It was a sad occasion for Lady Annabel Goldsmith as she joined mourners at the funeral of her ex-husband, British nightclub king Mark Birley. But there to help her through the service was her daughter Jemima Khan. In a touching gesture of support, Jemima - Lady Annabel's daughter with Sir James Goldsmith - placed her hand tenderly on her mum's wrist before drawing her close for a hug.

Others paying their respects to the late impresario - whose legendary Mayfair night spot was named after his former wife - included key figures from the worlds of politics and entertainment. Margaret Thatcher and TV presenter Sir David Frost were among the 500-strong congregation, as were the Duchess of York and Prince and Princess Michael of Kent.

St Paul's Church in Knightsbridge, which was filled with the fragrance of delicate pink rose and olive branch floral displays, resounded to the strains of Northern Ireland anthem Londonderry Air - in recognition of Mark's birth country - as the service began.

After friends and family had paid tribute to the flamboyant nightclub owner - who died last month aged 77 - his two beloved dogs, black Labrador George and Tara, a German shepherd, headed the procession as his coffin, decorated with a single white flower, was taken outside.

Photo: ©
The 33-year-old socialite was there to comfort her mother, Lady Annabel Goldsmith as she said her final farewells to former husband, British nightclub king Mark BirleyPhoto: © Rex
Photo: ©
The Duchess of York was among those paying their respects to the late entrepreneur at the service in St Paul's Church, KnightsbridgePhoto: © Rex
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