In 2000, the 98-year-old Brooke Astor was irritated. Still in full command of her faculties, she couldn’t know that over the next seven years, her health and mental faculties would decline, and her only son, Anthony Marshall, would convince her that she was out of funds and quietly transfer much of her money and belongings into his or his wife’s name. Nor could she know the immense public scandal Marshall’s actions would cause, bringing New York’s most influential socialites to court on her behalf. None of that was on her mind that day, as her dear friend and ear doctor Kevin Flaherty examined her in her beloved Park Avenue home. No — what was bothering her was the fact that she had been invited to spend Christmas up in Maine at her old estate (which her son would later convince her to sign over to him) with Marshall and his wife, Charlene. Or, as she was sometimes known around the apartment — depending on the hour or number of cocktails clinking around — “that woman.” As Kevin fussed over her ears (who wears diamond baguettes to an examination?), her dachshunds, Boysie and Girlsie, fluttered anxiously around her on the couch. “So are you going to go?” Kevin asked. “I’d rather have Boysie and Girlsie up in Maine with me than Anthony and that B-I-T-C-H,” she responded, according to polite testimony Flaherty gave today, seven years later, in court. Of course, anyone who knew Mrs. Astor would know she’d never actually say it that way. The doctor was just being polite — Brooke called Charlene a plain old “bitch,” and that was that.
See, that’s the great thing about old Wasps. After nearly ten decades of keeping quiet about how she really feels, Brooke Astor earned that “bitch.”