Captain Moonlight's Notebook: And one for Raine's mum

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The Independent Online
STANDING beneath a portrait of Mahatma Gandhi half-naked in his dhoti, Dame Barbara Cartland (left), aged 92, looked distinctly overdressed. She was in ostrich feathers and pearls.

She was giving her blessing to a new line in toiletries from the Himalayas with the unmodish title of Flower Power. This self-proclaimed Romantic Novelist of the World is certainly not a woman I would associate with the Sixties ethos of sexual equality and letting it all hang out, but there you are.

She was telling an Indian woman that 'feminists have to get it into their silly fat heads that men are superior. Men are the providers, so you make a fuss of them. If women try to behave like men, their husbands will go to bed with their secretaries.'

She was very pleased her daughter Raine, the dowager Countess Spencer, 63, had found another husband because it was not safe for a girl out there by herself. She knows about these things. After all, 57 men had proposed marriage to her. The latest, she revealed, was the Russian ambassador in London, Boris Pankin (right), an old Communist and the last foreign minister of the former Soviet Union.

It was a gallant gesture. She had boasted that 56 men had asked for her hand. He asked if he could be the 57th. Did he tell his wife and family?

(Photograph omitted)