Byline: Aileen Mehle

The news from Merrie Old England is that the Countess of Snowdon, Lucy to her friends, has moved from the Kensington house she had shared with her husband, Lord Snowdon, Anthony Armstrong-Jones, that was, and into a million-dollar apartment she bought quite close to Kensington Palace, where Princess Margaret abides. You may remember, and surely you must, that Princess Margaret was Lord Snowdon’s first wife and the mother of two of his children. You may also remember that Lucy moved out once before, two years ago, around the time that Melanie Cable-Alexander gave birth to Snowdon’s illegitimate son, Jasper, but that time Lucy did not actually buy her own flat. This time it really sounds like 23 Skidoo.

More news from MOE: The Prince of Wales, sitting for a portrait by Richard Stone to be hung in the Gordon Highlander Museum in Aberdeen, claims that he’s starting to shrink. At 51, that seems a bit premature, but maybe it’s because he now has to look up to both his sons, Prince William, 6 feet, and Prince Harry, 5 feet 10 inches. Charles is 5 feet 9 inches, but the day he wears his crown he’ll soar to the stratosphere.

You will be thrilled to hear that Crown Prince Frederick of Denmark has just wrapped up a solo stay at the Ana Mandara resort in Nha Trang, Vietnam. The prince, without either entourage or guards, spent a few days at the pristine beach visiting the miniature circus on Monkey Island that features dancing bears and acrobatic monkeys. He also sampled the local oysters whilst contemplating his destiny, something sampling oysters anywhere may cause one to do. This is the same hotel where Don Johnson will arrive any minute for his first wedding anniversary accompanied, of course, by his wife Kelly Phleger of the San Francisco social swim. The couple will fly in by private plane along with 20 pals to celebrate on the Bamboo Island beachfront property that, as I told you last week, he’ll present to Kelly as a token of his affection. Oh my. What I didn’t mention is that he also plans to build her a 12-room villa so they will have a place to return each year to watch the spectacular sunrises and sunsets of this secluded paradise. Love, your magic spell is everywhere.

Just a hop away in the Maldives, Joseph Fiennes and his ladyfriend, Indian beauty Sekhri Nirupama, slipped into another love nest, the heavenly Six Senses resort and spa, Soneva Fushi, the handiwork of Eva Malstrom, a supermodel in the Seventies. The romantic couple did it all — from the Adam and Eve massage on the beach courtesy of Raison d’Etre, the resort’s spa, to the Robinson Crusoe picnic on an adjoining island where they were the only inhabitants.

Has David Duchovny, expectant father, been at the “X-Files” too long? Married to the lovely Tea Leoni, he says he loves every part of fatherhood except for how long it takes a baby to be born, his only hesitation in having more kids. “I kind of wish we were more like insects,” he says. “Do it in the evening, have the baby two days later. That would be great.” Yeah. Great for grasshoppers.

Peter Gallagher, who played a philandering real estate honcho hot after Annette Bening in “American Beauty,” appears next in “Center Stage,” director Nicholas Hytner’s drama about the dance world. This time, though, he gets his American beauty, in his role as the artistic director of a prestigious ballet company who marries the principal ballerina after she jilts her former love. Gallagher says the greatest people in ballet worked on the movie, and he’s thrilled to be in their company. “I can’t remember when making a film has been more uplifting and exciting,” he says.
Maybe it’s because Ethan Stiefel, American Ballet Theatre’s superstar, 26 and regarded as one of the greatest male dancers in the world today, was hand-picked for the plum role of Cooper Nielson, a brilliant, unconventional ballet star who rides a Harley Davidson and adores pop music, just as Ethan does in real life. You’ll be able to see all this in theaters everywhere on May 12. And joy of joys, the movie has been choreographed by Tony-winning Susan Stroman, the dazzling star of Broadway, and by New York City Ballet’s 26-year-old dance whiz Christopher Wheeldon.
As if that weren’t already quite enough, get ready for Amanda Schull, a 21-year-old San Francisco ballerina, to make her big screen debut as Jody, the beautiful star of “Center Stage.”. An apprentice, she had just been accepted in the corps de ballet when Hytner spotted her. She has been described as “absolutely radiant” and her screen test as “breathtaking.”

When Elizabeth Taylor does her star turn in London on May 24, she will receive a fellowship from the British Film Institute honoring her for her outstanding contribution to film culture. She follows such bigtime stars as Martin Scorsese, Vanessa Redgrave, Gerard Depardieu and Orson Welles. This will be a charity fundraiser to benefit the Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation and the U.K.’s Red Hot AIDS Charitable Trust. ET will contribute two diamond jewelry pieces from her personal collection for auction at the event. Two nights later, Taylor will again be the guest of honor at the Royal Albert Hall at still another charity gala, “A Musical Celebration,” a pop music concert with Elton John, Michael Jackson, Tony Bennett and George Michael doing whatever they do best. Oh, and on May 16, Elizabeth will be officially proclaimed a Dame of the British Empire in a private ceremony conducted by Queen Elizabeth at Buckingham Palace. There is nothing like this dame.

(Next week read about Julia and David Koch settling into Palm Beach, and Topsy Tailer, the mother of the bride, when George McFadden’s and her daughter, Elizabeth Cutting McFadden, marries George Leon Melas on May 20 at Saint Bartholomew’s Church in New York City with a reception later that evening at the Botanical Garden.)