In 1998, The Independent published this interview with Daisy de Cabrol, Madame La Baronne
Daisy, the Windsors and Fred found here
At 83, Madame La Baronne remains sprightly. She talks at a hundred miles an hour with an almost preposterously posh accent and uses charmingly old-fashioned words such as “automobile”. Lunch is like taking a trip back in time. It is also proof that Madame La Baronne still knows how to entertain in style. She has hired a lady from the village to cook up a three-course feast and the wine is served from grand crystal decanters. She rings a little bell at the end of every course to summon her manservant, then scolds him in English for the heinous crime of bringing the meat in before the gravy.
antique crystal dog decanter found here
Her husband, Fred de Cabrol, who died in July 1997, was also from a wealthy aristocratic family. The couple bought their house in Grosrouvre in 1950. In the bathroom, the toilet is strangely but skilfully hidden under a table which is attached to the wall at one corner and swivels out of the way when nature calls. The piece de resistance, however, is the barn, which has been transformed into a grand sitting-room. A sculpture of a deer sits atop the huge fireplace. On a beautiful cabinet sits a glass case filled with multi-coloured stuffed birds. On the walls there are numerous deer heads.
Budapest Hall of Hunting found here
The Cabrols were friends of the Windsors whom they met at a dinner party in Paris. In 1947, they received an invitation to stay at their house on the Cote d’Azur. “We were astonished to find such luxury after the deprivation of the war,” she recalls. “Even at that time, two years after the war, people didn’t eat much, but they had so much food and there were fresh sheets every day.” The Cabrols would often go to the Windsors’ renovated windmill at Gif-sur-Yvette to the south of Paris for Sunday lunch. She also recalls singing “Clair de Lune” with the Duke, sword dancing after dinner and the Cabrol children entertaining the Windsors by playing the guitar.
image found here when I googled Gif-Sur-Yvette
In her scrapbook is the cover of a French magazine with a photo of the Windsors arriving at one of her balls. It was held at Paris’s Palais des Glaces and took three months to prepare. Charlie Chaplin was one of the guests. The Begum Aga Khan turned up in a flouncy feathered number and a young Madame Mitterand was on the organising committee. The composer Henri Sauguet wrote some music especially for the evening, Nancy Mitford composed sketches and everybody skated on the ice.
Begum Aga Khan found here
There are also invitations for receptions given by the Queen, to the wedding of Princess Grace of Monaco, Maria Callas’s autograph and a poem by the French society hostess Ghislaine de Polignac, entitled “Advice to a foreigner on how to succeed in Paris”. It ends with the line “C’est chez Pam qu’on va B—–R” which translates as “For a F–K, you go to Pam’s”. The Pam in question is the late American ambassador to France, Pamela Harriman.
Pamela Harriman found here
“There were three or four balls a year, mainly in the spring,” Madame recalls. “Nobody would ever dream of socialising in Paris after the Grand Prix horserace at the end of June. People who stayed in the city after that would close their shutters to pretend they had gone away.” Many of the balls were costume affairs. To one, she went disguised as a tree. To another, as the wife of Louis XIV, and once her husband dressed up as French ceramicist Bernard de Palissy and she as one of his plates.
Palissy plate found here
The dreaded Elsa Maxwell, who had a vitriolic gossip column in America and served as the Windsors’ social secretary, was also fond of the Cabrols, as was Greek shipping magnate Stavros Niarchos. They once went on holiday with him and the actor Douglas Fairbanks on his yacht. “We travelled from the Riviera to Greece, but Niarchos refused to stop the boat for us to bathe. Every day, there was a huge tin of caviar, but after eight days, it became a bit of a nightmare. Nobody can eat caviar for eight days in a row!”
Icon Caviar found here