16 February 2009

The Glumleys

 

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When Princess Margaret turned over ownership of her Mustique home, Les Jolies Eaux, to her son David, Viscount Linley, little did she know he would end up selling it and with the profits move his vacation spot to Provence.  The Princess was said to be bitterly disappointed when Mustique sold and that sale was the start of a series of events that have thrust Linley into the English tabloid limelight.    Linley, who calls himself a “carpenter” is actually quite a gifted furniture designer and heads up the eponymous LINLEY which sells his Bespoke designs and offers interior design services.   Twelfth-in Line to the Throne, Linley is married to the fabulously wealthy heiress Serena, with whom he has two children.  He is considered one of the hardest working Royals, but, leave it to the English who feel his work ethic is just a tad too common for a member of the Queen’s family.  Fleet Street finds Linley an easy target and the carpenter rarely fails to live up to his reputation as being money-hungry.  The Mustique house sale proved to be just one event in a long line of grievances the public has against him.  He is also criticized for moving too often – at least four times he and Serena have sold their family home and moved on, something that is viewed as an unseemly money-making scheme.   (hey - I’m just reporting it as it’s been written!)     Everything, it seems,  boils down to his unrelenting drive to make money and lots of it, fast.   Nothing seems too insignificant to pass up for the mighty dollar - when his father gifted Linley with his favorite Aston-Martin, Snowdon was irate that Linley promptly sold it to make a quick profit.   The final straw  for the British public came with his mother’s death.     Her family was faced with a 3 million pounds death tax bill and apparently, there were no funds with which to pay it, something the English found hard to believe.  To raise the tax money, Linley, then on the board of Christie’s, planned a sale of his mother’s personal possessions, similar to the one Jacqueline Onassis’ children had, and even closer to home, similar to the auction of his great-uncle and aunt, the Duke and  Duchess of Windsor.  Unfortunately, the sale of Princess Margaret’s possessions made David Linley public enemy #1.

                                                                                                                                                                            

 

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Happier times in Mustique.  Linley entertains friends at his mother’s house.  Photo by Slim Aarons. 

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Princess Margaret and her son, David Linley vacationing at Mustique.

Once the sale of Princess Margaret’s estate was announced, the public, Linley’s father, and even the Queen of England were reportedly aghast over such personal laundry being aired.   The sale, which took place in 2006, lasted two days and netted $25 million, far more than the death tax bill.  The profits were divided between Linley and his sister Sarah Chatto, along with a small sum earmarked for charity.   Several pieces in the sale caused much concern.   One item had to be taken out of the auction altogether, a piece of an iron balustrade from the Princess’ Kensington Palace garden that had originally come from Ascot.  The balustrade was deemed to be part of the palace and thus, it was against the law for Linley to dig it up and sell.   Additionally,  it has been revealed, there was another object that was quietly taken out of the sale, a Lalique Crucifix given to Margaret by her mother, The Queen Mother, who in turn had been given the object by Princess Beatrice, Queen Victoria’s youngest daughter.  It is believed that Queen Elizabeth herself requested the crucifix not be sold.    Other items, 47 in all, had been given to the Princess on Royal tours - the Queen proclaimed those proceeds must go to a charity, and not to Linley’s or his sister Sarah’s pockets.  Most items were personal effects such as endless cigarette cases, pill boxes, and sentimental Christmas gifts from her mother, The Queen Mother and her grannie, Queen Mary.   And, there were the numerous pieces of furniture, jewelry, dishes and silver up for auction.  The most unglamorous item up for sale has to be the clear plastic umbrella! 

 

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Someone actually paid $4,411 for these three plastic umbrellas!!!

