My Afternoon With Paul Burrell

On Wednesday, this week I had the absolute pleasure of heading to the Palazzo Versace Hotel on the Gold Coast for a charity fundraiser high tea which was also attended by a very special guest speaker, Paul Burrell, former butler to the late Princess Diana. A controversial figure within Royal watching circles, whilst I understand he is not everybody’s cup of tea, he did show me how to pour the perfect cup in case I ever have the pleasure of hosting her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II for tea.

The high tea was in support of Young care, an organisation which helps young people with high assisted living needs exit or avoid admissions to aged care facilities.

There were two events on the day. The Royal afternoon tea and conversation with Paul Burrell was the main event however prior to that there was a VIP event for only 12 people which I attended.
IMG_1575.JPG
Nervously ushered into an elevator we had no idea where we were going until we ended up in Paul’s very own room, the hotels Imperial suite, a luxurious three-room suite which boosts possibly the best view on the Gold Coast. With mellow music coming from a guitar player/singer in the corner and Versace staff circulating with trays of champagne and cucumber finger sandwiches, Paul Burrell emerged into the lounge. Just as synonymous with Diana to me as her ‘boys’ Princes William and Harry, Kensington Palace or that pearl and sapphire choker, it is quite a thrill when he appears, almost like catching up with an old friend as his image is so familiar. The presence of Diana lingers around him, almost to the point you expect her to pop through the door at any second.

Much like a cocktail party on an episode of the Bachelor, everyone breaks off into small groups where we wait for our own private ten minutes with him where we can take a photo, have him sign a copy of his bestselling biography ‘A royal duty’ and ask a few questions each.
IMG_1586
My first impressions of Paul Burrell, he has a smile which is larger than life, he radiates warmth and personality, he is slightly embarrassed when you ask him for a hug but always obliging, he is skilled at putting people at ease and calming their nerves, he effortlessly drawers you into conversation. His sunny disposition and megawatt smile are what directly led to him getting the job as the Queens personal footman after only two years of service at Buckingham Palace. That and an uncanny knack at being effortlessly able to pinpoint someone’s needs and fulfil them before they ask. Summoned to see the Queen from the breakfast table one morning as she was interested in the ‘footman who always smiles so much’ he thought the only thing a footman could be summoned for at this time of the day was to walk the Queens beloved corgis. Slipping 2 sausages in his back pocket he went to see the Queen. ‘Would you like to walk my Corgis?’ she asked, ‘of course’ he replied. Out in the gardens of Buckingham Palace the Queen peeked through the curtains as her 8 corgis, normally terrors to control were enthralled and chasing down the footman, or his two sausages at least. Upon his return, the Queen commented ‘They do seem to love you, I think I will keep you’ and promoted he was to be one of two of the Queens personal footman.

In a world where we are so used to seeing commentary from friends and family of Diana’s or the Royals being split firmly in two different camps and loathing the other side, it is surprising to see someone talk about both the Queen and Princess Diana with the same love and affection. But he does. Possibly the only member of Diana’s camp who didn’t want to cheer during Charles Spencer’s eulogy inside Westminster Abbey, he wanted to tell people to stop clapping, to look at the Queen, that the Queen was heartbroken. Always respectful of the entire Royal family he cannot be baited to speak poorly of even Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall. When asked of his opinion of Camilla and Charles’s relationship he simply replies, ‘I can never speak warmly of Camilla, I am Diana’s man, she was not my mistress, she was somebody else’s mistress, Diana was my mistress and it is with her my love and loyalty will always lie’. In fact, I kind of get the feeling that he wishes people would stop mentioning both Camilla and Diana in the sentence. That he does not want Camilla to become as synonymous with Diana as her boys, Kensington Palace and her style. That he hopes when we focus our discussion on Diana we will focus on her legacy, her charity work, the way she changed the Royals and the world, her sons and grandchildren and not be fixated on the parts of her life which brought such pain and heartache.
IMG_1594
It is surprising how little gossip and scandal he does discuss. When he talks of Diana he discusses their friendship, her charity work, her love for her sons all peppered with personal memories of their day to day interactions with one another. Topics such as previous lovers including Hasnat Khan and Dodi Al Fayed, preparing for her funeral, her divorce with Charles only come up when he is asked directly and ask him we do constantly. When asked if he wishes that Diana had never married Charles he replies it is impossible ‘it was Diana’s destiny to marry Charles, to have those two boys, to change the monarchy and the world today, to pave the way and go through the hardships she did to create a better life for her boys and grandchildren, it was her destiny’.
IMG_1642
Ushered from the private event to the foyer outside the ballroom for the afternoon tea we are greeted by doorman dressed as Queen guards and trumpeters announce the event officially open. Walking into the ballroom we are greeted with candle light and over 5000 flowers, mostly roses in tribute to England’s rose. My own outfit, a dress from Australian brand Review, covered in a rose pattern blends in with the décor.
IMG_1608
After some on stage introductions Paul joins our table for a traditional afternoon, the menu includes delights such as English cucumber finger sandwiches, candied lemon and sultana scones served with balsamic strawberry jam with cream, guava and passionfruit mousse and finishes with a chocolate dome etiquette smash, so called as it contains a small take home guide book on etiquette.


