HOIST BY HIS OWN FÊTARD

Speculation often followed Philippe Junot about what exactly the French industrialist did to make a living — but no one could doubt this tireless roisterer’s knack for making a life…

Philippe and Caroline attend the Monaco Grand Prix, 1977 (Photo by Jean-Claude FRANCOLON / Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)

Acerbic newspaper columnists who wish to distil a human subject’s existence down to a nugget of scorn can always rely upon a fail-safe formula: hyphenated-descriptor + reductive noun form [h-d+rnf]. Whether it’s a veteran football manager being reduced to a ‘passion-sapping journeyman’ or a liberal-minded comedian to a ‘patience-testing snowflake’, it’s a tried and trusted way of spiking the editorial cocktail. (My all-time favourite appeared when Charlie Brooker, the man behind the dystopian sci-fi anthology Black Mirror, prefaced George ‘Dubya’ Bush’s name with “Teddy-Ruxpin-faced planet-vandal”.)

Presumably, cuttings containing these barbed descriptors rarely make it into subjects’ Project Life scrapbooks, but when The Washington Post calls you a 38-year-old “discotheque-hopping fiancé” — and the bride-to-be is 21-year-old Princess Caroline of Monaco, the daughter of Grace Kelly and Prince Rainier III, and a patrilineal descendant of the Dukes of Polignac — you surely tear the page out, fold it carefully, pop it in your inside pocket and pat it affectionately, chortling incredulously at how favourable a hand fate has dealt you.

Published

August 2021

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