Saturday, 30 May 2015

THE TRUE COST OF FASHION .'The True Cost' - Official Trailer

Review: ‘The True Cost’ Investigates High Price of Fashion Bargains
The True Cost

A distressing overview of the consequences of our addiction to fast fashion, “The True Cost” might suggest another exposé of corporate greed versus environmental well-being. That is certainly in evidence, but under the gentle, humane investigations of its director, Andrew Morgan, what emerges most strongly is a portrait of exploitation that ought to make us more nauseated than elated over those $20 jeans.

To learn who is paying for our bargains, Mr. Morgan dives to the bottom of the supply chain, to the garment factories of Cambodia and Bangladesh and the cotton fields of India, where he links ecological and health calamities to zealous pesticide use. Garment workers subsisting on less than $3 a day recount beatings by bosses who resent unionization and requests for higher wages. At the same time, a factory owner in Bangladesh — where the 2013 collapse of the Rana Plaza building caused more than 1,000 deaths — tells us candidly that when retailers squeeze him, he must squeeze his employees.

“There are a lot of worse things they could be doing,” a former sourcing manager for the fashion brand Joe Fresh says about these unfortunates, echoing an all-too-familiar justification. A visit to Haiti, however, where millions of tons of our castoff clothing have clogged landfills and destroyed the local clothing industry, makes us wonder how much worse these people’s lives could become.

Offering few solutions beyond a single fair-trade fashion company, “The True Cost” — whose serene interludes compete with sickening recordings of Black Friday shopping riots and so-called clothing haul videos — stirs and saddens. Not least because it’s unlikely to reach the young consumers most in need of its revelations.

“The True Cost” is rated PG-13 (Parents strongly cautioned). Toxic chemicals and obscene consumption.

The True Cost,’ a Different Kind of Fashion Documentary
Vanessa Friedman

I suppose it was inevitable that after the spate of fashion brands embracing documentaries (see Dior, Gucci, Chanel, Valentino, Gaultier), many of which proved surprisingly effective pieces of industry propaganda, a director would come along to put the whole thing in context.

Sort of.

That director is Andrew Morgan, and his film is “The True Cost,” which probably gives you some idea of the subject. It premiered in Cannes, complete with a red carpet appearance by Livia and Colin Firth (Ms. Firth is one of the film’s executive producers and also appears on screen, as do — full disclosure — I, sitting next to her on a panel at a Copenhagen Fashion Summit). It will be screened Thursday night at the IFC Center in New York, with public showings beginning Friday, and open later in London, Los Angeles and Tokyo. It will also be available on iTunes and Netflix.

Viewers will get a feature-length look at the human and environmental cost of fast fashion, from workers in Bangladesh to cotton farmers in Texas, by way of India, Cambodia and Fifth Avenue. It is affecting and upsetting, and will probably make some consumers think twice about where they buy clothes — though arguably the sort of moviegoers attracted to a film like this already share its point of view.

Mr. Morgan, who also provides the narration, comes at his subject with the naïveté and enthusiasm of an amateur — he acknowledges that he didn’t think much about his clothes beyond style and cost until he started the film; he didn’t, that is, think about supply chain issues. This viewpoint gives the film’s difficult and multidimensional subject an easy-to-swallow accessibility.

But it also oversimplifies it to an extreme and, it seems to me, undermining degree.

Starting with the fact that, either for brevity or impact, Mr. Morgan conflates “fast fashion” with “fashion” writ large. And while he is condemning the Main Street megaliths for producing in sweatshops, he slips in photographs of high-end runway shows, implying that they also produce in sweatshops. Yet fashion (the “almost $3 trillion industry,” as he calls it) is not created equal, and fashion’s impacts are not equal. Sports brands have different problems from premium brands, many of which have their own factories, and premium brands have different problems from mass brands.

This is not to say that high-end fashion should not be taken to task for its failings, but simply that to police a sector effectively, or call it out on its shortcomings, you need to do it in an informed and realistic way. Otherwise you create openings for companies to dismiss the charges as irrelevant, which can taint the whole project.

(Not that any companies, aside from those known to have an ethical agenda like Stella McCartney and People Tree, appeared willing to speak to Mr. Morgan, which suggests they have their own fears about this subject. I think that was a big mistake. To begin to address the issues we first have to know what they are, thorns and all.)

Similarly, though lots of eye-popping statements are used, including that fashion is the second-most-polluting industry on the planet, after oil, they are unattributed. Because they are so powerful, this seems a surprising omission.

I emailed Mr. Morgan to ask about the pollution comment, and he wrote back that it came from both the World Wide Fund for Nature and the Danish Fashion Institute, and that the statement referred to the whole process used by the fashion industry. “The chemical industry” — which I mentioned in my query — “is now most often seen as being a part of other key industries, fashion being key among them,” Mr. Morgan wrote.

Still, “The True Cost” would not have been hurt if Mr. Morgan had taken a slightly more granular approach to his subject — had he, say, included the sources of his statistics, or limited himself to the biggest, most mass-market brands, as they touch the most people. He spent two years making the film, visiting 13 countries, and it’s hard not to feel in the end that he was overwhelmed by the scale of the problem. In trying to do everything, he skirted a lot of things, including acknowledging the shades of gray in this subject.

It’s too bad, because doing less might actually have added up to more.

Sunday, 17 May 2015

“Lord Peter Wimsey was a kind of Bertie Wooster with Brains” … The Unique, Unforgettable, Ian Carmichael as Lord Peter Wimsey/ BBC / VÍDEO /Ian Carmichael OBE - BBC Obituary

LORD PETER WIMSEY The Complete Collection starring Ian Carmichael. "No crust has even been more upper, no sleuth more of a hoot." —Los Angeles Times The acclaimed BBC dramas seen on PBS’ Masterpiece Theatre! Here at last are all five of the original BBC adaptations of Dorothy L. Sayers’ crime thrillers featuring Ian Carmichael as the brilliant aristocratic sleuth. Hailed by critics as one of the finest mystery series ever filmed, it was so successful on PBS’ Masterpiece Theatre that it single-handedly inspired the spin-off Mystery! Running at least three hours each, these dramas do full justice to Sayers’ vivid characters and elegant 1920s settings. THE MYSTERIES: Clouds of Witness, The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club, Murder Must Advertise, The Nine Tailors, Five Red Herrings DVD SPECIAL FEATURES INCLUDE exclusive Ian Carmichael interviews, filmographies, interactive trivia and Dorothy L. Sayers materials.

Ian Carmichael starred as Wimsey in radio adaptations of the novels made by the BBC, all of which have been available on cassette and CD from the BBC Radio Collection. In the original series, which ran on Radio 4 from 1973–83, no adaptation was made of the seminal Gaudy Night, perhaps because the leading character in this novel is Harriet and not Peter; this was corrected in 2005 when a version specially recorded for the BBC Radio Collection was released starring Carmichael and Joanna David. The CD also includes a panel discussion on the novel, the major participants in which are P. D. James and Jill Paton Walsh. Gaudy Night was released as an unabridged audio book read by Ian Carmichael in 1993.

    In How I Came to Invent the Character of Lord Peter Wimsey, Sayers wrote:
    Lord Peter's large income... I deliberately gave him... After all it cost me nothing and at the time I was particularly hard up and it gave me pleasure to spend his fortune for him. When I was dissatisfied with my single unfurnished room I took a luxurious flat for him in Piccadilly. When my cheap rug got a hole in it, I ordered him an Aubusson carpet. When I had no money to pay my bus fare I presented him with a Daimler double-six, upholstered in a style of sober magnificence, and when I felt dull I let him drive it. I can heartily recommend this inexpensive way of furnishing to all who are discontented with their incomes. It relieves the mind and does no harm to anybody.

