Folks, once more thanks goes out to Linda for sending this fabulous article for us to read.


LAVISH CELEBRATIONS LEADING UP TO THE MARRIAGE OF PRINCE PAVLOS OF GREECE AND MARIE-CHANTAL MILLER

A SUMPTUOUS DINNER DANCE AND AN ELEGANT LUNCHEON ABOARD THE DANISH ROYAL YACHT ARE THE HIGHLIGHTS IN A WEEK OF REGAL REVELRY

Royal revels to celebrate the Greek prince's wedding carried on most of last week in London. The bride's parents arranged a champagne reception and dinner dance for 1,300 guests two nights before the wedding. It was held at Wrotham Park, a Palladian mansion at Butter Green near Sevenoaks, Kent.

Two giant marquees were erected in the grounds to resemble the Parthenon in Athens and, continuing the Greek theme, were decorated in blue and white, the national colours of Greece. In addition spectacular fireworks and dancers in Greek national costume also provided the main entertainment.

Although the Queen did not attend, her Greek-born husband Prince Philip did, driving himself to the party despite his evening dress, in a Land Rover. Prince Albert of Monaco flew in for the big night, but sadly could not attend the wedding last Saturday as he was needed back home for his younger sister Stephanie's more private wedding ceremony in Monte Carlo.

For the party, the three Miller beauties and their mother lived up to their stylish reputation. Marie-Chantal relied on her favourite Italian designer Valentino to create something special, as did her younger sister Alex. But the bride's mother and sister Pia chose designs by John Galliano.

The groom's mother ex-Queen Anne-Marie of Greece and her daughter Alexia both turned to the London-based Austrian designer Inge Spronson for their creations.

The dinner menu included terrine de foie gras, asparagus anglais, carre d'agneau with petits legumes nouveaux and a symphony of desserts.

The party went on until 4am when most of the tireless, titled dancers enjoyed a champagne breakfast. Queen Margrethe of Denmark threw another big lunch party for the couple aboard her yacht the Daneborg, moored at the Tower of London on the Thames. And our own Queen hosted a splendid tea party for them at Claridges hotel last week.

The week-long festivities finally drew to an end back at Claridges. The bride's father, Mr Miller, was very emotional," he said. "It's all been so overwhelming for us."

When asked how he will cope when his third daughter Alex marries in three months, he groaned: "I don't want to think about that right now."

After months of planning and endless dealing with security services, secretaries and publicists, his South American wife, also Marie-Chantal, looked rather strained, but Mr Miller revealed that they plan to recover from this week with a sailing holiday in Corsica.

While a thousand or so people enjoyed the majestic merrymaking surrounding the wedding of the year, many millions more around the globe were able to share the vision. The main ceremony was beamed live to Athens and many Greek communities worldwide.

THE ROMANTIC WEDDING OF PRINCE PAVLOS OF GREECE AND MARIE-CHANTAL MILLER

Before a host of queens, a church of kings and hordes of royal highnesses, a handsome Greek prince married a beautiful heiress bride last week in the most romantic royal wedding of the decade. When Prince Pavlos, 28-year-old son of ex-King Constantine of Greece, married Marie-Chantal Miller, 26, in London, they exchanged crowns instead of vows, according to the rites of the Greek Orthodox Church, and became king and queen for a day. Most of the world's monarchs as well as a few who have lost their thrones, were in London for the hourlong ceremony in the sumptuous splendour of the Greek community's St Sophia Cathedral in Bayswater.

The 450 guests included twelve senior members of the British royal family-the Queen, Prince Philip, the Prince of Wales, the Dukes and Duchesses of Kent and Gloucester, Prince and Princess Michael of Kent, as well as Princess Alexandra and her husband Sir Angus Ogilvy.

The scene outside the church resembled a royal Who's Who come to life, as sovereigns and their consorts, princelings and princesses, many of whom had not met for some time, greeted each other warmly. In Continental style, the British male royals kissed the hands as well as the cheeks of their foreign female cousins.

Deposed would-be monarchs like Reza Shah II, son of the late Shah of Iran, the former Empress Farah Diba, and Crown Prince Kardam of Bulgaria were also present.

This royal round-up, the largest gathering of crowned heads since the 1947 marriage of the Queen, wasn't so surprising because one of the groom's aunts is Queen Sofia of Spain, another is Queen Margrethe of Denmark. Pavlos is also a cousin twice-removed of the Duke of Edinburgh.

