As Ladies of London rolled on last night, I couldn’t help but wondering: Why can’t I have Caroline Stanbury’s life? Her Dubai closet? Her wicked laugh at the jealous mob at her feet? And, conversely, why is she hell bent on making everyone else’s so miserable? It’s the enigma of Caroline, who I will admit right here and now: I love – but mildly hate too. She is the perfect reality TV persona.
It’s been one week since Marissa Hermer’s surgery, which produced little bundle of beautiful pink sweetness: Baby Sadie. Marissa lost a lot of blood and fought through a long surgery after birth, but she’s okay. And so is her daughter – her first after two sons. Despite the fear and pain, she and husband Matt would do it all over again to have their daughter in their arms.
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At Julie Montagu’s London home, she’s getting the kids ready for school before she heads off to
her doom Mapperton. After arriving via train, hubby Luke picks her up to discuss Julie’s “gift shop meeting” today. Luke is pessimistic about the Mapperton gift shop ever making money, but Julie plans to rely on her American optimism to pull the crumbling estate out of its funk. She is the modern day Scarlett O’Hara who will construct yoga pants from old tea towels that everyone hates to save her land!!! She is also a bit delusional.
Mapperton, a 2,000-acre, 20-building estate with tenants and staff and cafes, also has a gift shop run by Anthea and Leslie. Two women who know a lot more about Mapperton and throwing shade than Julie does. They do not like her green towels, they do not like her green mugs, they do not like green eggs and ham. But Julie doesn’t like the idea of going down in history as the American who “ruined” Mappeton. So…she plans to save it on the back of this gift shop?!? (Hey – where are those JUB balls? Maybe she can stark hawking those to erstwhile tourists?) I am also currently picturing Anthea and Leslie being forced to wear “MAKE MAPPERTON GREAT AGAIN!” baseball hats.
Back in London, Baroness Caroline Fleming is visiting her friend, Kim. She is emotionally exhausted from dealing with her father’s failing health and the constant travel back and forth to Denmark. Kim is a long time friend and “deeply connected to her heart and soul,” according to the Baroness. So she makes a good listener for Caroline, who is having a tough time being there for her father – who doesn’t necessarily want anyone close to him at the moment.
Back in Denmark, Caroline F has apparently dragged Juliet Angus along with her! (???) Caroline knows how hard Juliet works at her fashion blog, so she’s graciously offered to introduce her to fashion peeps in her circle. Even as the black sheep of her family, Carolone still feels very connected to her family and her homeland. Her father has judged Caroline for her life choices over the years though, which makes for a strained relationship now.
Back at Mapperton, Julie and Luke stroll through the gardens to discuss their plans. Julie wants the world to know that owning an estate doesn’t mean living in luxury. It means running a business that costs an astronomical amount of money. Taking the property under her wing is overwhelming.
Through entirely predictable tears, Julie admits her nervousness. Luke assures her that yes, there are nerves, but there’s “a lot of fun stuff” about it too! I mean, MY GOD. Despite their challenge, they are blessed. And Julie needs to stop with the poor little rich girl whining before the working poor rise up and torch her estate in the deep hours of night. Also – Is it just me, or does Luke suddenly appear to be the more stable one in this relationship? He either got the bad edit last year (like, really, really bad), or he’s taken up yoga.
In London, Caroline S and her sister, Victoria, are visiting a design agency to discuss Caroline’s Dubai home. Which is off the CHAIN. It’s over the top modern luxe, and even Caroline feels like she needs to pinch herself. “Who wouldn’t want to be me?” she muses over a champagne toast.
Home with baby girl Sadie, Marissa and Matt are settling in. Sophie Stanbury pops by for a visit and comments about how incredible Marissa looks after her hellish ordeal – which indeed, she does! Marissa is emotionally healthy too, now that the nightmare is behind her. She also adores Sophie, who she considers her party buddy. And she’s anxious to get back into her party girl stilettos.
On their way back from the design consult, Caroline and Victoria reminisce on their childhood – which included a lot of stern parenting and stiff upper lipping it. Caroline doesn’t want to live her parents’ life of being tied to a family estate forever, though. She sees this move to Dubai as out of character for her family, thus an exciting change of pace.
Out to lunch, Sophie and Marissa discuss Julie, who recently visited Marissa to b*tch about Caroline S. Sophie thinks Caroline used her to have a go at Julie, and is now calling her sister in law to account. She doesn’t trust their relationship blindly like she used to.
While shopping with Adela King, Caroline S takes another trip down memory lane. This lane includes Caroline’s formerly tragic style which, over the years, has morphed into diva style. She is awarded Most Improved Trophy by Adela, who knew her way back when – and has the awesome photos to prove it! They discuss Julie, who Adela had lunch with recently, and who she thinks deserves a second chance from Caroline. But Caroline doesn’t want to be Julie’s friend, nor does she want to be forced into it by mutual friends who have no real idea who Julie is. Why is Adela so concerned about Caroline’s feelings toward Julie anyway? Adela claims she just wants to “stick up for the weaker person.” That is a weak argument.
In Denmark, after Caroline F and Juliet settle in to their hotel (and by “settling in,” Caroline means remaking her entire bed to boarding school standards!), the ladies head out on the town for the Elle Style Awards gala. Juliet is all about Snapchatting this shiznit, while Caroline is all about posing for said Snapchats. They are a perfect duo. Caroline, who – at least to Juliet, is the Ophah of Denmark, uses her celebrity cred to introduce Juliet to as many muckety mucks as possible. Juliet, ever the hustler, is grateful.
Caroline F is not grateful for certain media attention, though, which is concerned with prying into her family’s health status. She deflects paparazzi questions as deftly as possible before taking center stage to make a speech at the event. After the ladies arrive back at the hotel later, Caroline realizes to her horror (but, really, how can she be surprised?) that the media has posted stories about her father’s cancer as their lead stories. “It is actually mind-blowing” that the stories would focus on her father, not her fabulousness, thinks Caroline, who now has to deal with another scandal. She’s been at the center of too many of them for her father’s taste, already.
Caroline also claims that she comes from a “very, very private family” whose affairs are NEVER discussed publicly. Hmm. I call a bit of bullsh*t on that, given Caroline’s mega reality star status in Denmark for years. One can’t have both public and private lives that are always kept cleanly in their labeled boxes once you sell your soul to the world of “unscripted televised drama,” after all.
At Sophies’s home, Caroline S comes over to discuss their issues. Sophie’s never been at the receiving end of Caroline’s personal wrath, and doesn’t quite know how to cope. Caroline thinks Sophie has been “all over the place” with herself lately, but Sophie feels like Caroline threw her under the bus in the name of vengeance against Julie. In her defense, Caroline reminds Sophie that she, herself, had complained that Julie had a go at her, so she thought she was being a loyal sister in law. “Sophie, pull yourself together!” demands Caroline, who claims that if any one got thrown under a bus, it was her.
Sophie doesn’t see Caroline’s point, but she does apologize. Caroline doesn’t think Sophie is actually taking responsibility for her part in this mess, though, and dislikes the betrayal she’s perceiving from Sophie’s actions. Caroline finally bottom lines her feelings on the matter: “Now I know I can’t trust my family.” And just like that, battle lines are drawn.
TELL US: WHO’S IN THE RIGHT – CAROLINE S. OR SOPHIE? SHOULD CAROLINE F. EXPECT PRIVACY FROM THE MEDIA? IS JULIE CAPABLE OF RUNNING MAPPERTON?
Photo Credit: Bravo