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Royal Treatment: Houston Hosts A Prince

Recently in Houston, at the ballroom of the Hilton-Americas Hotel, a vision in white was created, thanks to Darryl & Co. In keeping with the royal wedding theme, tireless fundraiser Connie Cook (asked by the inimitable Joanne King Herring) chaired the event, "Royal Weddings - Then and Now" with HRH Prince Jean de France, Duc de Vendome as the guest of honor and speaker. The tables were decorated with centerpieces of white roses, lilies and hydrangeas that completed the sea of white theme as a backdrop when a special performance by French mezzo-soprano opera star Marie Lenormand preceded the the Prince gave his insight about presentation of historical French weddings, including his own, as well as the big upcoming one recently in London. This luncheon benefitted Ms. King’s Marshall Plan for Afghanistan -- To Bring Our Troops Home, and some are calling it the event of the year in Houston since the 400 attendees helped raise over $350,000 for the cause. Honorary Chairmen were Donna and Robert Bruni; and the special honoree was Margaret Alkek Williams, while the Master of Ceremonies was Dave Ward.

The Prince’s week-long visit to Houston was marked by five underwriter parties.Paul Somerville kicked off the festivities immediately after Prince Jean deplaned in Houston and threw a mini-rodeo and Bar-B-Q at his sprawling Richmond ranch.He also gifted the Prince with cowboy boots, a western hat, jeans, and a de rigueur Texas belt buckle. After two hours on a horse and line dancing to a western band, the Prince indeed became a full-fledged honorary Texan. Duc and Duchesse de Gramont, Susan Krohn and Patrick Gehm (with whom the Prince house-guested), Diane Lokey Farb, and Paige and Tilman Fertitta also hosted lavish parties honoring Prince Jean.

Among the Houston glitterati getting the royal treatment were Duchesse de Gramont, Penny Loyd, Alan Craft and Cynthia Delaney, Larry Brookshire and Margaret Smith, Brian Teichman, Tricia Dewhurst, Paul Somerville, John Houghtaling, Becky and Malcolm Morris, Mike Giannattasio, Paul-David Van Atta, Nasruddin Rupani, French Consul General Pierre Grandjouan and Kate Grandjouan, Clayton Cooke, Shirley Dannenbaum, Stannise King, Donna Cole, Gerald Seidl and Michele LeNoue, Norma and Sam Gainer, Guyla Pircher, Bob Devlin, Stacey Swift, Elizabeth Arnold, Maha and Omar Khan, Laura Wheless, Karen Rozzell, Sharon Michael Owens, Nancy Marcus Golden, Carson Seeligson, Stephanie Cockrell, Alice Burguieres, Sue Trammell Whitfield, Sherry and Mike Sutton, Phyllis Williams, Merele Yarborough, Sidney Faust, Trini Mendenhall Sosa, Michelle and Frank Hevrdejs, Regina Rogers, Susan and Dick Hansen, Jana and Scotty Arnoldy, Elizabeth and Gary Petersen, Donna Vallone, Soraya McClelland, Karen Stall, Ileano Trevino, Joan Dunlap, Cherie Lindley, Astrid and Gene Van Dyke, Kathryn Rabinow, Sandy and Dr. Barney Barrett, Kathy Goossen, Anne Mendelsohn, Anne Kinder, Alice Mosing, Randa Duncan Williams, Rose Cullen, Laurie Morian, Jeanie Kilroy, Linda McReynolds, Jan Duncan, Bob Boudreaux, and Amin Dewji. Special guests were Samantha Rine and Chris Reyna whose husbands are serving in Afghanistan.

It was a grand day – and week - of events that will be remembered and treasured forever thanks to the hard work of Connie Cooke and Joanne King Herring.

Photos courtesy of Kim Coffman, Priscilla Dickson, Pete Baatz