The American Museum of Natural History hosted a celebration fit for a queen on Tuesday night, and a queen of queens was there in all her glory. The evening honored her majesty Queen Rania of Jordan, who came to New York for the opening of the museum’s staggeringly beautiful new exhibition of ancient treasures called “Petra: Lost City of Stone.” Here until July of next year, it should be seen by all. Rania should also be seen by all. Ellen Futter, the museum’s president, called her “a modern treasure.” And so she is. Exquisite, she has a beautiful smile, perfect skin, perfect teeth, perfect eyebrows, perfectly dressed in Dominique Sirop’s blue and silver gray satin gown. But at least 600 guests got a look at her as she moved graciously through the crowd before and after dinner.
The museum resembled an oasis bathed in scarlet and festooned with bursts of plants as the early guests arrived for a private viewing of this magnificent show, the most comprehensive ever presented on the ancient city of rose red stone.
Dinner was served to 136 guests in the glowing Family Hall of Ocean Life, where Bill Tansey filled the room with lush arrangements of autumn blooms and hundreds of shimmering candles. Then it was on to the giant Rotunda, where 500 additional guests arrived for champagne and sweets. The Rotunda and its landmark Barosaurus were awash in a mosaic of crimson and gold light where Tansey again had nestled crimson and amber blossoms among autumn foliage nearly 10 feet tall. Among those milling about to glimpse Rania were such as the chic and stunning Princess Firyal of Jordan (she is the chair of the Museum Ball on Nov. 2); Meredith and Tom Brokaw; Judge Kimba Wood and Frank Richardson, the chairman of the museum’s board; Lewis W. Bernard; Ambassador and Mrs. Karim Kawar; Cecile and Ezra Zilkha; Mr. and Mrs. Bill Moyers; Connie and Stephen Spahn, and Mr. and Mrs. John Heimann. It was a night to remember.