Publicity-shy guests must brave cameras at Beckham party

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Robbie Williams is providing the entertainment, Gordon Ramsay has created the menu and Graham Norton is hosting the auction.

David and Victoria Beckham's pre-World Cup party is the ultimate celebrity bash. But in a move that may put off some publicity-shy guests, the Beckhams have sold TV rights to the event to ITV1 - after the invitations had been sent out.

On Sunday night, the Beckhams will host 500 guests in the grounds of their Hertfordshire home for a celebration believed to have cost at least £500,000.

Of those, only 350 will sit down to a five-course meal courtesy of Ramsay. The others have been invited to the reception beforehand, or to the after-dinner party.

After dinner, they will take part in a charity auction, hosted by Norton, where lots include a £1m necklace, designed by Mrs Beckham in conjunction with the jewellers Asprey.

Sarah Ferguson and her daughter Beatrice, Ewan McGregor, Elle Macpherson, Sharon and Ozzy Osbourne, Rebekah Wade and Ross Kemp and the former Spice Girls Melanie Chisholm and Emma Bunton will join the England squad in getting out their chequebooks. Proceeds from the party will go to Unicef, the Prince's Trust and the Beckhams' own children's charity.

Wayne Rooney and Coleen McLoughlin are attending, along with the England team's new wonder boy Theo Walcott and his girlfriend Melanie Slade. But Sven Goran Eriksson will not be present.

Prince Charles and Camilla were invited, but declined as they have a party to mark 30 years of the Prince's Trust the previous evening. Other notable no-shows include Sir Elton John, his partner David Furnish and Liz Hurley, who have prior engagements in Cannes, and Tom Cruise.

The Full Length and Fabulous-themed party will be filmed and broadcast on ITV1 a week on Sunday. But a spokeswoman for the Beckhams denied that the presence of the cameras had deterred prospective guests. "The RSVP is purely a return card, so unless people had specifically told David and Victoria, we wouldn't know," she said.

"Everybody who's coming has been spoken to by the people organising the party and have said 'Do you prefer not to be on camera?' and some people have taken that opportunity. It's not a case of if they're there, they'll be on TV."

In "exclusive, behind-the-scenes footage", television cameras have followed Mrs Beckham as she attended meetings with the party planner, florists, jewellers and dress designers. She is still deciding whether to wear a frock by Roberto Cavalli or one of two vintage dresses she has had altered for the occasion.

The marquee is an enormous 50 by 25 metres. There will be a Spanish theme to the décor, inspired by Mrs Beckham's love of Madrid, but the menu is a fusion of British, French and Italian: chilled tomato consommé with basil and mozzarella to start, followed by carpaccio and seared tuna with marinated mouli and soy vinaigrette. For the main course, Label Anglaise chicken, boulangère potatoes, garden peas, broad beans, courgettes and a thyme velouté. Pudding is a peanut butter parfait with cherry compote, followed by coffee with salted caramel chocolates and rose Turkish Delight.

The soul legend James Brown will also perform at the party alongside Williams, who has promised to treat guests to a rendition of his hit Angel.

The highlight of the evening will be the charity auction. As well as the £1m Asprey necklace, bids include a Bentley - one of only ten of that model in Europe - a limited edition Harley Davidson, a very "bling" million-dollar diamond and ruby encrusted watch.