Marie-Chantal Miller’s Wedding Dress & Tiara

The incredibly lavish events that marked Prince Pavlos of Greece’s wedding to Marie-Chantal Miller deserve a place in the history books. Last week we recapped the wedding festivites (click here for a refresher) and today we’re taking a close look at the bride’s couture wedding dress.

On the steps [Us Weekly]
On the steps [Us Weekly]
Since the couple became engaged during the Christmas 1994 holiday and the wedding took place on July 1 of 1995, there were just 6 months to pull everything together.  Marie-Chantal chose Valentino to design the dress and according to Vogue, it took more than 25 seamstresses to complete the £140,000 ivory silk gown. Twelve different types of lace reportedly were included in the dress and with a high neck, fitted bodice, and long sleeves Marie-Chantal wanted quite a traditional and modest silhouette. The bodice and sleeves are made of floral lace (much like Grace Kelly’s iconic wedding dress) and the lace extends to the empire line of the dress.

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It’s a beautiful gown but even with all the attention to detail it is not a favorite of mine- overall it just seems rather heavy – but I do love the lustre of the ivory silk and the detail on the skirt is gorgeous.

The bride & groom posed outside of the cathedral after the wedding [Vogue]
The bride & groom posed outside of the cathedral after the wedding [Vogue]
 In fact, the lace appliqué on the skirt is somewhat reminiscent of Kate Middletown’s Alexander McQueen wedding gown. I wouldn’t be surprised if Marie-Chantals’ gown was an inspirational reference for her. Check out both of the gowns on display below to see the similar affect they both have:

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Different and yet so similar – can you see it, too?

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I think what really takes the heaviness factor over the top is the chantilly lace veil; there’s just so much going on and those scallops are not dainty. I think a more diaphanous veil may have done the trick. Regardless, the veil extended beyond the length of the dress which was quite stunning, though.

Along with her intricate veil  Marie-Chantal wore a diamond and pearl encrusted tiara. This particular tiara is known as the Antique Corsage Tiara and it was on loan from her mother-in-law Queen Anne-Marie of Greece.

The Corsage Tiara [Hello!]
The Corsage Tiara [Hello!]
Queen Anne-Marie received it on her 18th birthday (gotta love the 18th birthday tiara tradition) and it has quite an extraordinary history. The Royal Order of Sartorial Splendor – a fantastic blog- has a great post on this tiara here. Marie-Chantal wore the tiara at other occasions after the wedding, though nowadays she seems to prefer wearing three other tiaras at her disposal (perhaps they should be the subject of another post!).

In choosing Valentino, Marie-Chantal started something of a trend among royal brides including  Maxima, shown here at her 2002 wedding to Prince Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands. Maxima’s gown was made of silk mikado and has a similar silhouette to Marie-Chantal’s.

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Princess Madeleine of Sweden also chose Valentino as well for her 2013 wedding to Christopher O’Neill

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 as did Prince Amadeo of Belgium’s bride Elisabetta Rosboch Von Wolkenstein in 2014.

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Marie-Chantal remained friends with Valentino over the years and loaned her dress to be exhibited for Valentino: Master of Couture. This exhibit was held at Somerset House in London from November 2012 – March 2013 which gives us a great look at the detail of the dress. Here’s a better look at the train – it is separate from the skirt and extends from the waist.

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Marie-Chantal and Valentino posed in front of the dress at a private viewing before the exhibit opened which is quite sweet.

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The King and Queen of Greece showed up as well, and Marie-Chantal brought along her oldest child and only daughter Princess Olympia (more on her here).

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Marie-Chantal still wears Valentino and they seem quite chummy; she shared this instagram picture with the design legend en route to Princess Madeleine’s wedding.

A little instagram insights from Marie-Chantal [Hello!]
A little instagram insights from Marie-Chantal [Hello!]
So what are your thoughts on this wedding gown – too ornate and heavy or perfectly pretty and just right?

