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The day Claus von Bülow made a pass at me

Blog | By Elisabeth Luard | Jun 07, 2019

Claus Bülow – as he called himself when I met him in 1959 – was not a nice person. I was a deb at the time. The picture above is of me as a debutante, with my mother.

I foolishly accepted a lift from Bülow back to my family's flat after a deb dance - he was far too old to be there unless as somebody's dad. He drove a sportscar – maybe an E-type - and it didn't occur to me he was anything but a kindly uncle till he parked somewhere off the King's Road (outside John Sandoe's, as I remember, when I was supposed to be dropped in Palace Gate).

He locked the car door and made a determined lunge (not easy across the gearbox). I yanked the door and yelled so loudly that he unlocked the door and accelerated away as soon as I jumped out, leaving me without the fiver I carried in my bag for taxi-money, and I had to leg it home in my ballgown and high heels.

I never told anyone - Nanny let me into the flat. But, when the business of his trial, conviction and acquittal for the attempted murder of his wife, Sunny, came up, I wouldn't have put anything past him.

Thank God for my Hartnell dress (dark red satin). It had a whaleboned bodice, petersham waistband and full-net underskirt - pretty good armour, actually. And I also carried a paperback in my knickers, so that I could read in the loo and avoid the debs delights I was supposed to be dancing with.