It was reported that before the sale, Lord Snowdon contacted Christie’s asking if his son had the right to sell all their wedding presents, since he was still alive and had not authorized it.  Christie’s deferred to their new board member and allowed the wedding presents to go on and be sold.    But, there remained two items in the catalogue that sparked the most outrage at Linley’s greed.  The first was his mother’s wedding tiara that was put on the block, and the second, an important and beloved portrait by Pietro Annigoni, painted of the Princess in 1957.  The painting matched one of the Queen’s and its sale caused endless talk of disappointment at Linley’s apparent lack of respect.  Before the auction, Linley, perhaps feeling guilty, had three copies of the Annigoni painted –  one each for Linley, his sister and the Queen.  At the auction, a private buyer purchased the portrait, which later Linley confessed was himself.  But, did he really buy the painting back for sentimental reasons or was there another, less honorable reason?  When the firm that painted the three copies was restoring the original Annigoni, they discovered the artist had painted on the portrait a tiny, hidden self-portrait, along with a whiskey glass containing a dark heart (perhaps it was, people speculated, Margaret’s breaking heart – over a lost love?)   Once these secret details were revealed, the painting was suddenly more historically significant and of course, valuable – something that only Linley knew at the time.  Regardless of his motives, the portrait now hangs in his house where Serena likes to show visitors the secret details.  This year Linley loaned the Annigoni to the National Portrait Gallery for the public to enjoy.  

 

 

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The Annigoni portrait of Princess Margaret that caused such an uproar when it appeared in Christie’s catalogue.  Linley secretly bought the portrait back at auction and recently leant it to the National Portrait Gallery, where it is being shown.

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The Annigoni portrait of Queen Elizabeth, painted in 1955, is considered the “sister” to Princess Margaret’s portrait.  These two paintings are thought to be the best done of the two Royals - so much so that many years later, the Queen sat for Annigoni again.

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Cecil Beaton photographed the Princess in front of the Annigoni portrait in 1958.  In this picture, the Princess is wearing the Asprey Art Deco Pearl and Diamond necklace, given to her on her 18th birthday by her Grannie, Queen Mary.  The necklace was a personal favorite and she was professionally photographed wearing it many times.  At auction, it sold for $509,312.

 

The Christie’s sale happened two years ago, but the press is still overwhelmingly negative about Linley.  At various events, it is reported he appears rude and distracted, and rumors have started about the state of his marriage, once considered one of the strongest Royal unions.  At his cousin Peter Phillip’s recent wedding, Linley and Serena both seemed so unhappy, their pictures ran with the headline, “The Glumley’s,”  a nickname that has stuck.  Apparently, Linley, despite being set for life from the Christie’s sale, has business worries.  His company is a labor intensive business and turning a profit is hard fought for.  Russia, home to many oil rich billionaires, came to his rescue and one particularly wealthy Russian named Sergei Pugachev infused LINLEY  with enough cash to spread his empire throughout Europe and Russia alike.  All these business dealings take Linley away from home more than usual, and Serena, who is said to love being  a stay-at-home mom, sorely misses her overworked husband.   Hopefully, things will get better this summer, in Provence, where they are able to spend time together at their country hideaway.

 

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“The Glumely’s” – David and Serena at his cousin’s wedding.  Their sour expression in the photos fueled speculation about the state of their marriage.

 

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Princess Margaret’s wedding tiara.  The crown breaks down into a necklace and several pins.   England was in an uproar over this item being sold.

 

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This photo of Princess Margaret, taken by her husband of two years, was first seen in 2006 at a showing of Lord Snowdon’s work.  He said his wife’s hair was set for a ‘posh dinner” and when she took her bath – he snapped her.  Defending the shot, he said “she was so beautiful, so beautiful and great, great fun,” he couldn’t resist finally showing the world his photograph.  Who can blame him?  With a quote like that, one wonders why they ever divorced.   The tiara she is wearing is her wedding tiara, the great Poltimore tiara which she purchased a year before her wedding for 5 thousands pounds.   The tiara was made by Garrard in the 1870s for Florence, Lady Poltimore, the wife of the second Baron Poltimore.   At the Christie’s auction, an anonymous woman from the far east paid $1,704,576 for the pleasure of wearing it.  Where?  One can only imagine.

 

 

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Two interesting items sold at Christie’s auction were the original drawings Oliver Messel did for Princess Margaret’s Mustique home.  I would LOVE to own these!!!  But at $13,240.00 – they are just a little out of my price range.

 

 

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One of the items that made the most money for Linley was this original Faberge clock.  It was given to Margaret by her “Grannie” Queen Mary.   The final price paid?   $2,281,600!!!!  This was not the only Faberge item in the sale, there were several, but the clock was the most prized piece in the collection. 