IMG_1654

Halfway through the tea Paul takes to the stage for an hour presentation where he talks of his life pre-Royals, how he was studying a hospitality and hotel management course and dreamed of working at sea with Cunard cruise line. He applied to Cunard at the same time he applied at Buckingham Palace. In a secret, he only found out from his younger brother on the day of his mother’s funeral, his mother had received two letters on the same day, one from Cunard and one from Buckingham palace, both offering him employment. She took the letter from Cunard and tossed it on the fire telling his younger brother that if he went far away to sea they would never see him again. It seems just as much as he believes it was Diana’s destiny to marry into and change the Royal family and touch people the world over by becoming ‘the people’s princess’ it was just as much his destiny to enter a life service with the Royals and to be there for Diana, the princess needed her rock. He talks of her work, their trips overseas, her joy at connecting with the common people and making a real difference on issues such as land mines, her legacy of her sons and grandchildren. Through William, he feels the Monarchy is in safe hands and will flourish in the future. He advises he has no inside special knowledge but he sees Harry being happy in a way he hasn’t seen since before his mother’s death and he predicts another Royal wedding next year. I’m sure we all have our fingers crossed for that one! He addresses the charges of theft of Diana’s personal items and the intervention by the Queen which stopped the trial, the only time the Queen has intervened in such a legal matter. He says his favorite memory is of Diana, in her robe, her hair in a towel, playing her piano, finally having a moment to live her life like she doesn’t have cameras pointed on her at every second.

What did I learn most from my afternoon with Paul Burrell? A little kindness goes a long way, life is precious and can change at any second, a sunny disposition and a smile can get you far in life and the importance of a thank you note, in fact I am off to write one now.

Kylie XOXO

The Royal Week In Review

Starting with the most recent Royal appearance, yesterday saw Catherine, William and Harry along with other senior Royals including the Queen attend an unveiling of a new memorial dedicated to Britons who had served in Afghanistan or Iraq during 1990-2015. During that time 680 Britons on active service in these areas lost their lives however the memorial is designed to celebrate the sacrifice made by all personnel who put themselves in harm’s way to bring peace and stability to the area.

Kate wore a Michael Kors coat we are all familiar with, having seen it previously during the Anzac day service William and Kate attended at the Australian War memorial in Canberra during their Royal tour to Australia and New Zealand and in 2014 when she officially opened the Magic garden at Hampton court palace.

Kate also repeated many of her accessories, wearing her tanzanite earing and pendent set from G Collins and sons that we have previously seen on multiple occasions, including when the Royal trio hosted the Obamas for dinner at Kensington palace and her trusty muse clutch and Rupert Sanderson navy suede Malory heels.

The fashion stand out piece within this outfit was by far the new Lock and co Tiffany drop brim hat that Kate debuted. Inspired by the infamous black drop brim hat with white ribbon that Audrey Hepburn wore in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, the hat oozes sophistication and glamour and was perfect for the occasion. Costing 325 pounds the hat is still available here;

http://www.lockhatters.co.uk/tiffany-drop-brim-hat.html

I have a military themed day event to attend in May which I think this hat would be perfect for and have been frantically searching for the perfect replikate so you if you have found something similar please drop me a line.

This week was all about Rebecca

It’s not often that another member of the Royal family can completely dominate the headlines over Kate, so the fact that this week, a member of Royal staff completely dominated most of the news stories shows what a valuable and indispensable asset to Kate she was.

The week started with the happy announcement that Kate’s private secretary, Rebecca Deacon, or Becca, as she is affectionately known amongst her family and friends, is soon to wed her partner Adam Priestly. Becca has been given the honor of being able to use the chapel royal at Kensington palace, which Royal watchers will remember from Prince Georges christening, however has been used for many key Royal occasions dating back to King Henry VIII.