Usually, the Queen and her husband arrived separately. The Duke had come from another engagement, so the Queen arrived with her sister-in-law, Princess George of Hanover.

The groom had not one but two best men, both of whom are among Europe's most eligible bachelors-the heir to the Spanish throne Felipe, Prince of Asturias, and Pavlos' brother Prince Nikolaos of Greece.

As the church of St Sophia is rather small, another 850 guests, including the Queen Mother, watched the wedding service on closed circuit television at Hampton Court Palace where the lavish reception was held.

It is believed to be the most expensive wedding ever held. Marie-Chantal's ivory silk gown, designed by the Italian couturier Valentino, was estimated to cost 150,000 pounds. As many as 25 seamstresses worked on it for four months using 12 different kinds of lace. Rose medallions were appliqued on the skirt, and smaller, similar roses on the lace bodice and sleeves.

The bride's delicate, blonde beauty was emphasizes by the scalloped edging of four-and-a-half metres of Chantilly lace, which made up her unusual veil. This was intricately embroidered with patterns of butterflies as a symbol of good luck. Following the British custom of wearing something borrowed, it was held in place by a diamond tiara lent by the groom's mother, Queen Anne-Marie.

Marie-Chantal's regal look was reminiscent of the bridal gown worn by another blonde from a wealthy family, the movie star Grace Kelly, who also married a European prince.

The cost of all this finery was no problem for the bride's family, as Marie-Chantal is the daughter of Mr and Mrs Robert Miller, known as the king and queen of a multi-billion-dollar empire of duty-free shops in Asia and the Pacific. Although born America, Mr Miller, 62, has been a British citizen for the past 20 years. The bride's mother, the former Marie-Chantal Pesantes, was born in Ecuador, and is rather exotically known as the last Incan princess.

Not long ago, the Millers arranged another equally splendid ceremony for Marie-Chantal's elder sister, Pia, who married the American equivalent of royalty-Christopher Getty, grandson of oil billionaire John Paul Getty. And later this year they will be hosting another, when their third daughter Alex marries childhood sweetheart Prince Alexandre von Furstenberg, son of Prince Egon and the designer Diane von Furstenberg.

The lavishly engraved wedding invitations produced in Paris are believed to have cost around 30 pounds each, and are already collector's items.

In keeping with the Greek theme, the bride's four bridesmaids wore the blue and white colours of the Greek flag, in dresses designed by Valentino. They were the groom's little sister Princess Theodora of Greece, Lord Romsey's daughter Miss Alex Knatchbull, Miss Marietta Chandris and the bride's niece, 19-month-old Isabel Getty.

The pages were the groom's brother Prince Philippos Greece, Master Anthony Chandris, Sebastian Flick and Christian Robbs.

The entire wedding party was dressed Italian-style- the groom and his entourage wore suits hand-tailores by Brioni of Rome. And apart from the bride and her family, Valentino created outfits for many of the other guests, including Queen Sofia, her daughter the Infanta Cristina, Empress Farah Diba, Marella Agnelli, Princess Rosario Saxe-Coburg, Princess Sveva Romanoff, Countess Georgina Brandolini, Maria and Maya Flick, Margarita and Marianna Latsis, Natasha Von Traub, Doris Brynner, Madame Niarchos and supermodel Elle Macpherson.

The Danish royal family's personal florist, Erik Bering, and six assistants decorated the church with 30,000 pink and white blooms hung in garlands, mostly lilies, peonies and carnations. Thousands more were used to adorn the marquee erected for the reception in the gardens of Hampton Court Palace.

And of course, the Queen's cousin, Lady Elizabeth Anson, organized the catering, just as she did at the wedding of the Prince and Princess of Wales in 1981. Likewise, her brother, Lord Lichfield, who took their official photographs, did the honours once again for Pavlos and his new princess.

Adding to the majestic mood of the whole occasion, the front of St Sophia Cathedral was decorated with a vast monogram of the bridal couple's intertwined initials, designed especially for them by Queen Margrethe of Denmark, who is a well-known theater designer in her own country. Unlike a British groom, Pavlos waited outside the church for his bride and went on a walkabout with his father King Constantine, greeting cheering members of the Greek community who lined the narrow street.

