Byline: Aileen Mehle

No matter what you hear or read, both the Princess of Wales and her sister-in-law, Sarah, Duchess of York, also known as Fergie, are fascinated by John Kennedy Jr. They have even told close friends he is the subject of their fantasies. What the heck — they could do worse. Fergie, particularly, is dying to meet John and has asked several friends to introduce them. John, they say, has absolutely no interest. He’s much too smart to get mixed up in that mare’s nest.

Hethea and Richard Nye of the social swim are swimming together no longer. They have agreed to a very amicable trial separation with a divorce likely to follow. Extremely civilized.

There’s a leaves-nothing-to-the-imagination bathing scene in “Rob Roy” starring Liam Neeson and Jessica Lange as husband and wife that we’re all supposed to get ready for. Does that mean we can bring along our rubber duckies? Oooooooooooooh.

She’s not exactly a household name yet, but we’re also supposed to get ready for a Dutch treat named Famke Janssen who will bring her fabulous face and figure to the new James Bond flick playing the luscious assassin in “Goldeneye,” wherein she gives Pierce Brosnan not only attitude but agita. And in the upcoming suspense film noir, “Lord of Illusions,” opposite Scott Bakula she is said to scorch up the screen with a vengeance. She singes Scott too. Move over, Linda Fiorentino.

Franco Zeffirelli, the great Italian director, is reportedly having a rough time of it filming “Jane Eyre,” what with casting and other problems. This plus what is regarded as a waning interest in the cinema on Franco’s part. Right now he seems to prefer politics (Italian, if you can stand it) to pictures. Speaking of which, her friends in the U.S. are thrilled that Suni Agnelli, sister of Gianni, and a brilliant woman, has been named foreign minister in the new Italian government. Also Mario D’Urso, well known in New York social circles, is Italy’s new minister of foreign trade, big news to the international set, which just loves friends in high places, even shaky places like The Boot.

When you’re hot, you’re hot. And when you’re not, you find out who your real friends are. That’s not beautiful Brit star Tara Fitzgerald’s problem, because right now she’s torrid. Currently starring as Ophelia on the London stage in a new production of “Hamlet” with Ralph Fiennes, she’s already set for a season on Broadway later on. She has a major TV film role in “The Vacillations of Poppy Carew,” and is in two new movies, “A Man of No Importance,” set in Dublin, and “The Englishman Who Climbed a Hill But Came Down a Mountain,” starring with Hugh Grant, with whom Tara appeared in “Sirens.” Somewhere in the middle of all this she’s planning to marry her constant beau, actor Dorian Healy. It’s just that she has to fit him in.

Meg Ryan and Dennis Quaid have rented a house in Hilton Head while Dennis makes a movie with Julia Roberts in South Carolina. They started shooting on a South Carolina plantation but have now moved on to Savannah. The nosy neighbors say the house is filled with kids. They don’t know whose they are — but there sure are a lot of them.

Ann and Gordon Getty are in Palm Beach for the big Taubman party tonight, staying on a yacht they’ve chartered. Anybody can stay at a hotel. Gordon arrived in PB a little early, fresh from the Super Bowl, to hear his new love, the Russian National Orchestra, play at the Kravis Center. Gordon is really all stirred up about the orchestra, which was founded in 1990 as Russia’s first orchestra to be independent of the government and, says Gordon, “has quickly moved into the ranks as one of the world’s most prominent ones.” He says, “The beauty and power of its sound are extraordinary and its artistic achievements in only four years are towering.”
To introduce the orchestra and its leader, Maestro Mikhail Pletnev, Gordon invited a group to the orchestra’s splendid concert at Avery Fisher Hall and then on to his Fifth Avenue apartment for dinner. In the group were such as Cecile and Ezra Zilkha, the Gilbert Kaplans, billionaire Frederick Koch and Carol Loud, the Samuel LeFraks, Johnny Galliher, Justice William Newsom and Hillary Newsom of San Francisco, Carroll Petrie, Schuyler Chapin and a dozen corporate types too musical to mention. Let’s just say for the RNO, they are very lucky to have Gordon as a champion. And let’s just say for Gordon, the opera he has written, “Plump Jack,” is plumping right along and may even be sung in Hamburg later in the year. Mrs. Gordon Getty, the lovely Ann, didn’t make the dinner because she had just returned to the Getty residence in San Francisco after a dig in Ethiopia, and she was tired like anything.

Jane Trapnell Marino and Peter Marino have the kind of magnificent apartment made for musicales, with a raised stage at one end of the huge drawing room where the Marinos have even staged an operetta, complete with scenery. Their latest musicale in honor of the birthdays of those two worthies, Jane Trapnell Marino and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, featured the international prize-winning pianist Graham Scott playing selections from Mozart, Chopin and Liszt. An enthralled audience insisted Scott come back for three encores before they climbed the stairs for dinner on the second floor gallery. Among the enthralled were Priscilla and Christopher Whittle, Anne Cox Chambers, Judy and Sam Peabody, Sisi Cahan, Elizabeth and Adam Lindemann, Joanne Cummings, Dana and Jamie Hammond, Brendan Gill, Janine and Tom Hill, Khalil Rizk and Thierry Millerand. You would have loved it.

In Palm Beach, the invitations have gone out for Phyllis and Jack Rosen’s dinner at home in honor of the beauteous Christy Turlington on Feb. 25. The Rosens — he’s the president of Hazel Bishop International — are terribly impressed by the supermodel and her charitable work, especially for Intercambios Culturales, a learning center in El Salvador, Christy’s mother’s native land. The Rosens are said to be pulling out all stops for the party, and are inviting such as Katie Ford and Andre Balazs, Prince Dimitri of Yugoslavia, Patty and Marty Raynes, Barbara and Henryk de Kwiatkowski, Betsy and Michael Kaiser, C.Z. Guest, Gianni Versace, Jim Courier, Nina Auchincloss Straight and on and on and on. Bring along your Hazel Bishop lipstick and make the host happy.
As for Christy, she is being talked about as a possible star in the film version of the life of Ava Gardner. This is not to be confused with the play about Ava written by Edward Epstein that David Brown bought and will stage.