Later in the week came the sad announcement that Becca will be stepping down from her role at the end of the summer after 10 years of service to the Royal family. No doubt the heavy workload and irregular hours, though rewarding, make maintaining a personal life difficult. It will be quite unusual to see Kate at appearances for quite a while without Rebecca at her side but I am sure everyone wishes her much happiness and success in the future.

Updates to Kate’s calendar

In exciting news for our readers from Germany and Poland, it has been announced that the Royals will be touring the area in July at the request of the British Foreign secretary to ‘extend the hand of friendship’ and ensure strong relationships between the nations continue post Brexit. This will be Williams second trip to Germany since the Brexit referendum. In a speech he gave during the first trip he stated ‘the depth of Britain’s friendship will not change after Brexit’. Kate has not yet formally travelled to either country.

Whilst it was widely assumed that both William and Kate would not be attending the st Patrick’s day Irish guard parade to hand out shamrocks as the date coincided with the first day of their mini tour to Paris, it has been formally announced that they will be in attendance. It appears they will then travel to Paris so I wouldn’t expect to see many events on their first day in Paris outside of a formal welcome and a possible black tie function that evening. Details will be confirmed as they become available which shouldn’t be to far away as the tour commences on friday. At this point there are no appearances scheduled til friday.

 

 

 

 

My Royal Wedding Memorabilia

Earlier this week I posted on Instagram a really lovely gift that I had received from a follower, a copy of the official Royal wedding program from Will and Kate’s big day. Since then I have been flooded with requests for looks inside and it appears many people have missed out on seeing the ‘my story’ snaps I added to Instagram so I will be adding pictures of each page at the bottom of this post. First though, lets take a look at my other Royal wedding memorabilia.

William and Catherine Figurines, Hamilton Collection

These wonderful fashion figurines are part of the Hamilton collection which was sold via the Bradford exchange. They have a whole range of fashion figurines featuring Kate pre wedding, in gowns post wedding and with a baby George. Unfortunately no figurine has been made with charlotte. Whilst the figurines are no longer sold directly from Bradford exchange, they are constantly popping up on Ebay so keep an eye out there if you are interested in starting your own collection of Kate figurines.

image

Royal Wedding Fashion Illustration

I am a huge fan of fashion illustration in general and love the work of Brittany from Replikate It. Keep an eye on her Etsy store around special occasions such as Royal tours and you usually find new art work pop up for sale. I’m not sure what she has planned yet but she told me she is in the process of working on something special for the 20th anniversary of Diana this year.

https://www.etsy.com/shop/RepliKateIt

Royal Wedding Earrings

My lovely copy of the custom-made acorn earrings that were gifted to Kate on her wedding day by her parents were bought on my trip to London a little over a year ago from the Kensington Palace gift shop. They are the loveliest copy of these earrings I have come across and can be bought directly from the Historic Royal Palaces shops at Kensington Palace or the Tower of London or purchased online here; http://www.historicroyalpalaces.com/acorn-drop-earrings.html

image

Illuminum White Gardenia Petals Perfume

The perfume that Kate wore on her wedding day has proved to be the single most difficult Replikate for me to get my hands on as it is not in stock or shipped to Australia. I was able to purchase a small bottle on Christmas eve from Fortnum and Mason department store and was extremely lucky as it was the last bottle they had in stock. I had hoped to purchase 1-2 of the large bottles. I’m not really sure what I will do when it runs out, maybe plan another holiday to London?!?!?!

image

Jo Malone Products

Probably the easiest way to add a touch of the Royal wedding into your own home and daily life appears to be through the use of the Jo Malone products that Kate used in Westminster abbey as they are reliably in stock and available world-wide. In an effort to have Westminster abbey resemble a British garden wedding Kate transformed the chapel through the bringing in of trees and flowers and the use of Jo Malone Orange blossom scented candles and hand washes of grapefruit and lime, basil and mandarin.

image

 

Official Royal Wedding Program

My newest Royal wedding memorabilia has been recently gifted to me by a lovely follower on Instagram. A local London lady who loves near Buckingham Palace, she wondered down on the day of the wedding and was able to score a couple of the programs. I feel incredibly privileged that she offered to send me this as I truly would not have been able to get my hands on one otherwise and truly cherish it.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I would love to do a follow-up post in April over the Royal wedding anniversary  so if you have any memorabilia you would like to share or were lucky enough to be there on the day please get in touch via the contact form or send me a message over on instagram.

Kylie