Athens, 15/06/1995 (ANA):
Greece yesterday warned ex-King Constantine and his family not to step foot in the country unless they complied with a list of government demands.
"The government will not allow any member of the former royal family to enter Greece unless they are willing to abide by the provisions of the relevant law," government spokesman Evangelos Venizelos said. Greece's parliament passed legislation in 1994 seizing the property of the former king and stripping his family of its Greek citizenship. The government says Constantine and his family can obtain new passports only if he recognises a 1974 referendum abolishing the monarchy, by renouncing his title and registering as an ordinary citizen. Mr. Venizelos' stern warning came a day after Constantine's son, Pavlos, hinted that he may honeymoon in Greece next month.
Invitations to Pavlos' wedding in London have split the conservative opposition New Democracy (ND) party over whether its members should attend. Some 40 party cadres, considered monarchist sympathisers, have received invitations to the July 1 wedding of Pavlos and Marie-Chantal Miller, daughter of a US billionaire. Several have accepted, defying the wrath of senior conservative party leaders.
Mr. Venizelos called on ND chief Miltiades Evert to "define his party's position" on the issue. Constantine, godfather to Britain's Prince William, has lived in England since fleeing in December 1967, after a failed bid to overthrow a military dictatorship that took power earlier that year.
He paid a surprise visit to Greece with his family two years ago, causing an outcry and embarrassing the conservative government of the time. The socialists, then in opposition, said the visit was an attempt to sound out public opinion for a possible restoration of the monarchy. Prior to the surprise trip in August 1993, Constantine had visited Greece only once since fleeing, flying in for a few hours in 1981 to attend his mother's funeral.
Education Minister George Papandreou disputed press reports alleging that he had received an invitation to Pavlos' wedding. "I have not received any invitation, written or in any other form, and I am not interested in receiving one," Mr. Papandreou said.
LONDON (Reuters) - Greece's exiled Crown Prince Pavlos marries his American fiancee in a grand London ceremony Saturday, when ranks of European royalty will shield him from charges of plotting to restore the monarchy in his republican homeland.
For Pavlos, 28, and businessman's daughter Marie-Chantal Miller, 26, the Greek Orthodox wedding is the seal on their love match.
``It really was love at first sight,'' said Pavlos, a former British army officer who proposed on bended knee in a cable car high above the Swiss Alps after Christmas last year. The couple plan to live in Connecticut where Pavlos is to work for a U.S. shipping firm.
But some Greeks say ex-king Constantine is using the day to further a supposed plot to win back the throne he lost after a military coup in 1967, the year his eldest son Pavlos was born.
``His goal is to claim his right to the throne. This is unacceptable,'' one Socialist deputy told Reuters in Athens. Greeks voted to abolish the monarchy for good and create a republic in 1974 after democracy was restored.
A handful of conservative Greek parliamentary deputies have reportedly accepted invitations to the wedding which newspapers said were issued by the ``King and Queen of the Hellenes.''
European royalty will also be out in force among the 500 guests filling the cathedral in London, where the ousted Greek family lives. Some 2,000 more will watch on giant video screens before heading to Hampton Court palace for a garden party.
In the front pews will be King Juan Carlos and Queen Sophia of Spain, Pavlos' aunt and uncle who in March hosted Europe's most glittering royal wedding for years when their eldest daughter Infanta Elena married a Castilian nobleman in Seville.
The prince's entourage say British heir-apparent Prince Charles and his father Philip, a descendant of Greek kings, will attend along with other royals from across Europe and from Jordan.
Denmark's Queen Margrethe, another sovereign with close blood ties, has already moored her royal yacht on the Thames.
"It will probably be the largest gathering of royals in London since the wedding of Queen Elizabeth to Prince Philip some 48 years ago,'' said Hello, a leading society magazine.
Britain's royals are unlikely to hold another lavish wedding to equal the ``fairytale'' union of Charles and Diana in 1981.
