Here is a tale of three sisters, two of whom became European princesses and one who became an American princess (that last one is a bit of stretch, but work with us here).
The three sisters are the children of American entrepreneur Robert Miller (the co-founder of Duty Free Shops) and his Ecuadorian wife Marie Chantal Pesantes and they have all lived pretty fascinating lives so far. The picture below was taken by Slim Arons in July 1991. Marie-Chantal is in the multi-colored bikini and sister is in yellow.
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Let’s start will the eldest sister, Pia, and work our way through. Born in 1966 in New York, Pia grew up in Hong Kong and, along with her sisters, went to boarding school in Switzerland. She studied at Bernard and in 1992 she married Christopher Ronald Getty at a wedding in Bali.
They have four children, Isabelle (1993), Robert Maximilian (1996), Conrad (1998), and Maximus (2002). Pia and Getty divorced in 2005 and she’s not a princess but considering that some folks consider the Getty family (along with the Kennedys, Rockefellers, etc) to be ‘American Royalty’, we’re going with it.
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She is not as in the public eye as her two sisters but has worked for Sephora and has a couple of documentaries under her belt. The photo below was taken in 2010 at a London event.
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Marie Chantal aka Her Royal Highness the Crown Princess of Greece, Princess of Greece and Denmark
Marie Chantal, the middle Miller, is next. She was born in London in 1968 and like Pia, went to boarding school in Switzerland. After that, she hopped around trying different things. As she explained to Vanity Fair:
“I went back to school, to Sarah Lawrence, then transferred to N.Y.U. Gallatin. Didn’t finish. I was so damned curious. I went and did things that would satisfy me, and then I would move on to the next. Instead of wasting four years at F.I.T. [Fashion Institute of Technology], after one semester I said, ‘O.K., that wasn’t it. Now I’m going to try singing.’ I knew I was artistic, and I wanted to do something in the arts. I wasn’t soul-searching. I have a huge sense of identity.
“Then I was in Paris for a year. I wanted to breed horses. Got into my whole equestrian look. And I also did the Escoffier School at the Ritz. I went across Italy and did a three-month art-history course. I always did healthy things. I didn’t sit around in nightclubs. Sure, I had my fair share of fun, but no one could ever accuse me of being a dilettante and doing nothing. I was always on this unbelievable quest to go and do. My father worried, I’m sure, but I think he also felt that eventually something would come up. And it did. I met Pavlos.”
She met Pavlos through a family friend and they became engaged over Christmas in Gstaad in 1995. They married six months later on July 1st, 1995. Marie Chantal wore a Valentino gown and the reception was held at Hampton Court Palace.
The photo below shows Marie Chantal on her wedding day with her father Robert Miller.
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The bride’s title thus became Her Royal Highness The Crown Princess of Greece, Princess of Greece and Denmark. The Greek Royal family was abolished in 1973 but their titles are still in use. The commoner name for Pavlos is Pavlos zu Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg.
The happy couple is below.
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Marie-Chantal and Pavlos have five children: Princess Maria-Olympia (1996), Prince Constantine Alexios (1998), Prince Achileas-Andreas (2000), Prince Odysseas-Kimon (2004), Prince Aristidis-Stavros (2008).
Fun Fact: Prince William is Prince Constantine’s godfather, while King Constantine (below in the glasses) is one of Princes William’s godfathers. The christening took place in London in 1999 while Prince William was still at Eton.
Another shot of the family is below.
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Marie Chantal now runs the children’s clothing company Marie-Chantal which has seriously cute stuff (Princess Estelle of Sweden is often seen wearing it).
Post Updated 1/18/16:
There has been some press speculation that Prince Harry and Marie-Chantal’s daughter Princess Maria Olympia are an item. Olympia is on winter break from studying in New York City, and thanks to her personal instagram account we know that her winter holiday has been spent in the Bahamas (her parents have a holiday home there), Los Angeles (where her aunt Alexandra lives), and England (her parent’s home base is in London and there’s also a house in Gloucestershire).
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She may have met up with Prince Harry over the England portion of the holiday and, if not, she’s more than likely to have met him before – her godfather is Prince Charles and Prince William is her brother’s godfather as we discussed above. The picture below is of Olympia at her brother Constantine’s christening in April 1999.
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So it would make a great story – Princess Maria Olympia could wear one of her family’s tiaras for the wedding!-but for now I’m convinced it’s just gossip. What about you?
Here are some great articles from around the web for more on Maria-Olympia and her family:
A fascinating Vanity Fair article from 2008 [Vanity Fair]
Next up is Alexandra, the youngest of the three sisters. She studied at Parsons School of Design and Brown University and has had a varied career in fashion and home furnishing design. She’s shown below with Marie-Chantal and Valentino in 1997.
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On 28th October 1995 (1995 was quite a year for the Miller family!) she married Prince Alexander von Fürstenburg, the son of Diane von Fürstenberg (of the infamous wrap dress) and Prince Egon von Fürstenberg in a lavish wedding in New York City. A photo of the bride in her beautiful gown and tiara can be found here.
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Alexandra worked as Creative Director of Diane von Furstenberg for ten years, during which time she helps to relaunch the iconic wrap dress.
The couple had two children, Princess Talita Natasha (1999) and Prince Tassilo Egon Maximilian (2001). They separated in 2002 amid claims of extramarital affairs on Alexander’s side (speculation around their relationship can be found here) and are now divorced, but seem to be on friendly terms.
Alexandra now runs Alexandra von Furstenberg which makes beautiful acrylic furniture and home furnishings (I love their trays!). When she opened her Los Angeles store her former mother-in-law and husband showed up.
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Alexandra married her longtime partner Dax Miller in July 2015 at their home in Los Angeles. So she became a Miller again!
What an interesting trio they are, right?