 

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This piece, the Cartier “Rose” pin was a sentimental favorite as Margaret’s middle name was Rose.    The pin was created in 1938 and had a final sale price of $282,624.

 

 

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Here is Princess Margaret wearing her Cartier Rose pin.   Oh, no – wait – that’s MOI!  hehe – and no, it’s not real!!!    When I bought the pin, I was told it was a copy of the famous Cartier Rose pin. 

 

 

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 One of my favorite pieces sold is this watercolor, with inscription, “H.R.H. Margaret Rose, 1935,”  by artist Frank Owen Salisbury.  The final price at gavel was $15,439.   If you are interested, Christie’s still has the entire catalogue of the Princess Margaret Sale with all the final prices up on their web site here.  It’s a fascinating peek into the life of the English Royals with direct ties back to Queen Mary.    Be sure to take a look!

 

So, what DID the Linley buy with the money he made from selling his mother’s Mustique house?   In 2005, Architectural Digest paid the Linley’s a visit at their country house in the south of France.  Enjoy!

 

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The Linley’s at the former hunting lodge Chateau d'Autetin in the Luberon region of Provence.  Their car is too adorable.

 

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The summer house consists of three buildings that are in different states of repair.  Here, the main house is at front, the guest house behind.  The property is over 650 acres.

 

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This view on the dining terrace is fabulous, but the view east is covered by a forest of trees – putting the property into the deep shade, robbing the Linley’s a gorgeous sunset view, Linley reports.

 

 

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The guest house living area is simply but elegantly furnished with seagrass and antique French bergeres.   The tall cabinets are by LINLEY, as is the desk. which he built when he was just 13.

 

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In the guest house:  Linley designed the console table and the sycamore clock and lamps.  The six drawings by Cecil Beaton flank a Carl Toms in the middle and a Matthew Rice in the top middle.  

 

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Another close up of the guest house living area.  The large painting was bought by Serena for David in China.  The 19th century Italian commode and the side table were both inherited from his great uncle, Oliver Messel.

 

 

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The mud room in the main house has a collection of hats and a stick with a basket for collecting truffles.

 

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In the main house is a copy of Horatio Nelson’s chair made by LINLEY.  The console and vases are also his. 

 

 

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In the dining room hangs a drawing by Messel over a chest of drawers, also from Messel.  The fruit urn is from LINLEY. 

 

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In the guesthouse bedroom is a mirror and chest of drawer’s from Messel’s house in Barbados.    This room looks utterly charming!

 

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Family portraits of David with his Royal Family are displayed on the desk in the master bedroom.

 

 

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In the master bedroom is a model of Villa Cornara by Palladio.  The model is actual a jewelry box by LINLEY.

 

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The pool with its stunningly beautiful views of the hillside of Luberon.   This property is wonderful – and decorated very nicely.  The houses are available for rent – but, I could not find the realtor with the listing, tried though I did.  The interior design was a surprise and much more to my taste than the design work LINLEY does for clients.  Here are just a few pictures off his web site, advertising their interior design services – so you can see the difference between LINLEY’s professional work and his personal work:  

 

 

 

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At London’s Claridge’s hotel, LINLEY designed the rooms and the suites, pictured above.    Besides residential work, the firm designs hotels, and specializes in private airplanes and yachts.

 

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A room at Claridge’s – designed by LINLEY.   All rooms are filled with furniture designed and produced by LINLEY.

 

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A development on Singer Island in Miami.

 

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The Retreats in Kenmare, Ireland.    As is evident, his professional interior design work is very different from his country house in Provence!  The design is very masculine, with a heavy use of woods and paneling.   There is an art deco, contemporary feel to his designs, though much of his furniture is based on classical lines.

 

And finally, for more information about LINLEY and to order his products online, go here.

68 comments:

  1. I always learn so much from your posts, Joni. Hope you are feeling better today!

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  2. Joni .. thanks for this follow up on the Mustique/Messel post. You KNEW I was wondering about the house in France. Fav Pic: the mudroom with the hats .... . Judith

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  3. ... . other fav Pic:
    Joni de Cartier Rose!

