Wednesday, May 29, 2013


"Scandal's" Tony Goldwyn couldn't have been nicer about doing an impromptu interview at Michael's with me

One of the reasons I love doing my Lunch at Michael's column for is that I never know who Im going to meet in the dining room. Besides doing the featured sitdown weekly interview with an industry leader in media, entertainment or fashion, I often get to have fun -- and often newsmaking chats -- on the fly with celebrities who are usually more than happy to spend a few minutes talking about their latest project. Today I got to talk to Tony Goldwyn, who, for my money, is the best reason to watch ABC's soapy drama, "Scandal" (Sorry Kerry Washington, we love you, too but hey ...). For all the dish, check out this week's column here. And to see who else I've been talking to -- Isabella Rossellini, Shirley MacLaine, Naomi Campbell, Coco Rocha, Karolina Kurkova and Sandra Lee to name just a few of my favorite high profile Lunches this season, click on the link for mediabistro Lunch column on the right side of this page.

Labels: , , ,

Wednesday, May 15, 2013


Prince Harry on the polo field in Greenwich

By any measure, Prince Harry's week long trip here, which has been dubbed in the media the 'Royal Image Rehab Tour,' was a rousing success. Much has been made of the fact that the last time Prince Harry visited the states in August of last year, he was caught with his pants down -- literally -- in Las Vegas having too much fun with some unidentified ladies. I say, give a prince a break.

Unencumbered by burden having to worry about being the King of England some day, Harry lives a life most people envy. He's 28, rich and unmarried and has the world on a string.  But he's no dilettante.

For the past week, Prince Harry's visit here has shown the world that he is the perfect representative of the modern British monarchy. He just may emerge the most popular royal in the family. Engaged, empathetic, intelligent and by all acounts very approachable, he is, I bet, the royal most people, if asked, would most like to have a glass of champagne with.

While much has been made of how much the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (he is  no longer to be called Prince William and Catherine was never officially 'Princess Catherine') do for Britain and how they have burnished the image of the British royal family, they seem far more scripted and while certainly very warm, hold themselves in reserve much more than Prince Harry. That's because, no doubt, the young couple will one day be the king and queen of England. There is no question the Duke and Duchess have done much to raise the stock of the monarchy, but there is just something about Harry that sets him apart.

He's the real star.

There has never been enough credit given to Prince Harry's more serious endeavors. Besides his charity work for The Royal Foundation (more on that later), Prince Harry is a captain in Britain's Army Air Corps and has served in Afghanistan twice. His first deployment ended after his whereabouts were reported in the media putting him and those he served with at risk from terrorist attacks. When he returned to Afghanistan, he was a copilot and gunner on a helicopter targeting the Taliban. When asked if he's ever killed someone in battle his matter of fact reply was: "Yeah, so, lots of people have."

When you compare his life choices with those of our upper class (and the son of virtually any politician except Joe Biden; I'm sure there are others but its hardly a large group) it is a stunning contrast. Born into incredible wealth and privilege the grandson of the British monarch and the son of one of the most iconic women who ever lived, Prince Harry could surely have chosen a path of ceremonial duty and hid comfortably behind his title without incurring much criticism. After all, don't we (and I'm taking universally here) really prefer our princes to live out the fairy tale existences we've created for them. We know they're not like us so why have them pretend?

Therein lies the difference with Prince Harry. He isn't pretending. He knows he lives a rarefied life and as he learned from his late mother, it is precisely because of that he feels he must give back and use his privilege and worldwide fame for good. During the past seven days, it was very much apparent just how well he has internalized the lessons learned from his late mother and his father. Honor and duty with the human touch is what Diana brought to the monarchy and is being carried on by both her sons today.

After spending two days in Washington, DC with veterans and honoring the fallen at Arlington National Cemetery, the prince went to Colorado Springs over the weekend where he met wounded service members at the Warrior Games, the US military's paralympic competition for wounded vets. He sat on the gym floor with participants and was observed laughing and chatting with many different people. Again and again those who met him said, "He's very down to earth."

When he came back east on Tuesday, he toured areas of New Jersey where Superstorm Sandy had badly damaged homes and businesses with Governor Chris Christie (who gave him one of his very own fleeces as a souvenir). There, he talked with residents and played carnival games with kids helping one elementary school aged girl win a Teddy bear. "He's really nice for a real prince," marveled the star struck child. Her sentiments were echoed by the adults that met him that day. "He didn't have to come here," one resident told me. "But because he did he brought the attention of the world here. That's something that means a lot to the people here."

That same day, he went to Harlem where he visited a school with sports programs designed to help kids build self esteem. "Sport is something so important in helping children build confidence," he told the crowd. "I've always found so much satisfaction from participating in sports," said making a true connection with people whose lives bear no resemblance to his in any way.

That night, Harry was the guest of honor at a fundraiser dinner at the Four Seasons Restaurant in New York City. It was the hottest ticket in town (and one of the most top secret) and every A-lister (and I mean every one of the glitterati) was trying to get in. Security was extra tight and the list was closed on Thursday although it was rumored a few tickets were still available and people were still clamoring to get in the day of the event. A mere $2500 got attendees a chance to meet Harry over cocktails. Those lucky enough to score an invite included Anne Hearst and Jay McInerney, Yankee Mark Teixeira and polo superstar Nacho Figueras. The press was not allowed inside the event.

