Monday, November 21, 2011

Royals and Aristos

Chance Lodge
Few guests at photographer Susie Hagon’s book launch last week at the Wagner Gallery knew who the lady in black was although her companion, Hal Salter from Melbourne  in his jaunty red jacket and shoes is a regular sight at racetracks around the country.

Hal Salter & The Duchess of Welbergen
She was the grandly titled Her Grace Stephanie Alesandra Duchess of Welbergen who was visiting from Goornong near Geelong in Victoria where she has recently set up home with her husband David Martin.
Stephanie is a former New York stockbroker born in San Francisco and what a home she has settled in-it’s the imposing mansion with the Roman columns, known as Chance Lodge that comes with a horse stud and until recently, was the home of The Voice, John Farnham
John sold up in 2009 for a reputed $2M and sadly a fire in 2010 gutted the house which the Duchess is now about to set right.
The Voice
As Stephanie recently told the Bendigo Advertiser :“I’m very excited to rise to the challenge,” Stephanie says on renovating and re-decorating the landmark six-bedroom homestead. “It’s going to be absolutely stunning when it’s done, although I know it’s a lot of work.
Stephanie met her first husband while at University in Greece. She eloped with Rudolf Van Welbergen, the duke and married at 19.
Unfortunately the union only lasted 2 years and her mother-in –law frowned on Stephanie because of her ‘commoner’ status. All that is about to change as she and David become Chance Lodge’s master and mistress with no doubt, the grand property becoming the social focal point of the town.
Mary & Frederick of Denmark at Bondi's Sculpture by The Sea
Zebras by The Sea
One former commoner who has become a great hit is HRH Princess Mary of Denmark. She and husband Prince Frederick attended Bondi’s Sculpture By The Sea today and spent a couple of hours wandering amongst the strange objects, chatting to locals and accepting the odd posy of flowers from little girls.