Julian Fellowes was the special guest of the Hon. Alexandra Foley, founder of Lady Foley Grand Tour™, at the Lady Foley Grand Tour™ launch party at the Sloane Club. Guests included Foley’s friends who have inherited Britain’s historic houses, such as the Duke of Rutland (Belvoir Castle), Lady Ashcombe (Sudeley Castle), Viscountess Stormont (Scone Palace), Francis Fulford (Great Fulford) and Sir Benjamin Slade Bt. (Maunsel House); influential ‘‘gatekeepers’’ of ultra high net worth individuals who have moved to the UK or are visiting; property finders, wealth managers, art world luminaries, leaders in luxury services and a rich assortment of London society.
Foley’s vision is to offer affluent newcomers to the UK exclusive personal and private invitations to lunch in situ with selected owners of Britain’s finest historic houses. The business model is designed to be win-win: the owners are paid handsomely for their time, and Foley’s guests experience the real ‘‘Downton Abbey’’ world behind the scenes, treated as personal friends rather than tourists. Foley will also donate a percentage of profits to charities for the homeless.
Foley said, “I wish to make outsiders feel like insiders by offering them a private invitation as though they were personal friends. There are many companies offering access to historic houses but few know their owners on a personal level.” Julian Fellowes, creator of Downton Abbey, added: “The Lady Foley Grand Tour seems to me to benefit everyone concerned. The visitors who could not have hoped for a better time, and the estate owners who hosted the general merriment. In short, it is a thoroughly good thing for British heritage generally.”