• The late William "Backstairs Billy" Tallon was the favorite page of England's late Queen Mother, and served the royal family for 51 years. He died last November. His collection of royal memorabilia was auctioned off yesterday as part of the disposal of his estate. In it was a handwritten note to him from the Queen Mum with instructions for an alfresco lunch in the sunshine, an item which was bundled with other notes that brought $32,000.
Instruction No. 1: "'I think that I will take 2 small bottles of Dubonnet and gin with me this morning, in case it is needed. It is a beautiful day. Could we have lunch under the tree. One could have 14 at the table and four at a small table."
Instruction No. 2: "Make mine a stiff one." (The Queen Mum was known for her 9-to-1 proportioned cocktails.)