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A Royal Flush: King Queens and Knaves Abound On The Social Circuit

by R. COURI HAY

THE WEDDING

Queen Sophia of Spain led a procession of royals representing the seven ruling monarchies of Europe to Prince Philip of Serbia’s regal glittering wedding in Belgrade. The Prince married graphic artist Danica Marinković, who became a royal princess when she said, “I do.” The four-day celebration drew swells like the prince’s stepmother, Princess Katherine, and American friends like Georgette Mosbacher, Susan Gutfreund and others. The prince’s mother, Princess Maria da Gloria of Orleans, who is now married to the Duke of Segorbe and lives in Spain, was also present.

The festivities began with a formal dinner for 300 at the Royal Palace, one of two palaces (along with the White Palace) in the royal compound built by King Alexander I of Yugoslavia in the 1930s. During dessert, I slipped out to do some snooping. The palace has a series of secret underground rooms, including a cinema where President Tito failed to amuse Queen Elizabeth II by sitting in a box above and behind her during a film. My favorite was the colorful copy of Tsar Nicholas of Russia’s throne room, the centerpiece of which is the “Fountain That Cries.” Legend has it that when King Alexander was seen crying over the death of his beloved Grand Duchess Tatiana at the hands of the Bolsheviks, his courtiers declared it was unseemly for him to be seen dabbing away tears, so a fountain was commissioned to cry for him instead.

The grand wedding was held at the Cathedral of St. Michael the Archangel, a 19th-century architectural masterpiece featuring golden chandeliers and gold-leaf portraits of saints. It was the same church where Prince Phillip’s grandfather, King Peter II, married Princess Maria of Romania in 1922. The ceremony featured royals promenading down an aisle dripping with dazzling jewels and a hundred child choir tucked away in the balcony. The bride stunned in a celestial white confection and a long train that rivaled that of Princess Diana. When the archbishop placed the red and gold crowns on the couple’s heads, there wasn’t a dry eye in the house. “We’ve been waiting for this wedding for 100 years,” one overcome royalist whispered. The groom’s older brother, Hereditary Prince Peter, and Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden served as the best man and the maid of honor. The wedding was televised by all three networks to a loving nation that still calls the groom’s parents “King and Queen” even though the country is no longer a formal monarchy.

After the ceremony, we went back to the royal compound for the reception. There were affectionate toasts, and suffice to say these young royals know how to party. The next day, we were back for a champagne brunch where the queen of Spain wished the couple “endless happiness” before they left for their honeymoon in Greece. But it won’t be the last royal wedding of the season. At the latest luncheon for Princess Katherine’s charity, Lifeline NY, the conversation turned to the most pressing question of all: who will make the guest list for Prince Harry’s wedding to Meghan Markle next May? lifelineny.org

ASHLEY JUDD GIVES HOPE

Actress and author (and Time person of the year) Ashley Judd was honored at Audrey Gruss’ Hope for Depression Research Foundation luncheon. Ashley told me, “I am in recovery from depression and I have no shame. I am a living example of why there is hope for depression. I have a disease that lies to me and tells me I don’t have a disease. It tells me I’m bad and wrong and I know I’m not.” At the end of her speech Judd closed by saying, “I hope you’ll come and say Hi afterwards because I’ll be signing my books and I’m always open to a hug.” Among the perfumed pack were Hilary Geary Ross, Jamee and Peter Gregory, Susan Gutfreund, Martin Gruss, Dayssi Kanavos, Kathy Hilton, Karen LeFrak, Julie Macklowe, Scott Snyder, Margo Langenberg, Jean Shafiroff, Jamie Tisch, Jackie Weld Drake, Janna Bullock and Sharon Bush, each of whom went home with a bottle of the new Hope fragrance. saksfifthavenue.com

CARNEGIE HALL SOARS

Annette de la Renta, Mercedes Bass, Beatrice Santo Domingo and Henry Kissinger led the applause at the opening of Carnegie Hall with the Philadelphia Orchestra. The night celebrated the 100th birthday of Leonard Bernstein, and they played West Side Story and the score from On the Waterfront. Others in the adoring throng were Sanford Weill, art consultant Kenny Ackerman, Dr. Christopher Calapai and Bernstein’s children Nina, Jamie and Alexander.

Also on the program was George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue with acclaimed pianists Lang Lang and Chick Corea. The night raised $4.5 million. On another evening at Carnegie Hall Candace Bergen, lead the cognoscenti to a brilliant performance by the Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra (IPO), which honored the legacy of Maestro Zubin Mehta, who is retiring as the music director of the IPO in 2019 after 50 years in the position. Gala chairs included Jo Carole and Ronald Lauder, Lily Safra, Charles Bronfman and James Tisch. There were also concerts in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Miami and Toronto honoring the marvelous Mehta. carnegiehall.org.

NAKED HEART BALL

Jeff Koons art-directed, Natalia Vodianova’s fun Naked Heart Foundation Ball benefiting amfAR. Guests included Karlie Kloss, Ellie Goulding, Dree Hemingway, Jessica Hart, Paris Hilton, Nicky Hilton, Rothschild, Naomi Campbell, Kenneth Cole, Carolyn Murphy, Brooklyn Beckham and breakout actress Natali Yura, who just wrapped Bruce Willis’ new action film Reprisal. Yura sparkled in a million dollars’ worth of pink diamonds from jeweler Jordan Fine and a gold leather dress designed by Andrey Bartenev. The evening dubbed the “Fabulous Fund Fair” had old fashioned game stalls created by Louis Vuitton, Stella McCartney, Guerlain, Buccellati and other brands you love. The evening raised nearly $2 million. Bravo! nakedheart.org Amfar.org