On our side of the baize green door which separated us from the servants ‘downstairs’, lady guests were still expected to change three times a day, from morning dress to afternoon dress, and finally long evening dress, with tiaras.
My mother was unaware of the petty tyranny of my nanny, the awful Miss Campbell.
After breakfast with my cousins, I was taken along the corridor to see my uncle and aunt in their finery, the King in a white shirt, breeches and stockings and a crimson satin coat and the Queen a wonderful sequined long dress.
Deemed too young to attend the coronation itself, I remember looking out of a palace window and watching the procession of the Indian maharajahs and princes, their tunics and turbans encrusted with diamonds worth a king’s ransom. A large country house 10 miles south of Edinburgh, it was part of an estate so large it took two hours to walk around the perimeter, but there was no central heating and the water in the bowl on my washstand sometimes froze in winter.
All in all, I haven’t been heavily disappointed by anything in particular but I think my time with dating apps has come to an end.
One of her less pleasant tricks, when bathing me, was to say: ‘Now shut your eyes and open your mouth, and I will give you a lovely surprise.’I can still conjure up the marvellous sensation of boarding the night express for the far north at smoke-filled King’s Cross and waking early in my berth after we had crossed the border, lowering the window to breathe in great gusts of heather-scented air.
I was once told that, in a period of economy she gave up the Tatler and travelled by bus round London asking the conductors, whom she confused with chauffeurs, to deposit her at the precise number of her Grosvenor Square address.
Constantly tagging along behind my nearest brother Andrew as he did exciting things like shooting rabbits or making winter bonfires on the ice of our pond, I knew nothing about the social convulsions gripping the country.
A year after my birth in 1925, the General Strike generated a class war that almost split Britain but the impact did not reach Carberry where my mother was still receiving the cook every morning to discuss the day’s menus.