    “Lord Peter Wimsey burst upon the world of detective fiction with an explosive "Oh, damn!" and continued to engage readers in eleven novels and two sets of short stories; the final novel ended with a very different "Oh, damn!". Sayers once commented that Lord Peter was a mixture of Fred Astaire and Bertie Wooster, which is most evident in the first five novels. However, it is evident through Lord Peter's development as a rounded character that he existed in Sayers's mind as a living, breathing, fully human being. Sayers introduced detective novelist Harriet Vane in Strong Poison. Sayers remarked more than once that she had developed the "husky voiced, dark-eyed" Harriet to put an end to Lord Peter via matrimony. But in the course of writing Gaudy Night, Sayers imbued Lord Peter and Harriet with so much life that she was never able, as she put it, to "see Lord Peter exit the stage".

    Sayers did not content herself with writing pure detective stories; she explored the difficulties of First World War veterans in The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club, discussed the ethics of advertising in Murder Must Advertise, and advocated women's education (then a controversial subject) and role in society in Gaudy Night. In Gaudy Night, Miss Barton writes a book attacking the Nazi doctrine of Kinder, Kirche, Küche, which restricted women's roles to family activities, and in many ways the whole of Gaudy Night can be read as an attack on Nazi social doctrine. The book has been described as "the first feminist mystery novel."

    Sayers's Christian and academic interests are also apparent in her detective series. In The Nine Tailors, one of her most well-known detective novels, the plot unfolds largely in and around an old church dating back to the Middle Ages. Change ringing of bells also forms an important part of the novel. In Have His Carcase, the Playfair cipher and the principles of cryptanalysis are explained. Her short story Absolutely Elsewhere refers to the fact that (in the language of modern physics) the only perfect alibi for a crime is to be outside its light cone, while The Fascinating Problem of Uncle Meleager's Will contains a literary crossword puzzle.

    Sayers also wrote a number of short stories about Montague Egg, a wine salesman who solves mysteries.

    “Lord Peter begins his hobby of investigation by recovering The Attenbury Emeralds in 1921. He also becomes good friends with Scotland Yard detective Charles Parker, a sergeant in 1921 who eventually rises to the rank of Commander. Bunter, a man of many talents himself, not least photography, often proves instrumental in Peter's investigations. However, Wimsey is not entirely well. At the end of the investigation in Whose Body? (1923) he hallucinates that he is back in the trenches. He soon recovers his senses and goes on a long holiday.

    The next year, he travels (in Clouds of Witness, 1926) to the fictional Riddlesdale in North Yorkshire to assist his older brother Gerald, who has been accused of murdering Captain Denis Cathcart, their sister's fiancé. As Gerald is the Duke of Denver, he is tried by the entire House of Lords, as required by the law at that time, to much scandal and the distress of his wife Helen. Their sister, Lady Mary, also falls under suspicion. Lord Peter clears the Duke and Lady Mary, to whom Parker is attracted.

    As a result of the slaughter of men in the First World War, there was in the UK a considerable imbalance between the sexes. It is not exactly known when Wimsey recruited Miss Climpson to run an undercover employment agency for women, a means to garner information from the otherwise inaccessible world of spinsters and widows, but it is prior to Unnatural Death (1927), in which Miss Climpson assists Wimsey's investigation of the suspicious death of an elderly cancer patient.

    As recounted in the short story "The Adventurous Exploit of the Cave of Ali Baba", in December 1927 Wimsey fakes his own death, supposedly while hunting big game in Tanganyika, to penetrate and break up a particularly dangerous and well-organised criminal gang. Only Wimsey's mother and sister, the loyal Bunter and Inspector Parker know he is still alive. Emerging victorious after more than a year masquerading as "the disgruntled sacked servant Rogers", Wimsey remarks that "We shall have an awful time with the lawyers, proving that I am me." In fact, he returns smoothly to his old life, and the interlude is never referred to in later books.

    During the 1920s, Wimsey has affairs with various women, which are the subject of much gossip in Britain and Europe. This part of his life remains hazy: it is hardly ever mentioned in the books set in the same period; most of the scanty information on the subject is given in flashbacks from later times, after he meets Harriet Vane and relations with other women become a closed chapter. In Busman's Honeymoon Wimsey facetiously refers to a gentleman's duty "to remember whom he had taken to bed" so as not to embarrass his bedmate by calling her by the wrong name.

    There are several references to a relationship with a famous Viennese opera singer, and Bunter – who evidently was involved with this, as with other parts of his master's life – recalls Wimsey being very angry with a French mistress who mistreated her own servant. The only one of Wimsey's earlier women to appear in person is the artist Marjorie Phelps, who plays an important role in The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club. She has known Wimsey for years and is attracted to him, though it is not explicitly stated whether they were lovers. Wimsey likes her, respects her, and enjoys her company – but that isn't enough. In Strong Poison, she is the first person other than Wimsey himself to realise that he has fallen in love with Harriet.

    In Strong Poison Lord Peter encounters Harriet Vane, a cerebral, Oxford-educated mystery writer, while she is on trial for the murder of her former lover. He falls in love with her at first sight. Wimsey saves her from the gallows, but she believes that gratitude is not a good foundation for marriage, and politely but firmly declines his frequent proposals. Lord Peter encourages his friend and foil, Chief Inspector Charles Parker, to propose to his sister, Lady Mary Wimsey, despite the great difference in their rank and wealth. They marry and have a son, named Charles Peter ("Peterkin"), and a daughter, Mary Lucasta.

    While on a fishing holiday in Scotland, Wimsey instigates and takes part in the investigation of the murder of an artist, related in Five Red Herrings. Despite the rejection of his marriage proposal, he continues to court Miss Vane. In Have His Carcase, he finds Harriet is not in London, but learns from a reporter that she has discovered a corpse while on a walking holiday on England's south coast. Wimsey is at her hotel the next morning. He not only investigates the death and offers proposals of marriage, but also acts as Harriet's patron and protector from press and police. Despite a prickly relationship, they work together to identify the murderer.

    Back in London, Wimsey goes undercover as "Death Bredon" at an advertising firm, working as a copywriter (Murder Must Advertise). Bredon is framed for murder, leading Charles Parker to "arrest" Bredon for murder in front of numerous witnesses. To distinguish Death Bredon from Lord Peter Wimsey, Parker smuggles Wimsey out of the police station and urges him to get into the papers. Accordingly Wimsey accompanies "a Royal personage" to a public event, leading the press to carry pictures of both "Bredon" and Wimsey. In 1934 Wimsey in (The Nine Tailors) must unravel a 20-year-old case of missing jewels; an unknown corpse; a missing World War I soldier believed alive; a murderous escaped convict believed dead and a mysterious code concerning church bells.

    By 1935 Lord Peter is in continental Europe, acting as an unofficial attaché to the British Foreign Office. Harriet Vane contacts him about a problem she has been asked to investigate in her college at Oxford (Gaudy Night). At the end of their investigation, Vane finally accepts Wimsey's proposal of marriage.

    The couple marry on 8 October 1935, at St. Cross Church, Holywell Street, Oxford, as depicted in the opening collection of letters and diary entries in Busman's Honeymoon. The Wimseys honeymoon at Talboys, a house in east Hertfordshire near where Harriet had lived as a child, that Peter has bought for her as a wedding present. There they find the body of the previous owner, and spend their honeymoon solving the case, thus having the eponymous "Busman's Honeymoon".

    Over the next five years, according to Sayers' short stories, the Wimseys have three sons: Bredon Delagardie Peter Wimsey (born in October 1936 in the story "The Haunted Policeman"); Roger Wimsey (born 1938), and Paul Wimsey (born 1940). However, according to the wartime publications of The Wimsey Papers, published in The Spectator, the second son was called Paul. It may be presumed that Paul is named after Lord Peter's maternal uncle Paul Delagardie. "Roger" is an ancestral Wimsey name. Sayers told friends orally that Harriet and Peter were to eventually have five children in all.

