No matter, Elizabeth clearly dotes on the couple. Leaving her husband, Sen. John Warner, in Washington, she sallied West and rallied old friends. Martin Mull, Sissy Spacek, Roddy McDowell, Carol Burnett and Dudley Moore were among the 150 guests at a formal engagement party held at the Brentwood home of Aileen's divorced mother, Gail Harris Getty. Timothy Leary showed up, as did Taylor's mother, Sara, 89, and Aileen's two brothers—J. Paul III, who lost an ear to Italian kidnappers in 1973, and Mark, in from his British prep school, Harrow.
The 48-year-old Elizabeth shimmered in pearls and the hostess was a match in an amethyst choker. The kids weren't outdone. Aileen flashed an engagement ring of imperial jade encircled by diamonds, and Christopher, who is a photographer, sported a gold hoop and diamond studs in his left ear lobe.
The couple drifted together about two years ago and lived briefly with Chris' brother, Michael. After Michael left for London to form a rock band, Chris and Aileen moved on to a modest duplex in Hancock Park. Liz bunked in their bedroom during her L.A. visit—even on the night of their "surrogate marriage," as Aileen blithely called the engagement party.
It was a match made in Hollywood: Elizabeth Taylor's son and oil tycoon J. Paul Getty's granddaughter. But the script had a peculiar twist—Christopher Wilding, 25, Liz's offspring by her late second husband, Michael Wilding, could only plight his troth to Aileen Getty, 20, under a full moon and over salami and crackers at a cocktail party. There won't be a wedding for three years because her grandfather's will stipulates that Aileen will be disinherited (and lose $100,000 annually) if she marries before she is 23.