Prince Albert of Monaco
Filed under: Events
First of all, author Jay McInerney and his wife, Anne Hearst McInerney, who feted HSH Prince Albert of Monaco this weekend, are sensational hosts, they support the arts and the environment in an enormously generous fashion, and in person, they are nothing but nice. And, especially after this regal shindig, they are the center of social swirl on the East End of Long Island.
If Truman Capote, having published "In Cold Blood," was at the zenith of his society status when he gave the black-and white-ball in 1966 at the Plaza Hotel with Katharine Graham, McInerney, who married Hearst on November 21, 2006, at 21, the former society speakeasy, is now enjoying a longer-term embrace by New York society in Manhattan and the Hamptons.
And Mr. McInerney, a wine expert and world-famous author, doesn't lord his social cachet over others, the way, say, Capote used to drop names while in a glassy-eyed stupor on "The Merv Griffin Show." Mrs. McInerney's grandfather was William Randolph Hearst, founder of the Hearst Corporation and the alleged subject of the Orson Welles classic film "Citizen Kane." During the brutally warm summer of 2010 on the East End of Long Island, Jay McInerney has quietly become a kind of Jay Gatsby.
Idyllic Setting for Princely gathering
While William Randolph Hearst was known for his zoo-like menagerie at San Simeon, the Hearst McInerneys entertain at idyllic Ashgrove Farm in Watermill, where the couple keep an emu (like an ostrich in a ballgown drape of feathers), presentation hens, and two 3-foot-tall geese, out of a fairy tale, that appear to weigh over 100 pounds each. Sadly, their pet Llama succumbed, possibly to Lyme disease, over the winter.
The sprawling shingled main house, designed by Peter Cook in the style of the original farmhouse at San Simeon, includes stone fireplaces, centuries old, collected in Europe by Mrs. McInerney's grandfather. The guesthouse is a modernist structure, recently built, with colorful 1960s-themed art, including bright squares within squares by Frank Stella.
Famed London luxury goods house Asprey's polo team captained by Prince Harry (above, far right) was soundly thrashed by Belstaff's squad at the UK's prestigious Asprey World Class Polo Cup the other day. The Prince played well during the thrilling contest at the Hurtwood Park Polo & Country Club in Surrey, but accepted defeat gracefully, especially as his pet charity Sentebale received part of the proceeds from the match. Belstaff, famed for its leather jackets, also unveiled their brand new polo inspired collection at the event, allowing guests an exclusive first look at the chic and sporty clothes. Some VIPS including the Prince were gifted with items from the new line. Also in attendance at the event were Prince Albert of Monaco, his fiancée Charlene Wittstock, the Rolling Stones' Ronnie Wood and several stunning supermodels. Belstaff, founded in the UK in 1924 and known for outfitting stars like Tom Cruise, George Clooney and Will Smith for their action-packed blockbusters, also recently furnished longtime fans Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie with complete wardrobes.
Monaco has a royal wedding in its future. Prince Albert of Monaco has announced his engagement to Charlene Wittstock, a beautiful blonde former Olympic swimmer for South Africa. This would give the principality its first crown princess since Grace Kelly died in 1982. Wittstock bears more than a passing resemblance to a young Princess Grace. At 32, she is 20 years younger than her groom. The announcement did not include a wedding date but according to protocol royal couples must wait at least six months between the engagement and wedding day.
The two first met in 2000 and she has lived in Monaco since 2006. This will be the first marriage of a reigning prince since the marriage of Grace Kelly and Prince Rainier III in 1956. Prince Albert has two children which were born out of wedlock but has remained a lifelong bachelor. Fearing that he might never settle down with a wife, in 2002, the Parliament changed the constitution to allow one of his sisters' sons to take the throne if he never produces a legitimate heir. No details on the ring have been released yet but diamond watchers are agog at what appears to be one hefty sparkler.
Filed under: Luxury Cars & Autos
The other day we told you about the awesome $1.5 million armored Rolls-Royce Phantom. If you're looking for something a little more utilitarian (and less expensive) though equally anti-ballistic, feast your eyes on the new Russian-made Dartz Kombat T98 SUV. The Hummer lookalike, a sort of tank-meets-luxury SUV, features heavy steel plated doors and 3-inch windows, and is impervious to everything from AK-47s to rocket-propelled grenades. Powered by an 8.1 liter Vortec V8, capable of 110 mph, it's priced at about $200,000. Prince Albert of Monaco was spotted checking the vehicle out at the recent Top Marques Monaco auto show.
The tiny Principality of Monaco, which trumped London in September for the title of the world's most expensive luxury property market, has shelved multi-billion dollar plans for an ambitious land expansion into the Mediterranean. The plan hatched by Monaco's Prince Albert called for a 3 million sq. ft. artificial peninsula to be built, housing luxury apartments, boutiques and tourist traps. Expected to cost $5 billion - $10 billion, the peninsula would have added 5% to Monaco's territory.
Two world-famous architects, Lord Norman Foster and Daniel Liebeskind, were competing for the project, which had been slated to begin construction in 2011. Now however, Prince Albert has called the whole thing off. "In the current climate, it would be irresponsible to launch a project of this scale," the Prince explained to the AFP, citing concerns both financial and environmental.