“It was like Elvis was in the house,” said Senator John McCain. “I’ve never seen anything like it.”
The Arizona Republican was describing the effect Prince Harry of Wales had on a largely female group of spectators during his appearance yesterday on Capitol Hill.
Last night the prince, 28, stood in a receiving line and greeted more than 200 guests, including Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer and McCain before a dinner at the residence of British Ambassador Peter Westmacott.
Westmacott joked that the U.S. visit was a “warm-up” to the arrival of the royal baby later this year. The prince is scheduled to make stops in Colorado, New Jersey, Connecticut, and New York in the coming days.
Senator Roy Blunt, the Missouri Republican, shared a laugh with the prince when they discovered they were wearing the same Hermes tie. The prince’s was red; Blunt’s was blue.
Other guests at the pre-dinner reception included Democratic Senators Tim Kaine of Virginia and Patrick Leahy of Vermont, Republican Senator Susan Collins of Maine, and Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano.
“They’re so charming,” said Collins, recalling an earlier introduction to Prince Harry’s father, Prince Charles.
Prince Harry, who served in the Afghan war, also chatted with wounded warriors such as Army Colonel Gregory Gadson, a double amputee who sustained his injuries in Iraq in 2007, and former Senator Max Cleland, a triple amputee from his service in Vietnam.
After the reception, Leahy, McCain and donors to the HALO Trust, of which the prince is a patron, gathered in the ambassador’s dining room for a small dinner party. The trust, celebrating its 25th anniversary, is a British charity that works to remove the debris of war, particularly land mines. The prince, who dined next to Teresa Heinz Kerry, wife of Secretary of State John Kerry, gallantly pulled out her chair.
Before the scallops and veal were served, Prince Harry said peace “is no more than a dream so long as these dreadful weapons remain where they were laid or discarded.”
Then he alluded to the late Diana, Princess of Wales, who supported such work. “This evening gives me great personal pleasure too,” the prince said. “My mother, who believed passionately in this cause, would be proud of my association with HALO. In her special way, she adopted it as her own.”
The Wednesday night opening of Nopa Kitchen and Bar embraced senators from both sides of the aisle.
The new eatery from Ashkok Bajaj of the Knightsbridge Restaurant Group raised a gourmand’s parliament with Republican Senators Richard Burr of North Carolina, Bob Corker of Tennessee and Saxby Chambliss of Georgia joining Democratic Senators Mark Warner of Virginia and Joe Manchin of West Virginia.
From off the Hill, more or less, came Joyce Brayboy, vice president of government affairs at Goldman Sachs Group Inc., and Karen Anderson, managing director of the Hamilton Project at the Brookings Institution.
“It still shocks me that we are forced to ever string these three words together: child, sex, trafficking,” said Valerie Jarrett, a senior adviser to President Barack Obama, Wednesday night at a fundraiser for FAIR Girls.
The anti-child exploitation group’s Pearls of Purpose Gala was held at the Carnegie Institution for Science where Irish Ambassador Michael Collins and Monaco’s Ambassador Gilles Noghes browsed jewelry made by sex-traffic survivors. FAIR, an acronym of the words “free, aware, inspired, restored.”
Swiss Ambassador Manuel Sager said he was there to support his wife, Christine, a FAIR Girls advocate and gala committee member.
(Stephanie Green is a writer and photographer for Muse, the arts and leisure section of Bloomberg News. Any opinions expressed are her own.)
Muse highlights include Katya Kazakina on the Frieze Art Fair, Greg Evans on TV.