Such is the favour in which the Goring Hotel has been held by successive generations of the Royal Family that it's sometimes considered almost an annexe of Buckingham Palace — a special status which was very publicly acknowledged a decade ago when Queen Elizabeth awarded it a royal warrant.
But is that intimate bond about to break? I ask because of what, by the Goring's stately standards, is revolutionary news concerning its dining room.
It's there that the Queen Mother delightedly tucked into Eggs Drumkilbo, one of the hotel's signature dishes which is crammed with as much lobster as egg, and where, three years after her death aged 101 in 2002, that her beloved grandson, David Linley, now Lord Snowdon, went to work.
Redecorating the room with handcrafted walnut columns, and coating walls in soothing shades of toffee and biscuit — as well as installing three Swarovski crystal chandeliers — he had, it was widely agreed, triumphantly pulled it off. Indeed, the Goring's website described the refashioned dining room as a 'luxurious setting', which contrived to be neither stuffily old school or modishly modern.
But now, I'm told, Linley's efforts have ceased to work their magic — at least on Jeremy Goring, the fourth generation at the helm of the family-owned hotel.
'There's a feeling that the dining room is now rather tired and outdated,' my man tucking into the honey-glazed guinea fowl on the Michelin-starred menu tells me.
'There's going to be a complete revamp so that the room is no longer a single expanse but is broken up by placing banquettes in the centre, giving it more of a brasserie feel.'
Goring, who succeeded his father, 'Mr George', as the hotel's head man in 2005, declines to comment. But some of the hotel's devotees are already mourning the erasure of the old era.
'The summer drinks party hasn't happened since the tragedy of the first lockdown,' one reflects. Meanwhile another, lamenting the imminent disappearance of Linley's work, sighs and says: 'Lunching there made one feel regal.'
Bella Mackie, best-selling author of How To Kill Your Family, had never been treated to a meal by a suitor until she met Radio 1 DJ Greg James in 2017. The couple are now married. 'He'd booked dinner after we went to a comedy show... which I just found extraordinary because I'd never gone on a date with someone who'd taken me for dinner before,' the novelist, 39, tells Ruthie's Table 4 podcast. 'I thought, 'Wow, this is incredibly grown up of you'.'
Gigi's model support for Vogue boss
British Vogue's editor-in-chief Edward Enninful is determined to make a stylish exit from the magazine — if his latest rendezvous is anything to go by.
Top model Gigi Hadid joined Enninful, who is alleged to have lost a power tussle with Vogue supremo Anna 'Nuclear' Wintour, at private members' club Oswald's in Mayfair. Hadid, 28, wore white sunglasses and held a green, snakeskin clutch bag.
It was announced last week that 51-year-old Enninful (inset) — the first man and first black person to edit British Vogue — will take up a new global role at publisher Conde Nast next year.
Snapshot of late Queen's sense of fun
Queen Elizabeth's mischievous sense of humour is fondly recalled by Philip Hammond.
'The Queen came to attend what was a totally fake Cabinet meeting,' the former chancellor says at a live recording of The Political Party Podcast.
Afterwards, ministers posed with Her Majesty for a picture. 'Everyone sat there, the Queen in the middle, like stuffed shirts, looking at the camera,' he says.
'Immediately the photograph was taken and the Queen said, 'Good Lord, is that it?', and everybody burst out laughing.
'Then, of course, the photographer took a second picture in which everyone was in disarray with their mouths open, laughing . . . except for the Queen, who sat there with her hands still on her knees.'Read more 2023-06-06T22:12:25Z dg43tfdfdgfd