Marriage failures have taken the luster out of royal romance and Prince Edward, the queen's youngest son, has so far thwarted speculation he will marry his girlfriend, Sophie Rhys-Jones.
Last summer's wedding of the queen's niece, Lady Sarah Armstrong-Jones, to a top publisher's son was a low-key affair.
Weather forecasts predict a splendid summer day for Pavlos and Catholic-turned-Orthodox Marie-Chantal, who will wear a dress made for her by the designer Valentino. Before they move to Connecticut the couple head off to a mystery honeymoon destination. But it won't be Greece. Pavlos and his family are barred from the country until they recognize the validity of the 1974 referendum and renounce claims to confiscated royal property. But the prince dreams of going back to Greece with his wife, who is learning the language, irrespective of his status.
Asked by Hello about the chance of reigning one day as king, he said, ``That would mean getting rid of my father first! As for the future we'll have to wait and see.''
LONDON- Crown Prince Pavlos of Greece and Marie Chantal Miller, the daughter of an American multimillionaire, were married in London Saturday in what has been termed the "royal wedding of the Year".
Representatives of Europe's Royal families, as well as King Hussein of Jordan, assembled for the biggest gathering of royalty in London since the fairytale wedding of Prince Charles and Princess Diana 14 years ago.
Among those witnessing the glamorous ceremony in London's Greek Orthodox St. Sophia Cathedral were Queen Elizabeth II, the Duke of Edinburgh and their son, Prince Charles.
The Spanish royal couple and top representatives of the royal families of Scandinavia, Belgium, Luxembourg and Liechtenstein were also present.
Greek ex-King Constantine, who lives in exile in London, had spared no expense for the wedding of his oldest son. The church service, for which the former King hired 11 camera crews, was followed by a lunch party aboard the yacht of Queen Margarethe of Denmark, the groom's aunt.
Later, the hundreds of guests attended a reception at the 16th century Hampton Court Tudor Palace on the banks of the Thames.
Pavlos, 28, who after attending Britain's elite Sandhurst Royal Military Academy spent three years serving with the British armed forces in England and Germany, is set to begin work for the privately held Greenwich Connecticut-based shipbroking firm of Charles R. Weber Company Inc.
He met 26 year-old Marie Chantal Miller, whose father Robert is the co-founder of the money-spinning Duty Free Shoppers Limited company, at a dinner party in New Orleans three years ago.
"I guess you could call it love at first sight", Pavlos said later in an interview.
According to his new wife, Pavlos proposed to her in a cable-car during a skiing holiday in the Swiss mountains: "We were out with the dogs. We were in a telecabine and he found enough space to get down on his knees and propose", she told an interviewer.
The attractive, dark blonde bride who is currently majoring in Art History at New York University, will carry the official title "Crown Princess Pavlos" after Saturday's ceremony. She is busy adding Greek to her fluency in French and Italian.
She has renounced her Roman Catholic faith and become a Greek Orthodox. Her Ecuadorian mother lays claim to royal descendancy by saying she is the last princess of the Incas.
Marie Chantal, with classic looks, appeared for the ceremony in a stunning white lace and silk hand-embroidered Valentino dress that took four months to make. The hand-embroidered butterflies on the robe signified "good luck", according to a royal commentator.
According to Greek orthodox ritual, Pavlos and his bride became "King and Queen" - for only a day. Greek traditional "wedding crowns" were held over their heads during the church service, as is customary at Greek weddings when bride and groom become King and Queen for the day.
Dancers in traditional Greek uniform stood guard outside the Greek cathedral in London's Bayswater district as the royal guests arrived. But cheering Greek royalists had also found their way through the crowds, shouting "Maria, Maria" and waving Greek flags carrying the royal emblem.Their presence, and the participation in Saturday's ceremony of a handful of deputies from Greece's conservative New Democracy opposition party have served as a reminder of the sensitivity that still surrounds the issue of royal family in Greece.
Constantine has never renounced his right to the throne and Pavlos, who was born in 1967 - the year the Greek military toppled the monarchy - said recently that he would like to return to Greece with his new wife.
