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Former U.S. Ambassador John Loeb Jr. and Sharon Handler, whom he calls “the wonderful lady in my life,” are celebrating John’s 75th birthday on June 11 at Blenheim Palace, the far-flung English county seat of the Dukes of Marlborough. The reason John decided on Blenheim for the big 300-guest affair is because the palace is the ancestral home of Winston Churchill, and for more than 30 years, John has been associated with the Churchill family and the Churchill Foundation. John received a Commander of the British Empire decoration from the Queen in recognition of this foundation.
You will be thrilled to hear that five members of the Churchill family will be there for the big night, among them Lady Mary Soames (Churchill’s youngest daughter); Lady Henrietta Spencer-Churchill; The Hon. Winston Churchill (Churchill’s grandson) and his wife, Luce, and the Duke and Duchess of Marlborough, to say nothing of such worthies as Ambassador and Mrs. Ogden Reid; the Earl of Lichfield and Lady Annunziata Asquith; Henrietta, Duchess of Bedford; former U.S. Ambassador to England Philip Lader; the Earl of Dartmouth, who will give a buffet dinner at his home the next night for all the guests who will have come from overseas; Lord Rothschild (Jacob) and Lady Rothschild; The Hon. and Mrs. Desmond Guinness; the Earl and Countess of Dudley, and Lord and Lady Dunsany.
Also invited are such nontitled but nonetheless eminently acceptable American guests as Mary McFadden; Hilary and Wilbur Ross; Richard V. Allen (President Ronald Reagan’s first national security adviser); Mr. and Mrs. George F. Baker 3rd; Astrid and Christopher Forbes and Mr. and Mrs. John McCloy II. John’s daughter, Alexandra Driscoll; his son, Nicholas Loeb, and all four of his siblings — Judy Loeb Chiara, Arthur Loeb, Ann Loeb Bronfman and Debbie Loeb Brice — will celebrate with their brother. You’re only 75 once, and by then, it’s time to play the palace.
Carolina and Reinaldo Herrera have flown off to Spain to be there when their gorgeous daughter, Carolina Jr., has her baby. They know already that it will be a girl and that she will be named Olimpia. That’s for short. In full, it’s Olimpia de la Concepcion. The baby’s daddy is the handsome Spanish bullfighting legend El Litre (“the dandy“). That’s for short. In full, it’s Don Miguel Baez Spinola.
Master interior designer Albert Hadley, internationally regarded as the “dean of interior designers,” will be honored at a benefit luncheon on March 15 at the Rainbow Room, where he will receive the Parsons School of Design’s first Centurion Award for Design Excellence. Albert’s splendid career spans 50 years and his roster of clients has included such great tastemakers as Jackie Onassis, Babe Paley, Happy Rockefeller and Brooke Astor. Just about everybody who knows him loves and admires the ever-charming and genial Albert, including the late, great, formidable, demanding, almost-impossible-to-please, sharp-tongued Sister Parish, his partner at the renowned New York firm Parish Hadley for three decades. So, “who better to honor with this award than such an illustrious alumnus [Class of 1949] as Albert Hadley?” said Paul Goldberger, Parsons’ dean. Who better, indeed.
More honors: The theater crowd will dress in its finest on April 17 when the American Academy of Dramatic Arts honors its beautiful alumnus, Dina Merrill, actress, businesswoman and philanthropist, with its prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award. The festivities will happen at the Pierre Hotel and, of course, it’s all terribly black tie, because along with celebrating Dina, the AADA is celebrating its 100th anniversary. Oh, and Kitty Carlisle Hart is the honorary chairman. Everybody knows Kitty is at everything black tie, 24/7. The evening will benefit the newly founded Dina Merrill Scholarship Fund at AADA.
Allison and Leonard Stern opened the doors of their Fifth Avenue town house for a dinner honoring Ronald Weintraub’s first exhibition of abstract paintings at the Salander-O’Reilly Gallery. Allison wore on her black dinner suit the vintage diamond pin from Cartier that her husband had just given her to welcome guests such as Joanne de Guardiola, Karen and Richard LeFrak, Lyn Revson in a silver lamé top and a black skirt by Zoran, Evelyn and Leonard Lauder, Muffie Potter Aston and Dr. Sherrell Aston, Mario Buatta, and Francesca Stanfill and Dick Nye. Harriet Weintraub, who is ever so chic, wore Prada’s chocolate beaded jacket over slim black pants. To top off the evening, cookies in the shape of painters’ palettes were served. Is that cute? You just know it is.
Can you believe this? Jennifer Lopez has taken it all off for art’s sake, but only because her husband, Marc Anthony, asked her to. She posed provacatively while Marc, brush and palette in hand, painted her looking back over her shoulder, providing a crystal-clear view of the asset that made her famous, the view that catapulted her from the Bronx to superstardom. Don’t get too excited, because the oil painting is not headed to a gallery near you. Jennifer has hung it in the dressing room of her Los Angeles home for inspiration. Sure, but whose?
Queen Elizabeth II has literally given her stamp of approval to the upcoming marriage of Charles and Camilla by ordering the issue of two new stamps from the Royal Mail. The stamps were created from photographs personally chosen by the happy couple. The pictures were taken in Scotland at Balmoral and the Castle of Mey, which was owned by the Queen Mother until her death and where the prince spent some of his happiest childhood days. Charles and Camilla are both wearing green tweed jackets and big smiles, complemented by a bachelor’s boutonniere (his) and a big brooch (hers).
I would just like to say that the picture of Nancy Reagan that ran in this column last Wednesday was taken during the time of President Ronald Reagan’s funeral when her grief shook the world. As time has lessened her loss and she goes on with her life, she obviously looks much lovelier now. Valiant is the word for Nancy Reagan.