If and when Princess Stephanie of Monaco marries her former bodyguard, Daniel Ducret, the father of her one and two-thirds babies — yes, the second one’s well on the way — her father, Prince Rainier, who can’t stand the man, hopes it will be a civil ceremony, not the church wedding Monaco’s Archbishop Joseph Sardou is said to be pushing. If Stephanie married in the church and later decided Ducret was a weenie, her only way out would be an annulment. Just like sister Caroline. Friends say Rainier never again wants to go through the years of hell Caroline’s annulment took. Some say if Stephanie goes the civil route, daddy will even come to the wedding. Just be sure to get him to the judge on time.
Is Elle Macpherson, the tall and terrific supermodel from Down Under, wearing a “spoken-for” ring from Tim Jeffries, who once had Koo Stark in a spoken-for situation? Whatever, Elle’s swell in her movie debut as the sultry Sheela, a 1930s artist’s model in “Sirens,” wherein she shows up with nothing on. Not that it bothers her. She has been quoted as saying that for her nudity was absolutely no problem. “It’s a very Australian thing,” says she. “We’re always nude or topless at the beach. When I grew up we had one bathroom shared among five people. No one ever thought twice about being nude.” Just one little happy nekkid family without a towel-snapper in the bunch.
Speaking of models, Carla Bruni, said to have played a field which includes Mick Jagger, seems now to be in a permanent twosome with the young Swiss actor-director Vincent Perez, Jacqueline Bisset’s one-time flame. There are only so many of those actor-directors to go around, but I don’t care if you don’t.
Princess Michael of Kent will lecture at the Metropolitan Museum on March 31 and April 7, and a lot of somebodies must want to hear what she has to say because both lectures were sold out before you can say she’s-married-to-the-Queen’s-first-cousin. Between lectures, Prince Michael will join her in Florida where they will stay with Aimee de Heeren and be entertained by Emilia and Pepe Fanjul, among others. Barbara Tapert will give a lunch at Mortimer’s for the Princess on April 8, and the following weekend, Prince and Princess Michael, their children, Lord Frederick and Lady Gabriella Windsor, and Barbara and William Tapert will all take off for Fisher Island, Florida, for a little royal R&R.
Along those lines, rumors keep flying that Queen Elizabeth’s youngest, Prince Edward, and his sweetie of the past six months, Sophie Rhys-Jones, are thinking about maybe getting engaged. This was all fueled by reports that Queen Elizabeth had given Edward a home of his own. A three-floor flat in Kensington Palace, perfect for newlyweds wishing to play peek-a-boo-I-see-you-hiding-behind-the-stair.
Helene Beaumont and her husband, Louis Dudley Beaumont, the heir to a huge American department store fortune, were among the most dazzling denizens of the Cote d’Azur in the late Twenties and Thirties when the South of France was at the peak of its glamour, a magical, hedonistic playground of the very rich. Their house, Villa Eilenroc in Cap d’Antibes, was regarded as one of the most beautiful in that part of the world, filled with 18th century French furniture, much of which, according to Sotheby’s, was “acquired at the great Rothschild sales in England in the Twenties.”
Furniture wasn’t all the Beaumonts acquired. Along with the fine French furniture, Helene Beaumont collected jewels, a treasure trove now valued at over $7 million, comparable to the jewels of two other Americans who married “up” — way “up” — the seductive Duchess of Windsor and the alluring Countess Mona Bismarck, one of whose husbands, Harrison Williams, came within a few bucks of being a billionaire — when having a billion dollars meant something.
These three ladies are dead and gone now, but jewelry is forever.
Sotheby’s sold the Duchess of Windsor and Countess Bismarck’s jewels in Geneva, and that is where Helene Beaumont’s magnificent cache, said to “evoke all the romance…and the extravagant abandon of the French Riviera during the pre-war era” (wow), will be auctioned at the famous Hotel des Bergues on the evening of May 18. Come early. Stay late.
The most important piece in the Beaumont collection is the Jonker Diamond No.2, 40.46 carats worth, expected to fetch in excess of $2 million. It was cut from the 726 carat Jonker stone found in South Africa in 1934 and sold to Harry Winston for $800,000, who spent 14 months trying to figure out the best way to cut it up and finally decided to split it in 12 pieces. Helene Beaumont’s Jonker No. 2, currently set in a ring between two diamond baguettes, was the second largest stone in the litter and must be classified as one of the historic diamonds of the world.
If this doesn’t tickle your fancy — or is perhaps too rich for your blood or your husband’s — there is a diamond and emerald necklace which will go for less and a ruby and diamond necklace, rather like the one owned by the Duchess of Windsor, that should go for even less than that. And they say you may be able to take home with you Helene Beaumont’s little black lacquer minaudiere decorated with gold flower heads and rubies for as little as $700. Well, hello.
If you really want to play with the big girls and can’t wait until May, Sotheby’s is having its Magnificent Jewelry auction right here in New York on April 13 and 14. The highlight of the sale is a fabulous diamond necklace from a private collector, a piece by Harry Winston considered to be the most important diamond necklace ever to be offered at auction: Ten pear-shaped D-color internally flawless diamonds, which hang gracefully from the center, weighing nearly 100 carats. Sotheby’s won’t even supply an estimate on what the masterpiece is expected to bring except on request, as in pretty please. But if you’re burning to possess the most glorious yoke in the world and don’t care how you spend your money — this Bud’s for you.
On March 29, Harper’s Bazaar and the Whitney Museum will honor Richard Avedon at a black tie dinner at the Whitney, celebrating the opening of “Richard Avedon: Evidence 1944-1994,” a retrospective of 150 black and white photographs spanning his 50-year career. There will be cocktails in the main lobby decorated with red lights by Robert Isabell to resemble a darkroom and, afterward, a viewing of the exhibition on the fourth floor. Dinner, catered by Glorious Foods, will be served on the museum’s lower level, replete with white flowers, Irish linen tablecloths and candlelight. Everyone will be there: Harpers Bazaar editor-in-chief Liz Tilberis, the Whitney’s David Ross, Gianni Versace, Diane Sawyer and Mike Nichols, Christy Turlington, Veronica and Randolph Hearst, the ravishing model Rosie Vela, Kelly and Calvin Klein, Lauren Hutton, Carolina and Reinaldo Herrera, Mary and Mike Wallace, Geoffrey Beene, Paula Zahn and Richard Cohen, Isaac Mizrahi, Stephen Sondheim, the Sidney Lumets, Richard Tyler, Louis Malle, like that. It’s enough to click your shutter.