“How unusual,” commented one guest at a gala at Christie’s in London the other night. “Seeing cabinet ministers out with their wives in the middle of all these sex scandals.”

In the last month alone, there have been allegations about three MPs: a mistress in one case, a mistress and a baby in another, and a homosexual lover in a third.

The couples at Christie’s were celebrating an exhibition of items from the American Museum in Bath. While other guests struggled to affix the commemorative pin — a Union Jack crossed with the Stars and Stripes — Lord Snowdon didn’t even bother trying. “Damned if I’m going to make a hole in my lapel,” he said.

At another cocktail party at the auction house the next night sponsored by Ralph Lauren, a younger crowd spent most of their time chatting about island holidays taken or planned. The Caribbean also was the topic later that evening at Bobby Short’s concert at the Cafe Royal, on behalf of the AIDS Crisis Trust. Marguerite and Mark Littman, Joan Collins, Sir Anthony Bamford, Sir Mark and Lady Weinberg and Shakira Caine all debated the relative virtues of Barbados versus Mustique.