A British Brush: Lunch With Lady Sophie
I have always been a bit of an Anglophile. I was weaned on
reading Agatha Christie mysteries, and watching Shakespeare
plays at the Guthrie in my hometown of Minneapolis.
Awhile ago my friend Jeffrey mentioned a dinner he had attended
in Bel-Air, bringing along his friend, Lady Sophie Lawford-Bingham.
He had met her in Greece or Sardinia or one of the other spots
frequented by the wealthy and the glitterati. By the end of
the evening, wives had to pull their husbands off of her as
she swept them away with her beauty, her wit, her accent and
the fact she was dressed in an outfit that would have dazzled
any red carpet.
When Jeffrey told the story it was hard to get out because
he was laughing so hard. Just as Charles and Camilla were
getting married, Lady Sophie made her return to L.A. to avoid
the festivities at Windsor. While not invited to the Guild
Hall she had been invited to the reception; her decision not
to be there was based, I suspect, on discretion being the
better part of valor. [I speculate she had been way too intimate
with way too many of the attending men.]
Jeffrey suggested I should meet her and we agreed to meet
at Musso-Frank in Hollywood.
Lady Sophie is as beautiful, bright, witty and sexy as Jeffrey
had promised. She told me I would recognize her. I did. Who
but a Lady Sophie Lawford-Bingham would be wearing a zebra
coat and dark glasses and sipping champagne at high noon?
Lady Sophie, I discovered, is distantly related to nearly
everyone. She is distantly related to Charles; distantly related
to Diana; distantly related, for Gods sake, to Otto
von Hapsburg he just turned 93, oldest son of the last
Austrian-Hungarian Emperor and distantly related, too, to
Camilla. She has all the relation bases covered.
She does all those things we associate with the bright and
beautiful. And she has grown up the way we think all British
nobility should: country estates, city homes, finishing school
in Switzerland, [the same one Diana attended], a brother who
is a bit batty. She works to get him off the family farm and
mix with society in hopes he will meet a lady who will date
him; so far in vain. He prefers his first editions and grouse
shooting to socializing.
She lives a life that is reminiscent of the jet setters of
yesteryear: a peripatetic life shuttling between continents
and countries, drifting; it seems, mostly from party to party.
All I had to do was ask a few questions while a fascinating
life unfolded. Favorite champagne? Veuve Cliquot. Favorite
country? Oh dear, that wouldnt be fair to any one! A
boyfriend? Not presently. Klaus von someone is a bit of the
past now [she had been with him at Jeffreys dinner].
Where off to next? Oh back to London by way of Sydney. Some
friends there are having a bit of a do
In her purse, she produced some pictures she was carrying,
choosing one for a French magazine that was doing a small
article about her. She had hated the one they took and demanded
they insert something else. Of course they said yes. I get
the feeling Lady Sophie has heard very few nos in her
I was wondering why Jeffrey was eager to have me meet her
and why a glitterati would be eager to meet me.
It was simple. She is getting bored with simply being a glitterati.
Surely there is something she could be doing? And you see,
Jeffrey thought I could be helpful.
Lady Sophie pointed out that if PARIS HILTON could be designing
handbags, certainly she could be doing something as useful.
Did I have any ideas?
Personally, I was thinking, I am not sure Id be giving
up a life of leisure but I promised Lady Sophie that I would
put my brains to the situation. She has phoned me several
times to regale me with her adventures and to discuss ideas
for her future. I doubt very much I have heard the last of
Lady Sophie and I am quite sure I dont want to