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The Marchioness of Bath's Cannes diary: Hollywood stars, couture runways and the curse of 'Cannes feet'

The Marchioness of Bath, Emma Thynn, attends Cannes Film Festival

May 27, 2024
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Whether she is walking the runway, the red carpet, or descending the sweeping staircase of her magnificent Longleat home, the Marchioness of Bath, Emma Thynn, always makes a showstopping entrance. 

MORE: Cannes Film Festival 2024 Closing Ceremony: Demi Moore, Greta Gerwig, Joey King, and more best dressed

And after jetting off to the 77th Cannes Film Festival for her first assignment as HELLO!’s new Social Editor at Large, she dazzled at every glamorous event in town as she mingled with the glitterati on the French Riviera. Here Emma, 38, whose is married to Ceawlin, the 8th Marquess of Bath, and has two sons - nine-year-old John, Viscount Weymouth, and seven-year-old Lord Henry – shares her unforgettable experiences…

Emma Thynn attends the The Apprentice Red Carpet© Samir Hussein
Emma Thynn attends the The Apprentice Red Carpet

As I count down to Cannes every year, my heart is always aflutter with a combination of excitement and jitters – but the key thing, I’ve learned, is that it’s all in the planning. 

Once you’re in, there’s no turning back. Burning the candle at both ends is mandatory and the atmosphere is frenetic from the moment you land. 

The Côte d’Azur is at capacity, items go missing, things go wrong, you might need to wait an hour to get into a lift (top tip: try to get a room on the first floor) and you’ll spend more time in traffic than at a single event, but you’ll probably have the time of your life.

Having a quick break in the ocean!
Having a quick break in the ocean!

And this year, the Cannes Film Festival is as sensational as ever. From the moment I arrive, the combination of the shimmering Mediterranean Sea, diamonds and ball dresses is intoxicating.

In the weeks leading up to the event, I up my workouts and take every lymphatic drainage massage I can in between school runs, in anticipation of lightning-speed fittings for a multitude of exclusive soirees and world premieres, rubbing shoulders with A-list stars from all over the world.

 Outfit changes happen on the hour, every hour, and photoshoots are crammed in between parties.


The flurry begins just after check-in at the opulent Hôtel Martinez, where I’m rushed into 'glam' with my lifelong hair guru Jack Thirlway and my wonderful make-up artist Howard Kong, who have a mere 40 minutes to get me from airport to showstopping Hollywood-ready for the premiere of The Apprentice.

Find out more about the star-studded parties
Find out more about the star-studded parties

Runway model Winnie Harlow and I tackle the red carpet simultaneously, gliding in the wake of acting legend Cate Blanchett.

From here, I dash off to the intimate Maison de Beauté Carita dinner, where I’m greeted by the charming Julianne Moore on a moonlit terrace, before dining on croque-monsieur canapes followed by sea bass and baby vegetables.

Julianne Moore is seen at the hotel Martinez during the 77th Cannes Film Festival © Arnold Jerocki
Julianne Moore is seen at the hotel Martinez during the 77th Cannes Film Festival

Music from the Michael Kors afterparty is booming across the road, so I pop in to see statuesque cultural fashion icon Ikram Abdi posing on the end of the pier. Thanks to my thousands of runs around the Serpentine in London, I’m good at recognising people – not by their faces, but by their dogs.

This springs to mind having met the same tiny chihuahua twice in one week: on Monday in London, at Gucci Cruise’s epic takeover show at Tate Modern, DJ’d by Mark Ronson, and tonight at the wild and windy Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc, at Chopard’s Once Upon a Time couture runway show and party.

Emma Thynn at Cannes
Emma Thynn at Cannes

This furry little fellow is clutched by the inimitable Demi Moore, who, along with our glorious hostess, Chopard’s co-president Caroline Scheufele, proudly breaks the hotel’s strict no-dogs policy tonight – twice!

Lord Byron, Caroline’s treasured Cavalier King Charles spaniel, closes the runway show with Eva Herzigova, just as he did last year. As I look around at the attention to detail, all I can think about is the heroic team who manage to pull all this together.  

Emma Thynn partying with the stars
Emma Thynn partying with the stars

It certainly takes a village to not only take over one of the French Riviera’s most famous luxury hotspots but also fill the audience with stars ranging from Bella Hadid, Nicky Hilton and Diane Kruger to Eva Green and Bella Thorne.

Poppy Delevingne, the singer Peggy Gou and my dear friend Petra Nemcova and I take to the windswept dancefloor to sing I Will Survive at the top of our lungs as disco queen Gloria Gaynor performs, and finish the night with a DJ set by Martin Solveig in full black tie on the decks.

We wrap ourselves in metallic space blankets as the sea spray whips up past the pool, over the terrace and into the pink uplit pine trees, which we girls can’t resist regardless of the Mistral wind.


My white Tony Ward gown is flying in all directions, and I help a girl beside me tie her hair into a small low bun; another thing I’d recommend is a sleek up-do over a big blow-dry.  

The climate down here is either hot and humid or suddenly chilly and windy. Another necessity is – if possible – comfy shoes.

Emma attended Cannes Film Festival
Emma attended Cannes Film Festival

'Cannes feet' is something my manager and dear friend Elaine Foran complains about each year; you’ll double your step count in a day, but beware of the blisters on top of yesterday’s blisters. 

Talking of feet: ever since Cary Grant dangled his over a balcony here, the Carlton Cannes hotel has retained its status as the jewel of the Croisette, where movie stars have resided for many a festival.