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  4. What an interesting post. I hung on every picture and word. Interesting to see how the Royals view things so differently than us. Hugs, Marty

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  5. Definitly an interesting post! Love how you provided the back story. And the pin looks fantastic on you :)

    dagny

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  6. WOW!! What a fascinating post!! Thank you for putting this together, Joni!!

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  7. This is great. So insightful. LOVE the Joni Rose! That's too funny!

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  8. Fantastic post Toni! I learn so much from you. Thanks!

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  9. Wow, how intreguig! I've just been engrossed in this post for the past 10 minutes (and I'm at work!) it was so worth it!

    Thanks for this amazing post!

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  10. He is obviously a very talented "carpenter". I love the picture in the mudroom of all the hats. They look liek a piece of art!

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  11. Very educational post, Joni. The pic of you in the Cartier-inspired pin is too cute!

    I love that vignette of the hats on the wall. That's someone anyone on any budget could do!

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  12. David and Serena will never be as chic as Princess Margaret - that shot of her in the bath is sublime. Tony Snowdon was a legendary photographer for sure, xv.

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  13. I wish Lord Linley would do the environment a favour and just bloody stop making his god awful wares. Absolutely dreadful waste of precious woods.

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  14. So worth the reading as usual Joni!
    It's funny how sometimes there is "Royal Watching" still happening. We went to the most adorables little Ebglish pub for V-Day for a drink, The White Lion, the owners English...the menu authentic.
    Yesterday, I took the time out to view "The Queen", a movie I had watched in bots & snippets but now fully through. Long live the queen!
    lamaisonfou blog

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  15. I love this post as I have a Royals fixation. I know a little about them, but I mostly like looking at pictures of them and their houses. What a marvellous life.

    I like the photo of Margaret in the bath - that is a beautiful image. And the one of you in your reproduction rose pin - well, you are stunning and I almost mistook you for a royal! ; )

    Thanks also for the tour - his homes and style are lovely.

    xo Terri
    xo Terri

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  16. P.S. Your Linley's link at the end was broken when I tried it. : )

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  17. Oh you are such a wonderful storyteller. I hung on every word. I am a history buff who loves design and has always had a fascination for the private lives of public people. I would have never heard this story if not for you. Thank you Joni!

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  18. I have been to his shop on Pimlico Road in London many times. When I did salvage, we sold them some wood for a job that they were doing in NY.

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  19. great post Joni. I love the idea of bathing with a with a tiera. How novel.

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  20. Why was I not born Royal...dammit! Love the photo in the bath. You look beautiful! Fantastic and informative post as usual!

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  21. Hello Joni...

    I loved your post on the "Royals"...how interesting...just a glimpse into their lives...ahhhh!

    The rose pin is fabulous and the photo of you is stunning!

    Warmest wishes...
    Chari

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  22. Great story teller you are joni and oh so cute too. I was like...that looks like joni! ha thanks

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  23. Very fascinating, Joni. Whether or not people agree with Linley's business dealings, you can't deny the guy has talent and style. I was the geeky teenager reading Royalty and Majesty vs. Seventeen, so I thoroughly enjoyed the post, photos and update. Leave it to you to fill me in....Thanks! P.S. You look very elegant in your photo.

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  24. What a FAB post! I'm such a royal watcher but didn't know a thing about this :)

    Thanks for the great read.

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  25. Joni,
    What a fascinating post! It had me completely captivated/ I love the photo of Princess Margaret in the bathtub wearing her tiara. I can understand why she's so well loved. She was beautiful, and upholds the elegant, mysterious image of a princess.
    And that photo of you is wonderful...love the way you slipped it in there!
    It's fashion week so I'll have lots to catch up with once things settle. Hope you're well. Thanks for visiting my blog.

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  26. Fun and informative post, Joni!

    My favorite photos, Princess Margaret in the bath and you my dear Joni! What a doll you are!!

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  27. Joni, It's so fun to live vicariously through you, which puts us directly in touch with the rich, famous and royal! Your posts are so informative that I always steep myself a cup of tea before I sit down to enjoy them!

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  28. Very interesting and informative. Where do you get all the info??

    By the way, love your picture, your highness! All kidding aside, you look great!!

