage

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Prince Dimitri of Yugoslovia, Helene David-Weill, Mai Hallingby, Franck Laverdin, and Cecile David-Weill at the American Friends of Blérancourt's Annual Gala.

On November 8, 2019, French philanthropist Hélène David-Weill was awarded the 2019 Anne Morgan’s Women of Courage Award at the American Friends of Blérancourt (AFB) Annual Gala.

While women leaders, chefs, and entrepreneurs were honored throughout the evening, AFB also recognized men who have promoted not only the memory of Anne Morgan—who donated her home in France to become the only Franco-American Museum—but who also strongly believe in a world of equal opportunities and diversity. Among them is Jay R. Paul, a former publicist and a member of the board of AFB upon whom was bestowed the Château de Blérancourt Award.


Franck Laverdin, Jay Paul, Helene David-Weill, and Dorothea de La Houssaye.

“Anne Morgan belongs to those remarkable American women who do not know the word ‘impossible,’” Hélène David-Weill said during her acceptance remarks.

Franck Laverdin, Chairman of AFB Board of Directors and Countess Dorothea de La Houssaye, President of AFB, welcomed their guests such as Susan Gutfreund, Prince Dimitri of Yugoslavia, Lee and CeCe Black, Manfredi della Gherardesca, Sean and Alexandra Beckemeyer, Caroline Lareuse, Agathe David-Weill, Maggie Bult, Cécile David-Weill, James and Emanuela Gerard, Irene Goodkind, Mai Hallingby, Nancy and Tim Joyce, Joan Kahn, Helmut Koller, Bernadette Lejeune, Mary McFadden, Collin and Virginia McNeil, Eric Mourlot, Miles Morgan, Heidi Roberts, Natalie Ross, Michel Longchampt and Odile de Schietere, Jean Shafiroff, Elizabeth Stribling, Benny Tabatabai, Katrin Theodoli, Rafael and Leonora Tovar, Sonja Tremont-Morgan, Henry and Bernadette Watkins, Edgar Vaudeville.


Nancy and Tim Joyce.
Bernadette Watkins, Henry Watkins, and Shelby Willcox.
L. to r.: Marco Maranghello, Rula Lutfi, and Oscar Caballero; Carol and Brian Mahoney.
Laura Betrian, Marine Tilhac, and Elise de la Selle.
David Albenda, Luis Cortez, and Carol Cortez.
L. to r.: Natalie Ross and Helmut Koller; Christophe Caron-Soriano and Joan Kahn.
Elizabeth Stribling, James Gerard, and Odile De Schiétère-Longchampt.
L. to r.: Timothy Joyce and chef Camille Martin; Selena Chen and Jean Christian Agid.
CeCe Black, Jay Paul, Martha Talton, and Lee Black.
Jean Shafiroff and Sonja Tremont-Morgan.
L. to r.: Raj Khanna and Pratishtha Rawat; Mathieu-Francois Spannagel and Heidi Roberts.
Sean Beckemeyer, Caroline Lareuse, and Alexandra Beckmeyer.
Barbara Coughlin and Sarah Vorbach.
Nia McNeil and Bright Judson.
Jean Christian Agid, Sophie Raubiet, Rafael Tovar, Jessica Bendig, Leonora Tovar, Ingrid Bruha, Rafael Tovar, and Emmanuelle Grelier.
Miles Morgan Table.
L. to r.: Susan Gutfreund, Benny Tabatabai, and Densie Deluca; Edgar Vaudeville.
Irene Goodkind, Elaine Uzan Leary, and Simone Galton.
Bernadette Lejeune and Prince Dimitri of Yugoslovia.
Helmut Koller and Katrin Theodoli.
Agathe David Weill and Emanuela Gerard.
Cecile David Weill and Maggie Bult.
Bobo McKinney and Graham Watkins.

The Royal Oak Foundation presented its Timeless Award to the Duke of Devonshire in recognition of his contribution to the preservation of British culture and the ten-year restoration of Chatsworth at its annual benefit in New York City on November 6th.