Constantine, known to the British royal family as "Tino", is a king without a country. He lost his throne in 1967 after reigning for only three years, and went into exile in Rome. In 1974, he moved his family to London, where Pavlos attended the Greek Hellenic College and later the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst. He also spent three years with the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards, serving in England and Germany.

Following his honeymoon at a secret destination, Pavlos will start work for the American shipping firm of Charles R Weber. The newlyweds plan to live in New York where London-born Marie-Chantal is finishing an art history degree.

Although it is doubtful now that the former King will ever reign again, the monarchy still has some support in Greece. Many hope that one day Constantine's handsome son may be crowned, and believe Marie-Chantal would make the perfect consort.

The bride left Claridges hotel, where she stayed last week, allowing plenty of tiime to negotiate the Saturday morning shoppers' traffic in London, and arrived at the Cathedral seven minutes early. Raised in the Catholic faith, she was received into the Greek Othodox Church last May at a private Chrismation ceremony in New York.

Marie-Chantal entered the Cathedral on her father's arm, to the strains of a hymn written especially for her. Built in 1877 in the shape of a Greek cross, St Sophia features a magnificent dome rising 24 metres above the tessellated floor, paved in Roman mosaic style. The walls glowed with dozens of richly ornamented icons, and an enormous silver-plated cross with ruby lamps hung from the ceiling. To create enough seating for the crowds of VIPs who filled the ornately carved mahogany pews, dozens of gilt chairs were installed around the church. As Marie-Chantal reached the centre of the Cathedral, in front of the vast ornate screen or iconostasis, there came the most moving moment of the entire day. Prince Pavlos reached out for the hand of his lovely bride and raised it to his lips. They remained holding hands tightly and occasionally stealing glances at each other throughout the rest of the ceremony.

The wedding began with the betrothal ceremony in which Archbishop Gregorios Thyateira, head of the Orthodox Church in England, made the sign of the cross over the bride and groom with their gold wedding rings. Then he placed the rings on the fingers of their right hands.

The traditional crowning ceremony followed. As the groom explained: "In the Greek ceremony there are crowns bearers. This has nothing to do with royalty and can be party of anyone's wedding ceremony."

Originally, the Greeks used crowns made from garlands of flowers, but the Russian-born Queen Olga of Greece introduced the custom of using golden crowns from her homeland.

Gilt crowns, symbolic of the bridal couple's status as king and queen for a day, were held above their heads for most of the ceremony. As this would prove too tiring for one or two attendants, the groom has four crown bearers who took turns to hold his crown above his head. They were his brother Nikolaos, Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark, Prince Gustav Zu Sayn Wittgenstein-Berelburg and Prince Guillaume of Luxembourg. Marie-Chantal's crown bearers were Prince Felipe of Spain, Crown Prince Kardam of Bulgaria, Christopher Getty (the bride's brother-in-law) and Prince Alexandre von Furstenberg.

The romantic climax to the ceremony came when, under a shower of rose petals, the bride and groom walked three times around in a circle as a choir sang Byzantine hymns. In Greece this is known as the Dance of the Prophet.

The bride did not say "I do, or promise to "love, honour and obey". In fact, she and her groom said not one word throughout the service.

As the ceremony ended they walked out arm in arm to be met by the cheers of a huge crowd waiting in the street, many of them Greek. The cries of joy grew louder when Pavlos leaned closer to his bride and kissed her.

One by one, all their royal cousins stepped up to kiss the happy couple in the steps of the Cathedral. Then the new princess and her prince were whisked away to their reception at Hampton Court, where they dined on lobster, poultry and mandarin sorbet and drank champagne. The bride's father surprised his guests with a few words of Greek. He said: "I welcome all of you, now let's drink to the health of the bridal couple." Ex-King Constantine followed saying: "It's very difficult for a father to give away his daughter, but I believe that his daughter is in good hands with a good family-not because Pavlos is my son but because he is really a nice boy."

The celebrations lasted all afternoon at the 500-year-old royal palace on the banks of the Thames.

It is not often that so many sovereigns and their relatives can get together for a party but last Saturday the crowned heads of Europe enjoyed some truly majestic merry-making."


|| Start || Meet the Sisters || Articles || Mentions || Picture Pages || Genealogy || Links ||
|| Welcome || About Me || Site Information || Guestbook || Feedback || Message Board ||

This page was created on November 3, 2000 by Alex B.
URL: http://www.angelfire.com/celeb/millers/start.html
and all pages on this site are maintained by Alex B.
© Copyright 2000