Blog 54 - Racing Drivers



My scarf today by Emanuel Ungaro echoes the chequered flag of the racing circuit. That’s quite different from yesterday’s cornbread, yet there is a connection.



I am constantly surprised by the coincidences that occur in life. The reason I recognised the hippy musician of noble birth in yesterday’s blog was the unusual name of Lascelles.  Through my husband’s interest in motor racing, probably from his boyhood admiration of an uncle who raced old Bentleys, he joined the British Racing Drivers Club. The President at the time of my story was Gerald Lascelles, the brother of the Earl of Harewood, father of the man in yesterday’s story. The elder brother George loved classical music, his younger brother Gerald jazz.....as well as motor racing.



I can’t say I was as keen a supporter as my husband on Le Mans and Grand Prix racing, but I enjoyed Monaco, occasionally Silverstone and of course the social side. I loved the occasional BRDC fundraiser dinner or ball and it was way back in the Sixties that I met Graham and Bette Hill. It was a short-lived acquaintance with Graham as he was tragically killed piloting his team back from France in his own plane. He was driving for Lotus then. I was to meet up with Bette some twenty years later.



But what of Gerald Lascelles?



After one of these BRCD evenings in the Windsor area, we all went back to Gerald’s home, Fort Belvedere for drinks. As I looked round a somewhat faded room, not very grand, I wondered about the day when Edward the Seventh, our monarch, renounced the throne from that very room. What had it been like when it was the love nest of him and Wallis Simpson? Was I sitting in his chair from which he gave up so much for the woman he loved? I will never know. The house remains part of the Crown Estate but is now home to private tenants, probably from the Middle East.



Many years later when I returned to UK from living overseas, I took up golf and joined White Lodge Golf Club, playing in Richmond Park. Bette Hill joined after me and we became good friends. I remember she was very particular about the spelling of her name. We lost contact a bit when she left the club and I joined another. When my husband was Master of his Livery Company, we invited her to be our guest of honour. It was the year following her son Damon’s success as Formula 1 World Champion. She was very proud to be both wife and mother of world champions. I found only this week the photo of us together at that Livery Dinner and realised I had not kept up with change of addresses. I learned last night she had died in 2017. Somehow, it made me feel sad that I had reduced my Christmas card list and relied on emailing my festive good wishes and annual story.



I hope it will not be too long before I can watch Grand Prix racing on TV again from the comfort of my sofa.  I’ll wear the chequered scarf in their memory.



Tomorrow, I shall choose a jolly coloured scarf and be less sentimental!



Busy Bee, Scarf Face!

Blog 54.

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