The Duke of York attends the wedding of Maya Dokic and Magnus Fiennes

Hello! Magazine
December 16, 1995
By Sarah Cartledge
Photos: Sven Arnstein

Pictures from the wedding

The blessing took place in the magnificent surroundings of Syon House

The bride is a concert pianist who used to be a model and the groom is a record producer and a member of the famous acting family

When Macedonian musician, actress and model Maya Dokic married record producer Magnus Fiennes, the younger brother of Hollywood star Ralph Fiennes, in the splendour of Syon House, one of her greatest fans was at the wedding to support her.

The Duke of York was among the 150 guests who watched Maya walk down the aisle on Magnus' arm for a special blessing in the magnificent gold and white dining room where they exchanged their vows.

It was a theatrical occasion and entirely appropriate for Maya's entry into a family whose name has become synonymous with acting. But while Ralph has become Hollywood's newest start and Joe has had brilliant reviews in Son of Man at London's Barbican theatre, Maya is about to have her own taste of fame as a Russian agent in her first film, Tom Cruise's Mission Impossible.

Unfortunately, film schedules interfered with Ralph's plans to come to the wedding and he was marooned in the Sahara where he is working on his latest movie, The English Patient. However Joe and his girlfried Sara Griffith took part in the festivities, which were presided over by Magnus's great-uncle, Dom Sebastian Moore, and his uncle, Father Ephrem, the Archimandrite Bishop of the Greek Orthodox Church in England.

Magnus' photographer father Mark, his sisters, Martha, 32, and Sophie, 28, and Joe's twin brother Jake, 25, were among the guests, but sadly not Magnus' remarkable mother Jini, who was a well-known artist and writer until her death two years ago. "My family is very large and opinionated but luckily they all love Maya," says Magnus, who met his wife just 11 months ago through mutual friends.

The Fiennes family house is Broughton Castle in Banbury where the head of the family, Baron Saye and Sele, lives. But the couple chose to have their wedding at the Duke of Northumberland's seat, Syon Park, just a few miles from the centre of London.

In her 18th-century style dress of gold silk brocade and organza Maya looked completely at home in the magnificent surroundings. Magnus wore a frock coat and breeches to complement his bride, whose dress was designed by Elizabeth Emanuel. It was easy to see why, in the Eighties, Maya was one of the Emanuels' favourite models.

But despite her modelling and acting talents, it is in her work as a concert pianist and composer that Maya's hear lies. And it is here that she has had such support from Prince Andrew. "I used to play at private dinner parties around London when I was a music student and met the Duke and Duchess of York at one of theses events," she recalls in her charmingly accented English.

"They invited me to their home, Sunninghill Park, as a guest shortly after they had been given the piano from the royal yacht Britannia. Neither of them could play much, so I sat down and played some pieces and after that they invited me many times and introduced me to their friends."

Maya has just released her first record, Cross of Silence, which has been acclaimed as "the point where ambient, classical, world and dance all meet, at a crossroads of quiet dignity and power." Now she is about to start work on another, heavily influenced by the unusual rhythms of her native Macedonia.

Tom Cruise was so impressed by Maya's music, that he found time to discuss her career with her on the set of Mission Impossible. "He is very flirtatious with his eyes and I got the impression he practises a lot," she laughs. "We chatted for about half an hour after he had heard my music played in the make-up room."

Prince Andrew always has Maya's album in his sound system at home, and recognises all her music instantly. "She is an amazingly talented pianist and both Sarah and I wish her all the success in the future," he says. "I am sure she will go far."

It is their love of music which brought Magnus and Maya together. "We are both passionate about music - it is a great binder of people and we have a slightly childish excitement about it," says Magnus, who owns a recording studio in London.

Music featured prominently at the wedding. The choir of St. James's Piccadilly, who attend all the Fiennes family occasions, sang a composition by Magnus' best man David Watson, as well as a traditional Greek Orthodox anthem, Village Wedding, before the blessing by Father Ephrem.

"I grew up in the Macedonian capital Skopje, which is very near Greece and has many different cultural influences," says Maya. "My father was the director of national railways in former Yugoslavia and my mother was a marketing director. But I think I inherited my musical talent from my great-great-aunt, who opened the first private music school in the country.

"At music conservatory I studied hard and won many prizes, including one which would have allowed me to study in Paris, but by the time I was due to take it up, my father had died and it was given to a girl whose father was in the government. So I made up my mind to finish my studies in London."

She has performed at the Dag Hammarskjold Hall at the United Nations in New York and last year she organised a fund-raising concert at the Royal College of Music for Bosnian war victims. Now she is working with Magnus on a score for a Channel 4 film script she has written called Bosnian Symphony, based on one of the themes from her album Cross of Silence.

"Ultimately we communicate through music," says Magnus, wo has never wanted to follow his brother Ralph onto the stage. "I play-act as much as anyone else does but I don't know that I would be very good at getting into character. At the end of the day acting is interpretation and I am much more interested in getting in at the grass roots and constructing things, rather than being a foil for someone else's ideas.

"As a child I had to share a bedroom with Ralph for many years and I remember coming home from school to find him shouting, 'On guard' as I walked in, ready for a mock fight. But he is only interested in acting and what acting is about - not with any of the nonsense that goes with it. He doesn't do it for the glory and the fame - that just goes with the territory."

The Fiennes family had an unusual childhood in Ireland when their father decided to give up farming and become a photographer. "I went to the local school and spoke Gaelic but my mother ended up teaching us at home," recalls Magnus, who is very close to all his brothers and sisters. "Self-expression was very important to her and the dictum was that any career we chose we had to do well, no matter what it was. She was a perfectionist and I think we have all inherited that.

"In many ways Maya is like my mother, but I would hate to think it was so predictable as to be attracted to someone on that basis! She was as tough as nails when I first met her, but she has softened up. She has an energetic passion which I love."

She provided it by dancing all evening to the music of Heavy Shift in the dining room, - transformed once again, from a chapel into a disco. The couple left just before midnight for their honeymoon at the Ritz hotel in Paris, a gift from Harrods owner Mohammed Al Fayed. They plan to spend time in their suite, composing music at a grand piano.