Archive for Lessons From An Exotic Past

Dinner with the Ambassador

It is 6 pm and I am sitting with the South American ambassador for my monthly dinner. Once a month he invites me without my parents. I am 8 years old and the Cairo community smiles indulgently. He misses his kids is the word around town. So “my little one” he says with a warm Click to continue reading…

Networking Tips Learned from Serving as a Lady-In-Waiting To the Court in Exile of Queen Geraldine of Albania.

Hungarian born Geraldine, was a cousin of enduring charm and beauty. King Zog of Albania saw her photo when she was 20 and invited her to visit his country. She arrived with her chaperones and, as he had hoped, fell in love. Their wedding was triumphant. 50,000 children in native costumes sang and applauded. The plot however turned. Less than a year later, still bleeding from the birth of her son, she was carried to a vehicle on a mattress and the couple escaped from the Italian invaders. She, the king and his entourage began an odyssey that would ultimately land them in Egypt at the invitation of King Farouk. It was there that I met her as a small child and was privileged to visit her in Alexandria each summer for the next 6 years.

Later we went our separate ways. My family emigrated to the US and she ultimately went to Spain after her husband passed away. Much to my surprise she contacted me after my US college graduation and asked whether I would be interested in joining her as a lady in waiting in Madrid. I spent a memorable year with her and remember well the many lessons she taught her “ladies” to help strengthen her position in Madrid. Click to continue reading…

Lessons learned from growing up in the court of King Farouk

210px-Kingfarouk1948On a hot, humid evening in Alexandria, the dinner party rises from the table. Egypt in those days was a magnet for royalty in exile. On this particular evening, King Zog, the last ruler of Albania, is hosting dinner for Egypt’s ruler King Farouk, the Queen of Bulgaria and several members of the Italian royal family in exile.

King Zog is married to my cousin, Hungarian-born Queen Geraldine, hence my attendance. At six I am fully prepped for the guests and keep my mouth shut. That is fine, however, since Zog, a thoughtful man, joined me in the palace gardens several hours earlier to chitchat. He asked about the ups and downs of my life in Cairo and injected some gentle humor. A calm and kind man, he made people of all ages feel special. Click to continue reading…