Wednesday, February 20, 2019. A cold but sunny day, yesterday in New York with temperatures in the mid-30s.
As the world now knows, last night at Ralph Lauren’s Polo Bar, across from the St. Regis, the Duchess of Sussex, otherwise known as Meghan Markle, wife of Prince Harry, now the Duke, attended a little dinner with friends. The first thing that came to my mind was: Ralph Lauren does it again! Watching the 7 months pregnant duchess move from limousine to entrance, I could only think she looks like the movie star she might have been if she hadn’t ditched her career to marry everyone’s favorite royal prince.
The duchess is staying at The Mark another five star million dollar plug for the hotel which is a favorite cocktails and dinner meeting place for residents of the Upper East Side near the Park. The duchess’ mother-in-law used to stay a block away at the Carlyle.
Although I pass through that part of the neighborhood frequently, I was not in shouting distance of it in the past four days. Nor did I even know about the old-time media melee of having the duchess walking in and out of cars and doors several times in the past few days and nights in what otherwise has seemed like a very quiet metropolis. (Except downtown of course).
I learned all about it on the Daily Mail, which is the tabloid of tabloids in the whole world; with lots of color photos of the beautiful mother-to-be, often with her hand on the top of her baby bump. Reading it, taking the photos in, I found myself feeling nostalgic – tabloids, movie stars, royalty, lights, camera action – for another time in New York when the local tabloids – the News and the Mirror – were there to liven up the place on these cold, dull weather days of February. Meghan Markle is her generation’s Grace Kelly. They could’ve had the story. However, different times may promise better outcomes for the duchess and her prince. The world wants the best for Diana’s boy and his future.
The official, private reason for the visit was a “baby shower” given the duchess by her old friends from over here. But The Royal Family of the UK is “the firm” and there may be other, more far-seeing public relations reasons, like “image.” There have been rumors that the Royal couple might spend part of their year in this country. The Daily Mail has grabbed millions of available eyeballs with their reports of Meghan and Kate’s cold shoulders (which one has it?). All of this is good for keeping their names out there, and us public diverted from our realities. And it does do-the-trick many times, however briefly.
If she’s feeling fine, the whole trip may be a fresh shot of good graces for Meghan Markle, all-American girl actress, now a member of another kind of movie. I like to imagine what the Queen thinks of Harry’s wife. And vice versa. Whatever that is, it is entirely my imagination. Having said that, it wouldn’t surprise me if Her Majesty might just be fascinated by this beautiful new duchess who made her own way to the Throne (room). Elizabeth R, they say, off-camera, off-mike, is a very serious lady who also likes a good laugh. Wouldn’t we all?
6,447 Likes, 233 Comments – Meghan Markle (@hrhofsussex) on Instagram: “I bet Harry is hating seeing all of these paparazzi ??”
On a far more serious note: This past Monday night Ambassador Ronald S. Lauder welcomed more than 70 guests to his townhouse for a cocktail reception in advance of the UN Women for Peace Association’s upcoming Awards Luncheon which is being held a week from this Friday, March 1st. at the UN Delegates Dining Room.
During the evening, Ambassador Lauder, a longtime supporter of UNWFPA, delivered welcoming remarks. UNWFPA President Barbara Winston and Luncheon Co-Chair Raymond Kelly, former NYC Police Commissioner and CEO of the Guardian Group, also spoke.
The Ambassador’s wife, Jo Carole Lauder told the crowd that it was especially meaningful to host the event at her husband’s childhood home, the resident of his mother, the famous Estée Lauder, a pathbreaker extraordinaire.
Her son added, “My mother spent her life lifting women up and empowering them to achieve greatness. I know everyone here shares that mission, and I thank you for all that you do to end violence against women.”
Commissioner Kelly pointed out “the UNWFPA is a vital organization devoted to raising awareness about the violence and indeed the atrocities perpetrated against women throughout the globe,” said Commissioner Kelly.
This year’s UNWFPA Awards Luncheon will be co-chaired by Alice Tisch. Other guests at the elegant event included UNWFPA Treasurer Michal Grayevsky, and board members Stephanie Winston and Bona Neritani; Sheikha Rima Al-Sabah UNHCR’s National Goodwill Ambassador; Susanne Geller of the German American Chamber of Commerce; Ambassador Besiana Kadare, Albania’s Permanent Representative to the UN; Ambassador and Mrs. Kai Sauer, Finland’s Permanent Representative to the UN; H.E. Ms. Ngedikes Olai Uludong, Permanent Representative of Palau, and DPR Ms. Karen Van Vlierberge, Permanent Representation of Belgium to the UN.
This year’s Awards Luncheon will honor actor, writer and activist Ben Stiller; activist Leslee Udwin, CEO and founder of Think Equal; fashion designer Naeem Khan; and international philanthropists Albert and Deidre Pujols.
UNWFPA will recognize Changemakers and Educators Mark Bracket PH.D, founding Director of YALE Center for Emotional Intelligence, and Robin Stern PH.D, Co-Founder & Associate Director of Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence. Together UNWFPA, Yale and Facebook are bringing awareness to the importance of integrating social and emotional well-being into schools, families and communities as a pathway to peace around the world.
UN Women for Peace Association was founded in 2008 under the patronage of H.E. Mrs. Ban Soon-taek, the wife of former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. The organization, which is led by Chair Muna Rihani Al-Nasser and President Barbara Winston, helps to advance the goals of academic and charitable organizations that provide opportunities for women to partake in the global peace-building process through social, cultural, education and women empowerment programs.
Tickets and Tables for the Awards Luncheon on March 1 are still available for purchase at https://www.unwomenforpeace.org.
Photographs by Amber De Vos/PMC (UN Women)