BY: Peter Archer, Court Correspondent, PA News
Royalty from all over the world converged on London today for the society wedding of the summer. Twelve senior members of the British royal family, including the Queen, Duke of Edinburgh and Prince of Wales, attended the no-expense-spared marriage of exiled Crown Prince Pavlos of Greece to heiress Marie-Chantal Miller. Almost every senior member of Europe's royal houses gathered at the Greek Orthodox Cathedral of St Sophia, except the Princess of Wales who chose to celebrate her 34th birthday elsewhere with sons Prince William and Prince Harry. The wedding in the ornate 19th-century Byzantine-style cathedral in Bayswater, centre of Britain's large Greek community, brought together the biggest gathering of royals in Britain since the Queen married the Duke of Edinburgh 48 years ago. On the guest list were members of the royal houses of Greece, Spain, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Belgium, Luxembourg, Lichtenstein, Italy, Holland, Bulgaria and Jordan.
The Queen dressed in light blue, was seated in the front row with the Duke of Edinburgh, the Prince of Wales, and the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester close to former King Constantine II and Queen Anne-Marie of Greece. Also among the 450 guests at the hour-long service were the Duke and Duchess of Kent, Prince and Princess Michael of Kent, and Princess Alexandra and Sir Angus Ogilvy. The Queen Mother, who is 95 next month, was expected to attend a lavish reception at Hampton Court Palace where other guests watched the wedding ceremony on a giant TV screen. The service was broadcast live on Greek television and shown around the world. Other royal guests at the cathedral included King Carlos and Queen Sofia (correct) of Spain - who arrived with other VIPs by bus - King Hussein and Queen Noor of Jordan, and Queen Margrethe of Denmark.
Prince Pavlos, 28, wearing light grey morning dress, and King Constantine, who was deposed in a military coup in 1967, both greeted the Queen with a kiss on the cheek and then on her right hand as she stepped from a royal limousine. The 26-year-old bride arrived at 10.53am from Claridges with her father, American-born Robert W Miller, the reigning king of a multi-billion dollar empire of duty-free shops in Asia and the Pacific. Marie-Chantal, a former Catholic who converted to the Greek Orthodox faith in May, is said to come with a 200 million dollar dowry. The wedding was the most talked about union of American money and European titles this century. The bride's dress by top designer Valentino was in ivory silk and lace with a 15-foot train. The gown took 25 people four months to make. Hand embroidery took one month to complete. The veil, topped with a diamond tiara, was embroidered with butterflies signifying good luck. The bridesmaids, dressed in dusty blue gowns, also by Valentino, were Princess Theodora of Greece, the groom's sister, Alex Knatchbull, Marietta Chandris and Isabel (correct) Getty. Pages were Prince Philippos of Greece, the groom's brother, Anthony Chandris, Sebastian Flick and Christian Robbs.
London was chosen as the location for the wedding as King Constantine and Queen Anne-Marie live in Hampstead, and Marie-Chantal's father, whose business empire is based in Hong Kong, is now a British citizen and keeps a London home. Guests were showered with white rose petals during the service which was conducted mainly in Greek but with brief passages in English and Arabic. Officiating were Archbishop Gregorios Thyateira, head of the Greek Orthodox church in Britain, and Metropolitan Ioakeim of Halkidon. There were two bestmen, the groom's brother Prince Nikolaos of Greece and his cousin the Prince of Asturias Felipe, the son of the King of Spain. Suspended from an arch over the centre isle of the cathedral hung a massive silver-plated double Greek Cross decorated with ruby lamps. The small cathedral, designed in the form of the Greek Cross, is adorned with a centre dome, covered in copper, and smaller tiled domes.
