Jour­nal­ist and first lady of Clive­den Natalie Liv­ing­stone on doggy body­guards, a box for swots and her Grace Kelly dress

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with first lady of Clive­den Natal­iet Loin­ve­ings

My daugh­ters Grace [13], 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

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