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  29. I am quite the Anglophile, but I did not know about Viscount Linley's falling out with the British public. It does make you wonder - if he is married to an heiress, why did he sell so much of his mother's estate? I understand the need to pay the tax bill, but some of the items he sold are irreplaceable.

    Great post!

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  30. What a cad! Why would you have to sell all your mother's private items? I wonder if he held onto anything other than the money? I think so much of what the royals get is because they are royals so it should all belong to the public or have to stay as part of the throne.
    On a completely different note, you look stunning in your lovely dress and the pin is just perfect!!!
    xo. MB

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  31. As always, what a fascinating story! And the pictures of what he was willing to just auction off!
    My favorite part, though, of course is the regal and gorgeous Joni in the rose pin! And Margaret in the bathtub with her tiara on!

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  32. Thanks for another vicarious peek into fascinating lives. Don't you think that photo of the Princess with the Faberge clock looks very much like a young Jane Seymour? Mimsy

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  33. I'm inclined to agree with HOBAC about Viscount Linley's furniture designs. They're terribly overrated.
    Yet he does have taste. The Mauny of Paris tulip wallpaper in the master bedroom is one example of it.
    It might have been more interesting as used in David Mlinaric's work for Lord Rendlesham's house in Chelesa, but still....

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  34. Great post, again! Love the bath tub photo and the mudroom - so cute with all those hats!You are giving me such a good education - I love it!

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  35. I was struck by that painted chest of drawers with the laurel wreaths.We have it in our store..that would be the Kellogg Collection in Washington DC. Our artist painted it. It looks great in the picture. I may have a new marketing tool..great post..you look great avec la rose.

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  36. Little goober. He should not have sold that wedding tiara. Maybe the umbrellas, but not much else.

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  37. Thanks for stopping by! Cook I will, haha!
    I love your blog~so interesting!

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  38. wow, Joni - i'm impressed -another fascinating and well researched post! I LOVED that house when I saw it in AD, don't you?? The lady we met while shopping was crazy.....AD is still fabulous!

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  39. Joni, informative post, so intriguing! I love your photo, quite the elegant lady! Linley really went over the top with this sale though, it is difficult to understand, even if he needed a lot of money. Don't forget my Fabulous Friday Giveaway!

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  40. Hey Joni, I just saw one of your pictures from your post on Oliver Messel on the snippet and ink blog! She gave you credit and it looks fabulous on her inspiration board. If you've never been to her blog, it's a must even if just for the beautiful photo boards she puts together. Thanks for taking the time to do another informative post. You're such a great teacher!

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  41. The Annigoni portrait of the Queen is the best I think that has ever been done in her reign. I have an etching signed by the maestro:
    http://corcol.blogspot.com/2008/09/pleasure-of-annigoni.html

    Unfortunately it is not on public display, as it is owned by the Worshipful Company of Fishmongers, and you have to make an appointment to see it. The one of Princess Margaret is also enchanting, and I went to view it at the National Portrait Gallery in October. It does not disappoint in the "flesh".

    Linley has of course been involved in another (blackmail) scandal more recently, but nothing was proved to disfavour him.

    I think if his father so disapproves of the way he has sold off anything that has been given to him, it is a pretty clear message that he is money-grabbing.

    As Serena is only the daughter, and has an elder brother it may be that she does not inherit the Stanhope GBP250m fortune.

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  42. Karen at Junking in Georgia 2009February 17, 2009 at 6:04 AM

    Great posts this and the one before... I am so American about the royals.. I mean they put their knickers on just like the rest of us without their money they are just ordinary humans... as for Linley when one's aunt is the richest woman in the world .. one has rather a lot to live up to and to aim for so hold the posh yard sale and make a buck when and where you can ..good taste shouldn't stand in the way of making money..I dare say it never has

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  43. Joni, I would love for you to visit my blog today....please. I am so interested in how you would answer the question. Love to know also what you think of today's photos, as they are mine and I would love any of your suggestions!!! thank you in advance!

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  44. I love how your posts are always so in depth. I look forward to each and every one. I always make myself a cup of hot coffee and savor each word...thanks for that! judy

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  45. Royal watching at its best! Great post, great scoop. I met Vicount Lindley once in Houston at a book signing... I love his designs. He carries a beautiful lighting line through Lee Jofa.

