Byline: Aileen Mehle

The romance of Princess Caroline of Monaco and Prince Ernst of Hanover, which you read about here last week, has blazed into a conflagration. The latest news is that they either have been, are there now or are going to Thailand together for a Far Eastern idyll. At the moment, this is all serious stuff. Ernst, handsome and fun, is also very macho, and Caroline is described as madly in love with him. Which more or less leaves Prince Ernst’s very pretty wife, Princess Chantal — how you say in German? — up a creek without a paddle. But that girl’s a swimmer.

Mia Farrow, her friends are saying, is embarrassed by the public airing of her friendship with Czech President Vaclav Havel. The tabloids have them dating and such and discuss the rather surprising newsy bit that Havel is impressed with the “intellectual” Mia. The truth is, Havel and Mia struck up a nice friendship, but have only been together once, according to the same friends, who don’t understand where the stories are coming from. Oh, from some blabbermouth somewhere. Who cares? The amazing aspect is that anything can still embarrass Mia anymore after Uncle Woody went ape, chimpanzee and rhesus monkey. What more does it take to build up an immunity?

Gil Donaldson, the American movie producer based in Paris, treated his friends to a weekend of opera in Paris, where he has just formed a new movie company, CineCapital, the better to finance and produce quality movies, what else? The weekend revolved around the reopening of the Paris Opera at the Palais Garnier, which has been closed for restoration for several years. Everyone was thrilled out of their culottes at the gala performances of “Don Giovanni” and “Cosi Fan Tutte,” and at least 50 of them had a lot of fun Sunday night at Gil’s Paris place. You will be tickled to hear that his date throughout was Marisa Berenson, terminally glamorous partout. Later, our Ambassador Pamela Harriman hosted a screening of “Sense and Sensibility” at the embassy, followed by supper attended by whichever weekend guests could still stand. So much for la vie Parisienne, which has been un peu dull of late.

With their public spat in Central Park all settled — who needs to be the American version of Chuck and Di? — that beautiful couple John F. Kennedy Jr. and Caroline Bessette were looking more beautiful than ever — and peaceful — at the Municipal Art Society’s reception and dinner at the 69th Regiment Armory, where they sat together sweet as pie. The Municipal Art Society, whose goal is the preservation and protection of New York City’s great architecture, was one of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis’ favorite projects, so it was thus that JFK Jr. and sister Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg presented the Society’s highest honor, the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Medal, to the famous — nay, legendary — architect I.M. Pei, whose magnificent buildings cover the land. Some of those edifices were shown in an amazing slide show flashed on a wall of the Armory, as Paul Goldberger, who handles all things cultural for the New York Times, spoke of Pei’s great accomplishments. To make the room as dark as possible for the show, hundreds of candles on the dinner tables had to be snuffed for the ceremony. You will be startled to hear that candlesnuffers are not easy to come by. George Trescher, who handled arrangements for the party, finally went to a religious store to get them. George will do anything for his art.
Because the pyramid has become something of a symbol of Pei’s work — witness the now world-famous one Pei installed at the Louvre — Robert Isabell erected a wondrous pyramid-shaped tent the color of moonlight at the Armory, set up all the towering candleholders and covered the tables with so many beautiful flowers it might as well be spring. Glorious Food served a meal worthy of the distinguished guests. The chairmen of the evening were Duane Hampton (in black chiffon and velvet), Arie Kopelman and Brendan Gill, and this is who was there: Eileen (Mrs. I.M.) Pei, Mercedes and Sid Bass, Judy and Mike Ovitz, Gigi and Roone Arledge, Evelyn and Leonard Lauder, Eleanor Lambert, Ellin and Renny Saltzman, Charles Ryskamp, Katherine and Shelby Bryan, Maurice Tempelsman, Patricia Patterson, Mica Ertegun, Mark Hampton, Connie and Randy Jones, Coco Kopelman, Jamie Niven, Richard Meier, Lee Radziwill, Jane and Louis Gropp, Grace and Christopher Meigher, Barbara and Edward Costikyan, John Dobkin, Adele Chatfield-Taylor and John Guare, Edwin Schlossberg, Alexa Hampton, Kate Hampton, Brigitte and Alain Wertheimer, Ann and Vernon Taylor and, yes, Donna Hanover Giuliani, who spoke of the virtues of The Municipal Arts Society and the foibles of her son Andrew, in that order, of course.

Catching Up With the New York Public Library and Its New Chairman of the Board: Liz Rohatyn, the new chairman of trustees, was warmly — and then some — welcomed at the Public Library by representatives of city government, leaders of New York’s cultural and educational institutions, Library supporters and fellow trustees. She gave a sparkling speech telling of her future plans for the great institution, and no one doubts that dynamic lady, or better not. Listening to Liz were such as Bill Blass, Lillian Vernon, Alice and Calvin Trillin, Casey Ribicoff, Helen and Jack Nash, William Bratton, Chancellor Rudy Crew, Fernando Ferrer, Sean Driscoll, Richard Feigen, Andrew Eristoff, Alberta Arthurs, Pamela Fiori, Barbara Fife, Dick Beattie, Anne Ford, Joyce and Robert Menschel, William Luers, Agnes Gund, Wendell Foster, Kathryn Freed, Mark Green, Louise and Henry Grunwald and, yes, Liz Rohatyn’s blonde and beautiful daughter Nina Griscom, who looked really proud of mummy.

Natalie Portman, the teen sensation of “Beautiful Girls,” is off on a major career projectile, the little sweetie having just signed for three movies. One of them is director Tim Burton’s “Mars Attacks!” for Warner, starring Jack Nicholson as president of the United States, with Glenn Close as his first lady. Naturally, it’s a black comedy about what happens after a mAlange attacks the United States. I can wait if you can.

Get ready for another powerful performance by little Anna Paquin, the gifted New Zealand actress who won an Oscar three years ago for “The Piano.” Now 13, the word is she flies away with “Flying Wild,” a touching tale about a flock of geese. I can wait if you can.

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