Mary Killen

Mary Killen writes The Spectator's Dear Mary column.

Dear Mary: On being an unappreciated patron of the arts

23 July 2016 9:00 am

Q. Since my husband began to appear in the Rich List he has become much more popular with ‘artists’ in…

Dear Mary: what to do with a dinner guest who attends only to her phone?

2 July 2016 9:00 am

Q. The setting was dinner for 16 at one of Europe’s most civilised houses. Sitting on the right of the…

Dear Mary: Would it be kinder NOT to give a homemade wedding present?

25 June 2016 8:00 am

Q. A friend’s daughter is marrying soon. She and her husband-to-be, both art-lovers, have dispensed with a wedding list, instead…

Dear Mary: the thorny issue of a toddler playing music on a phone

18 June 2016 9:00 am

Q. My daughters and I were recently taking our seats on an aeroplane. From behind us came the recorded refrain…

Dear Mary: Is it naff to circulate an advance list of dinner-party guests?

11 June 2016 9:00 am

Q. When going out to dinner I’ve found some people will send everyone a list of the other guests so…


Cull your friends: how a Japanese decluttering technique can give you a manageable social life

11 June 2016 9:00 am

With more chums than she can ever possibly see, Mary Killen tries casting them adrift using the Japanese ‘KonMari’ decluttering technique

Dear Mary: What can you do when your new neighbours stiff you on a restaurant bill?

4 June 2016 9:00 am

Q. We moved recently and new neighbours invited us to join them for dinner at a nearby restaurant. I planned…


Dear Mary: Is it OK to ask to drink the wine you brought to a dinner party?

28 May 2016 9:00 am

Q. What is the etiquette regarding asking to drink the wine you have brought to a dinner party? The man…

Dear Mary: why have all my friends given me scented candles?

21 May 2016 9:00 am

Q. My super successful son kindly gave a birthday dinner party for me in a glamorous London club. I have never…

Dear Mary: When I woke up at 3 a.m., my dinner party guests hadn’t gone

14 May 2016 9:00 am

How do you persuade your pleasant dinner guests to go home when they will stay into the early hours if…

Dear Mary: My doctor keeps asking me for advice on selling furniture

7 May 2016 9:00 am

Q. I know it’s a gaffe to ask a doctor for medical advice at a party, but what is the…

Dear Mary: How can I angle for a wedding invitation?

30 April 2016 9:00 am

Q. How does one go about getting invited to a wedding? Two friends of mine from university, who I have…

Dear Mary: how can my friend make her husband wear his hearing aids?

23 April 2016 9:00 am

Q. A friend of mine’s husband is in his nineties. They are a delightful couple but the husband has started…

Dear Mary on thongs vs big pants and stilettos on wooden floors

16 April 2016 9:00 am

Q. I have a daily problem with knickers. I am size eight so not obese, but I find the sort…

Dear Mary: How can I make a conversation-stopping gaffe go away?

9 April 2016 9:00 am

Q. What should a host do when a guest says something so embarrassing in front of the assembled company that…

Dear Mary: How to stop a host turning his dinner party into a debate

2 April 2016 9:00 am

Q. Twice recently our host has clinked his glass, required us to stop relaxing and instead take part in a…

Dear Mary: Should my widowed mother and her boyfriend get separate beds?

26 March 2016 9:00 am

Q. I was interested in the advice given to the niece who owed £30 (12 March). A more direct option,…


My life as a Gogglebox star

26 March 2016 9:00 am

Being on TV while watching TV is no route to riches, but it brings unexpected rewards, explains Mary Killen

Trooping The Colour

Dear Mary: help me to engineer a date with this charming army officer

19 March 2016 9:00 am

Q. I have a deep crush on an army officer I’ve met through work. He is decisive, practical and doesn’t…

Dear Mary: my niece hasn’t returned the small sum I lent her

12 March 2016 9:00 am

Q. My niece, who came to stay with me in the country for the weekend, arrived without cash and asked…

Dear Mary: My husband leaves all cupboards and drawers open

5 March 2016 9:00 am

Q. Re. your letter from F.C. about the boyfriend leaving lids off (20 February), I have a similar problem. My husband…

Dear Mary: new neighbours want me to provide a ready-made social scene

27 February 2016 9:00 am

Q. Former colleagues, with whom I got on very well in the context of the office, are buying a house…

Dear Mary: How can I teach my boyfriend to put the lids back on?

20 February 2016 9:00 am

Q. I love my boyfriend but he has a terrible habit I was unaware of before he moved in. If…

Dear Mary: How can I teach my godson to write thank-you letters?

13 February 2016 9:00 am

Q. I recently rediscovered a wonderful 22-year-old godson. He came to shoot for the first time and was a marvellous…

Dear Mary: Must I have name badges for guests at my wedding?

6 February 2016 9:00 am

Q. My husband-to-be and I both work full time. We are getting married from his family HQ and his kind…