Blonde Ambition: This year's crop of debutantes came out at the Queen Charlotte's Birthday Ball on Monday. Emma Forrest polished her social graces and cut along, only to find that she was the right age but the wrong face

The Independent photographer points to the girls he has just photographed for our cover, looks me over and says sternly, 'I'd take your jacket off before you speak to them, if I were you.'

As I'm struggling out of my brown suede overcoat with the off-white fake fur collar, Lady Cecilia Jocelyn approaches me.

'Oh, I love your jacket, my friend has one just like it.'

Lady Cecilia stands out. Most of the 28 debs are thin and busty with tumbling blonde locks and piggy noses - in fact they look disappointingly like white trash. But Lady C is elegant and serene. She's one of those blondes who look as if they were meant to be brunette - like Tuesday Weld, Ellen Barkin, Uma Thurman. She is also extremely pleasant. I suppose true aristocrats feel at ease with anyone. If you've got everything, you have no one to be jealous of. I begin to feel guilty about my scuffed black boots, which were intended as a spirited two fingers up to the establishment but which, in the light of Cecilia's friendliness, are starting to look like scuffed black boots.

'You should see us in the mornings. We troop in in our boots and jeans and we are very reluctant to take them off,' soothes Cecilia. 'I suppose we are used . . . to attract attention for charity.'

It is all for charidee, well-dressed ladies keep reminding me, like finishing school-educated Smashies and Nicies. Indeed it is - for an NHS hospital no less.

I meet reluctant deb Carina in the lavatories, who is again stupidly pretty and very friendly. She is a gamine Jean Seberg type and I tell her I love her haircut.

'Oh, thanks. They all call me helmet head.' And she toddles away clutching a packet of Silk Cut.

Down in the lobby a heavily pregnant Ulrika Jonsson is descending the staircase. 'I was supposed to walk the Channel Tunnel for the hospital, but I sustained an injury to my back.' Right. 'So I'm here instead.' Uh-huh. 'I'm here to observe. It's not something we have in Sweden.' Yup, they don't even have a class system there, the Swedes are that dull.

'Oh, look,' says the PR girl to the photographers. 'There's Sandra Dickinson]' No one looks. No one can quite remember who Sandra Dickinson is, although the fact that she is wearing a stars and stripes ballgown suggests that she is probably American.

Then the press are led away to eat from a trough, while the knobs feast on caviar. No, it's not that bad, but we do have to endure each other's company rather than that of the ravishing debs. Those of us who aren't deeply dull are deeply juvenile.

I and the man from another paper lean over the railings as the debs line up on the staircase. 'She's quite attractive.' He points at a blonde Julia Roberts type. There is a woman at a table below us wearing a plunging strapless dress. She has, quite simply, The Cleavage That Ate Cleveland. As the debs descend the staircase, the man from another paper is shouting, 'I can't get over her tits]' This doesn't calm the nerves of Miss Claudia Van Der Werff, who mimes vomiting into the dress of the girl in front of her.

Countess Bianca Vidaeff will later tell me that where you stand in the queue depends on who you know. Bianca is wearing a dress by Vivienne Westwood and a huge hairpiece of blonde and brown intertwined dreadlocks (bad enough on white people, let alone rich white people). Bianca is going to study Equine Science at Warwickshire College of Agriculture. Her right eye flicks closed as she talks, like Prunella Scales. I think she is pissed, but she might just be posh. 'There has been sniping backstage. I'm not trying to outdo anyone. I'm just trying to make a change,' she pipes, patting her hairpiece. Then she goes off to snog her boyfriend for the cameras.

The undoubted belle of the Ball is special guest, Valerie Campbell, who not only looks about 12 years old, but manages to make her daughter, Naomi, look fat and ugly. Consciously or not, she also does her best to refute the debs' claims that they are just normal teenagers. 'A lot of these girls have been away at boarding school and it's a good way of entering back into society,' she nods, approvingly.

After the procession down the staircase, the debs dance a Viennese waltz with their spotty counterparts. Lady Cecilia glides off the dance floor to meet me. 'Nicky. It is Nicky, isn't it?' Damn. Why isn't my name Nicky? She apologises in case she said anything wrong to me earlier and takes off her white satin pumps to show me the rings on her toes. By now, the debs' parents are dancing to a big band playing 'Love Is All Around' and I decide it's time to leave.

The last thing I hear is Mrs Bunty Lewis congratulating the chef who took six months creating the Queen Charlotte's birthday cake. 'A round of applause for the cake, as it moves away from the dance floor.' The cake moved beautifully.