    In the final Wimsey story, the 1942 short story "Talboys", Peter and Harriet are enjoying rural domestic bliss with their three sons when Bredon, their first-born, is accused of the theft of prize peaches from the neighbour's tree. Peter and the accused set off to investigate and, of course, prove Bredon's innocence.”

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

The Two Princes, the Française and the perfect murder … How Marguerite Alibert became Princess Fahmy and shot her husband at the Savoy …

The cover-up that saved the Prince of Wales' murderess lover from the gallows
Prince of Wales had a relationship with Marguerite in the First World War
The Parisian courtesan went on to marry Prince Ali Fahmy of Eqypt
She shot him dead in the Savoy Hotel in 1923

Shady character: Princess Marie Marguerite Fahmy, French wife of late Prince Ali Fahmy of Egypt, was a lover of the Prince of Wales
Late-night diners at the Savoy Hotel in London paused between mouthfuls and stared at each other in amazement.
At one of the tables an unseemly row had broken out — shrieks of rage from a bejewelled French woman in a chic satin Chanel gown, howls of anger from her youthful white-tie-and-tailed Middle Eastern husband.
‘Shut up, or I’ll smash this bottle of wine over your head,’ she screamed at the top of her voice.
‘And I’ll do the same to you,’ he hurled back, until waiters intervened to try to calm them down.
To those in the know, this was just another everyday argy-bargy in the volatile six-month marriage of 32-year-old Marguerite, high-class Parisian hooker and notorious gold-digger, and 22-year-old Prince Ali Fahmy, effeminate, filthy-rich Egyptian playboy, besotted with her and intensely jealous.
They were forever clawing and scratching each other, biting and kicking.
But it was more than that this time. A few hours later during a violent thunderstorm, that night in July 1923, there was more loud cursing and rowing in the corridor outside their suite — followed by the sound of three pistol shots fired in rapid succession.

Enigmatic: Madame Marguerite Fahmy who was accused of murdering her husband, Aly Bey Fahmy, in the Savoy Hotel, pictured in Paris

A hotel porter who rushed to investigate found Ali slumped against a wall in a pool of blood, a bullet through his head, and a hysterical Marguerite bending over his body and crying out, ‘J’ai lui tiré’ — ‘I’ve shot him.’

Murdered: Egyptian Aly Bey Fahmy was shot dead by his wife Marguerite Fahmy in 1923
If ever there was an open-and-shut murder case, this seemed it. The ambitious Marguerite — who had slept her way out of the gutter by selling her sexual favours, reeled in scores of wealthy lovers and landed a prince — seemed certain to be heading for a date with the hangman.
And yet, ten weeks later, after an Old Bailey trial that had Press and public agog at all the lurid sexual details unearthed, she was acquitted. It was one of the most sensational turnarounds in British legal history. How could this have happened?
The answer, according to author and barrister Andrew Rose in a new book, is equally sensational. He argues that friends of the then Prince of Wales — the hapless Edward VIII-to-be —  conspired to get her off the hook.
Why? To hush up the fact that she, a prostitute, had bedded the Prince on numerous occasions during the last 18 months of World War I while he was serving with the Army in France. Moreover, she had racy love letters from him to prove it.
The moment the news came out that Marguerite was under arrest in Holloway prison, a secret, high-level damage-limitation exercise was set in motion. The Prince’s intimate entourage of toffs, toughs and old Army chums went into overdrive to save him from embarrassment and ridicule.
They knew that in his early 20s the young and immature heir to the throne had enjoyed her delights — some of them had even dallied there too and discovered how well versed she was in the tricks of her trade.
Cover up: Prince of Wales, here in 1925, had met Marguerite in the last 18 months of the First World War while he was in the army in France
The Prince, a newcomer to such arts, had been initiated, bewitched and then become more than a little obsessed with the shapely body, auburn hair and sensuous mouth of the woman he knew as Mme Maggie Meller. She was adept at playing the dominatrix. He pursued her with slavish devotion at every opportunity, lavishing gifts on her.
She sent him an erotic novel with a strong lesbian theme. Foolishly he wrote letters to ‘mon Bebe’, as he called her, 20 of them at least, intimate, possibly rude about his father, King George V, often indiscreet about the conduct of the war, and definitely not the sort he would ever want the world to see.
And when in 1918 he dumped her for the arms of Mrs Freda Dudley-Ward, the first of his long-term mistresses, she pointedly reminded him she still had them, with a hint that she wanted money for their return.
Why Marguerite pulled back from blackmail at this point is unclear, but in time the Prince seemed reassured that, though ‘IT in Paris’ (the ungentlemanly term he now used for the woman he’d once adored) had not given up his billets-doux, she was not going to make trouble.
Now her arrest in London on a capital murder charge punctured that hope. The real possibility loomed of almost limitless public scandal descending on the Royal Family.
The first thing the Prince’s men did, according to author Rose, was to make a discreet approach to the Director of Public Prosecutions, Sir Archibald Bodkin, explain the delicacy of the situation and get him on board. He guaranteed a date for the Old Bailey trial in September, and they arranged for the Prince to be well out of the way then on a two-month tour of Canada.
But that wouldn’t stop Marguerite spilling out from the dock details of her boudoir activities with the royal rake or producing those incriminating letters if it suited her. There would have to be a deal to silence her — and the go-between for that transaction, Rose claims, was one Major Ernest Bald.
The debonair Bald had been one of Marguerite’s ‘intimates’ back in France, as had the man who now enlisted his help, his old commanding officer, ‘Bendor’ Grosvenor, the dissolute Duke of Westminster. ‘Bendor’ was a  disreputable womaniser and heavy drinker, and among the Prince’s closest confidantes.
Bald was sent to visit his old flame in Holloway jail and, though there is no record of what they discussed in frequent meetings in a white-washed room with barred windows over the next five weeks — talking in French so the watching wardress could not understand — Rose believes they horse-traded the Prince’s bedroom secrets for some sort of guarantee that she would get off.
From her cell, it seems Marguerite instructed her lawyer to arrange for the Prince’s letters to be handed back. She had stored them in Cairo and they were duly given to the British High Commission there and  dispatched to London.
But were they the real thing? Rose believes the Prince interrupted his summer holiday in Scotland to dash to London to check their authenticity and that they were all accounted for. They weren’t. Marguerite had wisely kept some back for insurance.
The crucial part of the deal, however, was that she would make no mention of the Prince’s name in court, and that part of the bargain she kept in full.
A few days before the trial opened Lord Curzon, Foreign Secretary at the time, confided to his wife some gossip he’d heard: ‘The French girl who shot her so-called Egyptian prince in London and is going to be tried for murder, is the fancy woman who was the Prince’s “keep” [kept woman] in Paris during the war, and they were terribly afraid that he might be dragged in. [But] his name is to be kept out.’
In return, Rose claims, all the other details of her racy past would be left out of the court proceedings, too. And that, he adds, would undermine the prosecution’s case that she was a wicked, foul-tempered, violent woman who had killed her husband to get her hands on his fortune.
Caught with the smoking gun in her hand, Marguerite’s only possible line of defence was that she was a much-battered wife in fear of her life from a vicious and perverted husband. When she told him she was going to divorce him, he had gone berserk and she had shot him in self-defence.
And, says Rose, with the help of the Prince’s connections and the connivance of some leading Establishment figures, that is what her side set out to argue.
‘This was to be a show trial,’ he states, ‘but one with a difference. The authorities wanted Marguerite to be acquitted. A murder conviction would have been catastrophic for the Crown.’
The ground had been prepared. An inexperienced judge was assigned to hear the case and Rose believes he may well have been nobbled from the outset into steering the court away from Marguerite’s steamy past.
The prosecuting counsel was lacklustre and less than forensic in his approach, as if he knew the case was somehow stacked against him, whereas the defence lawyer, pleading Marguerite’s innocence, was the biggest legal star of the age. The theatrical, eye-catching Sir Edward Marshall Hall, orator and advocate extraordinaire, was widely hailed as the ‘Great Defender’.
Marshall Hall’s tactic was to besmirch Ali Fahmy’s reputation, appealing unashamedly to every evil racial stereotype to do so. Playing on prejudice common at the time, he conjured up an image of a respectable white woman  falling into the clutches of an unprincipled Arab with perverted sexual tastes.
The young Egyptian was presented as a cruel, promiscuous, bisexual. Driven by lust, he had forced her to have ‘unnatural’ intercourse that left her ‘torn’ in the most intimate of places. He beat her and threatened to kill her. For all his sophisticated  outward appearance, he was a beast, a devil.
The judge should have stopped Marshall Hall’s flow of unsubstantiated accusations against the dead man, but the lawyer was allowed to proceed with his rhetoric.
In the dock, Marguerite — a consummate actress as ever — sat with her head hanging limply forward and her black gloved right hand supporting her forehead. Her eyes were closed and tears trickled down her cheeks.
Similarly, Marshall Hall got away with muddying the waters over basic facts that damned Marguerite — that Ali had also been shot in the back and that she had pulled the trigger three times.
As for her own copious sins, her promiscuous past (and present), her naked ambition, her greed, her violent temper which had led her to horse-whip one ex-lover, the phalanx of wealthy men she had snared, exploited and cast aside — these were simply never mentioned. Witnesses who would have given evidence of her own threats to kill her husband were never called.
Instead, she was this ‘poor, wretched woman’, declaimed the Great Defender, ‘suffering the tortures of the damned’, who had fired the pistol in desperation as Ali ‘crouched like an animal, crouched like an Oriental . . .’
In his closing speech, his oratory soared to even greater heights as he invited the jury ‘to open the gates where the Western woman can go out, not into the dark night of the desert, but back to her friends, who love her in spite of her weaknesses.
‘Open the gate and let this Western woman go back into the light of God’s great Western sun.’
The judge’s summing-up took up the same theme. ‘We in this country put our women on a pedestal: in Egypt they have not the same views,’ he told the jury.
He declared Ali’s alleged sexual tastes ‘shocking, sickening and disgusting’. And he steered them towards a conclusion of justifiable homicide. ‘If her husband tried to do what she says, in spite of her protests, it was a cruel and abominable act.’
The jury took less than an hour to pronounce her Not Guilty and set her free. She was in the clear. So too was the Prince of Wales, his frolics with her wiped from the slate, thanks to his friends.
Also wiped clean, Rose admits, was much of the confirming evidence of the scheming he reckons had taken place to secure her release.
Her surprise acquittal is a matter of record. That it was achieved by a deliberate cover-up at the highest level has to rest on circumstantial evidence, and perhaps not surprisingly. ‘Smart plotters do not leave a paper trail,’ Rose writes. ‘Finding out what has been carefully concealed by clever people is challenging.’
Yet he remains convinced that ‘the Establishment, in the form of the Royal Household, the Director of Public Prosecutions and the trial judge, agreed to do whatever was necessary to preserve the reputation of the Prince of Wales, even if this meant interfering with due process of law. ‘Arguably,’ he says, ‘this created a conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.’
Freed, Marguerite returned to France and cheekily tried to claim a slice of the vast wealth left by the husband she had gunned down. It didn’t work and she returned to her life-long trade of trapping wealthy men.
As for the Prince of Wales, he continued his pursuit of unsuitable women — with consequences, as the world knows, that cost him not only his reputation, but his crown, too.