King Constantine is the favourite ex-monarch of Europe's reigning royals. He is a cousin of the Duke of Edinburgh - who was born in Constantine's former home, Mon Repos on Corfu - and is a godfather of Prince William, eldest son of the Prince and Princess of Wales. King Constantine's sister is the Queen of Spain and his sister-in-law is the Queen of Denmark. Wedding guests were invited to a garden party reception at Hampton Court Palace. Lady Elizabeth Anson, the Queen's cousin, organised the catering and her brother, Lord Lichfield, was the official photographer. On Thursday evening, some 1,300 VIPs were guests at a dinner dance given by the bride's parents at Wrotham Park, a stately Palladian house, near London. And yesterday, the groom's aunt, the Queen of Denmark, hosted a lunch for about 100 guests aboard her yacht, the Daneborg, on the Thames.
Crown Prince and Princess Pavlos, who met three years ago at a party in New Orleans, plan to live in America at Greenwich, Connecticut, where the Prince, a graduate of Georgetown University, Washington, begins work with a shipbroking firm in September. The groom, who proposed on bended knee last winter, presented his wife-to-be, who will continue her studies in art history at New York University, with a sapphire and diamond engagement ring. Prince Pavlos said: "The sapphire belonged to my grandfather King Paul and I wanted Marie-Chantal to have something that came from my father. The heart-shaped diamond was to express my own feeling." Like King Constantine, the couple are optimistic that one day they will be able to visit Greece together. Marie-Chantal said: "I have visited Greece many times and have many Greek friends. I am looking forward to when I can visit there and see it with Pavlos."
Close observers of Greek politics think it unlikely that Constantine will ever be invited back to Greece as King. However, some commentators think it possible that Crown Prince Pavlos and his new bride could one day become King and Queen of Greece by popular demand of the Greek people.
Royals gather for a very Greek affair. Robert Hardman previews the wedding of the year: between a prince and a billionaire's daughter
THIS MORNING, London stages its largest royal wedding since the marriage of the Duke and Duchess of York in 1986 - but the British royal family will not be in the front pew. Crown Prince Pavlos of Greece, son of ex-King Constantine, will marry Marie-Chantal Miller, daughter of the duty-free billionaire Robert Miller, at the Greek Cathedral of St Sophia in west London watched by most of the crowned and uncrowned heads of Europe. The British delegation is expected to be led by the Queen, Prince Philip (a close cousin of the Greek royal family) and the Prince of Wales. The King and Queen of Spain will be present, as will the King and Queen of Jordan. Yesterday Denmark's entire royal family were on the Thames aboard the Danish royal yacht, the Dannebrog, where Queen Margrethe of Denmark, an aunt of the groom, held a pre-wedding lunch party. With Norwegian, Swedish and Belgian royalty plus King Michael of Romania and King Simeon of the Bulgarians among the throneless contingent, today's occasion should have the feel of a turn-of-the-century gathering of the dynasties. European royal watchers cannot wait. "With all these squabbles over treaties, it just shows that Europe can be united much more easily at a personal level through royal families," said Don Foreman, secretary general of the Monarchist League.
The outfits may be a little racier on the bride's side. Miss Miller, 26, a New York-based art history student, is a leading light among the wealthiest jeunesse doree of Manhattan and her sister recently married a member of the Getty family. Crown Prince Pavlos, 28, a former officer in the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards, met his future wife in America where he was studying at Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service in Washington DC.
With such a cosmopolitan blend, London was the obvious place for the wedding. The bride's American-born father lives in Hong Kong and is a British citizen while the Greek royal family have based themselves in London since going into exile in 1967. It is no secret, though, that the groom's family want this to be as Greek and as royal a wedding as possible. Relations between King Constantine and his motherland are at a low ebb following last year's election of a socialist government which has banned the royal family from Greece and is pooh-poohing this weekend's affair as a stunt by the man they call "Constantine Glucksberg". To underline the point, the Greek ambassador to London is "out of the country" this weekend. "There is no Greek royal family. We are a republic," said an embassy spokeswoman.
It will be the fabulously wealthy Mr Miller and not the relatively impoverished King Constantine who will pick up today's bill, which should leave little change out of a million pounds. While 450 guests are squeezed into the cathedral, another 1,000 will watch it on large screens at the reception in Hampton Court which has been hired for the day.
