And then came the news about the auction. There I was, coming home from an emotionally draining tour of photo-opportunities, and the news was waiting for me on the answering machine. Christie's have pulled out. Seems they've had a schedule clash, and some other world-class celebrity's dress collection is going on sale. Or that's their story. I see it as further proof that The Firm is out to get me. The Worldwide Fund for Self-Promotion will be deprived of tens of pounds, and I am left with a pile of binliners clogging my hallway. My self-esteem is at an all-time low. I might have to retire from public life altogether.
This is always the problem, of course, if you're a survivor like I am: you have a brilliant idea, and somebody else comes along and steals it. It occurred to me days ago that the solution to my ever-shrinking cupboard space would be to donate some of the contents to charity, with photographs of me wearing them to prove their authenticity. I have, of course, had dozens of approaches in the past from American organisations asking for items of my apparel for sale, but it seemed more fitting, more dignified, to offload them all at once with the maximum publicity. I have spent literally minutes deciding which of the contents of my wardrobe would be most productive in providing opportunities to reopen discussion of my public moments of suffering. And now all that effort will be wasted.
It's a terrible tragedy, and makes us see just how lucky we are in the West. I have decided, despite this obvious conspiracy by my enemies, and because, in fact, I'm here to stay, to press ahead privately with the sale, and enclose below a list of the items available. Prices are not reserves, but estimates.
Lot 1: Oversized woollen jersey, fluffy bunny rabbit motif. Good for hiding behind trees in, but there were three of them in the wardrobe, and it was a bit crowded.
Lot 2: Katherine Hewitt "power" suit with matching veiled pillbox. Powder blue, with toning designer slogan T-shirt reading "strong woman". Originally thigh-length, but very let down.
Lot 3: Shalwar Kameez, two dozen, silk, from department store in Knightsbridge. Excellent apparel for non-political hospital visits in hot countries.
Lot 4: One personally endorsed copy of For Love Alone by Ivana Trump, hardbacked, dust-jacket missing. An inspiring tale of love, betrayal and survival. Essential reading for any woman who wishes to carve out a career based on her own achievements. (Remaindered at pounds 4.99.)
Lot 5: One cream veil, extra-long, once used, slightly dusty.
Lot 6: One pair jodhpurs. Yes, I adored them, yes, I was in love with them. But then I saw myself walking away in a full-length mirror and realised they made me look, well, squidgy.
Lot 7: One box Kleenex, partly used; some of contents crumpled from being pushed under bathroom door. (Priceless.)
Lot 8: Pumps, flat. Currently surplus to requirements.
Lot 9: Black satin ball-dress, puffed sleeves, low cleavage, full skirt. As seen exiting car at the Hairdryers for Somalia Ball, 1987. (Bids by invitation only.)
Lot 10: White silk ball-dress with matching bolero jacket, embroidered with bugle beads, slashed to the thigh. As seen exiting car at the Deprived Children's Tap and Ballet Gala, Royal Opera House, 1988. (pounds 500 stalls, pounds 800 dress circle.)
Lot 11: Blue one-sleeve ball-dress, matching tiara. As seen exiting car at the Hollywood Loves the Homeless Gala Dinner Dance and charity hoedown, 1989. ($10,000 a plate.)
Lot 12: Diamond and sapphire brooch depicting a lion and a unicorn trenchant, locked in battle over a stylised crown. Crown slightly wobbly. Latin inscription reads "Mishcon Vincit Omnia". (pounds 15m.)
Lot 13: Selection of cosmetics. Includes pearlised white eyeshadow, with instructions for enlarging appearance of wounded fawnlike eyes.
Lot 14: Halo, tarnished; questionable restoration donated by mine clearance organisation, 1997. Comes with narrow-cut, crop-leg trousers and shatterproof visor.
Lot 15: Diamond pendant, in shape of heart, detail of ruby droplets. Most effective when worn on sleeve.
Lot 16: Tutu, tear-stained.
If anyone can find it in their hearts to give just a little for any of these items, closed bids will be accepted until the end of the week. Please remember, what may seem a lot to you could make all the difference to keeping me on the front page. It has been a difficult year for me, but I take great comfort when I think how much more difficult it is for other people. Anyway, must get on. I've got a couple of maids to fall out with before I meet the girls at San Lorenzo.Reuse content