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High Praise for His Highness, the Producer

People remarked on his wit. They basked in his warmth. They reveled in his graciousness. There was a unanimous chorus among Prince Edward watchers during his latest swing through L.A.--the guy really is well-bred.

Of course, you can’t say the same for us running dogs of journalism, who hounded the newly engaged Edward in a recent stop in New York with saucy questions about his personal life. So the Queen Mum’s youngest grandson was mum when he glided by the press gantlet at Paramount on Monday evening before a gala benefiting the Royal Oak Foundation.

“He didn’t want to be involved in a lot of press because they always tend to focus on things he considers private,” said the prince’s People, Sam Haskell, West Coast head of television for William Morris. “This wedding will be a private wedding, and he wants his feelings about it to be private until he’s ready to make some sort of statement.”

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Quite so. We feel much the same way about our personal life. Of course, we--both the royal and the editorial we, that is--were alone in being discreet that evening. A surprise guest--he’d told event organizers the night before that he wasn’t coming--was Lynn Redgrave’s estranged husband, director John Clark, who quickly attracted a swarm of television cameras.

Clark had been barred from the Screen Actors Guild dinner the previous evening, where Redgrave was enjoying her long-sought moment in the Hollywood sun. Clark was bounced after the news broke last week that Redgrave had filed for divorce after 32 years of marriage because Clark had fathered a child out of wedlock eight years ago.

But on Monday, Clark seemed unbowed, actually enjoying his new role as a magnet for the cameras. He insisted that he had come because he was a co-host of the event--which came as a big surprise to the event organizers, who said he wasn’t.

Clark, who’s still living in the couple’s Topanga home while Redgrave stays in an L.A. hotel with the cast of her next film, blithely dismissed his affair as extramarital tit for tat. “I thought all the rules were broken,” he said. And while he speculated that his revelations to the National Enquirer could hurt his wife’s chances with the conservative motion picture academy, Clark insisted he was the injured party.

“She’s humiliating me,” he said. “Isn’t it humiliating being turned away from the SAG dinner?”

Remind us never to get married.

And enough about breeding. Let’s get back to the well-bred. Edward Windsor, as he likes to be called in his day job as TV documentarian, gave a series of lectures in the United States sponsored by the Northern Trust Bank; Kathy Ireland, who’s promoting a new line of furniture; and the Royal Oak Foundation, which helps fund historical preservation in the U.K.

Edward’s topic? Home sweet home--Windsor Castle, portions of which were ravaged by fire in 1992. Edward has produced a film on its five-year, $60-million restoration for his company, Ardent Productions. And he introduced his talk at tea Monday afternoon at Regent Beverly Wilshire by tipping his hat to the ruckus raised over funding the work. Of course, being a gentleman, he didn’t pass it around.

“I’m not here to rattle the tin,” he said.

Not for the restoration, anyway. Haskell said the lecture tour was arranged partly to bring Edward back to town to engage in L.A.'s favorite pastime: taking meetings.

“We have deals all over the place,” Haskell said. The prince’s gigs include a documentary for PBS about a benefit concert in Mississippi that Haskell organized in his mother’s memory to educate underprivileged kids. There’s also a deal with Showtime for Edward to executive produce two period films, “one with a very high-profile star and producer.”

Hmmmmmm. Let’s start narrowing that down. We caught up with Jane Seymour at the tea and asked her if she would be linking up with Edward any time soon.

“No plans. I can’t imagine what we’d do with him on ‘Dr. Quinn.’ You know, we start next week.”

One down.

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Irene Lacher’s Out & About column runs Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays on Page 2.


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