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Nancy Reagan

Nancy Reagan

Kyle Samperton

WASHINGTON — Queen Elizabeth II wasn’t the only reigning darling to dazzle the nation’s capital this week. For a small pack of faithful pals, the occasion was a chance to get together with former first lady Nancy Reagan, who knows how to make an entrance.

“It was like the Queen had arrived,” gushed former Reagan aide Fred Ryan, describing the scene Monday night when Reagan checked into the Hay-Adams Hotel en route to President George and Laura Bush’s white-tie dinner for the Queen. “All the people came out to greet her.”

The following day, preparing to host her own lunch for 16 friends in the Adams Dining Room, a Chanel-clad Reagan confided the best part of being a past first lady: “Being able to come back and visit the White House,” she said.

A longtime fan and friend of the Queen, Reagan had no trouble explaining her admiration for the long-ruling modern monarch. “When you think of all she’s been through during all the years, how she adapted to all the changes in every way,” she marveled.

Nearby, former senator Paul Laxalt was also admiring the Queen’s longevity. “The cameras came in so close for coverage of the Queen’s Garden Party at the British Embassy. She doesn’t have a wrinkle. So what do you think, has she had any work done?” he asked Cynthia Helms, who chalked it up to the English climate.

This story first appeared in the May 11, 2007 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.