Friday 15 December 2017

Mary Kenny: The etiquette of affluence

Advice dispensed to toffs gives a glimpse of how the other half lives

Mary Kenny, writer and author. Photo: Tony Gavin
Mary Kenny, writer and author. Photo: Tony Gavin
Mary Kenny

Mary Kenny

What should you wear if invited to go shooting game in Scotland? Should a host give a tour of his stately home before sitting guests down to dinner? How much should one tip the servants after spending a weekend with friends in the country? I don't know anyone who is much disturbed by these questions, but the world of toffs is filled with anxious sorts who turn to Sir David Tang for nervous guidance on social matters and his advice has become renowned.

Sir David is a wealthy and stylish Hong Kong businessman and philosopher who dispenses advice to the pampered clientele of the Financial Times and an unrivalled network of global celebrities. His book of advice, Rules for Modern Life, has been endorsed by Sir Michael Caine, Sir Mick Jagger, the Duke of Marlborough, Joanna Lumley, Naomi Campbell and Stephen Fry, among others.

Perhaps in eras of shifting values, there are always new rules of etiquette and someone has to set the standard. And it does lift the curtain on how the other half lives.

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