February, the month when Cupid’s bow is poised to strike hearts everywhere. His aim wasn’t looking quite so steady this time last year when my matchmaking colleagues asked me to take a “tricky” female client for a cocktail and a chat.
“It’ll be fine,” they said. “You’re both around the same age, both used to getting what you want, and both have apartments in Monaco. That’s a good place to start!”
The client, Katrina, a Scottish high-flyer in her indeterminate forties, had been married twice and chosen a career over children. She was running a TV station by the time she was 30 and the sale to one of the Murdoch group of companies had afforded her a choice of jobs. Actually, she found she was pretty good at making money, buying up a series of buildings that were to become posh student housing for rich parents sending their coddled offspring to British universities for the perfect “finishing-school” education.
I was delighted to spot Katrina as I walked into Buddha Bar. She had clearly taken my advice that “you can never be overdressed in Monte Carlo” and she was perched on a bar stool blinged up the ying-yang.
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“Where on earth did you get that ridiculously fabulous fur?” I asked.
“Oh, I just dropped into your friend Katie Holmes’ store, The Queen Bee,” she casually responded. “I was in there for a few hours less than the average Monaco socialite, as I’m a size 12 and not a size 0. But hey, I’ve got enough bags and coats to make me feel better about not having a boyfriend … sniff.”
Sensing that I was going to get a grilling, I decided I better call in the big guns to help the evening along. “Waiter, deux martinis s’il vous plaît. Dirty for me.” I raised an enquiring eyebrow at Katrina.
“Porn star,” she jibed. Good girl.
“So darling, what’s been happening?”
“Well,” she started, “I was sent on the most horrendous date recently with a man who was half my size in height and girth. I think the moment he laid eyes on me he thought I was going to have him for breakfast. Trust me, I wasn’t. I don’t like my bacon that lean.”
She fiddled with her phone for a moment, looking for a photo of the Wee Date, while I prudently signalled the barman to encore our drinks.
After several martinis and plenty of psychotherapy I had a profile in my head of what Katrina really wanted. She is your typical ball-breaker at work, phenomenally successful and with all the material assets that come with wallet-bursting compensation. But peel back a layer and you’ll find a surprisingly delicate woman waiting to be scooped up by a big-hearted mountain of a man, who could wrap her vulnerability up in his chivalrous bulk and make her feel equal parts Queen Bee and Size 0.
I didn’t want to say anything, but I had a hunch I knew someone for her. Peter was a strapping good looking and old-fashioned chap. An ex-Army officer, he retrained as a management consultant. He lived in Winchester but had a pied-à-terre in London where most of his work was based. Bingo. Katrina also had a home in London. Mid-fifties, widowed for some five years, he preferred to meet the old-fashioned way – through friends … or in a pub.
On their first meeting they were out for a stroll in London’s Soho when Peter spotted a handbag thief. He gave chase and tackled the man, retrieving the purse. Katrina lolloped sportingly behind, managing not to ruin her Louboutins. When she caught up with him, together with the rather dashing policeman she’d grabbed on the way, Peter was pinning the bag burglar to the ground. He looked up at Katrina with her policeman escort and smiled, “My darling, what took you so long?” She was, of course, smitten.
The rest, as they say, is a matchmaker’s history.
Barbara Brudenell-Bruce is a matchmaker with London’s exclusive matchmaking agency, Vida, and her network boasts an impressive list of entrepreneurs, celebrities and aristocrats. She lives between Monaco and London. Article first published February 19, 2017.
[caption id="attachment_28190" align="alignnone" width="3000"] Michel Dotta, President of the Monaco Economic Board; Igor Yurgens, Monaco Consul in Moscow and Vice-President of RSPP; HE Mireille Petiti, Ambassador of Monaco to Russia; Evgeny Potapov, member of Business Russia and Bruno Dumetrescu, Managing Director of Bank Julius Baer.[/caption]
In the spotlight at a Monaco Economic Board conference held with the support of Bank Julius Baer, Russia sparked the enthusiasm of nearly 100 Monegasque economic players who were curious about the potential of developing business in the country. The event took place in the presence of HE Mireille Pettiti, Ambassador of Monaco to Russia at the Metropole Hotel.
Igor Yurgens, Monaco’s Consul in Moscow and Vice-President of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs (RSPP), gave a comprehensive overview of the economic environment in Russia. He was followed by Evgeny Potapov, who presented Business Russia, an organisation of which he is a member and which aims to promote the development of a business-friendly environment.
According to Igor Yurgens Russia is at a decisive stage in its economic development. A modest recovery has been taking place since the end of 2016 due to the positive influence of the rise in oil prices on confidence and domestic demand.
But the real challenge today is to develop Russia's growth rate. In this context, an increase in productivity and structural reforms are needed. Russia must continue to improve the business and investment climate and promote competition, he said. The medium and long-term prospects aroused interest and many questions from attendees, including professionals in finance, international trade, real estate and the environment.
In her opening speech Mireille Pettiti recalled the development of exchanges between Monaco and Russia and, in particular, the initiative carried out by the Monaco Embassy since its inception in 2015.
In addition, Michel Dotta, MEB President, pointed out in his speech that "Russia is the country with which the MEB has organised the most initiatives since 2013, the year Prince Albert made his first official visit”.
Mr Dotta also recalled the signing of cooperation agreements in 2015 between the MEB and Russian counterparts RSPP, Business Russia and CCI of Russia, three major economic organisations, concluding that “Monaco now has all the necessary contacts on site to develop long-term economic exchanges with Russia.”
[caption id="attachment_28304" align="alignnone" width="2048"] Photo: Facebook AIRE Ancient Baths US[/caption]
As part of the Principality's strategy of sustainable and responsible tourism, the New York office of the Tourism and Convention Bureau recently held an evening on the theme of "well-being" at AIRE Ancient Baths in New York.
The event was attended by twenty-four journalists, including from The New York Times, CNN Travel, Forbes, Harper's Bazaar, Robb Report, USA Today, and People Magazine. The presentation highlighted the history of the thermal baths of Monaco, from the creation of the SBM in 1860 to the current technological jewel that is the Thermes Marins Monte-Carlo today.
Cindy Hoddeson, Director of the Monaco Tourism Office in North America, presented the offer of care and "well-being" in the Principality. Ms Hoddeson also announced that Monaco is the very first destination and one of the founding members of the "Wellness Tourism Association".
In addition, two partners joined the event – Kusmi Tea and the Spa Metropole by Givenchy. A small succulent plant was also offered to guests, inviting them to discover the Exotic Garden of Monaco and echoing the Principality's environmental commitment.