When Pippa Middleton planned the book launch for her guide to effortless entertaining, she was determined to avoid mention of her famous sister.
The Duchess of Cambridge was absent from the guest list and the press coverage was restricted to a carefully stage-managed meeting with a group of children oblivious to the royal connection.
Unfortunately, the best laid party plans can sometimes go astray.
Miss Middleton’s attempt to make conversation with a six-year-old guest took an embarrassing turn when the little girl described herself as a tomboy.
“I was a tomboy. I bet when you’re 10 you will love pink and you will love princesses,” Miss Middleton beamed.
“I hate princesses,” came the reply.
“I hate fairies and princesses. I like vampires,” another small voice piped up.
“Better not talk about that one,” Miss Middleton mumbled, before casting a somewhat desperate glance at her publicity people.
The children were invited to the launch at a bookshop in Chelsea, west London, to try out some Hallowe’en-themed arts and crafts as detailed in a chapter of Miss Middleton’s book.
The 29-year-old party planner was marking the publication of Celebrate: A Year of British Festivities for Families and Friends.
Invitations were restricted to family and close friends. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge remained at home in Anglesey.
Luckily, a photographer was on hand throughout the day to capture Miss Middleton’s four designer outfit changes.
In the introduction to the book, Miss Middleton writes about becoming famous thanks to her scene-stealing role as maid of honour at the royal wedding. “It’s a bit startling to achieve global recognition (if that’s the right word) before the age of thirty, on account of your sister, your brother-in-law and your bottom,” she said.
In what industry insiders have called “denial marketing”, the book was released yesterday with no accompanying interviews by its author. Miss Middleton’s lavishly-illustrated tome contains helpful advice on home entertaining, although more seasoned hostesses might find some of it rather basic.
Tips include “fill trays with water” as an instruction for making ice, and the suggestion that “turkeys are perfect for feeding larger gatherings” at Christmas.
Anita Singh Telegraph.co.uk