Plenty of people had trouble keeping up with the British elections. But most people didn’t have as hard a time, or as much stake in the outcome, as Frances Osborne.
Osborne—author of The Bolter and wife of new Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne—left the U.K. on Tuesday to promote her book in New York. When she got on the plane, the prime minister was Gordon Brown. When she got off, it was David Cameron.
She says she spent the trip glued to her in-flight TV—”watching the screen, waiting for new text to emerge.” She received a text from her husband shortly after her arrival, as she waited in line at the airport. He hadn’t yet been officially appointed, “but he was happy and confident,” she recalled.
“Obviously, at the moment, he’s quite hard to get ahold of,” she said.
Osborne returns to London tomorrow, and she’ll spend a week trying to sort out her family’s new schedules before returning to the U.S. for another round of publicity. The Bolter (a biography of Osborne’s scandalous ancestor, Idina Sackville, out now in paperback from Vintage) seems to have “caught of vein of the imagination” in the U.S, the author says. Americans can’t get enough of the escapades of aristocratic Brits. For example, she’s heard of several Bolter-themed dinner parties complete with costumes and discussions of the book. Sackville herself was noted for her dinner parties, which generally culminated in partner-swapping.
“I haven’t yet heard that a Bolter dinner party that has gone that far,” Osborne says, “but my ear is to the ground.”