The first came from Prime Minister Gordon Brown's wife Sarah, who made a cross-Channel dash from the D-Day celebrations on a Normandy beach to attend the ball. The 45-year-old, on faultless form in a deep purple gown, was spotted chatting to Harry Potter author JK Rowling.
Doing her bit for the good causes which benefited from Saturday night's event, JK got bidding during the charity auction. The author of the boy wizard novels shelled out £12,000 for a dance with Little Britain funnyman David Walliams
Money raised at Saturday night's event – it topped £1.5 million – will be split between the Raisa Gorbachev Foundation, which helps children with cancer and is named after former Soviet leader Mikhall Gorbachev's wife, and Marie Curie Cancer Care.
Other guests at the gala included engaged couple Sophie Dahl and Jamie Cullum, and Vanessa Redgrave, making one of her first public appearances at a social event since the death of her daughter Natasha Richardson following a skiing accident in March.
Simon Le Bon and his model wife Yasmin were also enjoying the entertainment, which was provided bya team of Cossack dancers and a group of synchronised swimmers performing in a natural pool in the grounds.