Then finally, this morning, all of Greenwich was abuzz with word of Harry's arrival. Shop owners on tony Greenwich Avenue that weren't included in the guest list of 400 for the by-invitation only luncheon and polo match to benefit Sentebale, a children's charity supported by The Royal Foundation, held British themed parties in their stores giddy at the thought that Harry was in town. Even the massive delays caused by street closures didn't dampen the enthusiasm surrounding the visit. Again, security was so tight that some guests coming to the Greenwich Polo Club got out of their cars and walked to the club's gates. The press was held behind a rope line. A huge number of photographers snapped photos while reporters chatted with celebrity attendees which included designers Valentino and Jason Wu, model Karolina Kurkova and Greenwich resident Gayle King. "It's a great honor to have the prince play polo here," said club founder Peter Brant. The event raised an estimated $1 million for charity.

The guests, who dined on mini lobster rolls and a spring vegetable salad with English peas, didn't even notice the dreary rainy weather because all eyes were on the prince on the polo field. (No one was allowed to stamp down divots during half time because of security) The highlight of the match came when Harry scored the winning goal. His team won 4-3.

"Thank you for a wonderful week," Prince Harry told the crowd. "I have seen the incredible generosity of the people of this great nation."

And we witnessed the birth of the true superstar of the British royal family. Diana can rest easy. Her youngest son is a man who does her -- and his country --  very proud indeed.

Until next time Harry!

To keep up with all my Royal Watch Reports, follow me @DianeClehane on Twitter

Photo: Getty

Labels: , ,

Friday, May 10, 2013


On his second day of his visit to the United States, Prince Harry left all the giddy anticipation of his visit behind and saluted our country's war dead in a solemn and moving ceremony at Arlington National Ceremony. The prince wearing his Army uniform and light blue beret, walked alone along the tombstones, placed flowers on the grave of John F. Kennedy and stopped briefly at the grave of a British World War II solider.

A British army captain who served two tours in Afghanistan, the prince laid flowers at the tombstone of an American soldiers which read: "To my comrades-in-arms of the United States of America, who have paid the ultimate sacrifice in the cause of freedom. Captain Harry Wales."

He got down on one knee to lay flower's at JFK's tombstone and then stood attention and bowed his head. Hundreds of onlookers had gathered at the Tomb of the Unknowns where he placed a wreath of poppies at the site.

Afterwards, he changed into camouflage and visited Walter Reed National Military Medical Center where he spoke to many fellow veterans, some severely wounded. This afternoon, he is flying to Colorado for 2013 Wounded Warrior Games where hundreds of wounded servicemen and women will compete.

As someone who exhaustively followed Princess Diana throughout her public life, it is striking to me to see just how much Harry inherited from his late mother. His naturalness in any situation, his ability to put all different kinds of people at ease and his obvious compassion and empathy are strikingly similar to the qualities that help make his mother such an admired and beloved worldwide icon.

My first thought when I saw the photograph of his note to the American solider (pictured above) was how far Prince Harry has come since that bleak, dark day when his handwritten card accompanied another floral arrangement. In September 1997, he had written 'Mummy' across a card which sat atop a dome of white roses on Diana's casket. The world's hearts collectively broke for the 12 year-boy who was now without a mother as he walked in her funeral procession flanked by his brother, father, uncle and grandfather.

While shadows of that grief-stricken boy surely remain, today Harry is very much his own man. No doubt, his mother would be proud.

Stay tuned for more updates about Prince Harry's trip
Follow me on Twitter @DianeClehane
Photos: AP

Thursday, May 9, 2013


His Royal Hotness, also known as Prince Harry, arrived in the states (he flew commercial!) today for a week long whirlwind tour where he will promote Britain, raise money for charitable causes, support veterans -- and set hundreds of hearts aflutter.

The 'spare' to the heir's trip to the U.S. has female fans from Connecticut to Colorado swooning over the 28 year-old prince. Today, he surprised military moms and grandmothers when he stopped in unannounced at a tea party hosted by First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden for military families. He stayed for several minutes talking at length to the children at the event displaying the easy charm and accessible nature that made his mother, the late Princess Diana, an international superstar. "There were actual squeals of delight when he entered the room," according to one source I spoke to. "He is very much like his mother that way. Everyone loves him and every eye in the room was on him the entire time."

Harry also met with Senator John McCain while attending a photo exhibit organized by the British nonprofit HALO Trust, whose mission is to educate the public about the presence and toll of unexploded land mines, a cause that Princess Diana also supported. Cindy McCain is on the organization's board.

Tonight he is the guest of honor at a reception at the British Embassy where, I'm sure, there will be no shortage of ladies looking to chat up the prince. But it's unlikely anyone will get past his handlers who are determined to erase the memory of last year's Las Vegas trip where he was photographed naked and surrounded by scantily clad beauties while playing poker. This go-round, his itinerary has been tightly scheduled with little time for Harry to go off on his own. Sorry girls.

"His schedule is jammed packed with appearances supporting those causes he cares most about. Tomorrow he will visit Arlington National Cemetery to honor soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. He will also stop at Walter Reed Hospital to meet rehabbing veterans and then fly to Colorado where he will attend the World Warrior Games. He'll then jet back to the east coast where he'll tour the hurricane ravaged sections of New Jersey with Governor Chris Christie and next week on Wednesday he will be coming to my hometown of Greenwich, Connecticut to play polo for charity in front of a by-invitation only crowd of 400. The town can talk of little else.

"This is a very serious trip and the intention is to show Harry in the best light possible," said one insider. "He is deeply committed to causes concerning veterans and wants to show his support. He likes to have a good time, but he knows this is something of an image rehab tour and he is determined not to put a foot wrong."

The irony is, of course, that the more we see Harry misbehaving, the more we love him. He's not going to be king (that's William's burden to bear), he's single and, perhaps most importantly, he is his mother's son. Here in America we love him for all of that and I suspect in the UK, even if they don't always admit it, they do, too.

Stay tuned for Harry updates throughout his trip. Cheerio!
Follow me on Twitter @DianeClehane

Photo: Getty Images