Byline: Aileen Mehle
Palaces are palaces. Some, of course, are more palatial than others — and some more beautiful. And some more steeped in history. Scone Palace is one of the most beautiful and historic in Scotland, a country with a palace or a castle on every corner, it would seem. One of the reasons for its loveliness is because it, unlike many other grand and ancient piles, is lived in. It’s a palace that is also a residence, the magnificent ancestral home of the Earl and Countess of Mansfield. As for history, Macbeth bled to death here, Robert the Bruce was crowned here as were many other monarchs over a thousand years, and this is where the fabled Stone of Scone, the legendary Stone of Destiny, was kept for nearly 500 years. Edward I took the Stone to Westminster Abbey in 1296. Elizabeth, the present queen, was crowned on the Stone in 1953. In 1996, it was returned to Scotland, where it sits at Edinborough Castle.
The Earl and Countess of Mansfield had a previous engagement and were unable to receive the members of the Prince of Wales Foundation, who found themselves there on a wet but wonderful night, drinking champagne, admiring the incredible antiques, specifically the writing table made for Marie Antoinette by Riesner, the splendid paintings and portraits, the remarkable collections of ivories and papier-mache objects. One-half of the latter collection once belonged to the king of France, who in turn sold it to the czar of Russia, who kept it at the Hermitage. It disappeared from there in 1916, and they’ve been looking for it ever since.
With the Mansfields away, their son and heir, Viscount Stormont, and his Viscountess hosted the dinner in the glorious, Gothic-ceilinged Royal Gallery. Everyone hated to leave, but when the appointed time came, a group of Scotsmen in full regalia, playing pipes and beating drums, appeared from the mist as if by magic. There were people there who had seen everything and done everything at least twice, but there was not one who wasn’t moved when the bagpipers played “Amazing Grace.” And this is who was there: Lydia and Robert Forbes, president of Forbes Global; Kip Forbes, vice chairman of Forbes; Barby and Joe Albritton, the chairman of Riggs Bank in Washington and Allbritton Communications; Thomas Quick, the president of Quick & Reilly; the Hon. and Mrs. Frederick Ryan of Allbritton Communications (he was President Reagan’s chief of staff); Lynda Carter Altman and Robert Altman of Washington; Betsy Bloomingdale, Marion Jorgensen and Erlenne Sprague, all of Los Angeles; Vada and Theodore Stanley of New York and Connecticut; Stanley Tucker of Burberry; Richard Thalheimer of the Sharper Image Thalheimers with Christina Simonelli; Blaine and Robert Trump of New York; Richard Ziegelasch of the New York branch of UBS, the leading bank in Switzerland, with Cynthia Gray of Connecticut; Becca Thrash, the Houston flash; Mary Ellen Marziale of London; Cynthia and Anthony Maltese of New York, and Lionel Geneste, the managing director of Randolph Duke. If they didn’t love Scotland, nobody doesn’t love Scotland, aye.
Apparently, in Tinseltown, that forever-trying-to-do-a-movie-that-makes-a-buck-place, they’re currently attempting to prove that it doesn’t take testosterone to be tough. The idea is you don’t have to be a man to be macho, so accordingly: The tantalizing trio of Drew Barrymore, Cameron Diaz and Lucy Liu kick butt and look sensational doing it in the soon-due flick “Charlie’s Angels”….Robin Tunney and “Bond girl” Izabella Scorupo underwent grueling and rigorous training from professional mountain climbers learning to scale snow-laden peaks in the action adventure “Vertical Limit”….Australian beauty Sarah Wynter plays a hard-as-nails hench(wo)man for the corrupt power mogul, Tony Goldwyn, and his scientist partner, Robert Duvall, who are doing their worst to kidnap and kill Arnold Schwarzenegger in “The 6th Day,” a sci-fi cloning thriller….Winona Ryder battles merely the Devil himself to save Ben Chaplin’s soul in the supernatural saga “Lost Souls”….Juliette Binoche refuses to believe a convicted murderer is beyond redemption and becomes his benefactor (benefactress?) in “The Widow of St.Pierre”….Natassja Kinski, Sarah Polley and Milla Jovovich cause the downfall and destruction of the richest and most powerful man in town in “The Claim,” set in early California Gold Rush days….Sarah Jessica Parker, Julia Stiles and Rebecca Pidgeon (David Mamet’s wife) create havoc for Alec Baldwin, Philip Seymour Hoffman and William H. Macy in Mamet’s screwball comedy “State and Main”….And no man is a match, not even Antonio Banderas, for big-lipped, seductive Angelina Jolie in the lusty “Original Sin.” So if you’re looking for girly-girls, tossing their curls and batting their lashes, don’t try Hollywood. Right now, what they’re tossing and batting in movies is men. And so it will be until somebody out there decides maybe you can catch more flies with estrogen than testosterone. Don’t wait around.
Coming Up: Prince Albert of Monaco and Prince and Princess Ernst August of Hanover (that’s Caroline of Monaco) will meet the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, at the Waldorf on Monday night at the Princess Grace Awards Gala. Aretha will sing like no other bird known to man before hundreds of guests, including John H. Lehman, Prince Albert’s cousin and the president of the Princess Grace Foundation, whose mission it is to assist aspiring young artists. The chairs of the evening are Anne Randolph Hearst and Tony Randall, and expected are such luminaries as the incandescent actress Rosemary Harris, the incandescent dancer Ethan Stiefel and the incandescent TV anchor Maria Bartiromo, who talks about money on CNBC while a lot of men out there try to listen — and look at the same time.