THE QUEENING OF JORDAN . . . A great flutter in the Royal Palace at Amman: Jordan's Queen Noor is reportedly Badly On The Outs with King Hussein. (We knew Noor years ago, of course, as blond Washington belle Lisa Halaby, before her '78 wedding to Himself.) Pals of both fret. Hussein's already run through three Queens, they grumble. (Remember Dina, Alia and Muna? If you put all his wives' initials together, one dreadful person points out, they spell "DAMN.") Now, poor Noor's been banished from the King's quarters. This whole affair does not meet Ear's Cinderella Standards at all. It will not watch that space.

THE MEANING OF IT ALL . . . Nancy Reagan's roaring through a series of biographies, chums report. She ploughed happily though Cynthia Helms' "An Ambassador's Wife in Iran." ("The Most Informative Book I've read on What an Ambassador's Wife's Life is Like," she beamed to Mrs. H. the other day.) She's devoured Edmund Morris' bio of Roosevelt, and his wife Sylvia's "Portrait of a First Lady." She chewed them both over with gusto at a lunch with the authors at Archie Roosevelt's house. (She's still doing those chic lunches 'round town, you'll be pleased to hear.) And at that same merry beanfeast, Arianna Stassinopoulos gave Nancy her bio of "Callas," the Divine Diva. Nancy swore she was going to pitch right into that, too. Ear merely mentions all this so you may learn to pronounce Stassinopoulos before Nancy drops by. If you are new to Ear, you'll be pleased to know that this sort of service is standard. Stay tuned.

THE LEANING OF HARRY . . . Sen. Harry Byrd, longtime Independent from Virginia, is pondering a switch to One of the Major Parties within the next couple of months, Ear hears. It's to be a huge surprise which way he'll jump. (Ahem. Anyone notice that he escorted Nancy Reagan 'round Richmond last week?)

THE GREENING OF THE MEDIA . . .The New Republic mag is feverishly hunting a replacement for Michael Kinsley, its editor. (He, recall, fled to hop aboard Harper's into ex-editor Lewis Lapham's gaping shoes) . . . Walter Cronkite bracing for Grandpapahood, via actress daughter Cathy. (She wed lawyer Bill Ikard, son of Frank, on the end of a pier in Martha's Vineyard in freezing mid-winter, remember, and that kept it nice and private.) . . . Bill Paley Jr., son of Guess Who, is gearing up to scriven a column for trendy little City Life mag here. The topic: The Tube . . . Phil Merrill, money-smart mogul of wicked wee Washingtonian mag, is tentatively nestling in at the Defense Department as a Consultant to Undersecretary Clay, the Policy Man. His probable job: To comb the Budget. "Who'll mind the mag when he really settles in?" the cognoscenti nudge. A hint: Elly, his wife, has already waltzed into the publisher's office, sports a smart new Mrs. Pynchon coif, and has begun to tote her pup about . . . And, finally, darlings, perhaps you spotted glossy, gossipy little Dossier mag this month. Its cover boasted that High Swank pic of the Richard Schweikers -- all gussied up for a white-tie soiree, to benefit Juvenile Diabetes. Quite a howl went up from the Socially Aware, of course. Richard's the Health and Human Services honcho, and runs the food-stamp program, and they all thought it was a Bit Much. Ear is charmed to hear that the Democratic Congressional Committee pounced straight for phone. One brain immediately buzzed Dossier publisher David Adler. "We'd really like to buy that photograph," he sighed. Dossier, adhering to the letter of the Gossip's Code, staunchly refused to sell. "They were perfectly willing to pay the three or four thousand dollars. But there's no doubt in my mind that they were going to use a Social Picture, Posed for Charity, for Political Purposes," he huffed. Things are livening up nicely. Wednesday: The plot thickens.