Sean Connery stepped out in public today for the first time since having surgery to removed a tumour from his kidney and declared: “I’m feeling very well.”
The former James Bond star appeared a little frail but was in high spirits at a glitzy event celebrating Scottish fashion as part of New York’s annual Tartan Week.
He revealed he was poised to become the first celebrity name to sign up for membership of billionaire businessman Donald Trump’s planned €430m golf development in Aberdeenshire.
Connery, 75, appeared to put a reported rift between him and Scottish First Minister Jack McConnell behind him, sitting next to the politician before the catwalk show – although he did move back a row and let his wife Micheline take over later on.
In February the 007 star, a staunch Scottish Nationalist Party supporter, was said to have branded the Scottish Executive’s attempts to promote Scotland overseas a “joke“.
It was even reported that he would not be involved with this year’s Tartan Week, the US-based celebrations of all things Scottish, but he was the star of the show at the Dressed to Kilt event.
He was mobbed by photographers and reporters as he arrived at the Synod House at the Cathedral of St John the Divine in Manhattan, just weeks after it was revealed he had undergone an operation involving five incisions to remove the tumour – understood to have been benign.
In a playful mood, he let Micheline hitch up his kilt to reveal a flash of leg, before predicting a “chaotic” night.
“My wife was here last year and we’re still settling the lawsuit,” he joked, before asking an American TV reporter who seemed nonplussed by the comment whether he spoke English.
The Edinburgh-born actor grinned in the balcony as a host of Scottish stars, including actor Brian Cox and golfer Sam Torrance, made their way down the catwalk modelling some flamboyant tartan fashions.
On stage he told the audience he was thrilled to be there, adding: “I don’t want you to pay too much attention to what you’ve witnessed – my wife doesn’t always rip the shirt off the guy she’s dancing with."
Connery, who also shared the stage with Mr McConnell, said the people in New York had been "almost overly friendly", referring to the constant media inquiries about his health.
He also reiterated his support for new Bond Daniel Craig, telling reporters: “He’ll be excellent. He’s a very, very good actor.”
Other stars on the catwalk included racing driver Stirling Moss, actresses Bebe Neuwirth and Tatum O’Neal and Miss Scotland, Aisling Friel.
Fashion designer Vivienne Westwood was honoured in her absence for her contribution to tartan at the event organised by Scottish-American charity Friends of Scotland.