Dinner with the Duke
After the disappointment of the Roger Moore interview, I decided to write to the then 13th Duke of Bedford - John Russell and ask for a meeting. He agreed and arranged to see me for afternoon at his home - wow!
A bit of background information on the Abbey and the Russell family…
Woburn Abbey has been the home of the Earls and Dukes of Bedford, one of England's most powerful families, since the 1620s. It is now the home of the 15th Duke and Duchess of Bedford and their children. Russell family members have included Prime Ministers, Ambassadors, Lord High Admirals and philosophers over the centuries and provide a direct link to the events of the past that shaped the England of today.
I drove through the gates of the Abbey and across the beautiful grounds to the impressive entrance. I was shown into a magnificent room, full of fabulous paintings, silverware and carpets up to my ankles.
When the Duke arrived, he gave me a guided tour of his art collection. He owned one of the biggest collections of Canaletto paintings in the world. in fact; he had twenty-four of them!
It was a beautiful summers day. The French doors opened to a very pretty garden with a fountain where birds were enjoying themselves in the sparkling water.
Tea arrived on a silver tray.
He made me feel at home instantly. We sat for 3 hours discussing the problems of the world. I don’t suppose we solved many but it was very interesting because he had such a balanced and caring view of life.
The Duchess walked into the room, we were introduced and to my surprise she invited me to stay for dinner! She arranged for us to meet on the lawn at 19:00 for champagne and thoughtfully asked one of her staff to accompany me to dinner.
It was Bastille Day…….more in part two….