Thursday, January 3, 2013

Vale Lady Packer

Lady Florence Packer who passed away last week in Monte Carlo was one of the most liked members of the Packer family. Florence Mathilde Adeline Violet Porges was born in France in 1915 and her marriage to Sir Frank Packer in 1964 was her third.
When Sir Frank died in 1974 Florence retreated to Monaco to live where she often dined at the Palace with the Grimaldi Royal Family and helped out at the local church, St Pauls where she played bridge on many an afternoon.

Lady Florence Packer with a portrait of Sir Frank Packer at the National Gallery
Florence would visit Sydney once a year and the Shuttle met her often around town. Her European manners of accepting all no matter their rank and file was refreshing in a  town which takes itself far too seriously. She was particularly fond of step-grandson James Packer's then fiance Kate Fisher and at a reception for Kate once told us the type of anecdote she loved.
 Lady Packer's second husband was Noel Vincent who owned the magnificent property Wee Jasper near Exerter in NSW. It was once owned by Banjo Patterson and later by former Liberal Party Opposition leader John Hewson.
2008 in the South of France:
    Lulu van Antwerpen,Jim Mitchell
      and Lady Florence Packer at
     James & Erica Packer's wedding

The Vincents were hosting the heir to the US DuPont fortune, Lauren DuPont an expert Olympian horse rider and whilst walking through the beautiful gardens at Wee Jasper Mrs DuPont commented on how stunning they were and how they  rivalled her own back in Connecticut.
"Do you have gardeners ?" asked Lady Packer. "Yes" said Mrs Dupont, "I think about 30 at present".
Reaching for a glass of champagne Lady Packer said "we poor things had to do with just 9 at Wee Jasper"/
Lady Packer's funeral will take place at her beloved St Paul's Church in Monte Carlo tomorrow.
 For more read the SMH's obituary of Lady Forence Packer by Mark McGinness.