The Prince, The Princess And The Perfect Murder by
Andrew Rose is published by Coronet on April 4

 "Andrew Rose first published the tale of Marguerite Alibert 12 years ago, in a book called Scandal at the Savoy. As crime stories go, it ticked all the right boxes: a sexy French adventuress shoots dead her creepy Egyptian husband at London's smartest hotel, stands trial for his murder and is acquitted." But Craig Brown in the Mail on Sunday had problems with Rose's updated version, The Prince, the Princess and the Perfect Murder, published because in the earlier book "he had missed an essential detail. The then Prince of Wales" had been one of the Marguerite's many lovers, as detailed in her "1934 memoir, which Rose describes as 'an essential source previously overlooked by Royal biographers'. And by you, too, matey!" In the Spectator, Selina Hastings felt that the "story of Marguerite … is fascinating not only for what it reveals of this far from appealing personality but for the social history of the time." But according to the Sunday Times's Peter Conradi, "However painstakingly he puts together the elements of the conspiracy, the evidence is thin and circumstantial."

Getting away with murder... and that's the author


Andrew Rose first published the tale of Marguerite Alibert 12 years ago, in  a book called Scandal At The Savoy. As crime stories go, it ticked all the right boxes: a sexy French adventuress shoots dead her creepy Egyptian husband at London’s smartest hotel, stands trial for his murder and is acquitted. Who could ask for anything more?

