Sunday 4 December 2016

Much-loved Ned there in spirit

Published 01/05/2011 | 05:00

Brian O'Driscoll wasn't the owner of the empty Irish seat at the wedding that le tout London was talking about. It was Ned Ryan's.

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My Deep Throat in Buck House told me that the flamboyant Irish man, who passed away last year, was even closer to the queen than he was to her sister Princess Margaret and was much loved in general by the British royal family.

Let your diarist remind you that Sophie, Countess of Wessex, wife of Prince Edward, attended the funeral in Tipperary last year officially on behalf of the British royals.

In a less official capacity was Norma Smurfit, Galen and Hilary Weston, and Princess Margaret's son Lord David Linley, who all attended the funeral. My majestic mole told me at a party in London on Wednesday night that she could remember seeing Ned and Ma'am at a Cartier event in Windsor two years ago.

"It was in a roped-off VIP area and the queen was visibly enthralled by the Irish man," she says. "Indeed, at one point he was pouring the tea for her and Hilary Weston. The queen loved Ned to bits, as we all did, and there is no doubt he would have been at [the wedding]. But I suppose Ned was there in spirit."

There neither spiritually nor in corporeal form was Vince Power, the Irish man who got an honourary CBE for services to the music industry in 2006. He flew off to New York for business two days before the regal nuptials. "I won't even be watching -- it falls on my birthday," Vince, who sold his Mean Fiddler group to Denis Desmond for £38m in 2005, told me from Manhattan.

"When I was invited to the palace to accept the award from HRH, I didn't go. She never came to my festivals. And besides, when she met Eric Clapton, she said, 'Who are you?' So I don't think she would necessarily have known who I was anyway."

That other queen Caprice, who lives in London but spends a lot of time in Dublin, missed the wedding too, albeit for a wedding that is a little closer to the American supermodel's heart.

"My friend [British model] Andrea Hissom is getting married," she told me from the uber-hotel Wynn Las Vegas, "and I'm bridesmaid."

Asked to whom she is getting married, the reply -- silly me -- was multi-millionaire Las Vegas hotelier and tycoon Steve Wynn. "The wedding is at his hotel, Wynn Las Vegas."

What you might call a Wynn-Wynn situation.

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