Princess Diana concluded her whirlwind solo visit to Washington yesterday morning with visits to the White House and Grandma's House, a home for children with AIDS. She had coffee with President and Barbara Bush, who praised the Princess of Wales for her work on behalf of AIDS victims and a number of charities.

The princess then went on to Grandma's House, where she was given a tour by Executive Director Joan McCarley and the Rev. Debbie Tate, president of the organization that runs the home. During the visit, Di played with the children and scooped up a 3-year-old. The girl asked to ride with the princess around the block in her forest-green Rolls-Royce. Diana was photographed stepping out of the car holding the child in her arms -- a gesture founders of the home praised.

"A person of her stature coming symbolizes it's all right to love," said Tate. "It's all right to care. It's all right to hug... . It dissolves the myth of how the virus is contracted. It is not contracted by hugging."

Diana, wearing a pink suit with purple trim by British designer Catherine Walker, ended the hour-long visit by cutting a red ribbon to officially open Grandpa's House, a second home nearby for the children. The brief ceremony was attended by Mayor Marion Barry and Effi Barry, staff members and volunteers of Grandma's House, and royal fans waiting across the street -- who got the thrill of the day when the princess took an unscheduled walk over to shake hands before she was steered back to the car for her flight home to London.

The AIDS Quilt

Mireille Key also met with Barbara Bush at the White House yesterday, with Mike Bento and David Lemos of the NAMES Project, to show the First Lady a panel she made for the project's AIDS Memorial Quilt in memory of her husband, Robert Key. The Bethesda woman and her two daughters will add the panel to the quilt this weekend when it's displayed at Calvin Coolidge High School. Lemos said Mrs. Bush "asked about what the different symbols on the panel represented in Mr. Key's life. She made us all feel very comfortable, even though it was a momentous occasion. We felt like we were being welcomed into someone's home." Two other panels were also presented to Surgeon General Antonia Novello for her offices.

Kennedy's Boston Beams

Sen. Ted Kennedy is still smarting from the loss the last time the Boston Red Sox played the Oakland Athletics in the American League playoffs, in 1988. That year it was Oakland that went on to the World Series. With the two teams going at it again this weekend, Kennedy has bet California Sen. Alan Cranston a lobster dinner that the Sox won't lose. Cranston will give the Massachusetts Democrat a dinner of dungeness crabs if the heavily favored A's lose the best-of-seven series. This is a rubber match of sorts, since Boston beat Oakland back in 1975 in the playoffs. Kennedy is confident, and, according to a staff member, he shouted: "Look out, Oakland, this is the Red Sox's year to go all the way!"

The 'Peanuts' Party

Charlie Brown made his first appearance on Oct. 2, 1950, in seven newspapers. Now the "Peanuts" gang is carried by 2,300 papers in 68 countries and is celebrating its 40th birthday with a bash at Carnegie Hall Oct. 24. Creator Charles Schulz will be honored with performances by jazz musicians Grover Washington Jr. and Ron Carter, who will no doubt inspire the audience to get up and do that funky version of the "mashed potato" the gang always dances on its TV specials. The Smithsonian gets into the act Oct. 30, with an exhibit showing how Schulz's strip has reflected changes in American life.