Prince Charles said he was appalled by the living and working conditions he saw yesterday in London's East End, where he was trying to persuade businessmen to fund urban renewal projects. Charles, who is active in several projects to regenerate Britain's inner cities, led a group of bankers, industrialists and developers around the neighborhood of Tower Hamlets.

"This is really terrible," he said after seeing a leather workshop run by Indian immigrants. "They are working and living in conditions almost as bad as those on the Indian subcontinent. It really is not acceptable."

Meanwhile, on a more personal note, the prince and wife Princess Diana appear to be working toward something like media reconciliation. Appearing together this week at the London premiere of the new James Bond movie, "The Living Daylights," the two managed to shift the media's attention back to their relationship and away from Diana's rumored flirtation with banker Philip Dunne. Although the Christopher Reeve look-alike was not present, the new 007, Timothy Dalton, was, and he managed to chat with the princess for a spell.

Recently, the British tabloid The People said that "Dunne will not be welcome in royal circles for the time being. The palace will not want to risk any further speculation." Maybe all really is well with the royals -- other British tabloids recently ran pictures of Diana playing with her kids and consoling Charles with a kiss after a Sunday polo match.

Effi Barry's Birthday Bust

Effi Barry gave a birthday party last night but hardly anybody showed up. The District's first lady said she sent out 750 invitations to something billed as "A Children's Fantasy" -- a $15-a-head fundraiser to benefit the Effi Barry Scholarship at the Duke Ellington School of the Arts. It was also a salute to her on her 43rd birthday, which is Saturday.

But 2 1/2 hours after the party was scheduled to start, fewer than 40 people were on hand. Finally, the management at Tracks disco opened the reserved part of the dance floor to nonpaying guests to pad the crowd. Mayor Marion Barry was there but left early, saying he had an early-morning meeting.

Carrie Fisher's Story Actress Carrie Fisher, who spent more than a month in a drug rehabilitation center after her marriage to singer Paul Simon collapsed, tells her story in her upcoming novel, "Postcards From the Edge," and in August's Glamour magazine.

Fisher says she spent "37 days -- and three hours, two minutes" in the center. "The clinic was like having every nut from one party in one place," said Fisher, well known for her portrayal of Princess Leia in all three "Star Wars" films.

She said she partially blamed her father, singer Eddie Fisher, for the breakup of her 11-month marriage. "Since my father went away when I was 2 {to marry Elizabeth Taylor}, what I wait for with every man is when he's going to leave," she said. "I leave first because I can't face that."

Kennedy's Advice Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, who could draw from experience, was asked yesterday what his advice was for the lot seeking the 1988 Democratic presidential nomination. Said he: "Speak of a vision, work hard and get a good road map of Iowa."

Cicciolina Stays Covered Up In Rome yesterday, porno star Ilona Staller, better known as Cicciolina, reneged on her promise to walk topless in the Italian parliament. Cicciolina, who was elected to Italy's Chamber of Deputies last month after a campaign of strip shows and bare-breasted appearances, took office wearing a more or less conservative white dress, white stockings and a gold crucifix. The pink teddy bear she carried during her election campaign was absent. While continuing her extrapolitical activities in sex shows, she says she intends to take being a member of parliament seriously.

Ready for Madonna And for all you Madonna fans desperately awaiting tonight's concert at RFK Stadium, why not whip out those bustiers and fish-net stockings and leave the suits at home. Maybe if you're lucky, you might bump into actor Michael Keaton, a k a "Mr. Mom," who is expected to attend.

Compiled from staff and wire reports

Chuck Conconi is on vacation.