High Life

The Royal Treatment

July 08, 2017

Then things got even better. I went back to those Cotswold hunting grounds of old—do any of you remember Bruern Abbey and the wild weekends?—for Prince Pavlos’ 50th birthday and his daughter Olympia’s 21st. The Crown Prince of Greece is as nice a man as you’ll ever meet, and he and his wife, Marie-Chantal, had close to 500 friends down for the weekend ball, attended by King Felipe of Spain, Queen Maxima of the Netherlands, and the two prettiest girls around, Lady Sophie Windsor and her sister-in-law Ella. Walking through the house and looking down a sea of colors on the wide and sloping lawn was truly a memorable sight. The mostly young people turned the scene into a festive dreamlike fantasy, and then the music began to throb and the drinking got out of hand. While sober I bowed to King Constantine, who asked me if the white dinner jacket I was wearing was brand-new. I denied it, but it was.

Princes Pavlos, Nikolaos, and Phillippos of Greece are the best of the best, as far as I’m concerned, and Bob Miller, Pavlos’ father-in-law, among the most generous men around. One of the hardest things, I find, is to write about people in glowing terms without sounding gushing. At the request of Tim Hoare, I was invited to stay with Lord and Lady Bamford at Daylesford, the most perfect house in England, in my opinion, and I’ve seen a few. In beautiful Bath stone, impeccably run by a large staff, the great orangery next to the main house, I used to visit with the previous owner, a German-Hungarian baron. Now it’s back as a perfect English country house, its interior the way it should be.

The Bamfords are the most generous and natural of hosts, Anthony Bamford proving that no good deed goes unpunished by listening to my ravings about the Wehrmacht early Sunday morning. (Queen Maxima was staying and he had to get up early to see her off. Then he got hit by Taki.) And they do wonderful things, like organic farming. More Bamfords, less James Stunts, is the answer to this country’s problems.

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