Londoner's Diary: K&C’s deputy Rock Feilding-Mellen avoids bash at his family estate

KENSINGTON and Chelsea council’s Rock Feilding-Mellen has made one correct call since the Grenfell Tower fire. He decided not to head to his family home, Stanway House in Gloucestershire, for a wild weekend of partying with the aristo-boho set.

Feilding-Mellen is deputy leader of the council and cabinet member for housing, property and regeneration, with a brief covering the Grenfell Tower but he’s also part of a social set a world apart.

This weekend was the 30th birthday of his step-sister Mary Charteris, model and member of the band The Big Pink with her husband Robbie Furze, held at Stanway.

Party time: birthday girl Mary Charteris and friends. @georgianahuddart

He had been expected to go home at the weekend to party but, after Wednesday, he told his friends that is just wouldn’t be right. One friend tells us he was “shattered” by what happened.

It would have made “bad optics”, as they say, had Rocky been seen knocking back champagne with his family and friends. Those who did go to Mary’s party included Cara Delevingne, actor Jaime Winstone and aristos including Scarlett Spencer-Churchill.

A dawn walk, with Cara Delevingne in yellow. @felixradford

There is a video online of Cara driving to Gloucestershire in a Range Rover. Pictures of the all-night garden party appeared on Instagram this weekend.

The morning after. @jonte0

Rocky’s mother Amanda is married to James Charteris, the Earl of Wemyss and March. Mary is the daughter of James from his first marriage to Catherine Guinness. Stanway is the family house, set in 5,000 acres with a 300ft single jet fountain, the tallest gravity fountain in the world.

A rather different sort of estate to those in North Kensington.


Gove’s Times column MIA since April

SO FAREWELL, then, to Michael Gove’s Times column. It hasn’t been seen since April, when he took a little break for the snap election. “Maybe I’m old-fashioned. A sad relic rooted in the past. Woefully and irretrievably out of touch,” he began one early column. Times readers will surely miss his spot-on observations. It is unlikely that May would let Gove continue to pontificate from the altar of The Times. Boris wasn’t from The Telegraph. And how will the Gove family survive with the £150,000-a-year hit to their finances? Lucky there’s always his wife Sarah Vine’s Daily Mail column to fall back on.


Quote of the day: “My strong feeling is the last thing the electorate wants is more political shenanigans”

As opined to Radio 4’s Today programme by Boris Johnson, minister for political shenanigans.


Giant steps forward on the Côte d’Azur

(Dave Benett/Getty Images for Clu)

Dancing shoes were on at Yacht Club de Monaco, where Club Eclectique founders Anna Nasobina and Julia Polivoda held a charity evening in honour of ballet legend Rudolf Nureyev. Russian prima-ballerina Maria Alexandrova performed in a play about dancers to an audience including Sophie Ellis-Bextor and her husband Richard Jones, Yasmin Mills and her chef boyfriend Justin Horne, designer Julien Macdonald and party queen Jo Wood. Singer Camilla Kerslake sang and actress Camilla Rutherford strutted the decks. But who wants to be on a yacht on the Med anyway?


David Davis in Brussels as Brexit negotiations start today

David Davis’s personal army was briefing furiously over the weekend, ensuring the Sunday papers were riddled with talk tipping him as Tory leader before Brexit meetings in Brussels. But is Prime Minister Davis really likely? Talk from the Tory machine’s rank-and-file is of a very different candidate: MP staffers all keep tipping Rishi Sunak, MP for Richmond, William Hague’s old seat. Aged only 37, with a background of Winchester College, Oxford and Stanford, is the one to watch.


Tate praise for fire victim

Maria Balshaw, the Tate's new director

Last week, London lost promising young artist Khadija Saye, who died in the Grenfell fire aged just 24. The Sunday Times art critic Waldemar Januszczak tweeted Maria Balshaw, pictured right, new director of the Tate last week, to suggest Saye’s work was hung in their space.

Balshaw has replied. “Our thoughts are with everyone who knew her,” she wrote on Saturday. “We will be marking her creativity by showing one of her works at Tate Britain next week.” The young artist was a friend of MP David Lammy and his wife Nicola Green, who have paid tribute to her talent.

Writing this week in The Sunday Times, Januszczak said he had never met Saye but had been impressed by the quality of her work, shown in the Diaspora exhibition as part of this year’s Venice Biennale. Her exhibition “Dwelling: in this space we breathe” is a series of wet plate collodion tintypes — photographs of women in Gambian dress.


Tweet of the day: "“Brexit negotiations today. Some light relief.”

Literary agent Jonny Geller on the irony of today.


Gilmour shows a lil’ more in Sussex

@charliegilmour_insta for the uncropped version

CHARLIE Gilmour got up close and personal with nature this weekend — so personal that propriety begs a polite crop. While Londoners’ best option was a dip in the ponds on Hampstead Heath, the son of Pink Floyd guitarist David Gilmour slipped into more rural waters for a skinny dip. “#VisitSussex,” he teased.


A screenshot from the European Commission's video

Show-off of the day: the European Commission released a slick video montage for the start of Brexit negotiations, with English text. Nothing so grand from David Davis’s team, but no video is better than a bad video.

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