 

Marie-Chantal Miller & Prince Pavlos of Greece’s Wedding

In our last post, we recapped the speculation around Prince Harry and Princess Olympia of Greece and how closely linked the two royal families are (click here for a refresher). Basically, it’s wishful thinking for the time being on the part of the media but it really would make an incredible story. Case in point: let’s talk about that time Prince Pavlos married Marie-Chantal Miller in July 1995.

It made the cover of Weddings of Style! [Amazon]
It made the cover of Weddings of Style: A Guide to the Ultimate Wedding
The Engagement & Ring

Prince Pavlos and Marie-Chantal were set up by a mutual friend, Alecko Papamarkou at a dinner party in New Orleans where he arranged that they’d be seated next to each other. As Mary-Chantal later told Vanity Fair

I knew it was a big matchup, because Alecko had been telling me for weeks that he knew the perfect person for me. And I didn’t feel comfortable being set up. I tried to get out of it, but Alecko never returned my phone calls and we had arranged to meet at the airport. So I ended up going. I borrowed a navy-blue Chanel couture suit from my mother and looked like a million bucks.”

Pavlos’ take was very decided: “The moment I saw Marie-Chantal, I said, Well, this is what I’ve been looking for. Alecko was right.”

Over the next couple of years, Pavlos graduated from Georgetown (his cousin Crown Prince Felipe of Spain was a roommate) and Marie-Chantal moved to Washington to be nearby and to study at the Corcoran College of Art and Design. During Christmas 1994, Pavlos proposed on a ski lift in Gstaad, where the Miller family has a ski lodge.

A look at the ring! [InStyle]
A look at the ring! [InStyle]
He had a dainty cabochon sapphire and diamond ring made for M-C that had a lot of meaning. The sapphire came from his mother Queen Anne-Marie’s collection and he added a heart-shaped diamond to the side as a personal touch.

Pre-Wedding Celebrations

They set the wedding date for July 1, 1995 and the celebrations took place over several days (after everything was said and done, the bride’s parents took off for a relaxing yacht trip to recover).

The pre-wedding festivities included two parties hosted by Queens: Queen Elizabeth II hosted a tea party at Claridges and Queen Margarethe of Denmark, Prince Pavlos’ aunt, also hosted a luncheon for 100 on board the Royal yacht Dannebrog. She had travelled to London on board the yacht which was moored on the River Thames for the duration of the festivities which is a pretty great way to travel (the Danish Royal Family also arrived for the 2012 London Olympics this way).

Here she is aboard the yacht with Prince Henrik in 2006.

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And here it is ready to set sale in Copenhagen:

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Two nights before the wedding, the bride’s parents hosted  dinner for the 1,300 wedding guests at Wrotham Park in Hertfordshire.

Wrotham Park
Wrotham Park

The decor included thousands of Ecuadorian roses (a nod to Marie-Chantals Ecuadorian mother), large marquees made to look like the Parthenon, an antique carousel, and lots of dancing.  This little anecdote from one of the event planners Robert Isabell gives a good indication of the scale of this party:

 Called in at the last minute to advise on the Miller-Pavlos nuptials — there was a potentially catastrophic snafu involving miscalculated tent fabric — Isabell tells Miller’s mother he can save the event. “Could he come right away?” she asks. Isabell, Bond-like, responds: “I’ll take the Concorde and be there tomorrow. Get me a room at Claridge’s, and we’ll put this thing together.” [Wall Street Journal]

You can check out a picture of the Pavlos and M-C’s families all dolled up for the bash here. It all ended in a champagne breakfast in the wee hours of the morning and many of the guests left was the sun was rising.

The Wedding Ceremony

The wedding ceremony took place on July 1, 1995. The bride converted to the Greek Orthodox Church prior to the wedding, and the service was held at St. Sophia’s Cathedral in London. The Cathedral held 450 guests and an additional 850 guests watched the wedding ceremony on large screens set up at Hampton Court Palace where the reception also took place (among those guests was Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother).

