Tensions are rising this week as the Ladies of London bring us plenty of cattiness in castles as they wrap up their trip to Baroness Caroline Fleming’s home in Denmark! Since Annabelle Neilson’s “therapy session” at dinner, in which she told a handful of the ladies what their individual problems are, the group has rallied. They’re packing up from their stay in Copenhagen to travel to Caroline F’s family estate, er, castle. Caroline Stanbury and her makeup-artist-permanent-sidekick, Luke, are catching up the morning after dinner. Caroline tells him all about Annabelle’s Copenhagen Confessions, which she can’t take seriously. She feels Annabelle has a constant dour outlook, but vows to make the best of things for the sake of the trip.
En route to the castle, Julie Montagu, Marissa Hermer, Caroline F, and Caroline S sit together to dish about Annabelle. Julie, once Annabelle’s closest ally, suddenly feels as if she can’t do anything to please her. Caroline S doesn’t want to spend the weekend being told the rules according to Annabelle, and encourages Julie to stand up for herself too. Huh. Ironic, considering it was only weeks (days?) ago that Annabelle was giving Julie the same advice about Caroline. While they rag on Annabelle, she can hear their chatter the entire time. She is sitting only inches from them on this “posh” van, after all. Like in the game of Survivor, alliances are shifting.
The ladies arrive at Valdemars Castle, the seat of Caroline F’s family. The Baroness shows her friends to their gorgeous rooms, and this is where my love of this show goes berserk! The rooms are all named and themed and curtained and bejeweled and…oh! It’s lovely. No matter who’s got what rescinded title or who’s doing the upwardly mobile grasping, I don’t give a rip. Since when has the Housewives franchise given us this kind of accommodation-fantasy on a group trip? Nevah, dahling! #castleporn
Caroline S is doing the stiff upper lip thing, as she’s reeling from the loss of her business, but determined not to let it show. She’ll just drink champagne through it all and pretend to like people instead. Caroline F shows Julie, Annabelle, and Juliet Angus around her humble home, which includes a full collection of natural history museum artifacts. Like whale penis bones and shrunken pygmy heads. You know, the usual brickabrack! Juliet cannot believe what she’s looking at. One can imagine Julie’s wheels are spinning about whether there are any shrunken heads in the dungeons of Mapperton to dredge up for profit?
At dinner that evening, Luke compliments Annabelle’s decolletage, which has come out to play. Caroline F announces breakfast the next day at 10. Tonight, Juliet is late for dinner, which Caroline is not thrilled about. Once she arrives, the group in ushered from one golf-plated room to the next – the dining room – for a Danish buffet style meal. All is going well until Annabelle starts going to the dark side whilst listening to Julie proclaiming her love, love love! for all things Denmark.
Luke sidles up to Julie, warning her that Annabelle is getting miffed, possibly by Julie’s
turncoat independent behavior. Annabelle may no longer feel “needed” by Julie, who she was sort of grooming as her friend. Marissa decides to bring the topic up with the group (great idea!), and Caroline F is not happy about this turn of events. That’s what the dinner in Copenhagen was for, after all. To be nasty shrews to each other before coming to the Baroness’s family home!
Asked if she said Julie was “up Annabelle’s a$$,” Caroline S admits, why yes, she did say that! #unbothered Juliet thinks Julie is afraid of Annabelle, but Caroline S thinks Julie is finally spreading her wings. Annabelle stands up for Julie, saying Julie is a-okay whether she has friends by her side or not. Caroline thinks this “dysfunctional group of women” has given Julie some new strength, but Annabelle is threatened by it. Annabelle laughs at Caroline’s assertions that this is the “new Julie,” covering her ears to Caroline’s babbling. In an underhanded way, Caroline is trying to stick it to Annabelle as a controlling friend. Annabelle thinks Caroline sounds like a “petulant child,” and an unattractive one at that.
The next morning’s breakfast is apparently falling apart due to the ladies’ disobedience of the 10am start time. The Baroness has her gilded panties in a bunch over their utter lack of decorum, barking “It’s ten-THIRTY!” at the motley-robed-crew before they all sheepishly file downstairs to eat. Once seated, Caroline F schools them on proper etiquette, which includes being on time for meals! Caroline S laughs at the Baroness’s little speech, but Caroline F isn’t seeing the humor in all of this. Caroline S snarks, “I will not be late for dinner – trust me.”
