IT is a Sunday night “must see” with millions of viewers tuning in to Downton Abbey to witness the intrigue, battles, romance and lifestyle of an aristocratic family – one which most people can only dream about.
But now pet lovers have the chance of enjoying lunch with a real dowager duchess at one of the Capital’s five-star hotels – with proceeds going to the PDSA charity, which provides cash-strapped pet owners with veterinary treatment for their animals.
Kay, the dowager duchess of Hamilton – who is also chairwoman of the Scottish Staffordshire Bull Terrier Rescue group – will host the £30-a-head lunch next Tuesday at the Caledonian Hotel in Princes Street.
The dowager Duchess of Hamilton was married to Angus Douglas-Hamilton, the 15th Duke of Hamilton, Scotland’s foremost peer, until his death in June 2010, and is a high-profile animal rights campaigner.
Last December she spoke out about how she believed Chancellor George Osborne’s economic policies were causing many people financial hardship, resulting in an increase in the number of people abandoning their pets.
Speaking from her home in East Lothian today, she said: “My late husband was a true socialist. I hate the austerity and punishment imposed on those who need help.
“The Tories are cutting benefits to those who need them most. I do not expect that David Cameron or George Osborne have had to do without.”
The charity is inviting animal lovers to buy tickets for the event, which begins at 1pm with welcome drinks, followed by a three-course afternoon tea in the Pompadour restaurant, which has stunning views of Edinburgh Castle.
Guests will also be able to meet PDSA vets and nurses.
Brenda Smith, community fundraiser at PDSA, said: “We are so excited about this event and are looking forward to meeting old friends of PDSA and some new animal-loving supporters in Edinburgh for an afternoon of pampering – all in aid of poorly pets.
“Guest will enjoy freshly prepared afternoon tea and peruse a range of boutique stalls, selling everything from clothes and shoes to jewellery, perfume and accessories.
“The hotel’s exclusive Guerlain Spa will also have members of their team on hand to offer mini treatments to help guests relax, indulge and beautify.”
Isobell Carroll, client services manager for PDSA’s Pet Hospital on Hutchison Crossway, in the west of the city, said: “PDSA is a lifeline for thousands of pet owners across the city and the team here at the hospital would urge anyone who has a passion for animals to buy a ticket and come along.”
Every year the charity’s veterinary teams carry out 2.7 million treatments on 470,000 pets across the UK.
Edinburgh’s PDSA Pet Hospital sees more than 120 animals daily, and costs more than £1 million a year to run.
• To book a place at the event, contact edinburghafternoontea.eventbrite.co.uk or call 01952 797280.