One of the great treasure houses of Britain, Chatsworth is renowned for its architecture, gardens and art collection—one of the greatest private collections in the world.


David Cannadine, Lynne Rickabaugh, Duke of Devonshire, and Ian Murray.

Guests were treated to a fascinating presentation by the Duke on the house and its history. The program included comments from Hilary McGrady, Director-General of the National Trust; Lynne Rickabaugh, Chair of Royal Oak; Laura Trevelyan, BBC correspondent; and a discussion between the Duke of Devonshire and Sir David Cannadine. The evening concluded with an auction conducted by Hugh Hildesley of Sotheby’s.

Auction items included a tour of Chatsworth with the Duke of Devonshire; lunch with Downton Abbey creator, Julian Fellowes and his wife, Emma at their home in Dorset; and a tour of Knole with Lord and Lady Sackville.


Hilary McGrady.
Hugh Hildesley.

Guests included members of Sotheby’s Board of Directors and Executives: Tad Smith, Linus Cheung, Eleanor De Sole, Marsha Simms, Harry WilsonGeorge Wachter; Rizzoli publisher, Charlies Miers; President of ABC News, James Goldston; and actress, Emily Mortimer. Corporate sponsors included Sotheby’s, Rizzoli, and Charlotte Moss.

Proceeds from the Benefit Dinner support Royal Oak’s work as the US partner of the National Trust of England, Wales & Northern Ireland whose royal patron and president is HRH The Prince of Wales.


Alan Tucei, Susan Chapman, Lynne Rickabaugh, and the Duke of Devonshire.
Betsy Barbanell and Michael Brown.
Ian Murray, Hilary McGrady, and Dale Murray.
Fern Wachter, Marsha Simms, and Hugh Hildesley.
Alastair Merrick, Anne Nixon, and Geoffrey Nixon.
L. to r.: Charles Miers and the Duke of Devonshire; Marilyn Miles and Renee Tucei.
Francesca Connelly, Elise Meslow Ryan, and Mark Lewis.
Tad Smith, Linus Cheung, Ginny Clark, and George Wachter.
Linda Kelly, George Kelly, Brian Dolan, and Tom Kelly.
Cheryl Beall and Philip Reeser.
Colleen Murphy and Laura Trevelyan.
James Goldston and Emily Mortimer.


Cocktails with the Newlyweds. Just recently, CeCe and Lee Black hosted a “Cocktails with the Newlyweds” evening at Doubles for Liz McDermott and Ben Barnes. They were married on Nantucket September 14, 2019.   Liz hails from Atlanta and is founder of Liz McDermott Interiors, an upscale interior design firm.  Ben, a Texan, served in the Texas House of Representatives from 1961-1969; he was Texas Speaker of the House  from 1965-1969 and Lt. Governor of Texas from 1969-1973. He later founded the Ben Barnes Group, a business consulting and lobbying firm. They will be splitting their time between Texas, New York and Nantucket.  Everyone toasted to a LONG and HAPPY marriage!


Lee Black, CeCe Black, Liz McDermott Barnes, and Ben Barnes.
Celso Gonzales Falla and Marie-Noëlle de la Poype.
William Featherby, Suzanne Latapie, CeCe Black, Debbie Bancroft, and Geoffrey Bradfield.
Joe Califano, Hillary Califano, and Ben Barnes.
Florence de Dampierre, Paul Schimmel, Liz McDermott Barnes, and Sandy Gilbert.
Missy Pool, CeCe Black, Joy Ingham, and Wendy Carduner.
Ann Nitze and Andrew Forsyth.
L. to r.: Michelle and Jeffrey Greenip; Steve Buffone and Kelly Williams.
Paola and Arni Rosenshein.
Sharon Bush.
Missy Pool, Nathaniel Brooks, Ally Coulter, and Liz McDermott Barnes.

Photographs by Annie Watt (AFB); John Sanderson/AnnieWatt.com (Royal Oak); Annie Watt (Newlyweds).

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