Byline: Aileen Mehle

Handsome Prince Ernst of Hanover, according to royal circles and to certain rather plebian ones, has filed for divorce from his wife, Princess Chantal, after a marriage of several years and the advent of several issues. This in itself is no great surprise. For many months now Ernst has been linked with Princess Caroline of Monaco in a romance that had its ups and downs — you know how it is with married men — but has obviously now hotted up to the extent that Ernst is prepared to leave home, if indeed he hasn’t done so already.
It’s an old saw, almost always true, that the wife is always the last one to know. But in this case, Chantal, along with everyone else who reads European papers and magazines, has known that something serious was afoot. A few months ago, she and Caroline had a heart-to-heart, and it was thought that Chantal’s married status would remain quo. This winter, Caroline was skiing in Switzerland with her children, and Chantal was skiing in the same place with hers, and all were enjoying that well-known calm — before the storm. Then Ernst and Caroline got together again and the relationship went from serious to seriouser. Then came The Kiss, when a photographer with a telephoto lens caught Caroline and Ernst embracing in a field of wildflowers in Provence near Caroline’s house. The photo was splashed on the pages of newspapers and magazines everywhere, the last little straw to insure that the camel’s back was broken once and for all. Chantal called Caroline and basically said — you can have him.
Some think it was the unceasing tension and stress of the Ernst thing that caused Caroline to lose her hair in clumps. But now it is growing, and she is glowing. You might say that finally she has found her prince. Now she is said to be looking for an apartment in London, where Ernst does much of his business. As for papa, Prince Rainier, he is once again in the potage. Everyone concerned is a Catholic, including Ernst. Caroline has her annulment, but it took her forever to get it. Should they decide to marry, will Ernst be granted one? Soap operas pale in comparison to this.
Between figuring out the foibles of the family, Prince Rainier found the time to commission a new red rose in honor of his beloved and cherished Princess Grace. The horticulturalist came up with two beautiful hybrids, and the gossip out of Monaco’s pink palace has it that Rainier would like to name one of them after his dear friend, Nancy Reagan. What a lovely thought! Should Nancy give her blessing — her favorite color is red — whatever proceeds are derived from the rose — garden exhibits, sales, photographs — would go to the Princess Grace Foundation.

Princess Diana, in another move to assert her independence, has jettisoned the famous Prince of Wales three-plumed crest that has long decorated her personal letter paper at Kensington Palace. In its stead, she now uses her Spencer family coronet over the initial D. Making their little jokes, those who love her insist the D stands for Divine. Those who don’t, insist it stands for Duh. Oh, to be in England now that spring is here!

Multimedia multibillionaire John Kluge does things a many-splendored way — if he feels like it. His daughter Samantha is marrying Readers Digest editor Adam Cahan tomorrow, and John’s flying two planeloads of guests in for the ceremony at his sprawling Virginia estate, big as a county, for the event. Among the toys he’s giving Sam and the bridegroom is a 10 percent chunk of his prize soccer team, the Metropolitans. Does that make his darling a “soccer mom” before she even gets to be a real mom? It’s those inquiring minds out there that keep asking.

Vanessa Williams, due this summer in the thriller, “Hoodlum,” playing Francine, the sweetheart of the 1920’s Harlem numbers kingpin “Bumpy” Johnson, is in real life right in the middle of divorcing her husband Ramon Hervey. She fired him as her manager some months ago, even though he was the Svengali who guided her back into showbiz after the scandal of her nudie photos in Penthouse 13 years ago, the one that caused her to be dumped as Miss America. Now the lovely couple is disenchanted with one another, and Vanessa’s hot new main man is promising screenwriter Christopher Salomine.

Joan Collins and Anthony Newley’s daughter, Tara, is planning a summer wedding in Paris to video producer Michael Adam, who, the story goes, fell madly in love with her after hearing her voice on the radio and hotly gave chase on a trip to London. Designer Jean Paul Gaultier is reported to be running up a wedding gown.

Princess Marie-Chantal and Prince Pavlos of Greece just rolled out the red carpet, so to speak, at a big cocktail party for friends, family and other swells, some royal, some not quite. The venue was the grand salon of their New York palace, and it was all in honor of New York City Ballet’s Spring Gala at the New York State Theater in Lincoln Center on May 22. Marie-Chantal and Pavlos, no strangers to parties and benefits, heaven knows, are making their joint debut as chairmen of the grand gala, and it sounds like the beginning of a beautiful pas-de-deux. Among the guests mingling in rooms of incredible beauty were Veronica Hearst, Nan Kempner, Brooke and Emilio Ocampo, Lucile Peyrelongue, Blaine and Robert Trump, Anne Bass, Patricia Cisneros, Aerin Lauder Zinterhoffer, Princess Marina of Greece and her daughters, Alexandra and Olga, and Marie-Chantal’s two sisters, Pia Getty and Alexandra von Furstenberg. Marie-Chantal, Pia and Alexandra are, of course, the fabulous Miller girls of song and story. Need I say more?

Washington Scoop: The first event ever to benefit The Library of Congress will take place in the nation’s capital on Oct. 7, a celebration commemorating the centennial of the Thomas Jefferson Building, the Library’s home and the site of the benefit. Buffy (Mrs. William) Cafritz of Washington and Alyne (Mrs. Jack) Massey of Nashville are the co-chairmen of the evening, when more than 400 guests are expected, including government leaders, diplomats and stars of the arts, humanities and sciences.

This year, Henry Street’s Spring Dinner Dance will honor Anne Randolph Hearst, Patricia S. Patterson and Carroll Petrie for the work they have done for the venerable New York institution. The theme will be the Arabian Nights with the accent on the enchantress Scheherazade, complete with a lush oasis, live camels, snake charmers and Persian carpets. Robbins Wolfe will provide a sumptuous Middle Eastern banquet, and all this will happen at the Puck Building. The chairmen of the evening are Laura Slatkin, Laura Hunt and Alex Papachristidis. May the bluebird of happiness fly over the Puck that very night, May 8.

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