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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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).
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!