Now this is both royal and swanky! Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge, has been seen shopping in a furniture store owned by Prime Minister David Cameron’s mother-in-law, Viscountess Astor.
OKA in Chelsea is just one of thirteen shops and an online business part-owned by Annabel Astor - as she is better known. Annabel happens to be married to the grandson of Nancy Astor, the American-born woman who was the first female MP to take her seat in the House of Commons. Fame seems to run in the family: Annabel is the granddaughter of writer Enid Bagnold, whose novel National Velvet became the first film role of Elizabeth Taylor.
Annabel (left) is 63 and still enviably slim and attractive. She is the mother of five grown-up children, of whom Samantha Cameron is the eldest. Today, Annabel looks like a slightly older version of her daughter.
Although twice married to wealthy men, she has nevertheless earned her own money since she was 19. Under her maiden name, Annabel Jones, she previously ran a jewellery shop in Beauchamp Place that was frequented by Kate’s mother-in-law, Princess Diana.
David Cameron is believed to get on well with Annabel, who was a great source of support when the Camerons’ eldest child, Ivan, who was severely disabled, died suddenly in 2009.
The Astors own a London base, a Scottish retreat and a fabulous mansion, Ginge Manor, in the heart of the Cotswolds’ countryside. All very English, upper class and grand, but Annabel has never played the lady of leisure. She has always been a supremely organised woman who has successfully balanced home life with business demands.
Annabel Astor, son-in-law PM David Cameron, daughter Samantha Cameron
After closing her jewellery business, she ventured into furniture and furnishings, starting OKA with two friends in 1999, and the company has grown rapidly. OKA specialises in sophisticated, good-looking, well-made furniture and accessories that suit just about any interior scheme and will blend with antique or modern designs. OKA still has an online business and delivers anywhere in the world.
Last year OKA opened the flagship store on the Fulham Road in Chelsea, where Kate was spotted earlier this week sourcing items for Nottingham Cottage, the Kensington Palace apartment that she and William will use as their London home.