The Brook Astor trial continues to be the most fabulous party in town. Last Friday, Barbara Walters took the stand and revealed all sorts of salacious gossip. For instance: did you know that her middle name is Jill? That she started out as a receptionist? And that she is so famous, she DID NOT HAVE TO REVEAL HER AGE to the courtroom? It’s true.
Now, at the very heart of the case is the need for the prosecution to establish just when it was the Brookers began losing her mind. If it can be proved that she was a babbling Brooke BEFORE she changed her will on January 30th of 2002, then an additional $60 million dollars of her $198 million dollar estate potentially goes to her dastardly son, Anthony Marshal. That is why Barbara Walter’s testimony had such far-reaching consequences. Babs (who looked DIVINE, btw, in a black boucle Bill Blass suit with a fabric flower pin on her lapel) told about an incident in 1999 that had the courtroom flopping on the floor in fits of apoplexy. It seems she and Brooke threw a party welcoming Prince Charles and his then-girlfriend Camilla Parker-Bowles to NYC.
When it was time to give the toast, Brookers staggered to her feet and proceeded to CONGRATULATE Camilla for landing his Royal Highness, and for “keeping the mistress business in the family”– a reference to Camilla’s great-grandmother, Alice Keppel, who was Edward VII’s mistress. There were gasps heard from Park Avenue to Buckingham Palace. How could THE Brooke Astor, paragon of social ettiquette, behave in such a vulgar and shocking manner? According to the prosecution: THIS was the smoking gun– the moment when Mrs. Astor begin to lose it. Barbara went on to say this was also the party when Brooke crankily asked “Who the hell that woman was?” (referring to Catherine Zeta-Jones) and crankily pointed out that “her dress is all wrong.” (Catherine, bless her trampy heart, pretended not to hear.)
One last funny (ha ha) story about Brooke. When Henry Kissenger took the stand, he told about a 2002 party he and Brooke hosted for United Nations Secretary General, Kofi Anin. At one point Brook turned to Henry and whispered loudly, “Who’s the black fellow” sitting next to her. Gotta love geriatric rascism! It never gets old.