Hotel heiress Paris Hilton was left nursing a bruised ego last night after falling victim to an elaborate practical joke set up by Richard Branson at his son's spectacular 21st birthday party
Paris had asked if she could come to the Mad Hatter-themed bash dressed as Alice in Wonderland - guaranteeing her a starring role.
But when the Virgin tycoon found out, he secretly ordered that all 60 waitresses at the event should also wear Alice costumes - and he rubbed salt into Paris's wounds when she arrived by deliberately mistaking her for one of the serving staff and asking her to serve him a drink.
The £150,000 birthday bash for Sam Branson was held at Sir Richard's Oxfordshire estate.
Dressed as the Mad Hatter, Sam - one of Britain's most eligible bachelors - welcomed 300 A-list guests. VIPs included Princes William and Harry, Prince William's girlfriend Kate Middleton, supermodel Kate Moss, Fergie's daughters Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie and Sir Bob Geldof.
Also there was Branson's 24-year-old daughter Holly, who is training to become a paediatrician. A Virgin insider said: "It was one hell of a party. Paris found herself looking more like Tweedledum as she was surrounded by dozens of other Alices."
The prank comes in a humbling week for 25-year-old socialite Paris. On Thursday she was arrested in Hollywood for drink-driving and was held in a police cell for almost two hours.