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'A whole 5 off – and signed, too!': Yes, that's Pippa's frank admission on how she's now shifting copies of her (rather rudely reviewed) party tips bookPippa Middleton signed discounted copies of her book at a pub in Stanford DIngley, Berkshire'Her Royal Hotness' has launched a tireless book-signing blitzkrieg in an attempt to turn struggling sales around
10:48 GMT, 16 December 2012
It surely wasn’t what she – or the publisher who stumped up a 400,000 advance – expected.
But Pippa Middleton’s party-planning book has struggled to sell after attracting an avalanche of unkind reviews blasting its advice as ‘glaringly obvious’.
If she is disheartened, however, ‘Her Royal Hotness’ isn’t showing it – and has even launched a tireless book-signing blitzkrieg in an attempt to turn things around.
Recipe for success: Pippa signs one of many cut-price copies of Celebrate
Her work ethic is hard to fault: Amsterdam one day, Berkshire the next – and that’s where we witnessed her irresistible, full-on charm offensive first-hand.
Whether the well-heeled villagers of Stanford Dingley need to be taught how to pass the parcel, play conkers or sit on a hay bale is, of course, a moot point.
But the Duchess of Cambridge’s 29-year-old sister clearly believes they do as she hustles for sales in her charming local pub, The Bull, two miles from the family’s 4.85 million seven-bedroom manor house.
And as 20 copies of Celebrate fly out of the door, who can argue with her She is a trouper, standing behind the bar for almost four hours, signing for the faithful as she sups stoically on a pint of iced water.
‘A whole five pounds off,’ she tells me winningly, leaping through the hatch to pose for a picture. ‘And signed, too.’ Indeed.
The woman next in line buys six signed copies, then hurries for the door. ‘Right,’ she says gleefully, to no one in particular. ‘These babies are going straight on eBay for 40.’
Discounted: Pippa presented a signed copy to Mail on Sunday reporter Adam Lee-Potter
Her dour partner replies: ‘I don’t know if it’s worth it, love. They’re going for 4 a time in Sainsbury’s.’
The book is, like its author, pretty, slight but engaging. Both mean well.
‘How is your sister’ I ask, enquiring after Kate’s acute morning sickness. ‘Oh, she’s doing much better, thank you,’ she says.
How are books sales going ‘Oh, tolerable, you know.’
Pippa obligingly nestles beside me, a petite hand in the small of my back.
She is, frankly, impossible to dislike, and – next to Simon Cowell – the most flirtatious person I have ever met.
Flicking her hair like a show pony, she could flirt with a brick wall.
‘Isn’t this fun’ she gushes. ‘I adore this pub. Everyone has been so kind. Would you like a pheasant goujon It’s my own recipe.’
Was writing the book hard work
‘Awfully,’ says Pippa. ‘But so worth it. I love being an author. And I love parties. This was my dream job.’
The Middletons are clearly at home here. This is, after all, where Pippa learnt to cook, working in the kitchen during her gap year as a ‘ciabatta roll maker’.
Pippa’s parents – who ARE bestsellers, with their Party Pieces business worth 30 million – have come out to support the cause.
Dad Michael, 63, guards the bar, stolidly drinking red wine. Mum Carole, 55, works the room like a pro, matching her husband glass for glass.
Carole spots me, standing alone, and barrels over chummily, tottering slightly on expensive heels. ‘I’ve been having hot flushes,’ she says, randomly. ‘Are you local’
‘No,’ I tell her. ‘I’m from Dorset.’
Celebration: Pippa Middleton, left, pictured at the launch of her book Celebrate, right, in October
This doesn’t go down at all well. ‘Ah,’ she says. ‘I must go and talk to a friend of mine over there.’
She wanders over to the corner of the bar to pet a spaniel puppy.
Staff come round proffering canapes inspired by the book – Pippa’s pheasant goujons and what look like Ritz crackers smeared with cream cheese – but both are largely ignored.
Pippa is the star attraction.
The other hit – apart from Pippa’s celebrated derriere, encased tonight in a green frock that sits slightly oddly with her Eton collar – is the ‘Pippa’s Cocktails’ list.
Support: Pippa's parents Carole and Michael Middleton were at the book signing
As a handsome woman of a certain age tells me, petting her labradoodle: ‘The Horse’s Neck is especially good. The book’s worth it for that recipe alone.’
She has a point. It is undeniably moreish: brandy, ginger beer, lime juice and Angostura bitters. Moreover, at 5, it’s possibly the cheapest thing on the menu.
Pippa is a game old sort and doesn’t take herself too seriously, happy to highlight a parody Twitter account called @pippatips that offers such advice as: ‘Enjoy a glass of water by getting a clean glass and pouring in water from a tap or bottle.’
But she is at pains to point out that any guide has to cover the basics, writing in The Spectator: ‘If I were to write a cookery book, I would be compelled to say that, to make an omelette, you have to break at least one egg. Actually, that’s not a bad idea. Or maybe I should write a sequel and call it Bottoms Up Now that could be a bestseller.’
She also revealed that her father has a penchant for festive fancy dress: ‘A couple of Christmases ago he appeared in an inflatable sumo outfit.’
But here he opts for herringbone jacket, navy slacks and tan shoes.
The locals – all dressed identically, the men at least – mob him and his wife. The Middletons are the rock stars of Stanford Dingley.
The book signings finally dry up. Pippa stands at the bar – still beaming like a professional ice-skater – until all the Middletons head off home. In their wake, the pub empties like a bathtub.
The barman murmurs: ‘It’s the busiest we’ve been since the Royal Wedding.’
Only Carole’s spaniel chum is left, tucking into a tray of cold goujons.
VIDEO: Pippa at the launch of her party book…
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