A STATELY ELM TREE acts as a canopy at the lovely garden near Towson at Villa Anneslie, which was the scene of a party fit for a king, a prince and a lord. Built in 1840, Villa Anneslie is listed on the Register of National Historic Places and is the home of Roger Chylinski-Polubinski. He's the founder and president of the Baltimore International Culinary College and a descendant of an ancient and princely Polish-Lithuanian family.
He invited friends and members of the Polish Nobility Association Foundation to a reception in honor of Merlin Charles Sainthill Hanbury-Tracy, Lord Sudeley, a member of the House of Lords who is descended from the dukes of Normandy and the Saxon kings of England.
There was a lot of hubbub when Lord Sudeley and his party arrived fashionably late. He was accompanied by His Majesty King Kigeli V, Rwanda's exiled ruler, who maintains a residence in Falls Church, Va. I must say, the 7-foot Rwandan king looked quite regal in his navy-blue double-breasted suit, and Lord Sudeley looked very British in his gray pin-striped suit.
Also with them were Lord Sudeley's assistant, Sharlie Reeves-Davis, and from Catonsville, Adele Pratt Simpler, Lord Sudeley's host while in this country. Simpler had arranged for Lord Sudeley to speak about his family history and the state of the British monarchy to a group at the Washington Club in D.C. the day before the reception.
Some who stopped by to meet the royals were Nelson Bolton -- Bolton Hill was named for his ancestor; Morton and Janet Hoffman -- she recently retired as a senior adviser for Mayor Kurt Schmoke; Sam Verts, the assistant set director for one of the "Godfather" movies; Malcolm and Lorraine Bernstein -- she's on the staff of the Yale & Peggy Gordon Foundation; Stanley Ciesielski, president of Polish Heritage of Maryland; Leonard Suligowski, director of heraldry, the Polish Nobility Association Foundation in New York City; Carl T. Julio, a developer, with his cousin, Carl F. Julio; the Rev. Kenneth Gunn-Walberg, from Phillipsburg, Pa.; Jean and Gilbert Benson -- he's a retired partner of Wooden and Benson, an accounting firm; and John Chalmers, a chef-instructor for Elderhostel at the Culinary Arts College and a portrait painter. I'm told he may be selected to paint a portrait of King Kigeli in the near future.
I chatted briefly with Mary Riggs, Chylinski's house guest, who came to the party from Newport, R.I., where she lives with her husband, Douglas, the book editor of the Providence Journal. She came down to extend an invitation for Lord Sudeley to address the English Speaking Union in Newport. It was an interesting evening.
This year's Fall-De-Rol fund-raiser for the Maryland chapter of the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America paid tribute to "The Year of the Family." Their honorees were Cynnie Rosenwald, a member of the founding family; Dr. Theodore Bayless, medical family; and Dr. Keith Wilson, research family.
Cynnie, whose daughters Jane and Cathy have suffered from Crohn's disease for more than 25 years, was acknowledged for her philanthropy and advocacy for CCFA. Dr. Bayless is a scientist in gastroenterology and genetics at the Johns Hopkins Meyerhoff Digestive Disease Center, and he and other scientists are spearheading a project to find genes involved with the development of Crohn's disease. Dr. Wilson, an assistant professor at the Department of Veteran Affairs Medical Center, University of Maryland Medical School, was lauded for his study on the role of nitric oxide in relation to gastrointestinal inflammation.
The already-festive evening for the honorees and their families was highlighted by an appearance by Mary Ann Mobley, Miss America 1959, who has Crohn's disease. She was with her husband, Gary Collins, best known as the host of the "Home Show" and "Hour Magazine." Over the years, they have devoted a lot of time and their celebrity talents to making the public aware of this disease.
This year's "no frills" fund-raiser was chaired by Steve Geppi, Diamond Comics Distributor, and Samuel Himmelrich, Inland Leidy Inc.
The Gilchrist Center for Hospice Care opened officially with hoopla and kudos for Jeanne Gilchrist Vance Dance, founding donor and president of the board of directors, Hospice of Baltimore. The center is named for her maternal grandparents, and the center's Vance Chapel is named for her father and his grandfather.