Marguerite Alibert was born in Paris in 1890, the daughter of a cab driver and a char lady. From an early age, she was, as they say, a bit of a goer: aged 16, she had a baby. To these 21st Century eyes, she looks a bit dumpy, not unlike the Queen Mother, but there was clearly something about her – ready availability, perhaps –that made gentlemen’s eyes swivel in their sockets.
Before long, she was taken up by one of Paris’s most influential madames, who apparently taught her all she needed to know. In Andrew Rose’s salivating words, Marguerite became ‘an expert in the arts of love’.
She certainly didn’t let her new expertise gather dust. ‘She’s been the mistress of nearly all my best customers, gentlemen of wealth and position in France, England, America and many other countries as well,’ her old boss proudly recalled, years later.
She embarked on a seven-year affair with a wealthy married man, who set her up in her own apartment, within which she carried on with several other men, too. Her wealthy suitor finally had a nervous breakdown and retreated to Bordeaux, but not before she had extracted 200,000 francs from him, plus a plush apartment with servants, and a stable full of horses.
From then on, there was no looking back, her bank account expanding with every new gentleman caller: a Belgian landowner, a handful of Americans, the owner of a chain of nitrate mines in Chile, the brother-in-law of the Grand Vizier of Turkey and so on. The plucky British, often so sluggish in matters of the flesh, even managed to field their own delegate in the shape of the Duke of Westminster.
In 1919, she married a serious young man called Charles Laurent, but she soon began yearning for the nightclubs. They were divorced within a year, leaving  her wealthy enough to expand her stable to ten horses, and to add a full-time groom and a chauffeur to her growing roster  of staff.
To cut a long story short, in Cairo she  set her cap at an Egyptian playboy and self-styled prince called Ali Fahmy, ‘a  millionaire umpteen times over’. To some, his home decoration – his Nubian servants all liveried, his furnishings all encrusted with diamonds – may have been a little too showy, but to Marguerite they were as plankton to a basking shark.
They married in January 1923. Within days bride and groom were threatening to kill each other, and punches were traded. In July they moved into a suite  in The Savoy Hotel in London, but, like  so many warring couples before  and since, soon discovered it only takes mutual hatred to turn luxury hotel suites into padded cells. A few days into their stay, Marguerite shot Ali dead in the hotel corridor. ‘What shall I do? I’ve  shot him,’ she exclaimed, as the night manager came running.
Marguerite was put on trial for murder, but was acquitted on the grounds of self-defence, thanks to a wonderfully over-the-top xenophobic attack on her victim by her defence barrister (‘He not only had the vilest of vile tempers, but was vile himself, with a filthy perverted taste . . .’).
As I have already said, Andrew Rose wrote a diverting account of this spectacular case 12 years ago. It is now, he assures us, ‘long out of print’. In the introduction to this new book, he confesses that soon after the publication of the original, he received a letter from Marguerite’s grandson telling him he had missed an essential detail. The then Prince of Wales (later King Edward VIII) had, he said, been one of his grand- mother’s many lovers. This grandson then gave Rose a copy of his grandmother’s 1934 memoir, which Rose describes as ‘an essential source previously overlooked by Royal biographers’.
And by you, too, matey! It seems astonishing that the biographer of a famous murderer somehow never discovered that she had published an account of the case. This oversight means that in  Scandal At The Savoy there was not a single mention of the Prince of Wales. But Rose has now turned his incompetence to advantage by publishing a fresh account, this time introducing the Prince of Wales and bigging up his role to  bursting point.
Well, I say that this is a ‘fresh’ account, but in truth most of it is exactly the same, with entire sentences, paragraphs, pages, and even chapters copied out, word for word, from the original. All Rose has done is to shoehorn the Prince of Wales into  the narrative at every possible juncture, and many impossible junctures too.
His thesis is that the young Prince enjoyed sexual liaisons with Marguerite Alibert for 18 months from 1917, and that in its  anxiety to preserve his reputation, the British Establishment conspired in a cover-up, which in turn led to what  he now describes as ‘a show trial’, resulting in the foregone conclusion of Marguerite’s acquittal.       
Sadly, he presents no evidence for this conspiracy, other than what he calls a ‘remarkable’ letter from Lord Curzon (whom he styles, bizarrely, ‘Marquess Curzon’) to his wife telling her he had ‘heard a piece of news which may amuse you if you do not know it already’: the French girl who shot her husband used to be the ‘fancy woman’ of the Prince, and ‘his name is to be kept out’ of her trial. And that’s all.
Rose describes this as ‘incontrovertible contemporary evidence of this con-spiracy of silence’, yet Curzon clearly regarded the story as just another piece of tittle-tattle that was doing the rounds, and even thinks his wife may have heard it already: hardly evidence of a ‘conspiracy of silence’, still less a ‘show trial’. 
But when conspiracy theorists get the bit between their teeth, they won’t let anything get in the way. In their topsy-turvy worlds, lack of evidence is the  surest proof of a cover-up.
So speculation is transformed – hey presto! – into fact by compulsive use of slippery words and phrases such as ‘perhaps’, ‘must have been’, ‘arguably’, ‘no doubt’, ‘might’, ‘possibly’, ‘may have’ ‘there was a distinct possibility that . . .’
 Thus, early on we are told that, at their first meeting in a Paris restaurant, ‘she no doubt hinted discreetly over coffee at the delights which awaited the Prince later that day’. Before the trial commenced ‘Perhaps on the journey down from Scotland, the Prince, often prey to dyspepsia, his mind awash with thoughts of Marguerite and the impending crisis, suffered abdominal twinges’, which is a pretty big ‘perhaps’, given that there is absolutely no evidence at all that the Prince was thinking about Marguerite, or that he even knew about the ‘impending crisis’. Two pages later, when the Prince is seen out and about enjoying himself, Rose says this is because he was ‘in denial’.
Rose inserts new phrases into the original manuscript so as to lend weight to the idea of a conspiracy. For instance, in the original book he wrote of the Judge: ‘Rigby Swift’s summing-up ended with a simple question’, but here the same sentence reads: ‘Rigby Swift’s summing-up, now heavily slanted in favour of the accused, ended with a simple question’.
Who knows where the truth lies?  I would guess yes to the affair with the Prince, no to a judicial conspiracy, and no to the ‘perfect murder’ of the title. Rose now argues that Marguerite planned the murder in advance (‘In my 1991 study of the trial, I had described the shooting as a crime passionel. It was nothing of the kind. This was murder for gain. An execution. A perfect murder’). But if so, why did she do it so cackhandedly, in a hotel corridor, in a manner that would guarantee her arrest, trial and humiliation?
Silliest of all, we hear that, after the trial, ‘a remarkable, wholly extraordinary, reunion of the Prince and Marguerite, the two wartime lovers, may have taken place, perhaps during the first month of 1924’. And, he may have added, pigs will fly – no doubt, perhaps, possibly, arguably – during the fifth month of 2013.

Sir Edward Marshall Hall, KC, (16 September 1858 – 24 February 1927)

“Equally successful was the defence Marshall Hall gave to Madame (or Princess) Marguerite Fahmy in 1923 for the shooting death of her husband, Egyptian Prince Fahmy Bey at London's Savoy Hotel. The death of the Prince is frequently on lists of victims of the so-called Curse of the Pharaohs. Marshall Hall brought out Prince Fahmy's race and sexual habits, painting the victim as an evil minded foreigner who threatened a "white woman" for sexual reasons, whereupon she defended herself. The jury accepted it. The Egyptian ambassador wrote several angry letters to the newspapers criticizing Marshall Hall's blackening of the victim and Egyptians in general. In any case Madame Fahmy was acquitted. In his 2013 book The Prince, The Princess and the perfect Murder (published in the USA as "The Woman Before Wallis") Andrew Rose revealed that Madame Fahmy, real name Marguerite Alibert, a Frenchwomen of modest birth, had an 18-month long affair with the Prince of Wales, the future Edward VIII, in Paris towards the end of World War I. Desperate efforts were made by the Royal Household to ensure that the Prince's name was not mentioned at her trial, a factor which contributed to her unmerited acquittal.”

( …) “A few weeks later on the morning of Sunday 1 July 1923 a limousine drove into Savoy Court and the Hotel doorman helped out a couple who were known to the hotel as the Prince and Princess Fahmy. They were accompanied by the Prince’s private secretary, Mr Said Enani. Accurately Prince Fahmy wasn’t really a prince but he did little to discourage the use of the title when away from Egypt.

The 22 year Egyptian had met his bride to be, a woman ten years his senior, in Paris the year before -incidentally the year that Egypt was granted independence, if not overall control, by the British Government. To many people Marguerite was seen, at best, as a flirtatious gold-digger and more in love with his not inconsiderable fortune than the man himself. They had married in Egypt, first by a civil ceremony on 26th December and then followed by a Muslim wedding in January 1923 where Madame Fahmy, modestly veiled, proclaimed in Arabic ‘There is one God and Mohammed is His Prophet’.

After a few days in London, which was experiencing a heatwave, Marguerite Fahmy summoned the Savoy’s doctor – she was suffering badly from external haemorrhoids. She alleged to Dr Gordon, while he was treating her, that her husband had ‘torn her by unnatural intercourse’ and was ‘always pestering her’ for this kind of sex. Already thinking about possible future divorce proceedings she repeatedly asked the doctor for ‘a certificate as to her physical condition to negative the suggestion of her husband that she had made up a story’. The doctor, although respectful, ignored her request.

On the 9th July the couple went to Daly’s Theatre on Cranbourne Street off Leicester Square (where the Vue West End cinema now stands) to see, with hindsight the darkly ironic ‘The Merry Widow’. It had been an incredibly hot day and you can only imagine how uncomfortably warm the theatre must have been in those pre-air-conditioned days (although as far as a lot of the West End is concerned we’re still in those days). Not the ideal conditions for someone suffering from piles I would imagine. The main performers in Lehar’s popular operetta were the 22 year old Evelyn Laye and the Danish matinee idol Carl Brisson.