Those members of the European fast set not invited, meanwhile, will be heading for Monaco where the other royal wedding of the day takes place between Princess Stephanie and her former bodyguard, Danial Ducruet, the father of her two children.
IT was billed as an intimate family occasion.
But the guest list for the wedding of Crown Prince Pavlos of Greece and heiress Marie-Chantal Miller read like a Who's Who of European royalty.
The Queen, Prince Philip and Prince Charles were among those who took their places on the gilt chairs of St Sophia's Cathedral in West London, yesterday, for the Greek Orthodox service. They were joined by the Duke and Duchess of Kent, the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester and Prince Michael of Kent. Members of the royal families of Denmark, Sweden, Spain, Jordan, Bulgaria, Luxembourg and the former Yugoslavia were also in attendance.
A further 800 guests who could not be squeezed into the 19th Century Byzantine cathedral watched the service via a satellite link at Hampton Court Palace.
Wearing a dress by Valentino, the bride - a 26-year-old art historian - was led down the aisle by her father Robert Warren Miller, an American-born billionaire who became a British citizen. He is believed to have provided a L130 million dowry for his daughter.
Crown Prince Pavlos, the 28-year-old son of the exiled King Constantine of Hellenes and his wife Queen Anne-Marie, waited on a raised platform for his bride. As the couple did the Dance of Isaiah - walking three times around a table holding the Holy Gospels, cross, candlesticks and common cup - thousands of rose petals fell from the ceiling. After the ceremony the wedding party moved on to a L1 million garden reception at Hampton Court and an evening party at Claridges.
* There were less lavish celebrations for the Princess of Wales on her 34th birthday yesterday. She joined her sons, William and Harry, for a quiet lunch at Ludgrove School in Berkshire.
BY: Didier Kunz
ATHENS- The attendance of Greek politicians and leading royals at the marriage of the elsest son of former king Constantine of Greece to a US heiress at the weekend in London provoked a storm of protest in Athens Sunday.
The glittering marriage of Prince Pavlos to US heiress Marie-Chantal Miller Saturday in the Greek orthodox church of Saint Sophia, London, was relayed directly to Greek viewers by the private television station Antenna, owned by a close associate of the former king.
Some 10 right-wing deputies attended the royal wedding prompting Akis Tsohatzopoulos, secretary general of the ruling Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) to rage: "Chameleons of the democratic regime are exploiting events to undermine the republican regime. It is a major political issue."
The then King Constantine was deposed after a referendum on December 8, 1974 -- when 70 percent backed the abolition of the monarchy in Greece.
The Greek royals were accused of backing the military regime that seized power in a coup in 1967 only to be overturned itself in 1974.
A law passed by the Greek parliament in April 1994 deprived Constantine of his Greek citizenship and nationalised his remaining property in the country.
The government said earlier this year the former king and members of his family would be granted new Greek passports if they recognised the result of the referendum and if they registered themselves as ordinary citizens.
The royal family is supported mainly in right-wing circles in Greece and the Greek Communist Party denounced the attendance of Greek deputies as "a provocation promoting a royal family accused of major crimes."
According to the extreme left-wing Coalition of the Left, the London ceremony, which was attended by attended by the largest gathering of royals in London since the marriage of Queen Elizabeth II of England some 38 years ago, was "in bad taste".
It added the "provocations" frequently attempted by the former king -- who has frequently expressed a desire to return to Greece -- only made him look ridiculous.
The neo-nationalist Political Spring also stated its opposition "to any action which provokes our regime."
But a spokesman for the conservative New Democracy (ND) party Vassilis Magginas retorted: "The republic is not in danger because conservative deputies attend an Orthodox religious ceremony."
Controversy between the government and the ND flared early June when about 40 deputies from the main opposition party were invited to the marriage by "the King of the Hellenic people."
Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou said deputies who had backed the monarchy were "violating the constitution and should be denuded of their functions."
