NEWS UPDATE: This article is reprinted from the July 9, 1982 issue of the Crimson. Since it first appeared, Catherine Oxenberg was widely reported as having split her summer between her new film on Lady Diana and her new flame, Manuel Prado, "Spain's number-one goal-scoring polo player."
PERHAPS IT WAS the provocative tilt of her head, or the perfect pouting lips. Her lovely oval eyes were large and not quite innocent. Smooth skin, smooth, elegant neck, all framed by soft auburn hair. Something--no, actually everything--about Catherine Oxenberg made a guy gulp for air or punch his roommate in frustration.
It was Freshman Week for the Class of 1983: swimming tests, ice cream "bashes," and fervent 4 a.m. philosophical debates with nameless people from across the hall. Sex came up as a topic of conversation now and then as well. And at the center of all this frantic activity was Catherine Oxenberg, queen of the facebook, object of the collective lust of Pennypacker 25 and countless other male suites across the Yard.
As of this month, all the world knows about this sultry young woman. Timing the "leak" perfectly with the birth of Prince William, future King of England, CBS let slip that it will air a feature film later this year entitled Charles and Diana: A Royal Romance: Shooting has begun on what will surely be a landmark in modern movie-making. The twentieth century fairy-tale-come-true, captured for all America in prime time, maybe on cable someday. And who will star as Diana, the shy kindergarten teacher-turned-princess and proud mother? None other than Catherine Oxenberg.
Although Romance marks Oxenberg's acting debut, we have learned from numerous magazine and newspaper articles that she is no stranger to the ways of the upper classes. Related to both Charles and Prince Philip, she calls Princess Elizabeth of Yugoslavia "Mom" and is a cousin of Queen Sofia of Spain. The late Princess Marina of Greece, also known as the Duchess of Kent, was a great aunt. Hair trimmed and parted to the side Diana-style, Catherine hauntingly resembles the real-life queen-to-be.
Finally we can see her in color, and she is everything we expected.
SOME HAD SPECULATED that she was royalty, or at least a fashion model (which she is). Talk in Pennypacker 25 ranged from "I don't care who the wench is: I need her tonight" to the beautiful-young-heiress-promised-to-an-ugly-Greek-oil-magnate-but-yearning-to-run-off-with-an-average-guy-from-Northern-New Jersey scenario. The problem was, you see, that Catherine Oxenberg, 215 King's Road, Chelsea, London, England, SW3 was nothing more than a I-in, by 1 1/2-in. picture in the Freshman Register. She had a telephone number and a campus address in Canaday Hall, but Catherine Oxenberg never became the soft flesh and silky hair we yearned for. She never showed up.
Hundreds of guys like us didn't know that Freshman Week. Thumbing through the Register night after night, we inevitably ended up on page 90, just below Ingrid Lorentzen Ott and above Heriberto Roman Pagan.
Catherine Oxenberg. We had to meet her, bump into her by accident in the Science Center. At least watch her walk across the Lamont Library lobby, for God's says. Our hearts ached.
So we started calling. We called her room in Canaday once on the third day. "No, she hasn't shown up yet." Twice the next day, Immediately after every meal on the day after that. Nothing. Someone said that a guy from Thayer and one of Catherine Oxenberg's intended roommates had started dating after spending so much time on the phone talking about the mystery women.
One rumor was that Catherine had moved off campus after seeing what stiffs Harvard men are. Two-fifteen King's Road, Chelsea, London, after all. We staked out the Union, conducting table-to-table searches, Nothing. She eats only at French restaurants, someone suggested. She escapes from classes by limousine and spends weekends on Corsica, said another. She was murdered on the first day of Freshman Week by a jealous ex-lover. Some yuckster at the Freshman Register slipped in an old photo of Christie Brinkley for laughs. No one ever answered the telephone at 215 King's Road, Chelsea, London.
PEOPLE IN THE CLASS still talk about Catherine Oxenberg every now and then, but she disappeared from the spotlight back in the fall of 1979 once classes got serious. I, for one, have enjoyed the old pangs stirred up by Catherine's reemergence, not to mention the news that she was neither murdered nor the figment of someone's imagination.
Her folks have moved altogether from the King's Road homestead, according to London directory assistance. CBS has no specific time slot yet for the movie, but I'm sure it's going to be a smash. What a gal.