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The giddy social scene in London at the moment might as well be a combination of New York, Palm Beach and Beverly Hills manque. The international out-every-nighters have just switched continents for the season. It is the perfect time to be there and all those lucky people you know and love are taking advantage of it, crowding the marvelous little restaurants and clubs that London is famous for. A few of these swells are even picking up British accents. Again. And all is fun and frolic.
You are guaranteed to see the smart set having the time of their lives — almost — at such famous watering holes where the elite meet to eat as Annabel’s, Harry’s Bar, Mark’s and the private club George. There is a distinctive ambience to all these cunning little spots, chic to swoon, that you don’t find in restaurants in New York. Maybe it’s because Mark Birley, London’s aristocratic restaurateur, is the creator of all of them.
Then, of course, the fine-feathered friends of the Prince of Wales Foundation, one of Prince Charles‘ favorite charities with headquarters in Washington, D.C., have all been in town celebrating.
The crowd spent the weekend at Lucknam Park, an absolutely beautiful old manor house built in 1720. Lucknam has now been converted into a luxury country hotel with 41 bedrooms and naturally 21st-century amenities. A two-hour drive from London, it sits on 500 acres practically covered in birch and lime trees.
Back in London-town, Tom Quick, the New York and Palm Beach philanthropist-entrepreneur was entertaining the beau monde at a big dinner party at that perfectly darling and so-cozy club, George. Dear Tom rounded up some of the luminous London locals plus such folks “from the Colonies” as the present Winston Churchill insists on calling them. Dear Winston, who has been lecturing at what seems like hundreds of venues all over, was there with his wife, Luce, along with such worthies as the Duchess of Marlborough (she will always be Rosita to us), Pauline Pitt, who’s staying at Kathy Forbes‘ Belgravia flat, Astrid and Kip Forbes, Deborah Norville and Karl Wellner, Hilary and Wilbur L. Ross, Joanne and Roberto de Guardiola, Liz and Peter Ward, the just-married Amelia and Jeremy Ward, Dina and Brad Martin, Carol Mack, in from Finland where her husband, Earle, is our ambassador, and the one-and-only thrillingly handsome Duncan McLaren, who along with Robert the Bruce is the man who made Scotland famous. Oh, he did, too.
Yes, it was one of the most glorious weekends in England when Liz and Peter Ward gave a glorious dinner dance at their magnificent house, Cornwell Manor, one of the most beautiful houses in the country, standing on 300 acres. Most of the guests were British and they all agreed it was one of the most beautiful parties they had been to in years. The black-tie affair was for their son Jeremy and his wife, Amelia, to celebrate their recent wedding anniversary. At the four-day celebration with guests arriving from all over the world, Liz Ward arranged for her out-of-town guests to stay with friends in nearby country houses. They celebrated again with a big lunch at Daylesford, again one of the most famous country houses of song and story. And Sir Anthony and Lady Bamford gave still another lunch for 100, again at magnificent Daylesford, which they own.
There were 300 guests at the Wards’ dinner dance held in a great white tent in the gardens, decorated with a dark blue ceiling and twinkling star-like lights. The guests dined on spring lamb from the Wards’ estate and danced to the music of Fret Monkey. Among the guests was the Countess of Dudley (she will always be Grace to us), Arriana and Dixon Boardman, Nicky Haslam, Viscount and Viscountess Linley (they will always be David and Serena to us), Hilary Pilkington, Bluey Mavrolean, the Marchioness of Northampton and others too overcome by it all to mention.
Lauren Bush, the niece of President Bush, an Elite model and a student at Princeton, is celebrating her 21st birthday with a buffet supper in the upstairs private dining room of 21 tonight. The room will be done up in a black-and-white theme with masses of white peonies and black ostrich plumes on view. The party will also mark the 16th birthday of her little sister, Ashley Bush, who goes to high school in Houston and who will spend the summer in New York studying acting at the Lee Strasberg Institute. Their Mommy, Sharon Bush, is giving the party and has asked everyone to come in Twenties-inspired cocktail attire. Sharon herself will wear a black period dress by Chanel. Lauren’s choice is an ivory vintage sleeveless sheer silk knee-length sheath, while Ashley will wear a vintage silver-sequined flapper number. Of course, Lauren’s beau, David Lauren, Ralph and Ricky Lauren‘s handsome son, and Sharon’s beau will be there. Lauren and Ashley will blow out the candles on their favorite ice-cream cake while the guests sip champagne and sing happy birthday to the two young beauties. La!