The couple returned to the Savoy after the theatre for a late supper, however the meal was disrupted by a huge argument which had recently become almost a daily occurrence. Ali had even appeared in public with scratches on his face and Marguerite had been seen with dark bruises on her face ill-disguised with powder and makeup. The row this time degenerated to such an extent that Marguerite picked up a wine bottle and shouted in French ‘You shut up or I’ll smash this over your head.’ Ali replied ‘If you do, I’ll do the same to you.’ They eventually calmed down, not without the help of the head-waiter, and went to the ballroom to listen to the Savoy Havana Band. The house band no doubt would have been playing at one point Yes, We Have No Bananas or perhaps Ain’t We Got Fun both big hits that year. It wasn’t long before Marguerite, after refusing the offer of a dance with her husband, retired to her room.

Mr Said Enani, as a witness in court a few weeks later, said that Mr Fahmy, in full evening dress, had decided to take a cab in the direction of Piccadilly even though the hot balmy weather had now turned into one of the worse thunderstorms in living memory. When asked the reason why he went, he said he did not know. Although we can perhaps presume that Ali was either visiting an unlicensed nightclub or on the search for either a male or female prostitute both of which frequented the area in high numbers around that part of the West End.

At around 2.00am the hotel’s night porter passed the door to the Fahmy’s suite but heard a low whistle and looking back saw Ali Fahmy bending down apparently whistling for Marguerite’s little dog that had been following the night porter down the corridor. After continuing on his way for just three yards he suddenly heard three shots fired in quick succession.

He ran back and saw Marguerite throw down a black handgun and also saw Ali slumped against the wall bleeding profusely from a wound on his temple from which splinger of bone and brain tissue protruded. ‘Qu’est-ce que j’ai fait, mon cher?’ (what have I done, my dear?’) Marguerite kept saying over and over again.

Marshall Hall was almost 65 at the time of Marguerite’s trial and was a household name. He was six feet three, handsome for his age, and a commanding presence in the courtroom. He was commonly known, after being responsible for several famous acquittals, as ‘The Great Defender’. Marshall Hall’s final speech to the jury in defence of Marguerite, or Madame Fahmy as the press were now calling her, slowly became a character assassination of her dead husband. he portrayed him as a monster of Eastern amoral bisexual depravity. (Not too) subtly Hall accused both Prince Fahmy and his private secretary of being homosexuals.

The public gallery consisted of many young women some of whom were noted to be barely eighteen. Marshall Hall looked up to the gallery saying ‘if women choose to come here to hear this case, they must take the consequences’. None of them left. Meanwhile he turned the attack on Ali to sodomy. Fahmy, said Hall, ‘developed abnormal tendencies and he never treated Madame normally’ Asking them to disregard the fact that the victim was younger than his wife. ‘Yes, he was only 23 years old,’ he told them. ‘But he was given to a life of debauchery and was obsessed with his sexual prowess.’ He went on to remind them that, as an Oriental man, his wife to him was no more than a belonging and that however much he may have acquired the outward signs of urbanity and sophistication, he was forever an Oriental under the skin.

When Marguerite took the stand, she was encouraged by the Great Defender to describe her life as a Muslim bride and to a lot of observers this was when the case turned her way. She testified at one point how she had been sitting ‘in a state of undress in which her modesty would have forbidden her facing even her maid’, she had noticed a strange noise and she pulled aside the hangings that screened an alcove and ‘saw crouching there, where he could see every move she made, one of her husband’s numerous ugly, black, half-civilized manservants, who obeyed like slaves his every word’. She screamed for help, but when her husband, appeared from an adjoining room he only, laughed, saying that “He is nobody. He does not count. But he has the right to come here or anywhere you may go and tell me what you are doing."

It was like a scene from Rudolph Valentino’s The Sheik, the extraordinarily popular film released the year before, and the women in the gallery were treating it as such.

Before he summed up, the judge, referring to the public gallery said, ‘These things are horrible; they are disgusting. How anyone could listen to these things who is not bound to listen to them passes comprehension.’ However he had been swayed by Marshall Hall’s defence, that pandered to the prejudices of the tie, and during the summing up endorsed Marshall Hall by saying ‘We in this country put our women on a pedestal: in Egypt they have not the same views...'

The jury, after less than an hour’s consideration, announced ‘not guilty’ to both the charges of murder and of manslaughter, and Madame Fahmy was discharged and was now a free woman.

The prosecution was refused by the judge, seemingly in awe as much as anyone else to the Great Defender, to cross-examine Marguerite ‘as to whether or not she had lived an immoral life’, to show that she was ‘a woman of the world, well able to look after herself’.

If she had been cross-examined properly the jury would have found out that not only had Marguerite been a teenage common prostitute in Bordeaux and in Paris and had an illegitimate daughter when she was just fifteen, but she had also become a trained high-class courtesan (it was said that she always spoke in a rather stilted French because of elocution lessons). Not only that but Marguerite’s husband was not alone in having inclinations towards the same sex: it was found out by a private detective hired by the prosecution that it was well known in Paris that Madame Fahmy “is addicted, or was addicted, to committing certain offences with other women and it would seem that there is nothing that goes on in such surroundings as she has been moving in Paris that she would not be quite well acquainted with..."

The world’s press reported the case with undisguised glee, mostly portraying Mardame Fahmy as less than innocent in more ways than one. The French newspapers concentrated on the fact that the jury considered the case as if a crime passionnel defence was allowed in English law.

After the verdict Marguerite soon left for Paris where she found out that she had no claim to her late husband’s fortune as he had left no will. After a failed, and slightly ludicrous plot where she pretended that she had been pregnant and subsequently borne a son (who would have been entitled to his father’s fortune). She was now almost a laughing stock in Parisian society and became relatively a recluse. She died on 2 January 1971 in Paris. She never remarried.”
"ClICK" to enlarge images below

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

The keepers tweed fabric

 A heavy duty densely woven tweed developed for outdoor use in the north of England and Scotland. It generally weighs anywhere from about 25 oz. per metre/yard to perhaps 32 oz.
(worn by the game keepers/managers on the estate)

Sunday, 10 May 2015

1945 / Berlin / London. Watch Vídeos below ...

Berlin in July 1945 (HD 1080p color footage)

That's how it looked like just after the Second World War in Berlin!

Fascinating moving pictures in color show the situation of the city in summer 1945, just after the Second World War and the capitulation of Germany. Daily life after years of war.
 Pictures from the destroyed city, the Reichstag, Brandenburger Tor, Adlon, Führerbunker, Unter den Linden, rubble women working in the streets, the tram is running again.
 A collage of archive material
produced by: Kronos Media

London Builds Again (1945/6)

Mute colour film shot by an amateur cinematographer of the construction of prefabricated housing in post-war London. The film has inter-titles throughout.
The film opens with a shot of St Paul's Cathedral, followed by a sign at the base of Nelson's Column reading 'The time of destruction is ended ... the era of reconstruction begins. H.M. the King". Another sign reads 'Save for reconstruction'. The demolition of a bomb-damaged building. Intertitles introduce the construction of Orlit Houses; a sign on-site reads 'Ministry of Works. Experimental Permanent Houses. Poplar Site'. The construction of the houses are shown from constructing the concrete frames through to the finished dwellings. A sign on-site reads 'Richard Costain Limited London SW1'. Mr George Tomlinson and Mr Charles Key, the Minister of Works open the first house in February 1946, watched by crowds of on-lookers. Detailed shots of the interior of one of the houses.
The Film and Video Archive of the Imperial War Museum was established in 1920, making it one of the first film archives in the world. It holds some 120 million feet of film and 6,500 house of video tape. A large proportion of material has been transferred to the Museum from the armed Services and other public bodies as the Archive is the official repository for these films.
More information about this film can be found via the Film and Video section of the Imperial War Museums on-line catalogue:
Running time5mins
Matthew Nathan camera-operator and editor
Original format: 16mm

Thursday, 7 May 2015

"Housekeeping" Earl Bathurst in Cirencester Park

Housekeeper jailed for stealing antiques and artwork from employer
Former show jumper Kim Roberts sentenced to three years after admitting to theft of items including a Picasso sketch from homes of wealthy countess
Steven Morris

A former show jumper who stole antiques and art including a Picasso sketch and Ben Nicholson painting from a wealthy countess while working as her housekeeper has been jailed for three years.

