The Luncheon of Lord Arrowby

Tuesday 9th April 2019

The Investiture Luncheon of Lord Arrowby took place at the Ritz Hotel. How could he go any higher, you might wonder? But he has. What a hotel and what a Lord. The assemblage was assembled in the private part of the hotel which isn’t like a hotel at all but a real Stately. It was a cream and gold anti-room. The Queens of Brixton were present and Conrad and Renee and Reggie and Rufus and Raj and ┬áNed Boule, and many others, all in their way pillars of our Nation, throbbing at the core.

Later that week I dined with Harry Roll0 and Mercury Mr Kitten. Those three great adjectives came up re: Emma, the opening line of the novel: ‘Emma Woodhouse, handsome, clever and rich.’ Three of the greatest adjectives ever assembled in one place. But there are others: ‘Rich, powerful and connected.’ Or even, ‘Not-so-rich, powerful and connected.’ Thus Lord Arrowby’s luncheon guests. I spoke with a neighbour from the Arrowby childhood. He’s big in the City, not the money side but the Alderpeople, the dinners, the committees. ‘You must know my Cousin April’s friend, April,’ I said. Yes, of course.. and Royston King, all the distributors, the holders of funds, the Trustees, known to me, Adrian Edge, known to me. I’m in the web.

Then the central party arrived direct from the Palace, Lord Arrowby looking radiant, in full morning dress, ablaze with decorations, stars and ropes, feathers and gold braid. With him, his mother, the splendid Dowager Lady Arrowby, the hot boy doc, Finn Magnus, and the Arrowby brother and sister. We were ushered into luncheon. A huge vaulted room, dense with red and gold, a great Venetian window looking onto the park. The whole aura was of Sybil Chomondeley as recalled by Cecil Beaton: ‘Sybil Chomondeley, always with an air of pre-1st-World-War luxury in the winter, a gardenia pinned with a diamond brooch.’ The table so vast you could hardly see from one side to the other. The menu pure pre-War! The Petit Marmite, the Zephyrs de Sole, the Beef Wellington…. On my right side I had a figure deep from the Underground, one who rages against poverty and injustice in shows at the Royal Vauxhall Tavern, huge in that world but at luncheon more Vera Duckworth, very ‘Chuck’ and warm and loving. Lord Arrowby made a speech: his theme was I am nothing but My Honour has glowed through the generations of my own family and others. He welcomed Queer London, the deep Underground. The vast range of Lord Arrowby. Another Alternative Lady was present, named after a fabric. I don’t know her but she’s a famosa of outrage and subversion. On my other side was the friend of Cousin April’s friend, April, whose wife seemed to be the daughter of an Earl with a castle in Scotland. He had a meeting at 4 and another dinner that evening. But really we were beyond mere conversation. We were enthroned, purely being, figures set in the jewelled glory of the occasion.

Later it is said the hard-core party retreated to Gay Venues in Soho, and then Shoreditch and finally Vauxhall, Lord Arrowby in full regalia throughout.

Lord Arrowby: the Luncheon Setting

Lord Arrowby: the Luncheon Setting

The Vaults above Lord Arrowby's Luncheon

The Vaults above Lord Arrowby’s Luncheon

The Menu!

The Menu!

The Beef Wellington

The Beef Wellington

Lord Arrowby Himself: Ablaze

Lord Arrowby Himself: Ablaze

 

Posted Tuesday, April 16, 2019 under Adrian Edge day by day.

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