Flash! Two great Greek shipping families will be united when beautiful Arietta Livanos, the enchanting daughter of Lita and George Livanos of New York, London, St. Moritz and their private Greek island, Coronis, marries Giorgios Vardinoyannis at the Greek Cathedral of St. Sophia in London on June 26. It should be the wedding of the season — make that the year — with more than 500 guests invited to the 6:30 p.m. ceremony and to the dinner dance afterwards at Grosvenor House. As the Livanoses and the Vardinoyannises have friends all over the world, one wonders if St. Sophia’s and Grosvenor House can hold them all.
Hubert de Givenchy will design Arietta’s simple white crepe wedding dress, but she hasn’t yet made up her mind about the veil. She still has time. The wedding invitations are just this minute in the mail.
Arietta comes from two families of beautiful women. Her mother, Lita, is an acknowledged beauty of international society, and her two late aunts on her father’s side, Eugenia Livanos Niarchos and Tina Livanos, whose husbands included the Duke of Marlborough and those two most powerful Greek tycoons, Aristotle Onassis and Stavros Niarchos, were both noted for their loveliness.
In London, at her house in Knightsbridge, the lively Marchioness of Dufferin and Ava, the Guinness heiress who is known to her friends as Maureen, gave an intimate dinner — a mere 20 were invited — in honor of her dear friend, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother, known to her British subjects, who are quite gaga about her, as the Queen Mum. We all know the Queen Mother always dolls herself up, thank God, and on this particular night she was really a sight to see in a pale green (the Brits call it Eau de Nile) silk taffeta gown worn with diamonds everywhere, glorious pear-shaped diamond earrings the size of a strong man’s thumb, more sparklers at her wrist and a spectacular five-strand diamond necklace, very close to blinding, nestling above her bosom. She looked every inch a Queen and nowhere near her 93 years.
Seemingly effortlessly, she charmed everyone in sight and showed not the slightest sign of fatigue despite having “received” at her residence, Clarence House, that afternoon, taken part in the St. Patrick’s Day festivities that week and been out in the bracing winds at the Cheltenham Races! All those Scottish genes!
Maureen’s rooms were filled with pink roses and lilies and there were red candles in the huge silver candelabra. The guests dined on Potage Pommes d’Amour; Mousse Saumon a la Crevette; Supreme de Volaille aux Asperges, Pommes sautees au romarin; Carottes en faisceaux, Celeri braise, Nuage de meringue a la Reine (but, of course) and Le Cafe Moka. You could look it up.
Tucking into all this richness — when was the last time you had Love Apple Soup? — were such as the Duke and Duchess of Grafton, Lord Rootes, Hugo Vickers, Lord Charles Cecil and his wife Virginia, Maureen’s stunning granddaughter Ivana Lowell in a pink Chanel, the Royal Ballet’s Antoinette Sibley, also in pink, Lady Bowker, Lord St. John (pronounced Sinjin — but you knew that) and Lionel Larner, the actors’ agent, who was in London from New York. (When dear Lionel learned he was seated at Her Majesty’s left, he almost swooned, he was so excited). After dinner, a few more friends dropped in to greet the Queen Mother, including Nicky Haslam and actress Susannah York, who came straight from her performance in the West End of Daphne du Maurier’s “September Tide.”
P.S.: When they told Lionel he would be sitting next to Her Majesty, he truly was a nervous wreck, as he has spent almost his entire life adoring her. When Maureen told the Queen that Lionel was quaking in his boots, the Queen said, “What can I do to put him at his ease?” Her smile did it, and they chatted right along for a couple of hours. Do you know anybody like that? I don’t know anybody like that.
As long as we’re wallowing in royalty: Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal, better known as Princess Anne, the only daughter of Queen Elizabeth and The Duke of Edinburgh, will drop in on Washington for one night only, on May 17. That’s the night the Royal Society of Medicine Foundation will give a dinner for 400 in her honor at The Watergate Hotel, where Princess Anne will receive an award for her singular devotion to the cause of improving human health for over 20 years as the president of the Save the Children Fund. She also loves horses, but I am here to tell you that’s not what this dinner is all about.
Jan Leschly, the new chief executive of SmithKline Beecham (pharmaceuticals, lots of pharmaceuticals) and Mr. and Mrs. Edward W. Scripps (newspapers, lots of newspapers) are the chairmen of the evening, and the British Ambassador Sir Robin Renwick and Lady Renwick are the honorary vice chairmen. As for Princess Anne, she will arrive the afternoon of the dinner and leave the day after. Sort of hit and run, but they are so thrilled to have her.
Betty Scripps will wear Scaasi’s ruby red lace and her own Burmese rubies to meet and greet The Princess Royal. So anyone else planning to wear Scaasi’s ruby red lace and their own Burmese rubies can just forget about it! Don’t mess with the chairman.
The amazing Redgrave theatrical dynasty (they’re British, and they pronounce it din-es-tee) is welcoming a new member. Jemma Redgrave, niece of Vanessa and Lynn, and her husband, barrister Tim Owen, have a brand new son, Gabriel. That makes him the great-grandson of the late, legendary Sir Michael Redgrave, who trod the boards in everything from a plumed hat to a codpiece.
Try to get ready for a new talk show, a sort of Mr. and ex-Mrs. format, co-starring George Hamilton, considered by some the best-dressed man in Hollywood, and his former wife, Alana Stewart. They may be divorced but they are still very friendly, it says here. Rysher Entertainment, backed by Cox Enterprises, will package the delightful duo.
Certain meanies just can’t quit gloating about the much-hyped exhibition of paintings by a veteran Tinseltown star at a swank London gallery. It proved to be a record no-show with hardly any toffs coming around to view his art. It seems to be a case of Some Like It Not.
On the other hand, Some Like It Sizzling: Though her dad’s art show may have bombed, Jamie Lee Curtis is turning on the audiences, burning up the screen as a sexy seductress in “Mother’s Boys.”
Will you listen to this? Director Robert Altman feels Lyle Lovett is “the new stud of the Nineties” and will emerge as a major movie star after he’s seen in Altman’s fashion flick, “Pret-a-Porter.” Lovett plays a shoe manufacturer whom women find absolutely irresistible. He has a different beauty on his arm in every shot. Catch me, I’m falling.
Meanwhile, Lyle’s pretty woman, Julia Roberts, will sizzle in steamy sex scenes with Tim Robbins. That, I can believe.