First Lady Laura Bush will be the honored guest on Feb. 13 at the New York Public Library when the United Nations launches the Literacy Decade in the Celeste Bartos Forum. Later, there will be a reception in Astor Hall. Koichiro Matsuura, the director-general of UNESCO, and William Luers, the president of UNA-USA, are doing the inviting, and among those on hand will be Princess Firyal of Jordan, who spends a lot of time fostering good will as UNESCO’s Goodwill Ambassador.
Along those lines, Matt Lauer of your TV and mine is justifiably proud of his wife, Annette, who is following in the footsteps of Audrey Hepburn as a special representative of UNICEF. Annette, a former model, will travel around the world visiting nations on behalf of the United Nations and then return to create awareness about her findings and help raise money to provide health care and education for millions of children who have none. She has a two-year-old son, Jack, with Matt and recently returned from an Indonesian field trip saying, “When there are children involved, I melt. A little help makes a huge difference.” To make that quest even clearer, Annette will host a party on Feb. 5 at Escada’s boutique on Fifth Avenue, where Brian Rennie’s new spring and summer collection will be shown. Looking it over will be such guests as Lauren Bush, Kimberly Rockefeller, Muffie Potter Aston and, as ever, Serena and Samantha Boardman.
Patricia Kluge is going into the wine biz, and to announce it to the world, she and Michel Rolland and Gabrielle Rausse are celebrating the launch of Kluge Estate Winery & Vineyard at a luncheon at the Four Seasons on Feb. 11. Patricia has that huge estate in Virginia, which she kept when she and billionaire John Kluge divorced. Maybe she never let grass grow under her feet but grapes are another story.
If you are looking for a place in London, there are always Dustin Hoffman’s digs. He’s selling the elegant house in Kensington he bought in 1989 when he was starring on the West End in “The Merchant of Venice.” It’s yours for $5 million, give or take a shekel.
Prince Felipe, Prince of Asturias, turns 35 on Thursday, having fulfilled almost all the hopes and dreams that his birth in Madrid in 1968 kindled in his parents, King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia, his two older sisters, the Infantas Cristina and Elena, and Spaniards everywhere. The 6-foot-4-inch bachelor graduated as a pilot from the Spanish Air Force Academy, studied abroad in America and Brussels, earning a master’s degree in international relations, speaks fluent French and English, and even competed on his country’s sailing team in the 1992 Olympics. Is he well-rounded or what?
He now has his own residence with 11 bedrooms and nine bathrooms near his parents’ Carcuela Palace in Madrid and is considered to be the most eligible royal in Europe since Prince William and Prince Harry are really not ready to choose brides.
Felipe’s love life has been complicated by the fact that one day he will be King of Spain. Two years ago, he announced he was ending his longtime romance with beautiful Norwegian fashion model Eva Sannum, called “one of the 10 sexiest women in Norway,” to the delight of many Spaniards, who were unhappy at the idea of a former underwear model becoming their queen. But Felipe had a lot of trouble trying to get Eva out of his mind. After the split was announced, she moved back to Oslo and got a job in an advertising agency, but the two continued to meet secretly far from the plains of Spain, in Tunisia, Copenhagen and London. Friends say Felipe would like to marry Eva, and right now, he is having his cake, though the big question remains: Will he get to have her as his princess and queen? Feliz cumpleaños!
Princess Michael of Kent will hit town just in time for the American Friends of Sadler’s Wells Gala Benefit at City Center on March 5. You all remember Princess Michael. Married to Queen Elizabeth’s first cousin, Prince Michael, she is the patron of the American Friends of Sadler’s Wells, so you just know she’ll show up in person. She became a royal highness by marriage, of course, but if you want to be picky about it, she, herself, born in Bohemia, descends from ancient European aristocratic houses on both sides of her family, so there. Her picture on the invitation shows the princess in regalia — tiara, eye-popping necklace and all — but, sob, although she is known for her glamorous getups, she won’t be wearing them on March 5. The evening calls for business attire.
Sadler’s Wells is London’s premier dance theater and draws dance companies from all over the world including the Paul Taylor Dance Company, which will perform at the City Center Benefit. Afterward, there will be a supper at Osteria del Circo.
More Fallout from the Red Carpet: The British press are reporting that Madonna couldn’t make it to the Golden Globes and Sir Elton John is insisting that Madge, had she come, might have done him in. The two, who were supposed to share a table at the ceremony, haven’t been the best of friends, since Sir Elton made some remarks about her James Bond theme song, “Die Another Day.”
“She would probably have killed me if she was sitting at my table — maybe even a dagger through the heart,” said the rocker, who two months ago called her 007 song, “the worst Bond theme of all time — it hasn’t got a tune.” Rumors of a feud were fueled when she didn’t attend the Globes, claiming family commitments. Her agent has conceded she might have had a surprise in store for Captain Fantastic, saying, “Had Madonna attended, she would indeed have killed Elton John — but only with kindness.”
Fine. We’re waiting for the duet.
The Museum of Television & Radio is “cordially inviting” some very important people to a gala on Feb. 5 at the Waldorf-Astoria in honor of Julie Andrews and Carol Burnett. The invitation is a most desired one because the two girls are said to be ready to perform their talented little bottoms off, and the invitation is a freebie.