A Right Royal Knees Up

OK, so clearly the Lord Chancellor never received my change of address card, because somehow, my invitation to the royal wedding got lost in the mail.

Only one thing for it, I figured—just fly to London and sort things out. As it happens, though, the security at Westminster Abbey was a bit tight, and I forgot to pack one of those cutaway coats, so I was destined to view the whole thing from afar.

Well, actually, from less than a mile away, at a charming mews house in Belgravia where my old friend, Rhodri Philipps, lives with his lovely (and pregnant) wife, Sarah. A one-man Mardi Gras, Philipps is the 4th Viscount St. Davids, and his string of titles also includes Baron Strange of Knockin, Lord Hungerford and Lord de Moleyns. In addition, he’s a high-goal polo player (who incidentally gave Prince William his first match when the future king was but a whelp) and a descendant of Richard the Lionheart (which means he’d be well within his rights to consider the royal family a bunch of Germans who live in Buckingham Palace).

Not bad at all

We arrived bearing a case of bubbly purchased at Tesco and bottled, for the occasion, under the label “Prince William Champagne.” It was, surprisingly, not half bad, and as the BBC began its endless drone of wedding coverage, we proceeded to tie one on. Rhodri’s other guests, a more lively and better-looking crew than the cadavers who had to suffer the tedium at Westminster Abbey, included Jasper Duncombe, a.k.a. Lord Feversham, one of England’s largest producers of pornographic films, who was disinherited by his father due to his noble profession, along with his adorable son, Orlando. Then there was a mother-daughter duo from New York, assorted old friends and acquaintances, a few toffs with double-barrelled last names, a Jack Russell named Tipple, a King Charles Spaniel named Toffee, and a pair of Pekinese named Tosca and Freddy.

Lord Feversham and the Viscount St. Davids holding up a royal memento

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Aaaaahhhh, Kiawah.

Kiawah Sunset

Kiawah Moonrise

A snotty Polish aristocrat I know texted me, “Where are you?” I wrote back, “Kiawah Island, SC.” He said, “My family used to have a house there. J’adore.”

I texted back, “This isn’t A house on Kiawah. It’s THE house on Kiawah.”

And it is. 16,000 square feet on 11 acres, without another house in sight. The museum-quality antiques and furnishings are worthy of a grand mansion anywhere, which seemed foolhardy in a beach house on a barrier island until I learned that this place was so climate-controlled and hurricane-proof that you couldn’t drive a tank through the windows. Outside, spectacular wetlands were punctuated by a putting green and paths. The infinity pool, hot tub and decks had postcard views, and a 600-foot-long dock extended out to where the porpoises and pelicans frolic.

A corner of the house, poolside

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A Gentleman’s Agreement

Hey! That's my jacket!

A few weeks ago, I posted about how I’d seen a gorgeous but very distinctive blazer at the opening of the Ted Baker store on Newbury St. in Boston, and how I agreed to buy it on one condition—that they send the other two identical ones to Miami or L.A. (so I wouldn’t run into anyone else in Boston wearing it). Ray Kelvin, the man behind the brand, and his executive VP of U.S. retail, Paul Griffin, said that was impossible, so I said, “Fine. I’ll still buy it. But if I ever see anyone else wearing it around here, I get to come back and go for a $795 shopping spree.” Both of them shook on it.

Ted Baker London in Boston

Clearly, the fashion gods are smiling on me, because two years later, at a crowded party, I found someone sporting the exact same blazer. It turned out to be my friend Tom Weisend, and I got photographic proof, then mouthed off about it online. MIRABILE DICTU! A short time later, I received a phone call from Kristin Johnson, GM of the Boston store, inviting me in for a private shopping spree one night after the store was closed, wine and nibbles included.
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