Abdulaziz Saud

Prince Bandar's Arabian Night

TITLE : Soiree to Swoon Over: Prince Bandar's Arabian Night
AUTHOR : Ann Gerhart and Annie Groer
DATE : December 24, 1997
COPYRIGHT : The Washington Post

It was a party worthy of a petro-prince. His Royal Highness Prince Bandar bin Sultan of Saudi Arabia, to be precise, marked the 25th anniversary of his marriage to Princess Haifa bint Faisal at their McLean home Sunday night.

Former presidents Jimmy Carter and George Bush gave toasts. Lionel Richie entertained. A chef came from London, the sequined tablecloths from Paris. And many women in the crowd of about 120 tried mightily to guess the worth (and weight) of Princess Haifa's diamond, emerald and pearl necklace, which nicely accented her sable-trimmed Yves Saint Laurent gown.

"The diamonds looked like they were at least 10 carats each. This was like nothing you've seen outside the Tower of London," said a guest.

Bandar, the Saudi ambassador to the United States, threw the opulent fete at his sprawling home overlooking the Potomac. The pool was covered with a faux marble floor, tented with acres of satin, lighted by chandeliers and scented by huge urns of lilies, roses and orchids.

Bandar toasted his wife as his support, his strength, his love and the mother of their eight children. Carter toasted Bandar as a loyal ally. Bush joked that Bandar always bragged about what a great fighter pilot he was.

Richie passed out musical instruments for one song. But Carter, who doesn't pop to mind as a rabid party dog, immediately gave away his tambourine so he could dance with wife Rosalynn. And although most Washington parties end at 10 p.m. (perhaps 11 if the joint is really jumping), this one continued well past 2 in the morning.

"It was the most romantic evening," swooned one attendee.

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