There are few places that can do opulence quite like the Palazzo Versace, with the Gold Coast retreat stunning guests at last week’s Royal Afternoon Tea. Fit for a queen, the luxurious afternoon marked the 20th anniversary of Princess Diana’s passing, with Celebrations by Alysia and Emrajo Linen welcoming Paul Burrell, former butler of the late Princess of Wales, to share an insight into the beloved royal’s life.
Some of the wedding and event industry’s finest were on hand to style the event, with a colour scheme of purple, gold and red exuding elegance and glamour. Guests were seated at lengthy dining tables covered in gold cloth and decorated by a series of sumptuous floral arrangements.
In a homage to one of 2017’s most loved wedding trends, centrepieces of crimson, mauve and fuchsia roses, carnations and orchids lined every second table, with each bouquet suspending a series of tulips from below.
Guests were treated to a delicious dining experience and a series of incredible stories courtesy of Burrell, with the former butler revealing never heard before details regarding the royal family.
Affectionately known as Diana’s ‘rock’, Burrell became butler to the Queen when he turned 18, before working for Diana until her shocking death in 1997. He claimed that Diana described him as ‘the only man she ever trusted’ and relied upon him to teach her the ways of British royalty.
“I watched this woman transform into the most beautiful woman in the world,” he told guests, before revealing it was he who choose the iconic black dress and pearl choker Diana wore to Serpentine Gallery’s summer soiree in 1994.
He went on to say that Diana needed him, with the former employee revealing he snuck Dodie Fayad into her home for two years and that the princess was afraid of the dark.
While he admitted her wedding “wasn’t a fairy tale”, it was the proudest day of his life, despite rumoured drama caused by an appearance of the now Duchess of Cornwall.
“Did you watch me looking from side to side? I was looking for her (Camilla) – I knew she would be there.”
The reality TV star was charged with theft of Diana’s possessions in 2002, with the former butler admitting that the Queen had intervened with the court proceedings and forced all charges to be dropped.
He also championed the Princess of Wales as an advocate for gay marriage, citing that she was well before her time and believed “love is love”. Burrell and his wife of 32 years filed for divorce in 2016, with the royal confidant marrying his male partner in April 2017.
But the predictions didn’t stop there, with Burrell claiming that Prince Harry and his girlfriend Meghan Markle were likely to marry next year and that William and Kate would have two more children.
He also disclosed that he hasn’t spoken to either of the princes in the last 20 years, telling The Daily Telegraph that the pair were ‘pulled away into the Royal world’.
Before mingling with guests, Burell gave attendees a lesson in etiquette and entertaining, relaying the techniques he used when working in the Palace. Invitees were immersed in the world of British hospitality as they learned the finer points of royal geniality.
Definitely an afternoon fit for a queen!
Proceeds from the events go to Youngcare, which supports young people who need high care and would otherwise be confined to aged care homes.
Versace Royal High Tea Amazing Team of talents:
Co-Host/chair covers @emrajolinen
Flowers and floral support @thebellabloomco
Oasis #oasis floral
Linen and Stands @eventsbynadia
Ice Sculpture #ice art
Mirrored Names @personlaised_favous
Lighting and Draping @avideas_
Backdrop and Lounges @styledeventsqld
Chocolates Domes @cocouturechocolatesau
VIP Gift @laquar
Mirror Photo Booth @euphoriabooth
Entertainment @sarahbrowneofficial @nikconomos
Article written by Alison Donnellan