Several prominent conservatives then said they opposed the deputies' attendance of the marriage.
Sunday's Greek right-wing press hailed the "golden couple" and the ceremony of "Byzantine grandeur", attended by the largest gathering of royals since the marriage of Queen Elizabeth II of England some 38 years ago.
But the left-wing Ethnos charged the former Greek royal family "had decided to continue its provocations against the Greek people and democratic law" by planning an incognito visit by the couple to Greece in 10 days' time.
BYLINE: FROM WIRE SERVICES
* Royal wedding No. 1: He is the crown prince of Greece, heir to a throne that no longer exists. She was born in London, lives in New York, and is heiress to a fortune of millions.
They met at a party in New Orleans, fell in love, and were married Saturday in London before one of the largest gatherings of royals since Prince Charles married then-Lady Diana Spencer in 1981.
To the great annoyance of many Greeks, the wedding of Crown Prince Pavlos and Marie-Chantal Miller is rekindling debate about a monarchy that was abolished 21 years ago.
But Britain loves a royal wedding, even if the prince doesn't have a kingdom. Several hundred people, many cheering and waving blue and white Greek flags, stood behind police barriers near St. Sophia Cathedral in west London to catch a glimpse of the gala affair.
Pavlos, 28, is the eldest son of King Constantine of Greece, who has lived in exile in London since a military coup in 1967.
The bride, 26, has British and American nationality. She is the daughter of American-born millionaire Robert W. Miller, who co-founded Duty Free Shoppers Ltd. and is chairman of the Search Group, a financial holding company.
He is the crown prince of Greece, heir to a throne that no longer exists. She was born in London, lives in New York, and is heiress to a fortune of millions. They met at a party in New Orleans, fell in love, and were married Saturday in London before one of the largest gatherings of royals since Prince Charles married then-Lady Diana Spencer in 1981. To the great annoyance of many Greeks, the wedding of Crown Prince Pavlos and Marie-Chantal Miller is rekindling debate about a monarchy that was abolished 21 years ago. But Britain loves a royal wedding, even if the prince doesn't have a kingdom. Several hundred people, many cheering and waving blue and white Greek flags, stood behind police barriers Saturday near St. Sophia Cathedral in west London to catch a glimpse of the gala affair. Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Charles were among the 450 guests packed into the church for the hour-long Greek Orthodox ceremony. So were a host of royals from reigning families in Spain, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Belgium, Luxembourg, Liechtenstein and Jordan -- as well as other royals without kingdoms from Romania, Bulgaria, Italy, France, Germany and Iran.
BY: Ruki Sayid / David Prescott
THE Prince and Princess of Wales were a world apart yesterday - as Di held a low-key 34th birthday celebration while Charles attended the royal wedding of the decade.
Diana spent the day with sons Wills and Harry at Ludgrove school in Berkshire. But Charles joined the Queen and Prince Philip for the lavish London marriage of exiled Crown Prince Pavlos of Greece.
Guests were showered with white rose petals at the Greek Orthodox service in St Sophia's Cathedral, Bayswater.
And the 28-year-old groom's father, ex-King Constantine of Greece, gallantly greeted the Queen by bowing and kissing her hand. The Queen, dressed in light blue, sat in the front row with Philip and Charles. The wedding brought together 12 members of the Royal Family and royals from abroad, including King Carlos and Queen Sofia of Spain, King Hussein and Queen Noor of Jordan and Queen Margrethe of Denmark.
It was the largest gathering of royalty in Britain since the Queen married the Duke of Edinburgh 48 years ago.
While Charles went on to a reception at Hampton Court to toast the groom and his bride Marie-Chantal Miller, 26, Diana spent her big day quietly with her sons 50 miles away.
She drove to the Berkshire school and enjoyed lunch with Wills, 13, and Harry, 10, who are believed to have bought her a chocolate cake and flowers.
Tennis-mad Di enjoyed a game of her favourite sport, beating Wills comfortably.
