|The British royal family was out in force on Tuesday night to share in the festivities marking the 70th birthday of the Duke of Kent.
Instead of partying at the Duke's modest cottage in Kensington Palace, however, guests including the Queen, Prince Philip and the ex-king and queen of Greece, descended upon the much grander home of former Conservative minister Paul Channon, now Lord Kelvedon, in Chelsea.
While both men share the same birthday - turning 70 on Sunday – their financial circumstances are quite different, explaining the alternative choice of venue. While the former Trade and Industry Secretary is an heir to the Guinness family, his royal pal lost money in a Lloyd's insurance syndicate.
"The Cheyne Walk house in Chelsea has vast rooms with high ceilings, and the walls are liberally covered with paintings, including at least one Rembrandt," revealed a friend of the host. "You can entertain properly there and it is altogether much nicer than the Duke's rooms at Kensington Palace."
Also on hand to share her husband's special night was the Duke's wife Katherine, who these days is rarely seen at formal functions. While she still shares the Duke's Kensington palace home, the Duchess, who works as a supply teacher in an inner city school, also has a modest flat in Notting Hill, purchased with the express intention of allowing her to lead an un-royal life.