By REBECCA ENGLISH
VIP treatment: Pippa Middleton receives a book from Xavier Peugeot during her freebie trip to watch the tennis in Paris
Sitting centre stage at the French Open on Monday, she appeared to be having a ball. And no wonder.
For Pippa Middleton was enjoying what those in the business like to call a ‘freebie’, courtesy of leading car firm Peugeot, which sponsors the Paris tennis tournament.
Indeed so excited was the company at its coup that news of the younger Middleton sister’s arrival in the Roland Garros VIP enclosure was plastered over the competition’s official programme yesterday with the headline: ‘Pippa à Roland! Sensation!’
Best seats in the house: Pippa could barely hide her delight as she watched the action through her Gucci sunglasses at Roland Garros
Her host Xavier Peugeot, who is the great, great grandson of one of the original founders of the firm, Armand, ensured the moment was captured for posterity.
Mr Peugeot, who is the family firm’s director of marketing and communications, even presented the new Duke of Cambridge’s sister-in-law with a lavishly bound book charting the 200-year history of the brand.
A coquettish Pippa – who normally drives a BMW Z4 – looked delighted to receive it.
The six-day trip saw Kate’s little (and some would say wildly more ambitious) sister arrive on Eurostar in Paris on Thursday for a few days’ sightseeing, with everything done in the best possible taste.
It will, however, raise questions about whether it is wise for her to be seen ‘cashing in’ on her sister’s new found celebrity.
Swanky: Pippa stayed for part of her holiday at a luxury apartment in the super chic - and eye-wateringly expensive - Rue de Varenne
Her seats at the Roland Garros tournament on Monday were some of the best in the house and Pippa, 27, who is herself a formidable player, couldn’t hide her delight as she watched the on-court action through a pair of tinted Gucci sunglasses.
A Peugeot source said: ‘Pippa was invited to Roland Garros by a friend who was a guest in the Peugeot VIP area hosted by Xavier. Once they realised who she was, she was introduced to a number of influential people. As a high profile and distinguished guest Xavier was keen to give her a gift to mark the firm’s bicentenary.’
The tennis tournament’s organisers were clearly also cock-a-hoop at the publicity Pippa’s visit afforded them, with the event’s daily newsletter picturing her on the front.