Charmed life

Par­ty­ing for a good cause at Sir El­ton John’s es­tate

The Daily Telegraph - Telegraph Magazine - - Contents -

‘SHUT THE F— UP you lot!’ It’s not quite the greet­ing you ex­pect in the English coun­try­side as a galaxy of A-lis­ters look on, but it was the bril­liantly forth­right in­struc­tion from Sir El­ton John to the guests at his Wind­sor es­tate. His hus­band, David Fur­nish, was speak­ing on stage about the plight of Aids vic­tims. And when Sir El­ton tells you to pay at­ten­tion, not a su­per­star in sight – from Vic­to­ria Beck­ham to Bil­lie Jean King – dare ar­gue.

They were at the cou­ple’s sprawl­ing manor to mark the sil­ver an­niver­sary of the El­ton John AIDS Foun­da­tion in as­so­ci­a­tion with Bul­gari and phi­lan­thropists Bob and Ta­mar Manoukian. And the set­ting of the Ar­gento Ball was a ver­i­ta­ble mid­sum­mer night’s dream. A ‘red car­pet’ de­pict­ing mile­stones in the char­ity’s his­tory swept guests into the grounds, where Sir El­ton and Fur­nish bid sons Eli­jah, five, and Zachary, seven, a good night be­fore the party got un­der­way.

As Gra­ham Nor­ton com­pèred over din­ner, the auc­tion be­gan. Sir El­ton made a speech, pay­ing trib­ute to his friend Diana, Princess of Wales. Bur­rata and as­para­gus were served while a sea of hands com­peted to out­bid each other; when busi­ness­man Richard Car­ing won a break­fast with Vic­to­ria Beck­ham for £75,000, the typ­i­cally wry VB joked, ‘Are you bid­ding for me not to sing?’

Af­ter lots in­clud­ing a fid­get spin­ner cre­ated by Sir El­ton us­ing Bul­gari jewels, a Mclaren Spi­der and Jeff Koons art­works were snapped up, Ed Sheeran hit the stage. Guests tip­toed through the moon­lit garden to the dance area, wait­ers bear­ing espresso mar­ti­nis lin­ing the way. Be­side the vin­tage train car­riage that acted as the back­drop to the bar, Ni­cole Scherzinge­r, Taron Eger­ton and El­iz­a­beth Hur­ley got into the groove to vin­tage Madonna and Whit­ney Hous­ton, and the Gucci-clad power cou­ple did the rounds thank­ing guests for rais­ing a stag­ger­ing £4.4 mil­lion to help peo­ple liv­ing with Aids. A night that no one will for­get, and a life­line that the many it will help won’t ei­ther. To do­nate, go to ejaf.org.

Sir El­ton John, in Gucci and Bul­gari, with Vic­to­ria Beck­ham

Din­ner was served in the grounds of the es­tate, which has a di­rect path to Wind­sor Cas­tle

Singer Ni­cole Scherzinge­r in Bul­gari

Gra­ham Nor­ton

El­iz­a­beth Hur­ley

Ten­nis leg­end Bil­lie Jean King and part­ner Ilana Kloss

Ac­tor Tom El­lis

So­cialite Heather Kerzner

Ac­tor Taron Eger­ton with his girl­friend, Emily Thomas

Tracey Emin

Ed Sheeran per­forms in foot­ball kit and a Bul­gari watch

Singer Alexan­dra Burke in Bul­gari

Pro­ducer David Fur­nish

Artist Ma­rina Abramovic and ten­nis player Maria Shara­pova

Pro­ducer and di­rec­tor Trudie Styler

Brook­lyn Beck­ham

Ac­tor Russell Tovey

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