As Julie practices yoga next to a 15-foot stuffed bear in one of the palace’s rooms, she ponders keeping the peace with Annabelle. She doesn’t want to rock the boat, so she doesn’t plan on bringing up her issues with Annabelle anytime soon.
Meanwhile, Annabelle gets a troubling phone call from her sister, Camilla, while she and Sophie Stanbury are hanging out in her room upstairs. She take the call behind a nearly-closed door, but we can hear her saying, “God, how bad?” and “Oh, what a shame,” while Sophie looks on blankly. We hear Annabelle advising her sister that if someone comes to talk to her “about that stuff” she should say she doesn’t know. She breaks down in tears on the call and finally asks Sophie to close the door.
Later on, Sophie fills Juliet, Julie, and Marissa in on Annabelle’s upsetting call, which apparently had to do with a disparaging article that came out in the papers about Alexander McQueen. Juliet says there’s a book coming out with McQueen stories in it that no one knows about yet…presumably damaging to his character.
Back in Annabelle’s room, she tells the ladies that although Alexander died 5 years ago, she feels like he’s being killed afresh with this article. The Daily Mail piece, titled “Dark Side of Fashion” describes McQueen as “a man prone to shocking depravity and cruelty,” teasing about the “Humiliating tricks he played on friends” and “The diva he helped drive to death.” Ugh. Daily Mail, thy name is smarm.
Annabelle doesn’t want to give the article any credence, but its mere existence is unsettling and hurtful. Sophie notes that everyone claims to know McQueen, but no one knows the truth about what was going on in his life. As his old friend, Annabelle feels wounded for him. Caroline F is glad that Annabelle is trying to let them in, as she has a very soft center at the heart of her hard exterior. Julie is also relieved to see Annabelle’s vulnerability with the group, but admits that she still feels a “gap” in their friendship.
That evening, Caroline F takes Caroline S to visit her mom’s internment site at Svendborg Church. Caroline F’s mother died of cancer long ago very suddenly after tumors were found. Once at the church, Caroline F visits her mother’s memorial, breaking down in tears over how much she misses her and wishes could have shared with her. She’d give anything to have her back again. Caroline S feels for her friend, and comments that Caroline F’s pain puts her own hard times into perspective. What’s a failed business compared to losing one’s mom, after all?
It’s the night of the ladies formal dinner in the castle! The Baroness’s father – (are you ready for this?) Baron Niels Krabbe Juel-Brockdorff – introduces himself around to each of her friends before assembling in the dining room. Caroline S thinks Caroline F is on a constant mission to be accepted by her family, so tonight’s dinner is important. Caroline F says her relationship with her father has been “stormy,” as he doesn’t understand (or perhaps doesn’t accept) certain choices she’s made in life. Marissa seems chummy enough with him, likely based on her close friendship with Caroline F’s sister. Which is why the two have been at such odds lately. Not at odds with anyone so far though is Annabelle, who is possibly bubblier than we’ve ever seen her tonight!
Dinner is served and it is, in a word, spectacular. Caroline F toasts to her parents, her godfather, and friends, who she is thrilled to have in her home. Marissa says she sees a new Caroline here, and has a new found respect for her. They chat on the side about being in a good place now, which Caroline F is grateful for. Marissa offers a toast of thanks to Caroline’s parents, announcing that she’s fallen in love with Denmark, Caroline’s family, and even Caroline on this trip. Cheers!
After all of the pomp and circumstance of dinner is over, Sophie decides to get properly blitzed. She goofs around with the rest of the bunch as they try their hand at ballroom dancing…in an actual ballroom, of course! All that’s left to end this evening is a final nightcap. And some hugs and kisses. Mwah. Mwah!
Next week’s season finale <sob!> promises to bring us more fallout from Julie and Annabelle’s strained friendship. And, let’s hope, more scenic shots from the #fanciestfranchiseyet!
TELL US: DO YOU THINK JULIE HAS GROWN SOME “BALLS”? WHAT DID YOU THINK OF THE LADIES’ STAY AT VALDEMARS CASTLE?
Photo Credit: Bravo