At Ivana Trump’s funeral, a golden coffin and the Secret Service

In death, as in life, her famous ex-husband hovered over the story of Ivana Trump.

At Mrs. Trump’s funeral at a Catholic church on the Upper East Side on Wednesday afternoon, former President Donald J. Trump and his current wife, Melania, were there, seated in the front row, across from their three children. : Ivanka, Eric and Donald Jr.

The Trump Organization had taken care of the funeral arrangements and the casket had a golden hue. The Secret Service stayed away.

Outside the church, Saint Vincent Ferrier, photographers and a hundred onlookers stood behind barricades. Perhaps the only sign someone held up said, “PRAYERS AND CONDOLENCES PREVAIL OVER FAMILY. GOD BLESS YOU AND PROTECT YOU.

Inside, the church was less than half full. There were plenty of Hermès bags, but few bold names from the golden slice of Manhattan society the couple had inhabited in the 1980s and 1990s.

Most of the talk about Mrs Trump, who died last week at 73 in her New York apartment, has focused on her tireless drive, shaped by her childhood in Czechoslovakia behind the Iron Curtain. Those who praised him also spoke of the friendship Mrs Trump and her ex-husband had managed to forge, despite the bitter tabloid divorce. (Mrs. Trump was married briefly and then widowed before her marriage to Mr. Trump, and the two husbands who followed him predeceased her.)

Her children offered a loving glimpse into her energetic parenting style.

In a speech, her son Eric, 38, described his mother as the embodiment of the American dream, something like a mix of Joan Rivers and Claudia Schiffer, he said.

“She had intelligence, she had beauty and she had courage,” he said, saying she had won “the hearts and minds of every person in the United States on the Home Shopping Network and QVC”.

He added: “She still holds all the sales records. People loved Ivana.

As a parent, he said, she “ruled with a fist of iron and a heart of gold”.

These two things were the subject of much of Donald Trump Jr.’s speech, which followed soon after.

“During the tumultuous times of the past few years, with all the attacks we have faced,” Mr. Trump, 44, said, “she was the first person to call and see if I wanted maybe, or if maybe I needed to get back in with her. This call was both the sweetest and most emasculating thing ever. And she could do it with the best of them, and usually it was on purpose.

When he was a small child, Mr. Trump said, he went with his family to the Hamptons. While there, he acted at Gosman’s (Montauk’s most well-known seafood restaurant) in a way that “exceeded the limits” of everyone’s patience. His mother, he said, took him to the bathroom and showed him “what Eastern European discipline really was”.

When it was over, he said, she said to him, “And if you cry, we’ll come back here and start over.”

Young Mr Trump – whose fiancée, former Fox News personality Kimberly Guilfoyle, sat across from him – told another story about his sister Ivanka destroying a very expensive chandelier while performing in the house with a beach ball. “Ivanka managed to quickly convince my mother that it was me,” he said.

This time the “cure”, as he put it, was a “wooden spoon”, and what made his mother even more furious when she spanked him was his fervent denial of played a role in the misconduct. “Not only had I broken the chandelier, but now I was lying to her too,” he said.

But by the time she realized he was telling the truth, Mr Trump said, she was “too tired to deal with Ivanka”.

Ivanka Trump, 40, also spoke. Her mother ‘hated funerals’, she said, crying as she spoke of ‘the trailblazer, admired by men and women’ for her ‘grace and beauty’, but also her business prowess and work ethic implacable.

She was also the kind of mother who teased her daughter for leaving a party in Saint-Tropez at 1 a.m. (“She stayed until 4”) and berated her for wearing too modest clothes. “My miniskirts weren’t mini enough,” she says. (Mrs. Trump wore a black dress and pearls to her mother’s funeral.) Ivana’s motto, her daughter said, was “flaunt them while you have them.”

“She taught me to study hard, to work hard, to behave with dignity and good manners and to never, ever marry a man with a bad back,” Mrs. Trump said. “It took me years to figure out the last one.” (Of her daughter’s marriage to Jared Kushner, Mrs. Trump said her mother had said, “Ivanka must really love her if she’s willing to give up the lobster.”)

“Now she’s watching us from above, telling us to dry our eyes, have a good time, and dance one more song for her,” Ms. Trump said. “Mom, I love you today, every day.”

The crowd was Park Avenue and adjacent to the fashion industry, although Whitney Robinson, a former Elle Decor editor who had befriended the elder Mrs. Trump in recent years, was in attendance. back and said he had “no idea” who most of the people there were.

But they included Paolo Zampolli, the former modeling agent whom Mr. Trump appointed to the board of trustees of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts; Dennis Basso, the fashion designer whose high-intensity fur designs were favored by Mrs. Trump; Couri Hay, the publicist and gossip columnist; and Jeanine Pirro, the presenter on the right.

Near the lectern was a billboard of Mrs Trump on the cover of Vanity Fair in 1992, above the headline “Ivana Be a Star”. One of the speakers would later name all the other magazines she’s covered, including Town & Country and Vogue. But Mrs. Trump lived an increasingly solitary life in her later years, according to Marc Bouwer, a designer who dressed her for many years and who also sat in the back, wearing a black suit, without a shirt and a necklace of sparkling costume jewelry. that he thought Mrs. Trump would have liked; she was an unabashed proponent of pairing fake jewelry with very expensive clothes.

“She had been isolated,” Mr. Bouwer continued, in a brief church interview. “There was a lot of pain, a lot of sadness,” he said, before declining to elaborate.

Dorothy Curry, the former nanny of Ivanka, Donald Jr. and Eric, was perhaps the most striking speaker. In her two-minute speech, she alluded to this isolation, talking about how she had been close to Mrs Trump in the spring and summer of her life, after which followed an ‘inevitable’ fall and winter. of ‘dying roses’ as her former employer’s dream field became a ‘sinking swamp’ of ‘parasites’ who had kept her ‘afloat’ with ‘dreams and illicit schemes “.

“Ivana, we’ve reached out to you many, many times, but obviously we haven’t gone far enough,” she said. “We’ve all basically let go and let God, and now you’re totally in God’s hands.”

Rather, Mr. Basso described the good years. He recalls meeting Mrs Trump in September 1983, when he showed his first collection at the Regency Hotel and she then went backstage to meet him.

“She’s standing there in chocolate brown Gucci,” he said, “and she said, ‘I like you. You’re cute. You’re chubby, but we can fix that.’ »

The next day, he said, she arrived at his showroom for an appointment and came out with an order for seven pieces, along with an order to “send the bill to the Donald.”

She was, according to Mr. Basso and others, a businesswoman who was instrumental in decorating the hotels and residential buildings her former husband had worked on, including the Trump Tower, the Plaza Hotel and the Taj Mahal in Atlantic City. And when he ran for president, she was a staunch supporter.

Mrs. Trump had shared her ex-husband’s craving for attention, and it wasn’t easy, others have said in interviews, when his stardom faded and hers revived. first with the TV show “The Apprentice” and then when he became a successful president. candidate. The adult children she had largely raised became appendages to him.

Nearly two hours into the funeral, pallbearers carried the coffin outside to a recession played by Christopher Macchio, who also sang at the Republican National Convention when the former president accepted his party’s 2020 nomination. Mr. Trump and his current wife, Melania, trailed behind the body, followed by Ivanka, Eric and Don Jr.

The casket was placed in a black hearse bearing the name Frank E. Campbell Funeral Home, the near-resting place of many members of New York’s elite. He was heading next to her ex-husband’s golf course in Bedminster, NJ, where the land was dedicated so Mrs. Trump could have a traditional Catholic funeral.

It was sort of the last joint real estate transaction for the former couple.

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