It has been a spring of party madness in London and New York. I was lucky enough to have several birthday parties thrown for me in both cities, including Evgeny Lebedev’s glamorous soirée at which Nigel Farage announced that he was no longer being served at any pub in Brussels, which may explain why he’s cut down on the drinking.
There was also the ultra-glam Met Ball in New York: Dame Anna Wintour mingling with a half-naked Lady Gaga; divine Bette Midler in top-to-toe black sequins and a top hat, dancing with the talented Julianne Moore (wearing green sequins) and Cher in ripped jeans and an anorak. Not to be too bitchy (oh, go on!), but I thought Katy Perry dressed as a hamburger was a touch de trop, even for the party’s theme of ‘camp’.
I’m not an Aquarian, but I seem to have attracted a few liquid dramas recently. There was the major flood in our flat two years ago, which forced us to move out for a year; then, at the Met Ball after-party, a drunk gentleman fell on to our drinks table, smashing two glasses of wine (luckily white) and spilling their contents over my gigantic feathered crinoline. It necessitated a swift exit for me, trailing wet feathers and shards of glass. And at the Old Vic summer party on Sunday, while I was sitting at Sally Greene’s table, a large iPad in the middle of the table, which listed the silent auction prizes, fell on to a full bottle of white wine (again!), tipping it all over me, completely drenching my dress and shoes. Napkins were hurriedly produced and assistants scurried about helping this soggy mess to mop up in the ladies’ room. But it was impossible to dry my dress, so I had to totter out and return home, once again smelling like a pub after closing time.
At least at Ascot I managed not to get caught in any downpours. When it came to betting, I fancied the multi-winning jockey Frankie Dettori, but instead listened to the tipsters and didn’t bet on him in his first race. Frankie won it against the odds. So for his next race I took a punt on him, and he came through for me. One should always trust one’s instincts, especially if one knows nothing about racing. Ascot was full of the usual wonderful glitz and silly hats, and the Queen always seems so delighted when she attends — even more so than when she sat next to Donald Trump. Despite the fact that none of her horses won, she glowed all afternoon.
At a dinner party once, I sat opposite Boris Johnson, who was seated next to a buxom reality star. She was so proud of her massive new chest that she asked the gentleman on the other side of her, ‘Would you like to see my new boobs?’ He looked frightfully embarrassed but was too taken aback by the question to reply, whereupon the lady forced the point by whipping her off-the-shoulder top down to her waist. The entire table fell into a fit of muffled giggling, with the exception of Boris, who was deep in conversation and had missed the party trick. I boldly asked the reality star to reveal her assets to him. She obliged. He merely glanced, frowned uninterestedly, and returned to his discussion.
When my dear friend Charles Delevingne turned 70 last week, Susan Sangster threw a fabulous lunch party for him and 32 of his closest female friends and family. It was an extremely jolly affair. The champagne flowed and silver individual pots of caviar gleamed. Susan had put together an eclectic group of gals, and a marvelous scrapbook of pictures she had gathered from us — some funny and cute, some very embarrassing. I made a speech recalling the first time I met Charles, several decades ago. I was selling my house in South Street and the estate agents sent their brightest star to negotiate. I was at the top of the stairway when I buzzed the door open, and there stood 23-year-old Charles, with bowler hat, furled umbrella and old school tie, sunlight streaming in behind him as if he were a new Messiah. ‘How do you do? I’m Charles Delevingne,’ he said smoothly. ‘Of course, you are,’ I replied, unable to think of a wittier rejoinder. I was so impressed that I almost fell down the stairs.
Then Dame Vivien Duffield stood up and made a witty speech also extolling Charles’s charms. Then Cara, his youngest daughter — and my goddaughter — made a beautiful and tender speech which brought tears to our eyes. Finally Pandora, his lovely wife of 37 years, told him that he had been the best husband in the world. In his speech, Charles told us that the next day he was to have another lunch, men only. ‘Thirty-two women today, and tomorrow only 16 men, which shows that I like women twice as much as I do men!’
This article was originally published in The Spectator magazine.