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Quirk of history

The irresistible glamour of Concorde

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip in 2001, arriving by Concorde in Kuwait. Tim Graham Photo Library/Getty

The story of Concorde is set to be depicted in a new “Crown-esque drama”, say Ollie Macnaughton and Stephanie Bridger-Linning in Tatler. And it promises plenty of “glamour, espionage and sabotage”. For 30 years, everyone from Princess Diana to Mick Jagger hopped on the supersonic jet to traverse the Atlantic in under four hours. It was a “glamorous flying circus”: Dolly Parton flirted with pilots, and Michael Jackson signed autographs at 60,000ft. Andy Warhol was “so taken by the custom Raymond Loewy silverware” that he couldn’t resist pocketing a few pieces when he landed.

Each flight began with a dedicated check-in and glass of champagne prior to departure. Passengers were escorted to their seats and addressed by name. On leaving, cabin crew would hand out keepsakes. Staff uniforms were designed by Hardy Amies; meals were prepared by Alain Ducasse and The Dorchester’s Anton Mosimann. By the time of the final Concorde flight in 2003, the liners had hosted royals – flying Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip to Kuwait, America and Barbados – and opened the door to “mind-bending schedules”: Phil Collins was famously able to play both the London and Philadelphia Live Aid shows on the same night, literally travelling back in time. As one former flight attendant puts it: ‘If money had a smell, you could smell it on the Concorde.”