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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016


I had a bizarre experience this last weekend. I met Lady Di in 011.

Of course, I may be mistaken, but if I am, then it was her half-sister, from whom she was separated at birth. And let's face it, it's not as if it would be the first time Russia had amnesiatic royals wandering among the hoi polloi.

What makes it strange was the next night I met my first Russian Sloane Ranger (which is the British version of a WASP). There's a puzzle for all you budding psycho-numerologists -- why the aristocracy has a predilection for clubs with numbers for names.

I used to date a girl from Roedean -- Britain's most exclusive girls school -- and was once caught by the headmistress and a big dog climbing out a window at 2 a.m. I have thus been to more than my fair share of Sloane Ranger/Young Farmer parties -- usually held in the family seat in the middle of nowhere. Nevertheless, it was a shock to meet a Russian Ranger; that is until you give it a little thought.

Tanya (pronounced "Tan-YAH") was the date of V., a well-known man-about-town, whom she proceeded to stick up for several hundred thou in drinks and grub.

"I want a strawberry daiquiri," she was explaining to the waitress. "What's that?" was the reply. "You make it with strawberries," Tanya helpfully explained. "We don't have any," came the inevitable reply. Come on, this is Moscow. We don't have a working democracy yet, let alone strawberry daiquiris.

Russia is ripe for this particular sub-species. Until the Revolution, Russia's upper crust enjoyed the fruits of feudalism like a fois gras goose enjoys grain and the gilded aristocratic tendencies are still there.

A Russian royal family resides in Madrid, and Easter saw the first in a series of annual aristo-balls. (I met a viscountess at a dinner party just before the ball, but still have failed to penetrate this particular circle.)

But these are the real McCoy. The Sloane Rangers are infinitely more annoying as they are aristo-wannabes. They affect snobbish disapproval of the crassness of New Russians, yet still they are jealous of their wealth, so a niche exists for a "there's more to life than money" crowd.

In a quiet -- what you might call "crushed velvet" -- revolution, a stream of young Russian Rangers are pouring back into the country.

New Russians have been packing out the dorms of Britain's most exclusive prep schools for years now. In Malven or Roedean you are as likely to hear, "Yoiks! Coming to the tuck shop Khazbulatov?" as you are Culpepper-Williams.

Those who were sent as "fags" in '91 are just about through and Tanya is in the vanguard. A flood of returning Russian toffs -- Gawd 'elp us.

Leaving V. to talk about horses and the Long Island Ice Tea that Tanya had managed to extract (with some difficulty) from the bar, I went to the Vermel, Cabana, Four Rooms complex.

The place was a Beemer-rama with the cool and beautiful literally spilling out into the warm summer night. If you haven't been, then throw away your "Tracy Lords meets the NFL" video collection and get down there.

The cool are a lot of show, too, but I would prefer to spend a night with Public Enemy's Flavor Flav than Prince Charles.

But then I guess Lady Di would, too. Which is what makes me suspicious enough to head on back to 011 to see if it really was her.