Countess Kitty Raffo. Flashes of Cairo’s golden years appear when I think of her. She arrived in the early 1960s when it was a chic playground with colonial trappings: embassy parties, beach trips to Agami and Sharm when there was just sand for miles, brocade and silk dresses and white dinner jackets, frivolous fun, leisurely days at the Gezira Sporting Club, and Old Society ruled. This was the age in Cairo where “they did British better than the British”.
She aged with pure grace, but in her younger years Kitty was the epitome of a blonde bombshell, to rival Marilyn & Rita. The room screeched to a halt when she entered. Dutch, tanned, tall, sexy, legs for miles, with a deep, husky voice – no stranger to sipping scotch and puffing cigars in smoke-filled rooms. The stuff that dreams are made of.
Kitty was a dear old friend of my parents from those days. When I knew her, she still had the husky voice and killer legs, and she wore perfectly peach lipstick which was spectacular against her tanned complexion and still-platinum coif. She somehow became my surrogate godmother — and secretly she was my very own silver screen legend. Without fail, every birthday and Christmas a card arrived for me with a note and a spot of cash. She never forgot.
Kitty never left Cairo, but she did eventually fade away. I still adore replaying my image of her in the old days–and love that she held her head high until the end.