Emma Weymouth is seen at Hotel Martinez © Jacopo Raule
Emma at Hotel Martinez

And the hotel’s signature fluffy white slippers make you feel as if you’re walking on a cushion of air as you rest your tired feet, aching from wearing all those vertiginous heels.

As I write this, overlooking the famous flags that adorn the front of the hotel and gazing out to sea, I feel completely immersed in the splendour of the South of France.


In conjunction with the Carlton, Vanity Fair hosts the chicest beach lunch imaginable. I sit opposite Ed McVey, who played Prince William in The Crown and is here for his first ever Cannes.

We share stories from our trips so far – somehow venturing into the beauty of Devon, where Ed is from, and Nutribullets – before actor Colman Domingo, looking dapper in white silk, and I run out to the sand to take pictures by the waves, while chatting about looks for the famous amfAR Gala the following day. Dinner, hosted at Rüya at the Carlton, is attended by the bright young things of Bridgerton, including the beautiful actress and model Hannah Dodd.

Emma, Evan Ross and Colman Domingo attend the amfAR Cannes Gala © Marco Bahler/amFAR
Emma, Evan Ross and Colman Domingo attend the amfAR Cannes Gala

The following evening, I slip into a Dolce & Gabbana mirror gown teamed with a pair of skyscraper heels to attend the amfAR Gala, but at the last minute, I dash back to get some sling-back kitten heels – probably the best decision I’ve ever made.

It’s unlike me to opt for comfort over anything, but hours later, when the other guests have given up and put on slippers, I’m still standing strong until 5am. After the red-carpet photos, I’m pacing down the garden path of the Eden Roc hotel towards the 71 gin bar when I hear someone shout: 'Twin!' 

I turn around to see my brother from another mother, the actor and singer Evan Ross – Diana Ross’s son, who’s with a beaming Colman and Kelly Rowland. Colman is the selfie king, snapping away and offering AirDrops on the spot, as we excitedly share our images.

Emma Thynn with Kelly Rowland and friends
Emma Thynn with Kelly Rowland and friends

Kelly and I chat about being 'boy moms', since she has sons aged nine and three at home, and we plan a play date at Longleat for the next time they’re in the UK. On the red carpet, I introduce them to my former Strictly Come Dancing castmate Alex Scott and her partner Jess Glynne, who’s preparing to open the show with some upbeat tunes. We laugh about how much my sequin dress looks like a disco ball, sparkling in the sunset.


Hosting amfAR’s 30th edition this year is Demi, who pays a beautiful tribute to Elizabeth Taylor. A legendary star of stage and screen, Elizabeth was also known for her commitment to the fight against HIV/Aids.

In 1985, she teamed up with Dr Mathilde Krim and a small group of physicians and scientists to form the American Foundation for Aids Research (amfAR).

Emma Thynn attends the Le Comte De Monte-Cristo Red Carpet© Neilson Barnard
Emma Thynn attends the Le Comte De Monte-Cristo Red Carpet

The purpose of tonight’s event is to raise millions to help consign Aids to history, with an auction of 18 lots ranging from spot paintings by Damien Hirst to holidays in the Maldives. 

At the bar, I bump into Sarah, Duchess of York; she’s nervous about going up on stage but does a great job. She helps auction Chris Levine’s pink portrait of Queen Elizabeth II, prompting cheers when she opens with the words: 'This was my mother-in-law.'

Emma with Sarah, Duchess of York
Emma with Sarah, Duchess of York

Then she tells everyone who is talking to be quiet and concentrate on the cause of supporting medical research. As the auction gets under way, supermodel Heidi Klum tells everyone in the room to dig deep. One enthusiastic guest is encouraged to keep going, and auctioneer Simon de Pury convinces him to bid against himself – from €400,000 to €500,000 – to buy the entire Carine Roitfeld runway collection.

A trio of dainty canapes is served as a starter, with a gourmet spécialité du chef of boeuf brulee as a main course, which fashion photographer Mert Alas and I christen a 'posh cottage pie'.

But the real stars of the show are the tumblers full of crunchy breadsticks, of which I eat about ten to keep myself going until Cher performs.


She is incredible – and my Frow seat is right next to the part of the stage that protrudes into the audience, affording me a killer view of her perfect physique and costume and wig changes, from platinum blonde hair to raven black. I even spot a tattoo on her derriere beneath her fishnet tights and rock star thong, paired with a crystal-embellished leotard and leather cropped jacket. 

She says she was around 50 when she recorded Believe, which feels young to her now, but she need not worry about age – at 78, she’s still going strong and her performance is an inspiration.

Zara Martin and Emma Weymouth, Marchioness of Bath, attend the Vanity Fair Awards Insider event © Dave Benett
Zara Martin and the Marchioness of Bath attend the Vanity Fair Awards Insider event

Next stop is the afterparty – a secret house party for what feels like 1,000 people, where Hale Zero and DJ Ruckus keep the party going under a full moon. Cher heads straight over there, along with a host of others including Travis Scott. To be honest, I’d stay even later if it weren’t for the Chopard security guard who has accompanied me for the evening, to keep not me but my dazzling diamond earrings safe.

He suggests we make our exit around 4am, and considering Elaine and I have a Dior beauty meeting first thing, it’s probably a good call. Safely in bed back at the Carlton, I collapse into bed like Truffles the sloth back at Longleat Safari Park. That’s a wrap for me, Cannes – it’s been emotional. See you again, same time next year.

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