Byline: Aileen Mehle

Europa and the Bull: Princess Caroline of Monaco tries to do the right thing, but sometimes it doesn’t jibe with what daddy thinks is the right thing — and daddy usually wins. When Caroline started her charity to help poor orphan children in Africa, she decided to make her 10-year-old son Andrea president of the organization. When she told Prince Rainier her idea, she got a taste of what it was like to hit a Monegasque brick wall. The nicest thing he said is that it was a terrible idea smacking of nepotism. P.S. The kid didn’t get the job.

If anyone really envies the royals — and the short list is getting shorter — consider this: In Britain, they’re already speculating and making book on an eventual bride for Prince William, who is yet to enter his teens. Among the top contenders for the boy who will be King of England in the next millennium are Princess Caroline of Monaco’s daughter Charlotte (Prince Rainier shouldn’t have any trouble with that); the Duke of Westminster’s daughter Lady Edwina Grosvenor; the Duke of Roxburghe’s offspring Lady Rosanagh Innes-Ker and multimillionaire entrepreneur Richard Branson’s sprig Holly. All this, of course, assumes that England remains a monarchy — and that darling little Wills doesn’t have a mind of his own.

If Richard Gere’s sometimes love Laura Bailey, the beautiful Brit model, is trying to deflect attention from herself, why would she be spotted and photographed the other day sashaying down a busy London street in a faux-leopard coat, an embroidered ankle-length skirt and sky-high heels? Because she bloody well feels like dressing that way, that’s why.
As for Richard Gere, the steamiest scenes in “First Knight,” his new movie with Sean Connery, take place on the battlefield, not in the boudoir. Even though both men, Connery as King Arthur, Gere as Sir Lancelot, are madly in love with the Lady Guinevere, the most exciting, and deadly are the battle scenes with Arthur and Lancelot leading their troops in hand-to-hand combat. Lady Guinevere is played by Julia Ormond, who may be getting spoiled. In “First Knight,” “Legends of the Fall” and the upcoming “Sabrina,” multiple men fall desperately in love with her. She is such a beautiful rising star that maybe in her contract she should demand that in every picture at least two men are cuckoo about her or she won’t play.

Get ready for Vanessa Redgrave’s bravura performance in the upcoming “Little Odessa,” which has already won her the Venice Film Festival’s Silver Lion Award for Best Supporting Actress. In it she plays the ailing Jewish mother of a Brooklyn hitman in the Russian mafia in Brighton Beach. What?

David Mamet’s rewrite of “Lolita” has director Adrian Lyne itching to start rolling in April. Both Hugh Grant and Ralph Fiennes are up for the James Mason role in the original picture directed by Stanley Kubrick. Fiennes, si. Grant, no. He is just too adorable and refreshing to play the icky Humbert Humbert — yet.

The Italian scandal sheets are trumpeting that Jerry Hall finally got her own back on Mick Jagger for his innumerable flings. Jer was photographed holding hands with a good-looking, young Italian financier, Carlo Clavarino, in St. Moritz, where it’s alleged they spent a couple of days. Don’t believe it for a minute. Even if it’s true, don’t believe it.

It was hearts and flowers at the Valentine dinner given by Alice Mason, one of the biggest and best-known players in New York’s real estate world. Because she never wears any other designer’s clothes, Alice glittered and gleamed in red beads by Galanos, exactly the color of the leash on her tiny white toy dog, Fluffy, to whom she is forever joined at the hip, and let no man put asunder.
Walter Cronkite held sway at Alice’s table — no mean feat with all those enchanted egos clamoring to be heard.
In the crowd were such as Walter’s wife, the witty Betsy; Anne Hearst, Geoffrey Beene with Amy Fine Collins; Maureen and Marshall Cogan; Gaetana and Tom Enders; the beauteous Nina Griscom and Dr. Daniel Baker; Kitty D’Alessio; Marilyn Evins, celebrating her new slimness in a black and white striped chiffon Galanos; Jo and Paul Hallingby; David Koch with Julia Flescher; Norma Hess; Regine Traulsen and Bill Diamond; Judy and Michael Steinhardt; Kenneth Jay Lane; John Rohrbeck; Donna and Jamie Hammond and others too heart-shaped to mention.

Tonight, denizens of the art world, art-lovers and all the socials whose names are fit to print will flock to the gala preview of The Art Show at the Seventh Regiment Armory on Park Avenue benefiting the Henry Street Settlement. Over 60 of the country’s leading galleries will be showing selections of their finest paintings, drawings, print, sculpture and photography in all price ranges. Included will be Rembrandts, Picassos, Duchamps, Calder, Miro, Kandinsky and Jasper Johns. To say nothing of Roy Lichtenstein, Cy Twombley, Gerhard Richter, Frank Stella, Matisse, Mantegna, Jean Dubuffet, Henry Moore, Mark Rothko and Isamu Noguchi. How about them art works?
The co-chairmen of the preview are Lisa and David Schiff, Agnes Gund and Daniel Shapiro, Jo Carole and Ronald Lauder and Carol and Punch Sulzberger. At least 2000 guests are expected, including such as Lily Auchincloss, William Lieberman, Ricky and Ralph Lauren, Maureen and Marshall Cogan, Bill Blass, Donna and William Acquavella, Anne Bass, Jan Cowles and Evelyn and Leonard Lauder.

The big party to benefit the National Center for Learning Disabilities is set for Feb. 28 at the Marriott Marquis, with Anne Ford as the very dedicated chairman. Anne already has loads of money promised by everyone from the National Basketball Association to David Geffen, and good for her. She’s not just another pretty blond figurehead for the NCLD, but a full-time, hardworking chairman of the board. The theme of this year’s gala is “The Sky’s the Limit: Building Our Children’s Future,” and honored will be no less a corporate giant than Roberto C. Goizueta, the worldwide head of Coca-Cola and a supporter of NCLD. Among the guests will be Hugh Carey and Alex Trotman, the ceo of Ford Motor Co. There will be dinner and dancing and an auction featuring a Ford Mustang, no less. Tell me you’re surprised.

More than 400 Palm Beachers, Vero Beachers, etc., converged under a pure white tent at Windsor, Fla., for a fashion show of Chanel’s spring-summer collection from Chanel’s Palm Beach boutique. Benefiting was the Indian River Land Trust. Hilary Weston — she and her husband, Galen, own Windsor, an exclusive enclave where polo is king — was in Toronto for meetings on her new book, “At Home in Canada,” but Galen made it to the show, one of 14 men in a dressed-up gang of 400 women. He was flanked in the front row by Richard Burton’s widow Sally in black, bare-topped silk and Pat Kluge in a black and white linen suit. Fifteen mannequins in six-inch stiletto heels paraded in suits and dresses designed by Karl Lagerfeld, always black and white, and then burst out in diamond-studded bikini bras and G-strings made of gold chains covered with colored stones. One dowager viewing the retreating nude derrieres was heard to remark, “My goodness, that’s a new way to show the Chanel logo!” You bet your bottom.