Tantrums & Tiaras. October 2018.

Dear Rowley,

As a second child, I know a thing or two about attention-stealing so was utterly delighted by the hour or so I watched of Princess Eugenie’s wedding. What a clever choice to have the dress made by edgy young British designers Peter Pilotto and Christopher de Vos. I interviewed them for ES magazine at the beginning of their career and found them both charming and intelligent. I don’t know whether the brief was to design an homage to the late Princess Margaret’s 1960 wedding dress made by Hartnell but I think Eugenie’s was the most exquisite royal wedding dress since.

The choice of tiara and no veil was equally show-stopping. Apparently the dress had a low back to show a scar from when the Princess had surgery as a child. I was too busy looking at the layers of ivory jacquard and the perfectly judged  train to look for the scar. My only question was the length of the sleeves but that was such a minor quibble.

But back to the tiara. Set by Boucheron in 1919 or 1921 depending on the commentator, the emerald and diamond kokoshnik featured a cabochon emerald the size of a hen’s egg as the centre stone. The tiara was part of Mrs Greville’s bequest to the late Queen Mother in 1924 and entered The Queen’s personal collection of jewels in 2002 when the QM died. But here’s the thing. The Greville emerald tiara has never been seen since the old lady bequeathed her best jewels to the QM. We have seen her fender tiara because that became a favourites of the QM and is now on loan to the Duchess of Cornwall. But the emeralds have been hiding.

Makes one wonder just how vast The Queen’s private jewellery collection is. Either way, the Greville emeralds were a superb choice on the part of Princess Eugenie. It had one or two of my Twitter friends speculating as to whether HM would loan more of her personal jewels to the younger members of the royal family particularly the Duchesses of Cambridge and Sussex.

I thought the two aforementioned showed great class by dressing down for Princess Eugenie’s wedding and entering St George’s Chapel discreetly from the side entrance rather than parading on the walk from castle to church. Not much to say about the celebrity count at the wedding other than you’d think Stephen Fry’s young husband would comb his hair. You’d also think Cara Delevingne would realise it wasn’t all about her and turn up in a Ralph Lauren tailcoat and top hat as if it was a Vogue party.

You had to warm to the Duchess of York wearing an emerald green dress that could have been recycled from about 1987 waving, gurning, puffing her cheeks and looking so excited to be in the bosom of the royal family again after so many years out in the cold. I should think the Duke of Edinburgh decided to go easy on her for chutzpah and good humour alone. I didn’t spot too many of Prince Andrew’s arms dealer or dodgy financier friends which was probably a good thing. Kate Moss would have been after them like a rat up a drainpipe.

As you may have noticed, it took a royal wedding to make me put pen to paper after so many months’ silence. What can I say? I’ve been publicising Jewelry for Gentlemen and beavering on various projects for 2019. The book launch at Bentley & Skinner was really rather wonderful. We had Theo Fennell, Stephen Webster and Shaun Leane in attendance as well as a huge contingent of friends and family who made the party for me. At the end of the do, somebody said I should organise some more soirees. I’ll drink to that.

We’re still talking about a New York launch before the end of the year and I’m hoping for a trip to Italy next month to progress another project that should be a highlight of 2019. Did I tell you I am once again in the throes of giving up cigarettes? This time I have the help of a nurse at my GPs who is a very jolly cove and not someone I want to let down when we do the weekly breathalyser test. The physical benefits of not smoking are already worthwhile but I am with Bette Davis on cigarettes: they are my friends, my props and my reward. Lord knows whether I will succeed but I will give it a red hot steaming go as my friend Scott would say.

Highlight of the last couple of weeks was sitting on a panel discussion with Judith Watt to interview the designer Walid at the Matches Fashion Townhouse in Mayfair. The event was absolutely heaving and I am pleased to say the conversation flowed. Walid creates the most extraordinary garments and furniture made from remnants of antique fabrics such as Chinese imperial silks. 18th century embroideries, Brussels lace and ecclesiastical cloth.

I described his upholstered Louis chairs as Anastasia fleeing the Bolsheviks with the last stick of furniture from the Winter palace. She then hides the chair in an attic in the 7th arrondissement of Paris until it is discovered 100 years later by Walid. I wore a black Walid coat for the interview that was such a refreshing change from Savile Row. It felt quite romantic and very heroic. What more could one want?

I have finally bitten the bullet and decided to write a manic depression memoir. I’m fed up of reading books about it by doctors and shrinks. Don’t you think it is time for a voice from the coalface? I couldn’t have written this book even five years ago but do feel in the present climate that it might help fellow drunken sluts with anger management issues. Do I feel a title coming on? Until next time…