Kim Roberts, 59, was told by a judge that her offences against Lady Bathurst were “greedy and calculated”.

Roberts admitted stealing from Bathurst’s homes in Cirencester, Gloucestershire, and south-west London. She also admitted taking a Volvo car from another former employer, the interior designer Emily Olympitis.

In addition she pleaded guilty to giving false details to employment agency Holland Park Staffing, which supplies butlers and nannies, so that previous convictions for dishonesty would not be discovered.

Her barrister, Simon Roberts, pleaded for leniency at Gloucester crown court saying she had had a “disastrous life” and was terrified of going to prison because she looked after her disabled son.

He pointed out that the artwork had not even been missed until she came to sell it. But Judge William Hart said the law was there to protect everyone, “whether prince or pauper”.

Ian Dixey, prosecuting, said Kim Roberts worked for a little under a month as a housekeeper for Bathurst in the spring of 2013.

Soon after she left, Roberts had a Nicholson painting valued. She was told it was worth £200,000, but dealers she spoke to were suspicious about where she had got it from. A gallery owner recognised it as belonging to Bathurst and contacted her.

Bathurst did not realise it was missing as it had been kept in a study, covered up. It was only then that she realised other property, including the Picasso sketch, were missing.

Police were called in and Roberts was arrested when she arrived at the Lansdowne Club in Mayfair, London, where she had arranged to meet a gallery owner hoping to sell the Nicholson painting.

Dixey said: “As Ms Roberts arrived at the club she was arrested. She was searched and items found in her handbag included a set of keys, which were to Lady Bathurst’s London flat.

“Her [Roberts’] home in Colyton [in Devon] was then searched and officers could immediately see there were a large number of items of value in the property. There were more than 50 items, mainly antique silver and things of that sort.

“When the defendant was interviewed she said that the Ben Nicholson painting and the Picasso sketch had in effect been given to her and that she was entitled to sell them.”

Roberts claimed that other items in her possession – such as a box with Bathurst’s name written on it – had been dumped. Items found had been taken from both Bathurst’s Gloucestershire and London homes.

Later police found that the car was driving had false number plates. It had been stolen from Olympitis in 2012.

Dixey said Roberts’ fraud against Holland Park Staffing involved changing the 6 in her date of birth 1956 on her driving licence to 8. This was clearly because she had a criminal record that she did not want to be discovered, he said.

The prosecutor said Roberts had been convicted of offences including deception, shoplifting and forgery in the late 1980s and 90s.

He told the court it was impossible to put a valuation on what she had stolen. “But it was in breach of trust and there were clearly items of sentimental value as well as high material value,” he said. “She worked for very wealthy people who perhaps did not miss things in the way that others might have done.”

Simon Burns, for Roberts, said she was “extremely contrite” but argued that it had not been ”elaborate or complicated” offending.

He told the court the paintings stolen would “not immediately have been missed” because they were “not on the walls being appreciated”.

The Picasso sketch, he said, was a “very simple’” one and not worth more than £100,000. The Nicholson still life from 1945 was worth between £80,000 and £120,000, he said.

Roberts’ motivation was that she had “fallen from her very comfortable position that she once enjoyed a long time ago”, Burns continued.

“She had been married comfortably and was looked after. But that marriage broke down. She has suffered from depression since 1987. The partners and relationships she has had have all failed. She has had what is quoted in the medical paperwork as a disastrous life.

“She suffered a severe road traffic accident which resulted in her contracting a brain tumour in 2001. The only thing she could do was domestic work. She became a housekeeper. It was not a career of choice.

“She was a single mum with a son who required constant care. He is 29 and she cares for him. He functions at the level of a 15-year-old and is on constant medication. She is extremely anxious about him and who is going to look after him if she is in prison. She had fallen on hard times and resorted to stealing to save herself from financial destitution.

“A lot of people speak highly of her. She has looked after a number of families. She was a horsewoman who competed as a show jumper at Hickstead. All that has been lost.”

Sentencing Roberts, the judge said “These were premeditated offences by you as an employee with the clearest intention of selling the items on. There is a greedy and calculated nature to your offending. What you did in effect was to repay your employer’s trust with avarice and dishonesty.

“Lady Bathurst is a wealthy woman from a wealthy family and you no doubt thought she could easily bear the loss, even if she did discover it. The fact she is wealthy is not a mitigating factor. The criminal justice system should protect all, whether prince or pauper.”

He praised the “integrity and professionalism” of the art dealers involved in the case and said it was thanks to their honesty that all the stolen property Roberts tried to sell was recovered.

The 9th Earl and Countess Bathurst, with Lord Apsley and Lady Rosie Bathurst (middle)

Allen Christopher Bertram Bathurst, 9th Earl Bathurst (born 11 March 1961), known as Lord Apsley till 2011, is a British peer and conservationist.
Born on 11 March 1961 as the eldest son of Henry Bathurst, 8th Earl Bathurst and Judith Mary Nelson, he lives with his wife Sara at Cirencester Park, the Bathurst family seat. With the death of his father on 16 October 2011, he became the 9th Earl Bathurst, of Bathurst in the County of Sussex (Great Britain, let. pat. 27 Aug 1772), 9th Baron Bathurst, of Battlesden in the County of Bedford (Great Britain, let. pat. 1 Jan 1712), and the 8th Baron Apsley, of Apsley in the County of Sussex (Great Britain, let. pat. 24 Jan 1771).

Bathurst married first Hilary George, 2nd daughter of John F. George on 31 May 1986. They divorced in 1994. With her he has two children, a son and a daughter:

Benjamin George Henry Bathurst, Lord Apsley (born 6 March 1990)
Lady Rosie Meriel Lilias Bathurst (born 1992)
On 5 June 1996, he married secondly Sara Chapman, currently named The Countess Bathurst, daughter of Christopher and Marguerite Chapman of Ilminster, Somerset.
Bathurst runs the Bathurst Estate, covering some 15,500 acres of countryside. It includes much of the village of Sapperton and Coates, including Pinbury Park, and lays claim to the principal source of the River Thames. Within the estate is the famous Ivy Lodge polo ground, Cirencester Park Polo Club being founded in 1894, making it the oldest playing ground in the United Kingdom. He also runs Cirencester Park Farms which farms 4,500 acres of arable crops, partially organic, and a herd of Gloucester Cattle.

As a conservationist, he has campaigned to preserve the rural countryside and various historic buildings. Most notably The Earl and Countess, as Lord and Lady Apsley, made headline news when they tried to save an historic building in The Cattle Market in Cirencester, built by the 6th Earl Bathurst for the Mansion's old Kitchen Garden. When they discovered it was to be demolished by the County Council to make way for a Leisure Centre, they threatened to chain themselves to the building to prevent the demolition going ahead. The problem was eventually solved when Bathurst negotiated with the demolition company to buy back the building and it was removed, brick by brick to the family estate.

Bathurst is a President of Cirencester Housing and Marshall of the St Lawrence Hospital Trust. He is also the founding Director of the annual Cotswold Show, held every July on the Bathurst Estate and a Patron of the Cotswolds Museum Trust. He is President of The Cirencester Hospital League of Friends, President of Cirencester Band, President of The Cirencester Male Voice Choir, Steward of The Cirencester Society in London, Patron of The Cirencester Cricket Club, and President of Cirencester Park Polo Club.