Here’s the bride with her father Robert Miller. Note that Marie-Cantal chose not to wear any eye makeup (in keeping with the tradition that true ladies don’t wear any).

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The ceremony can be seen in the Greek video below. If you want to skip ahead for some glimpses, Marie Chantal appears 15 minutes in and numerous royals can be seen on the steps of the Cathedral at 1:15. Interestingly, neither the bride or groom said a single word during the entire ceremony.

At the time, the media remarked that this wedding brought together more royals in London than Prince Charles and Diana’s wedding had. King Hussein of Jordan can be seen outside the Cathedral with Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip.

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And here she is with Queen Silvia of Spain.

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As a side note, check out the sketch by Hardie Ames showing the outfit worn by Queen Elizabeth for the occasion.

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Other royal guests included the Prince of Wales, the King and Queen of Denmark, Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark, Queen Noor of Jordan, and the King and Queen of Spain along with Prince Filipe and Infanta Cristina. Check them out gathered together for the portrait below  taken at Hampton Court Palace (M-C shared this particular shot on her Instagram page). Patrick Litchfield was the official wedding photographer and he was also the official photographer for Prince Charles and Diana’s wedding. Also of note – Pavlos and M-C’s monogram in flowers behind them all.

A wedding portrait shared by Marie-Chantal on her instagram page [hello!]
A wedding portrait shared by Marie-Chantal on her instagram page [Hello!]
A large floral monogram was also visible outside the cathedral. M-C and Pavlos still use this monogram- check out this photo of the tags on the christmas presents that she shared on her Instagram page this past holiday.

"Marie-Chantal's

 

The Bridal Party

There were four bridesmaids: Prince Pavlos’ young sister Princess Theodora, The Honorable Alexandra Knatchbull (goddaughter of Diana, Princess of Wales), Miss Marietta Chandris, and 19 month old Isabel Getty (daughter of Marie Chantal’s sister Pia).

Prince Philippos of Greece (Pavlos’ brother), Anthony Chandris, Sebastian Flick and Christian Robbs were the groomsmen.
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So all in all this is certainly a wedding that has gone down in history.

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What a shingding, am I right? Next up, a closer look at the wedding gown and tiara!

 

Thoughts on Those Prince Harry and Princess Olympia of Greece Rumours

In the last few days, Princess Maria-Olympia has been in the news thanks to some highly speculative reports that she and Prince Harry are dating. Let’s discuss.

Simply called Olympia by her parents,  she is the only daughter of Prince Pavlos and Princess Marie-Chantal of Greece. Pavlos is the oldest son of the King Constantine and Queen Anne-Marie of Greece while Marie-Chantal one of the  ‘Miller Sisters‘; her parents are Duty Free Shoppers entrepreneur Robert Miller and his wife María Clara Pesantes Becerra. Pavlos and M-C are below, dolled up for the pre-wedding dinner hosted by The Queen on the eve of William and Kate’s wedding (love M-C’s dress!).

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The monarchy was abolished in Greece in 1973 and the family has been living in exile but they still uses their titles. However, the King and Queen of Greece are also Prince and Princess of Denmark. The Queen of Greece is the younger sister of Queen Margarethe II of Denmark and King Constantine descends from Christian IX of Denmark.

So Olympia is technically Princess Olympia of Greece and Denmark and she is the oldest child with four younger brothers: Constantine (Tino to family), Achileas (Achi), Odysseus, and Aristides. The photograph below was taken during the wedding celebrations Prince Nikolaus’ wedding to Tatiana Blatnik in August 2010 (Nikolaus is Pavlos’ younger brother).

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Olympia was born in New York but moved to London with her family in 2002; M-C and Pavlos wanted their children to be educated in Europe and also to be closer to Pavlos’ parents who live in London. She’s now 19 and has returned to New York for University (her courses began this past September) and she seems to very much enjoy the social scene.

She joined her parents for the ARK Gala dinner in June 2011, which was also the first public event attended by the new Duke and Duchess of Cambridge after their wedding. The photograph below shows Olympia arriving with her parents.

