Can't Believe Our Eyes
The fabulous 80th summer of Lynn Wyatt, dining with Prince Charles, birthdaying with Elton John
Summer for Lynn Wyatt has always been a glorious time — jaunts through Europe, sublime birthday parties at her summer home on the French Riviera, bunking with Elton John, etc. But this July as Houston's grande dame turned an unbelievable 80, her social calendar soared to even greater heights.
Dinner with Prince Charles, a birthday dinner for 20 hosted by Elton,houseguesting with the Earl and Countess of Carnarvon at Highclere Castle (aka Downton Abbey) and more filled her dance card for two weeks of stratospheric hobnobbing.
"He was so adorable," Lynn cooed over Prince Charles, who was her table host at a Prince of Wales Foundation dinner at Windsor Castle. (She had enjoyed his company at a private dinner party in Washington D.C. only two months before.) The foundation was celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo, making this evening particularly momentous.
Before settling in London, Lynn spent several days at Highclere, where the Carnarvons entertained a tony house party of seven night and day. "I'm just crazy about her," Lynn said of Lady Carnarvon, who "cuts her own flowers, decorates her own tables and she's a writer."
The hosts arranged for their guests to visit a quaint country fair, attend a cricket match and savor an outdoor luncheon complete with fancy umbrellas and formal table settings on the grounds of the five-acre estate. Lynn says that the castle is so immense that every luncheon and dinner was held in a different dining room.
And as an international A-lister and philanthropist, she was invited to present a talk to the Oxford Guild — as in Oxford University.
As they are BFFs, Lynn has an open-ended invitation to visit Elton and David Furnish at their country estate near Windsor and this summer they hosted a birthday party for her with 20 of her nearest and dearest in Europe. With a special dessert of pecan pie and ice cream in her honor and a surprise chocolate birthday cake with candles, Lynn says "It was just the most memorable thing. Friends and family are the most important thing."
Those whirlwind two weeks included prime seating at Ascot as guest of Lord and Lady Mansfield in the Queen Elizabeth suite, equally prime seating for High Society at the Old Vic Theatre with London's uber philanthropistVivien Duffield and an elegant Sunday lunch with Jacob Rothschild and friends. And as an international A-lister and philanthropist, she was invited to present a talk to the Oxford Guild — as in Oxford University. Her topic: "Giving Back: How Philanthropy Touches One's Soul."
Lynn celebrated her actual birthday, July 18, with three of her four sons in New Orleans, where they bunked at the Windsor Court and had what she describes as a less than memorable dinner at Antoine's.
But the celebrating goes on. When Susie and Sanford Criner return from their summer home in Maine, Sanford will once again host his annual "Lynn's Boyfriend Lunch" in honor of her birthday. In early September, she heads to Monaco for the grand Red Cross Ball, this year chaired by Prince Albert and Princess Charlene. Lynn chaired that event several decades ago and will enjoy this as a another birthday sojourn. In October, Lynn chairs the Museum of Fine Arts Houston Grand Gala Ball, yet another form of celebrating Houston's leading lady. That according to MFAH director Gary Tinterow.
As Lynn says, "This is too big a birthday. I'm just going to celebrate it all year long."
"What fun," we say. "Yes," she responds. "'Fun' is my middle name."