Hello Magazine, October 24, 2000

Prince Pavlos of Greece's Wife Marie-Chantal

Poses For Us With Her Husband and Growing Young Family at Her Father's Sumptuous New York Townhouse

Their relationship is truly international. A first meeting in New Orleans was followed by a proposal in Gstaad; the elegant nuptials took place in London-following a champagne reception and dinner dance for 1,300, attended by just about every royal dynasty in Europe, the bride glided down the aisle in a Valentino creation which is rumoured to have cost 150,000-after which Crown Prince Pavlos and his wife, Marie-Chantal, settled in New York, where their three children were all born.

But it almost didn't happen at all. "I didn't want to go to New Orleans," recounts the poised blonde, once described by Valentino as a "modern Grace Kelly."

"I was living in Paris and had just arrived in New York on my way to see my sister Pia Getty, who had just got married and was living in San Francisco. I called Alecko, the person I was meant to be going to New Orleans with, to cancel the trip, but somehow my messages never got to him. Before I knew it the car was there to take me to the airport and it was too late to cancel. Alecko introduced me to Pavlos and it has been bliss ever since."

Their jet-set lifestyle hardly seems surprising when you consider the couple's lineage. Prince Pavlos's father is ex-King Constantine of Greece, who fled his homeland with his six-month old son and heir in his arms in 1967 following the Greek Colonel's Coup and his aunt is the Danish monarch Queen Margrethe.

Marie-Chantal's father is Robert W. Miller, the Massachusetts-born tycoon estimated to be worth over one billion pounds, who made his fortune with a chain of duty-free shops in the Far East, and for the past quarter of a century has been a British citizen. Her Ecuadorian mother, Marie-Chantal Pesantes, is known as the last Inca princess.

While Prince Pavlos works in the world of international finance-he is a partner and co-founder of the investment firm Ivory Coast, based in New York-his wife is one of the movers and shakers of the Big Apple's social scene, alongside her sisters, Alexandra, who is married to Prince Alexandre von Fürstenberg, and Pia, the wife of Christopher Getty.

Although she retains her exquisite taste-this year she was elevated to the Best Dressed Hall of Fame after several years as a regular on the International Best Dressed List-these days Marie-Chantal, or MC as she is known to her friends, pays less attention to fashion and relies instead upon her own sense of style.

"When you are younger, you experiment and are very fashion conscious," she says. "But as you mature and have a family, you quickly come to realise that you must dress in what suits you. Then you find your own style. I am conservative and prefer a conservative look."

Once a regular at the international catwalk shows, Marie-Chantal now gives them a miss. "I don't go anymore as they have become mob scenes," she says. "People only go there to be photographed, to seek personal publicity. The younger generation want desperately to be famous; they all want to be the 'It' girl of the moment."

The 32-year-old has not turned her back on fashion completely, however, as she is about to launch her own line of children's wear.

"It's called Marie-Chantal and is for ages 0 to 12," explains the new businesswoman. "It's neither too conservative nor too trendy, but a wonderful combination of both."

Despite her father's keen background in retailing, Marie-Chantal trod carefully at first, keen to make sure her idea was sound, rather than rushing in head first. "I've been thinking about the idea for about two years and have experimented with it," she says. "I went slowly because I didn't have any experience and wanted to get everything right before I started." She will be working alongside an experienced French designer.

"The line will be shown for the first time at a New York trade show of children's clothes this month. It will be sold in department stores and specialty shops. We are expecting to sell the clothes around the world, so I plan to do some travelling," she says.

Despite her venture into the world of business, Marie-Chantal is obviously determined to balance her children's needs with the demands of her new career. As a member of a very traditional family, she finds the idea of being away from her own children for long periods anathema and has established her office just a short walk away from the family apartment, enabling her to spend lunchtimes with Maria-Olympia, four, two-year-old Konstantine Alexios, who is known as Tino, and Achileas Andreas, the new arrival born this summer.

Marie-Chantal is not ruling out the pitter-patter of more tiny feet, either. "I've always enjoyed a large family. I love having lots of children running around, so I can't say I'm ready to stop yet," she says.

Their fondness for children does not mean that she and Pavlos plan to spoil their brood rotten, however. "Right now we are a young family trying to raise our children as best we can, learning as we go along. We are equally strict with them, we share in the discipline. They are really good children, so sweet, and we are having fun with them."

There is a possibility, albeit slim, that one day Pavlos will be able to return to his fatherland and reclaim the throne. With that in mind, the couple plan to ensure that their children grow up with a strong awareness of Hellenic culture. "We had a Greek nanny spend three months with us in the summer," says Marie-Chantal. "She didn't speak a word of English, so she and my husband were always speaking Greek together, and you'd be surprised how many words and phrases picked up. We are so far from Greece, but we are doing our best."

**In addition to this interview, a caption states that MC has been learning Greek, and the children will be attending classes at a Greek church near their house.


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