A photo taken by my father in 1963 — the young Comtesse Brigitte d’Aramon standing in the dunes at the Warren beach, Abersoch, North Wales, nonchalantly chewing a blade of grass. The Warren was then just a caravan site but has since evolved into an upmarket holiday park with smart chalets only, popular with the North West of England’s nouveau riche.
Apparently Brigitte, only fourteen or fifteen years old, was already a Countess. Stunningly beautiful, she was a summer guest of people called Vennings who owned or rented a caravan at the Warren and who were known to my parents. At the same time there was also a German girl of the same age, whose name was Bärbel Rost.
This is an arresting and sexy image — the easy pose, the play of sunlight, and blades of dune grass poking up as a fledgling aristocrat emerges, gleaming, untouchable, into a world of privilege. The strange thing is, there doesn’t seem to be a Comtesse Brigitte d’Aramon, at least not any more. Maybe she was lying. She said she lived in Angers and she was definitely French.