When I first set eyes on Conrad Black, I was not overly impressed. At first glance, he didn’t seem the kind of man who would stretch to three private jets, which is, as we women know, the bare minimum for those of us who wish to be taken seriously.
Furthermore, private jets must be divided into First and Standard Class facilities. What is the point of traveling in premium luxury if there is no-one around to envy you?
But over the next few weeks, he took me on a tour of his exclusive estates in Palm Beach, Long Island and the South of France in a series of different jets. And, for some reason, I slowly began to view him through a different lens.
By then I had already been married three times, so I knew what it involved.
My first husband was Ernest G. Bilko of the United States Army. Faced with the shattering realization that he was not the General he claimed to be, but just a Sergeant, I was forced to abandon him for the renowned hunter and sportsman Elmer J. Fudd.
At first glance, he didn’t seem the kind of man who would stretch to three private jets, which is, as we women know, the bare minimum for those of us who wish to be taken seriously.
Sadly, as the weeks turned to months, I grew tired of the tiresome way Fudd talked of nothing but rabbits. “Be vewwy vewwy quiet, I’m hunting wabbits” he kept saying. As if the world would be interested! When I told him that it is not done to talk of rabbits in high society, he told me, once again, to be “vewwy vewwy quiet, I’m hunting wabbits”.
So I left Elmer for my third husband, a cosmopolitan businessman whose name I forget. He was well over 6ft tall, with two jets, a 22,000 sq ft $53m apartment on Park Avenue and gold-card membership of the prestigious five star Di-Arr-Hoea golfing resort in Florida.
I was soon to discover he was secretly in the throes of a passionate love affair with a 5ft 9ins blonde American plastic surgeon called Patsy. Sadly, Patsy measured barely 5ft 5ins by the time I’d finished with her.
I was still madly in love with my third husband when at an exclusive London party I accidentally tripped up on my Manolo Blahniks and found myself falling on top of multi-millionaire publisher George Weidenfeld, a prominent member of the House of Lords.
Worse, both my breasts accidentally fell out of my exclusive Chanel haute couture blouse ($12,550), landing, to my infinite embarrassment, straight into George’s hands, which happened to be outstretched.
To my surprise, before I had recovered my dignity I could see that George was becoming attracted to me.
George was the best-known party-giver in the land. He effortlessly drew top politicians, intellectuals, authors, aristocrats and society figures into his circle. On any given night at his exclusive Cheyne Walk home you could mix with la creme de la creme of London society, among them publishing mogul Robert Maxwell, television and radio personality Sir James Savile, renowned statesman and wit Jeremy Thorpe, dashing young Royal HRH Prince Andrew, and billionaire philanthropist and Nobel prize winner Jeffrey Archer, with many of whom I became close friends.
Both my breasts accidentally fell out of my exclusive Chanel haute couture blouse ($12,550), landing, to my infinite embarrassment, straight into George’s hands, which happened to be outstretched.
Sadly, for all George Weidenfeld’s many qualities, he was excessively short and plump, which caused him to be regularly mistaken for a Space Hopper, a sophisticated household toy of the period.
Though I loved every minute of bouncing around on George, I not only had no sexual interest in him. In fact, I had a positive revulsion, particularly at the way his eyes protruded so alarmingly whenever I made to remove my Dolce & Gabbana floral lace bustier ($1617).
The minute I heard George’s suggestion, “Let’s spend a cozy evening together” I went into semi-paralysis with dread. I knew the code. The only way I could preserve my virtue was to avoid what one’s attorney might classify “actual body-to-body contact” by, in realtor’s terms, making my mouth available to him on a short-stay rent-free basis.
Fortunately, I found myself falling head over heels for Conrad Black, even before his fourth jet touched the ground.
One morning, Conrad asked me to marry him. By the time he had concluded his proposal (“…to be my betrothed, my affianced, and, in all other respects, my intended, in the far-reaching and by no means inconsequential though perhaps inadequate sense of…”) dusk had begun to gather.
What was it about the two of us that excited such jealousy?
Was it our fault that we had become known as the most glamorous couple in the world?
Unfortunately, as every woman knows, if you have wealth, brains, beauty and class, you will soon become the target of every ugly, stupid, common pauper in the land. Such was our fate.
Craig Brown’s latest book, 150 Glimpses of the Beatles, will be published on October 13