Wednesday, 21 March 2018

The Queen of Eurovision is dead

"My whole career really started by accident. There was a time when I was on the BBC three times a week - it seems very strange to think of that now, but it was the only thing people watched."

And so, farewell to another British icon, the former model, TV personality and doyenne of the Eurovision Song Contest - against whose genteel manner every subsequent hostess has been judged - Katie Boyle, Lady Saunders, who has departed for Fabulon.

You just do not get glamour and poise this this anywhere any more:

  • Her first marriage (to Richard Boyle, later the Earl of Shannon), which lasted eight years, was dogged by rumours of scandal - including a supposed affair with Prince Philip.
  • She became well-known across the UK not just for her elegant appearances on chat shows and variety shows, nor merely for her stint as the hostess of the Eurovison Song Contest (she presented her first Eurovision Song Contest in 1960 and hosted the programme a further three times in 1963, 1968 and 1974), but as "the face of Camay soap" in TV adverts; though she admitted in private that she didn't use it because it brought her out in a rash.
  • When Katie presented the contest in 1974, the year Abba won with Waterloo, she almost diverted attention from that spectacular victory as the tabloids had a field day with the fact that she wore no knickers under her slinky dress - of the occasion, she said she spent the whole show hiding behind the podium, but when she had to step out from it, her cards and hands were strategically placed to hide her private areas.
  • Her marriage to Viscount Boyle meant that technically she was aristocracy, despite their divorce; third husband Sir Peter Saunders was a theatre impresario and the producer of Britain's longest-running show The Mousetrap, and when he was knighted she gained her second noble title.
And here she is again, singing(!) this Lerner and Loewe classic, with erstwhile telly show host Michael Barrymore:

RIP Caterina Irene Elena Maria Imperiali dei Principi di Francavilla (aka Katie Boyle, 29th May 1926 - 20th March 2018)


  1. Rest in Peace, Ms Katie Boyle. The woman (and her dogs) loved pearls. She looks good in them, not sure about the dogs, though...I'm sure they'd rather have a chew toy or milk bone.

    One night in Santorini, we noticed that the streets, usually filled with tourists and locals reveling, were suddenly empty. We noticed everyone had gathered into bars looking at the tv screen. Curious, we went into a bar, wondering, What world event could be happening that was drawing everyone's attention? Did someone famous die? Was there a war going on? What natural disaster has caught the world's attention?

    Well, it wasn't a natural disaster, more like a man made disaster when we saw Russia's entry. Their song performance was awful! How in the hell did they get points while Finland ended up last? And what is Israel doing at the competition? I thought it was a European song contest. And I checked the map! Yup. Israel is in the Middle East, technically, Asia!

    And thus, we were introduced to the entertaining and ridiculously awful yet fabulous show that is Eurovision! Some entries were actually good. Others were just confounding, like Turkey! And we still couldn't understand how Russia scored so many points with such a gawd awful song!

    I was surprised to know there was a special showing of last year's Eurovision in the US. I missed it! What's even more surprising is finding out that Australia is now a participating country! I don't need a map to tell me that Australia is on the other side of the world. And I know for a fact that Australia is a whole other continent!

    1. Welcome to the bizarre and completely incomprehensible world that is the Eurovision Song Contest! It's like Narnia, only with smoke machines, pyrotechnics, sequins, cheesy grins, over-emoting, and a voting system that may as well be written in Sanskrit for all the sense it makes... Jx

  2. A wonderful woman and a sad day here at Delarago Towers


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