Monday, August 31, 2015

Remembering Princess Diana, and a mutual friend

Just like the rest of the world, I absolutely adored Princess Diana.
And just like the rest of the world, I remember what I was doing the night of that awful news bulletin.

13 years earlier I was fortunate enough to catch a glimpse of her when I was living outside of London. She was pregnant with Prince Harry and I was pregnant with my daughter. Both of us were mere weeks from delivery. Me, in a tiny hospital 3 hours outside of London. Diana, of course, in the Royal Hospital. That's where the similarities stopped -until many years later when I would become friends with her former Chief of Staff, Patrick Jephson.

Patrick's wife Mary Jo (a very interesting woman in her own right) was a mutual friend of my husband's business partner. It just so happened that I was the chair for an upcoming event with my Capital Speakers Club. This was my second year of chairing this event. The year before I'd hosted designer/tastemaker Carolyne Roehm, so the pressure was on to equal that.

Well, who better to follow up with than Princess Diana's equerry?

Next thing I know, Patrick agreed to be the guest speaker and highlight his service and time with the Princess.
We had planning meetings many times over the course of the next few months leading up to the event.  People always ask me if I have any 'inside scoop' on Princess Diana, and the answer is no. When I first met Patrick, I was too paranoid to ask him anything at all about the late princess. I didn't want him to think I wanted to be friends with him just to find out about her. And second of all? Once I got to know him I simply forgot. He and his wife, Mary Jo are so incredibly interesting I found myself mesmerized by the things they were doing with their life and that's really all I wanted to hear about. (Mary Jo, who incidentally used to work for 2 US Presidents and the Queen of England, is absent from the picture above because she, herself was a guest at Buckingham Palace that night.)
On this night, the 18th anniversary of the Princess' death, I know he feels this loss.
I haven't talked with him since leaving the DC area over a year ago.
It's moments like this that remind you just how short life is. 
I think I'll not let another day pass to send him a note and tell him how much I appreciate him.
Til next time,

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