Journalist and first lady of Cliveden Natalie Livingstone on doggy bodyguards, a box for swots and her Grace Kelly dress
with first lady of Cliveden Nataliet Loinveings
My daughters Grace , Alice [ten] and Elizabeth Rose [one] gave me this necklace, inscribed with their initials, for my 40th birthday. They’re my everything and continually inspire me to be a good role model. This watch was a wedding gift from my grandfather to my grandmother in 1945 when they married in Budapest, shortly after the end of the Second World War. It’s a testament to their existence. As Holocaust and prisoner-of-war survivors, it’s a miracle they went on to have my mother and uncle. This Nancy Astor portrait, by John Singer Sargent, hangs in the Great Hall at Cliveden [the Berkshire stately home owned by Nancy and her husband Waldorf Astor, bought by Natalie’s property developer husband Ian in 2012]. She was a real trailblazer – the first female MP and the founder of a renowned literary salon. I love everything by Stella McCartney, particularly the cut, comfort and glamour of this dress, which makes me feel like Grace Kelly when I wear it on special occasions. Wearing Stella is very empowering. My parents gave me this ceramic box when I graduated from Christ’s College Cambridge. I had dreamt of going to Cambridge since I was 13. I was a real swot and obsessed with books. To me, it seemed like a magical place to study. My friend Laura had these little shoes made with Elizabeth’s initials when she was born. They’re the embodiment of her baby deliciousness. I’ll never part with them. Our six-year-old cavapoo Tolstoy has a big name for a small dog. He’s so sweet with the baby – he’s like her bodyguard. My mother gave me this figurine, a gift to my parents from my grandfather, to sit on my desk at school when I was 14. My mother is a very clever lady who inspired my love of reading.
The Cliveden Literary Festival will run on 14-15 October. Tickets are available online from clivedenliteraryfestival.org. Visit clivedenhouse.co.uk