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  46. It just goes to show you that having money doesn't stop people from ambition. Ego may drive them, insecurity may drive them, creativity may drive them, the desire for recognition and legacy may drive them - or the need to charge $6000 for a rocking horse! ha! (Excellent post Joni)

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  47. Excellent post - as always. I'd trade for Provence any day - the mudroom alone would make me happy.

    Boy, you're damned if you don't work and you're damned is you do.

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  48. Joni You look so beautiful and regal in that picture wearing your
    Cartier Rose pin. I knew it was you right away..didn't fool moi. Those Royals do seem to stir up a lot of bad PR for themselves. But we all love reading about it and following it. Looking in through the back window is alway such fun. Good, interesting, and informative post!!

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  49. So interesting. The new house is beautiful, but I still can't get over anyone wanting to sell a home in Mustique!

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  50. So interesting!!!

    You know, I kind of like the first picture of a suite at Claridge's!! It's very sophisticated and sexy!!

    And you've got to love the bathtub picture! I'm sure it would've been so scandalous had it come out back then, but it's a sweet picture now.

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  51. Thank you so much for sharing these! While working in Manhattan for Charlotte Moss I had a two hour train ride home, and I'll never forget the day I found her catalog from the auction of Jackie O's estate... It was such an insight into who she was and such a pleasure to dive into on a dreary train ride.

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  52. I love this post, what a fascinating story. Thanks for sharing!

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  53. Joni, as usual I always learn something from your posts! I do think you are the most elegant of all though, with the beautiful jewels. :>)

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  54. Joni — if you want to learn about the real Tony and Margaret, read "Snowdon," the tell-all biography by Anne deCourcy. It is an authorized bio and Snowdon revealed lots of stories that make him look bad and his former wife even worse. Their son would have to work a lot harder to be as petty, mean-spirited and generally messed-up as his two famous parents.

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  55. I am all over this post! I always thought I was meant for some sort of royal life! My favorite picture is the one of the couple by that fabulous red car. What great style Linley has.

    I had a dear friend whose family had a house on Mustique, next door to Mick Jagger, in fact. She died several years ago. I never knew to ask her if she knew Princess Margaret. She probably did. The community on that island is very small.

    Thanks for the great research and the ever interesting posts! Hope you're feeling better.

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  56. As usual such a great Blog, your pictures are always so interesting!!

    I am leaving today for the Caribbean ...

    And yes I have my tiara packed! LOL



    The Rhinestone Contessa
    Http:vjohanning.blogspot.com

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  57. Well...That was fun. I seriously hope someone is enjoying their 4K umbrellas!!

    Some lovely shots!

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  58. Well...That was fun. I seriously hope someone is enjoying their 4K umbrellas!!

    Some lovely shots!

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  59. Joni, I don't know how you do it, but you are so great at finding such wonderful pictures and information to share with us. This was so interesting and such lovely photos. Thanks. laurie

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  60. Great post. Loved all of the images and such interesting information!

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  61. wow... now I just think you're going to publish a book full of all your posts. really. so much great information.
    i LOVE that picture of princess margaret in the tub. it's just such a great moment & i love the story behind it :) i'm sad to hear they divorced.
    xoxo

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  62. Interesting post, and such lovely photos. I especially loved the one in the bath ~ Princess Margaret looks beautiful. The reason the marriage didn't work is believed to be most likely because Lord Snowdon wasn't the love of her life. Princess Margaret was in love with a man (Group Captain Townsend) who she was unable to marry and Tony Snowdon was the one who was therefore selected, but he wasn't her Romeo. And you do look quite like Princess Margaret!!

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  63. Well Jonester, you did it again!

    I am overwhelmed at the beauty--amazing, simply amazing

    thanks for the great read.
    Very nice. :)

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  64. My son now seems like an angel in comparison to this louse.
    Great post, Joni - I always learn so much from you! The rose looks beautiful on you!
    xo Isa

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  65. There are so many great resources on your blog and I end up bookmarking almost every single post! You have such an amazing eye!

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  67. There are so many great resources on your blog and I end up bookmarking almost every single post! You have such an amazing eye!

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