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That’s the night that Kate looked AH-MAZING in her sparkly Jenny Packham gown.

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She’s also been spotted at Paris Fashion week; this particular photo was taken with her mom and maternal grandmother.

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More recently, she turned out to a gala at the Guggenheim in New York in November 2015.

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She’s also been on the cover of Tatler and Spain’s Vanity Fair and was also featured in W.

Olympia on the cover of Tatler [Daily Mail]
Olympia on the cover of Tatler [Daily Mail]
Her Instagram account @OlympiaGreece currently has over 60 thousand followers and she’s regularly shares her adventures. Her recent winter break from school has included Christmas at their home in the Bahamas followed by time in Los Angeles and then onto England.

Olympia photographed for W magazine [Daily Mail]
Olympia is pretty in pink for her Instagram account  [Daily Mail]
Meanwhile Harry is 31 and based in London.

Prince Harry [People]
Prince Harry [People]
Overall, I think it is wishful thinking on the part of the media who want to make this a thing, and there have been numerous denials from ‘inside sources’ backing this up. It is true though that their families have a ton of connections so who knows what could happen down the road.  Let’s break it down.

First of all, Olympia and Harry share a common ancestor in Queen Victoria so they are distant cousins. As well, Harry’s grandfather Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh was born Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark (The Queen and Prince Philip also share Queen Victoria as a common ancestor).

The Greek and British royal families have spent quite a bit of time together over the years. In August of 1990  Diana, Charles, William, and Harry were invited by the King of Spain to spend time on his yacht. The King and Queen of Greece joined in as well with their youngest daughter Theodora (Olympia’s aunt).

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Here’s another shot of them all.

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When M-C and Pavlos got married in London in 1995, Queen Elizabeth II threw them a tea party at Claridges, and she attended the wedding along with Prince Philip and Prince Charles. The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh can be seen below on the steps outside the church after the ceremony.

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When Olympia was born in 1997, Prince Charles was asked to be godfather and he accepted.   They also asked Prince William to be Olympia’s younger brother Constantine’s godfather in 1999. Here he is at the christening, with a broken arm and all.

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This was especially poignant since one of Prince William’s godfather’s is King Constantine and he was there for Prince William’s confirmation at Windsor Castle in March 1997 (he’s the fellow in glasses behind Diana below).

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Interestingly, just Prince Pavlos, Princess Marie-Chantal, and Prince Constantine were invited to  William and Kate’s wedding, so Olympia and her other brothers had to stay at home. Here they are arriving at Westminster Abbey for the ceremony:

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They can be spotted here as well:

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They weren’t invited to the evening reception at Buckingham Palace, though but they made the most of it and threw a bash for the other uninvited folks at their home.  Attendees included Crown Princess Victoria and Princess Michael of Kent (check out more on that here at the Royal Order of Sartorial Splendor).

In 2010, The Queen attended a 70th birthday party for King Constantine. It was also held at Pavlos and Marie-Chantal’s London home. Love her  soft blue dress!

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When she arrived, Prince Pavlos was there to greet her:

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And here she is saying goodbye to the King:

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In 2012, Princess Marie-Chantal’s wedding dress was included in the Valentino: Master of Couture exhibit that was held in London. She brought along Olympia for the event, and she had her picture taken with Princes Beatrice and Princess Eugenie.

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That same year, Queen Elizabeth II held a reception for reigning sovereigns at Windsor Castle and Harry and Kate caught up with the King and Queen of Greece.

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In 2013, Beatrice and Olympia were photographed together at a photography event in London.

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So in a nutshell it’s very possible that Harry and Olympia have met and it’s likely that their paths will keep crossing, but anything beyond that seems unlikely for the time being. It would be fun though, right? I mean, Olympia already has access to several tiaras!

This has all all  got me thinking it’s about time for a post on Marie-Chantal and Pavlos’ wedding so that will be sure next post. In the meantime,  click here for more on Marie-Chantal and her sisters.