Bathurst is involved in the National Farmers Union. He is President of the Gloucestershire Farming and Wildlife Advisory Group (FWAG), a governor of the Royal Agricultural University, past President of the Three Counties Agricultural Society and Director of the Gloucestershire Farming Trust.

Cirencester Park is a country house in the parish of Cirencester in Gloucestershire, England, and is the seat of the Bathurst family, Earls Bathurst. It is a Grade II* listed building.

Allen Bathurst, the first Earl Bathurst (1684–1775), inherited the estate on the death of his father, Sir Benjamin Bathurst, in 1704. He was a Tory Member of Parliament and statesman who from 1714 devoted himself to rebuilding the house formerly known as Oakley Grove, which probably stands on the site of Cirencester Castle, and laying out the famous parkland.

In 1716 Bathurst acquired the extensive estate of Sapperton from the Atkyns family, including Oakley Wood, and went on to plant one of the finest landscape gardens in England, complete with park buildings, walks, seats, grottoes and ruins. They include Alfred’s Hall, now taken to be the earliest recorded Gothick garden building in England, which is also a grade II* listed building.

Allen Bathurst was raised to the peerage as a baron in 1711 and an earl in 1772, and was a patron of art and literature no less than a statesman. The poet Alexander Pope was a frequent visitor to Cirencester House; he advised on the lay-out of the gardens and designed the building known as Pope's Seat in the park, which commands a splendid view of woods and avenues. Jonathan Swift was another appreciative visitor.

The house contains portraits by Lawrence, Gainsborough, Romney, Lely, Reynolds, Hoppner, Kneller and many others, and a set of giant marble columns carrying busts, which are genuine antiques, collected in Italy by Lord Apsley, the son of the third earl, at the time of the Congress of Vienna in 1814.

There were additions to the house by Sir Robert Smirke about 1830.

Subsequent earls were patrons of the Arts and Crafts movement, when Ernest Gimson and the Barnsley brothers, Sidney and Ernest, settled at Pinbury Park on the Cirencester estate in 1894. Norman Jewson joined them in 1907, and describes his life as a student of Gimson in Sapperton in his classic memoir, By Chance I did Rove (1952).

The estate includes much of the villages of Sapperton and Coates, including Pinbury Park, and lays claim to containing the principal source of the River Thames.[citation needed]

Apsley House, at Hyde Park in London, was built for Lord Apsley, later the third earl Bathurst, Lord Chancellor, by the architect, Robert Adam. In 1807 the house was purchased by Richard Wellesley, 1st Marquess Wellesley, who in 1817 sold it to his famous brother, Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington (who presented his portrait, today still in Cirencester House).

The house has the tallest yew hedge in Britain. The semi-circular hedge, which is 33 feet wide and 150 yards long, is believed to have been planted in about 1710. The tonne of clippings produced by its annual trimming are sold to pharmaceutical companies who use extracts as a key ingredient of Docetaxel, a chemotherapy drug used to treat breast, ovarian and lung cancer.

7th Earl Bathurst  

The 8th Earl Bathurst
The 8th Earl Bathurst, who died on October 16 aged 84, was a junior Conservative minister at the Home Office and Lord-in-Waiting to the Queen, but his public offices never matched his private antics for originality and spice.

"Barmy" Bathurst, as he was known, inherited the earldom and Cirencester Park in Gloucestershire from his grandfather, the 7th Earl, in 1943, the year after his father, Lord Apsley, DSO, MC, MP, had been killed, and was a keen countryman who rode hard to hounds, as well as a just and jovial landlord.
He followed in the footsteps of the 1st Earl, – a former Tory MP for Cirencester and friend of Pope, Swift and Congreve who afforested 3,000 acres of the estate in 1720 – by becoming a keen forester himself and President of the Royal Forestry Society as well as Councillor for the Timber Growers' Association.
An apiarist and an able farmer, Bathurst was also the owner of "Jim" and "Joe", the last working oxen in this country. He ran Cirencester Park Polo Club and was active in local affairs – it was his job, among others, to hand out the Bledisloe Trophies to well-kept Cotswold villages. He was also a governor at the Royal Agricultural College for many years.
Henry Allen John Bathurst was born on May 1 1927 the eldest son of Allen Bathurst, Lord Apsley, and his wife Violet. He was educated at Eton College and Christ Church, Oxford. In 1948 he joined the military and served as a lieutenant in the 10th Royal Hussars and as a captain in the Royal Gloucestershire Hussars (TA).
In 1957 Bathurst became honorary secretary of the Agricultural Committee in the House of Lords and a Lord-in-Waiting to the Queen. He was Chancellor of the Primrose League from 1959 to 1961 as well, and, during this time, at was President of the Gloucestershire Branch of the Council for the Protection of Rural England.
His political career was short-lived, however, and reached its peak when he was appointed Joint Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Home Office in 1961, only to be discharged the following year by Harold Macmillan in the "night of the long knives".
Thereafter, Bathurst retired to the family seat, though his work for the Tory Party continued under other guises: in 1968, to raise funds for the Party, he sold a 2nd Century Samian cup that had been found among Roman ruins on the estate in 1891.
Bathurst's duties at Cirencester Park included riding as Master of the Valley of The White Horse Hounds, the Gloucestershire pack kept by his family since the 1830s. He cut a dashing figure on a horse, and became the first English peer to ride a Russian horse to hounds, so keen was he to introduce Russian-bred horses to the local hunting fraternity.
In 1965, however, in order reduce costs for both hunts, he merged his own twenty couple with the local Vale of The White Horse pack. But he diversified into other equestrian pursuits, founding Cirencester Park Polo Club – venue of the famous chukka which saw the Prince of Wales come a cropper mid-swing and break his arm.
Scandal struck in the Eighties when, twice, (in 1982 and 1988), plantations of cannabis and opium poppies were found to be growing within the Park walls, tended by local opportunists who were later jailed. Bathurst weathered the ensuing press attention with the same grace as he employed in 1989, when he lost his driving licence for 15 months after a four-hour lunchtime "jolly" with friends.
In 1988 Bathurst had moved to a farmhouse on the estate to make way for Lord Apsley, his son and heir, yet he remained involved in the running of things. In 2003, driving through the Park on his way home from a polo match, his Landrover was overtaken on the grass verge by a Volkswagen Golf travelling at 40 to 50mph. Roused to heights of fury by this flagrant breach of the estate's 20mph speed limit, the 76-year-old Earl gave chase, flashing his lights, sounding his horn and engaging in off-road manoeuvres to try and get the offender to stop. But it was the Earl himself who was forced to stop – by the security team protecting Prince William, the car's driver.
Although Clarence House issued an apology, the Earl remained unrepentant: "There are rules in the polo club about driving on the estate, and people have to stick to them", he told an interviewer. "I don't care who it is, royalty or not – speeding is not allowed on my estate. If I was to drive like that in Windsor Park, I'd end up in the Tower." He did not recognise the Prince, he explained, observing that he "thought he was some young yob in a beat-up car".
Bathurst was Chairman of the Gloucestershire branch of the Country Landowners' Association from 1968 to 1971 and a Deputy Lieutenant for Gloucestershire from 1960 to 1986.
He married first, in 1959, Judith Nelson; they had two sons and one daughter. The marriage was dissolved in 1977 and the following year he married, secondly, Gloria, widow of David Rutherston.
His son Allen Christopher Bertram Bathurst, Lord Apsley, born in 1961, succeeds to the Earldom.
The 8th Earl Bathurst, born May 1 1927, died October 16 2011