Born in Britain, she was neglected by self-absorbed parents, then immigrated to Hamilton, Ont., at a young age. We may earn commission on some of the items you choose to buy. It’s also the reason her story resonates among those of us who couldn’t tell a £100,000 Ming dynasty vase from a £1 million Song dynasty ewer. “We had no great stashes of cash and no preparation for the onslaught,” she writes. Not dear Oscar. My memorable line ‘My extravagance knows no bounds’, uttered in self-deprecation but reproduced as a boast, should have taught me to zip up. “I think it probably motivates you.” She pauses and gives an example. There was an error, please provide a valid email address. A big part of this was becoming a part of what she calls the Group: billionaires’ wives that included Nancy Kissinger (Henry’s wife), Annette de la Renta (Oscar’s wife) and Mercedes Bass (Sid’s wife). ‘My weekend reading,’ he told Conrad animatedly, hoping — I expect — for a mention.

His grandparents went to Auschwitz.” We contemplate the depths of despair that would drive someone to … she acknowledges that lots of people who went through the Holocaust came out without being “mentally damaged in the way he was.”. In-depth reporting on the innovation economy from The Logic, brought to you in partnership with the Financial Post. Lying naked on the floor is an apt euphemism for the candour with which she approaches writing about her life — not an approach everyone takes even in the most forthright memoirs. The Canadian lawyers had lower fees, but they too want to see the color of your money. Toronto Star articles, please go to:, Conversations are opinions of our readers and are subject to the, Rosie DiManno: Barbara Amiel’s memoir ‘Friends and Enemies’ is mostly knives-out revenge soft-porn — and I made the Enemies list, Barbara Amiel’s unreleased memoir ‘Friends and Enemies’ includes lists — and we’ve got the names, The Toronto Star and, each property of Toronto Star Injecting them with the Ebola virus or guillotining them, however, would be just fine. ‘I was left wondering if the crocodile wallet I sent was too showy or just made from the wrong piece of crocodile.’. Her revenge? I telephoned Conrad. “I just needed to say it … you can’t become whole or half whole again. There is no happy ending, but the nearly 80-year-old Amiel has had the very last word. Star Newspapers Limited and/or its licensors. I wanted to end this.

“Donna Karan,” I replied, and her interest noticeably waned. She’s had four marriages, a number of serious relationships, and an assortment of flings and one-night stands. Having been deprived of companionship during writing followed by COVID, it’s so pleasant for me to talk to them, and only after I turn the bloody Zoom off do I realize that I’ve done it again and in a moment of warm intimacy given them some ghastly chat on necrophilia (one of the few sexual practices I have not engaged in) that will do me in. Not Paris. She’s using the language of abused women in the book and as she talks with me: “I could provoke him into violence,” “I knew every emotional button that would detonate an explosion.” I point this out to her. But a problem nonetheless. Sometime in 2004, as the cold winds were buffeting, I sat with George and Annabelle Weidenfeld in the tearoom of the Carlyle Hotel. As far as I could see, it gave a lot of people who had no idea what the inside of a library looked like a chance to see it, although that night, thanks to the exquisite decoration of socialite-cum-decorator Susan Gutfreund, there was nothing so deadly as shelves of books. Order a copy for £17 until 8 November at by entering code YOUBARBARA at checkout. When she and her husband, former Canadian media tycoon Conrad Black, Lord Black of Crossharbour, were at the centre of society throughout the ’90s in London, New York, Palm Beach and Toronto, the tabloids loved them. Occasionally I did think about retribution for the troubles some Enemies, particularly judges and lawyers, caused us. Amiel was reported to have lost her self control in court early in the trial and to have spoken in anger to a handful of female journalists who gained her displeasure. He manages his ambitions with principle and without malice.

The pair cut a glittering swath through the international jetset, keeping homes in London, New York, and Palm Beach and moving in circles that included Henry Kissinger, Jayne Wrightsman, and Joan Collins. So, in the aftermath of publication, how is she feeling? SUBSCRIBE NOW, Friends and Enemies: A Life in Vogue, Prison, & Park Avenue, This content is created and maintained by a third party, and imported onto this page to help users provide their email addresses. Some memories leave paths, scars where they have touched the fleshy cortex; others pass over without a mark. Published: 00:02 BST, 25 October 2020 | Updated: 00:02 BST, 25 October 2020, BARBARA AMIEL may have captivated her fourth husband, media tycoon Conrad Black, but the middle-class girl from Watford was ostracised by the Manhattan elite whose approval she craved. ‘Conrad introduced me to a whole new world so I knew I had to up my game and ditch ready-to-wear clothes,’ she says. I knew it would be interesting, given the grand opera that has been her life, but I was surprisingly captivated by its wit, social insights and, above all, bravery. Barbara Amiel’s bestseller, “Friends and Enemies: A Life in Vogue, Prison & Park Avenue,” is a beautifully written memoir that I could not put down. The dinner is an annual event put on by the New York Public Library to raise funds and honor a few authors. BARBARA AMIEL: My third marriage ended in tears (mine), scenes (mine) and despair (mine as well). We apologize, but this video has failed to load. Still, I was flooded with a happiness I wanted to share. Then there was the younger lover who told her it was time to get her breasts ‘fixed up’ and her policy of bedding impotent men (which is too graphic to go into here). © 2020 Financial Post, a division of Postmedia Network Inc. All rights reserved. She had four houses to furnish but didn’t have the nous to set herself a budget and not only gained the reputation as a ‘contemporary Marie Antoinette’, but famously went to a themed ball at Kensington Palace in 2000 looking like Louis XVI’s decadent bride, while Conrad channelled Cardinal Richelieu, Louis XIII’s chief minister. A Daddy Warbucks. In the US a court found him guilty of fraud and obstruction of justice, and he spent three years in prison. Reprinted with permission. “You’ll hate me,” said Lantos, “but I’d be so grateful if you’d be the keynote speaker.” Back in July, thinking it a good cause, I replied in a one-word email: “Okay.”. Book number: 9781472134219. terms and conditions:, Producer: Antonia Whyatt.

This article was originally published in The Spectator’s UK magazine.