This year's crop of debutantes came out at the Queen Charlotte's Birthday Ball on Monday. Emma Forrest polished her social graces and cut along, only to find that she was the right age but the wrong face

(Photographs omitted)

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch is reported to be in final negotiations to play Doctor Strange for Marvel although the casting has not yet been confirmed
film
Arts and Entertainment
Alloysious Massaquoi, 'G' Hastings and Kayus Bankole of Young Fathers are the surprise winners of this year's Mercury Music Prize
musicThe surprise winners of the Mercury Prize – and a very brief acceptance speech
Arts and Entertainment
TV Presenters Ant McPartlin and Dec Donnelly. Winners of the 'Entertainment Programme' award for 'Ant and Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway'
musicAnt and Dec confirmed as hosts of next year's Brit Awards
Arts and Entertainment
Orson Welles made Citizen Kane at 25, and battled with Hollywood film studios thereafter
film
News
video
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    English Teacher

    £100 - £125 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: English Teacher - Saffron ...

    Primary Supply Teacher - Northants

    £90 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Leicester: Primary School Supply Teache...

    Maths Teacher

    £21000 - £35000 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Maths Teacher - Saffro...

    Chemistry Teacher - Top School in Malaysia - January Start

    £18000 - £20400 per annum + Accommodation, Flights, Medical Cover: Randstad Ed...

    Day In a Page

    Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default

    A Syrian general speaks

    A senior officer of Bashar al-Assad’s regime talks to Robert Fisk about his army’s brutal struggle with Isis, in a dirty war whose challenges include widespread atrocities
    ‘A bit of a shock...’ Cambridge economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

    ‘A bit of a shock...’ Economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

    Guy Scott's predecessor, Michael Sata, died in a London hospital this week after a lengthy illness
    Fall of the Berlin Wall: History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War

    Fall of the Berlin Wall

    History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War
    How to turn your mobile phone into easy money

    Turn your mobile phone into easy money

    There are 90 million unused mobiles in the UK, which would be worth £7bn if we cashed them in, says David Crookes
    Independent writers remember their Saturday jobs:

    Independent writers remember their Saturday jobs

    "I have never regarded anything I have done in "the media" as a proper job"
    Lyricist Richard Thomas shares his 11-step recipe for creating a hit West End musical

    11-step recipe for creating a West End hit

    Richard Thomas, the lyricist behind the Jerry Springer and Anna Nicole Smith operas, explains how Bob Dylan, 'Breaking Bad' and even Noam Chomsky inspired his songbook for the new musical 'Made in Dagenham'
    Tonke Dragt's The Letter for the King has finally been translated into English ... 50 years on

    Buried treasure: The Letter for the King

    The coming-of-age tale about a boy and his mission to save a mythical kingdom has sold a million copies since it was written by an eccentric Dutchwoman in 1962. Yet until last year, no one had read it in English
    Can instilling a sense of entrepreneurship in pupils have a positive effect on their learning?

    The school that means business

    Richard Garner heads to Lancashire, where developing the 'dragons' of the future is also helping one community academy to achieve its educational goals
    10 best tablets

    The world in your pocket: 10 best tablets

    They’re thin, they’re light, you can use them for work on the move or keeping entertained
    Lutz Pfannenstiel: The goalkeeper who gave up Bayern Munich for the Crazy Gang, Bradford and a whirlwind trawl across continents

    Lutz Pfannenstiel interview

    The goalkeeper who gave up Bayern Munich for the Crazy Gang, Bradford and a whirlwind trawl across continents
    Pete Jenson: Popular Jürgen Klopp can reignite Borussia Dortmund’s season with visit to Bayern Munich

    Pete Jenson's a Different League

    Popular Klopp can reignite Dortmund’s season with visit to Bayern
    John Cantlie video proves that Isis expects victory in Kobani

    Cantlie video proves that Isis expects victory in Kobani

    The use of the British hostage demonstrates once again the militants' skill and originality in conducting a propaganda war, says Patrick Cockburn
    The killer instinct: The man who helps students spot potential murderers

    The killer instinct

    Phil Chalmers travels the US warning students how to spot possible future murderers, but can his contentious methods really stop the bloodshed?
    Clothing the gap: A new exhibition celebrates women who stood apart from the fashion herd

    Clothing the gap

    A new exhibition celebrates women who stood apart from the fashion herd
    Fall of the Berlin Wall: Goodbye to all that - the lost world beyond the Iron Curtain

    The Fall of the Berlin Wall

    Goodbye to all that - the lost world beyond the Iron Curtain