In this issue of The Lady : Dear Reader
Dame Judi Dench, her oldest friend Dame
Maggie Smith, the irascible Dame Eileen
Atkins, the unfeasibly youthful Dame Helen
Mirren – what do they all have in common?
Besides the obvious title, these theatrical titans
all share an imperious quality that both commands an audience
but never overwhelms it. No matter how small the part, they
bring the kind of gusto to it that says: ‘I’m not the only star in the
room.’ It’s a rare gift, one shared with
the photographer Jane Bown, who
took portraits of everyone from
the Queen to Mick Jagger – no fuss,
no lights, three or four snaps and she
was done. She once took a picture of
me that still remains the most flattering ever taken. Sadly,
Jane died before she could be elevated to Damehood, although
I am certain she was quite content with her CBE . But surely it
can only be a matter of time before Mary Berry is called to the
Palace, if only for services to the stricken Aga-owners of the
world. As this week’s recipes show, it’s simple when you know
how. Mercifully, our own Bake Off fan, Emma the designer, was
able to rustle up a toffee-apple cake when Jane Green flew in
from New York for afternoon tea today. Well worth crossing the Atlantic for.
Until next time, best wishes
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