The Duke and Duchess of Norfolk are pure A-list, appearing in Tatler’s Top Ten Most Invited. But the hottest events of the summer are held at their own home at Arundel Castle as part of the town’s celebrated festival, as the Duchess of Norfolk reveals to Ian Trevett
Nestling directly above Ben and Kate Goldsmith, Keira Knightly and Elle Macpherson, at eighth place in Tatler’s Hot 100 are the parents of five children, who have established themselves as one of the friendliest and most popular couples an the A-List Circuit. The Duke and Duchess of Norfolk may not be as instantly recognisable as many of the big-name celebrities on the 2006 list, but according to Tatler, they are one of the couples that are on every guest list. "Cosy up to the country’s top catholic twosome," proclaims the society bible. "They’re a breath of modernity in the 1,000-year-old castle, Arundel."
They may be one of the ‘most invited’ but its difficult to imagine how the Duke and Duchess have time to accept many invitations. As well as looking after the magnificent castle, attending to the myriad of charity commitments, and organising the headline events for the recent Arundel Festival, there is a small matter of raising five children, whose ages range from 19-year-old Henry, down to ten-year-old Philip. However, the Duchess was still able to make time to invite me into the family wing of the castle to chat about the festival, the incredible and often deadly-dangerous family history and their life in the castle.
It is easy to see why the Duke and Duchess are such popular company. Despite the splendour of the surroundings, the welcome is warm and relaxed. Dressed casually in jeans and an elegantly frilled shirt and cardigan, the Duchess immediately dispenses with rules of etiquette and asks to be called Georgina, rather than the formal ‘Your Grace’. So laid back is Georgina, that the first time we met at a festival launch, I chatted easily with her, totally unaware of her title. The Duke (or Eddie) is just as approachable.