Last night was to be the culmination of the long and distinguished career of historian and author Lady Antonia Fraser.
At London’s Wigmore Hall, celebrated pianist Sir Stephen Hough and three talented singers performed the world premiere of Lady Antonia’s songs, based on verses she wrote to cheer herself up during lockdown.
Speaking about her excitement ahead of last night’s concert, she said: “It will be my proudest moment to have something with my name on it at Wigmore Hall.”
Lady Antonia Fraser, 90, was unable to attend the much-anticipated performance of the world premiere of Lady Antonia’s Songs as she was hospitalized
Unfortunately, Dame Antonia, 90, widow of playwright Harold Pinter, was unable to attend the much-anticipated performance as she was in hospital where she was spending Christmas after being injured in an accident.
Instead, she watched it on a laptop from her hospital bed via a live stream from the concert.
“I’m terribly disappointed that a fall is keeping me away from Wigmore Hall tonight,” she told me yesterday. “But three of mine [six] children will be there. And I can’t wait to listen to the live stream. It’s such an honor. Wigmore Hall is my treat in life.’
The performance came after Lady Antonia, daughter of the delightfully dotty 7th Earl of Longford, wrote a collection of poems called Verses To Please Myself during lockdown.
She had the book printed privately and sent a copy to Wigmore’s director John Gilhooly to thank him for live-streaming concerts when venues had to close due to pandemic restrictions.
He told her that Hough wanted to compose four songs from her verses. “I was so excited,” she says. “I had felt very black. I suddenly felt radiantly happy. And it all got even better when I actually heard Lady Antonia’s songs.’
Dame Antonia spent Christmas in hospital after being injured in an accident
At London’s Wigmore Hall, celebrated pianist Sir Stephen Hough and three talented singers performed the world premiere of Lady Antonia’s songs, based on verses she wrote to cheer herself up during lockdown
Blackadder star Sir Tony Robinson failed to impress Harry Potter star Miriam Margolyes with his knighthood from the late Queen Elizabeth II. “Being selected was about the most flattering thing that has ever happened to me,” enthuses the 76-year-old actor. “Then Margolyes said to me, ‘We were really surprised when you got knighted because you didn’t really deserve it, right?’ Poor Baldrick.
New clothes for the New Year from “Superwoman” Helena
City ‘superwoman’ Helena Morrissey, who has reinvented herself as a style consultant by blogging about her everyday outfits, has made a surprise New Year’s resolution.
“I developed a bad habit over time and realized I had too many clothes,” says Baroness Morrissey, 56, who combined a successful career as an investment manager with raising nine children.
Speaking of her myriad of outfits, she says: “I share them with six daughters, my two daughters-in-law and my niece, but enough is enough.
“This is the year I don’t buy new clothes. I will restyle, make clothes, rewear and of course I will encourage occasional vintage purchases. The motivation is sustainability, finances and self-discipline.”
She plans to donate the money she would have spent on clothes to charity.
Helena Morrissey, 56, who has reinvented herself as a style consultant by blogging about her everyday outfits, has made a surprise New Year’s resolution
She plans to donate the money she would have spent on clothes to charity
Frankie decides to wear more sequins
Society model Frankie Herbert – whose stepfather, the Duke of Norfolk, is responsible for organizing King Charles’ coronation – has made quite a lengthy New Year’s resolution this year. In a message to her friends, Frankie, 26, explains, “My resolutions are to work harder, love harder, continue to heal my generational trauma and inner child, wear more sequins, and be more shamelessly my queer self.”
Frankie – who once strutted her stuff down the catwalk for Queen Elizabeth II the only time Her late Majesty ever attended a fashion show – was previously romantically linked to rock star Sting’s child Eliot Sumner.
Her mother Chica married the Duke in November and her father Harry Herbert is the brother of the Earl of Carnarvon.
Frankie Herbert, 26, explained: “My resolutions are to work harder, love harder”
Conran’s ashes don’t quite reach the sky
Designer Jasper Conran has revealed his family’s efforts to see his father, Sir Terence, depart this world in typically colorful style.
Habitat founder Sir Terence, who died in 2020 at the age of 88, left instructions for his ashes to be used in fireworks and shot skyward over his Berkshire home.
In celebration of the new year, Jasper shared this photo and revealed that the exhibition didn’t quite go to plan.
“My dad loved fireworks and wanted to go out with a bang,” says Jasper. “So my stepmother made six rockets with his ashes – one for her and one each for his kids.
“My rocket didn’t go up, it exploded all over the garden.
“Powerful stuff – he would have liked that.”
It was hard escaping the Wham! song Last Christmas in recent weeks, and its composer George Michael continues to make fortunes for the beneficiaries of his estate.
Accounts released last week for one of his companies, Wham Music Ltd, saw a profit of £5.5million in the year to last March, up from £4.2million in 2021. Another company, Big Geoff Overseas Ltd, is now Worth £4.2million for the same 12-month period — up from £2.8million last year.
Michael, who died on Christmas Day 2016 at the age of 53, left most of his estate to his sisters Yioda and Melanie Panayiotou. Melanie died on Christmas Day 2019.