Prince William, who will go to Eton in September, joked: "I have to let her win today. It's her birthday."
BY: Ed Fishbein, from Bee news services
Prince Rainier's four-year battle to stop his daughter Princess Stephanie from marrying her ex- bodyguard ended Saturday when the pair tied the knot in a simple civil ceremony in Monte Carlo.
The late afternoon nuptials in front of 40 guests at the Town Hall could not exactly be described as festive. Stephanie, 30, and Daniel Ducruet, 31, slipped in through an underground entrance, forcing photographers to shoot through a wrought-iron fence.
While Rainier attended, his absence from the dinner afterward suggested he may not be thrilled about his new son-in-law. Ducruet is a divorced former pet shop salesman and fishmonger known to have a hot temper. And since he became involved with the princess, fathering two children by her in the process, she has been noticeably absent from events involving the royal family.
Meanwhile, things were a good deal happier in London, where Pavlos, the exiled crown prince of Greece, married Marie-Chantal Miller, the daughter of a U.S.-born millionaire Saturday before the largest gathering of royals since Elizabeth II's wedding in 1947.
BY: Jasper Gerard
IT WAS a royal watcher's jamboree. Monarchs from around the globe were bussed into Bayswater, west London, yesterday, for the wedding of Crown Prince Pavlos of Greece, eldest son of ex-King Constantine, to the daughter of a duty-free magnate. Representing Britain in the Cathedral of St Sophia were the Queen, the Prince of Wales and Prince Philip, a close cousin of the Greek royal family, who was able to whisper translations to his wife and son. They were joined by kings and queens of Spain, Denmark and Jordan. Norwegian, Swedish and Belgian royalty were also there in abundance, as were jobless royalty from Romania and Bulgaria.
Prince Pavlos and Marie-Chantal Miller, the 26-year-old bride, were declared man and wife as two wedding crowns were held over their heads, an irony not lost on the large contingent of Greek monarchists who yearn for the return home of the Greek royal family. The Orthodox service oozed Greekness, in an attempt by ex-King Constantine to remind the government in Athens that he has not given up hope of reclaiming the throne. This even extended to the groom's name. A product of Sandhurst and the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards, he has always been known as Prince Paul. Yesterday, he was definitely Prince Pavlos. The formal proceedings concluded with a million rose petals cascading from the dome on to the heads of the couple. Outside they were met by flag-waving Greeks domiciled in Britain, and by traditional dancers.
Princess Alexia of Greece greeted the King of Spain, and as she curtseyed, her brown hat fell over her face. British pomp quickly gave way to Euro-chaos as much of the world's royalty, including the Queen and Prince Charles with hand in pocket, stood around outside waiting for their cars. After a shy kiss on the steps, and congratulations from father to son, the couple and the other main players sped off in a smoke of Daimlers and Rolls-Royces.
The kings of Spain and Jordan were less lucky. No car appeared. First they laughed, then shrugged and finally they scowled. After several minutes they commandeered a rather vulgar Mercedes and crammed in. A grimmer fate still befell the Duke of Kent and the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester. They had to board a bright-red coach, bearing the name "Redwing", with a large contingent of Chanel-wearing junior Euro-royalty. With the exception of a bronzed woman in an impossibly large hat, all affected an air of familiarity with this egalitarian form of transport.
The convoy of 500 headed for Hampton Court for a "private family gathering". There they joined a further 800 B-grade guests who had watched the wedding by live transmission in a marquee. On the approach the atmosphere became rather grim. The police had been putting up no-parking signs since Friday and ushering on locals. More alarmingly, the huge security measures have disrupted next week's flower show. But inside the mood lightened. Royalty feel a bit put upon these days, but their sheer number - the largest gathering for nearly a decade when the Duke of York married Sarah Ferguson - bolstered morale. Yet even the London setting could not dispel thoughts of Shirley Valentine, the Queen's favourite film in which a bored housewife runs off with a charming Greek man. The food was Greek: there was even retsina. There were suggestions that festivities would be rounded off with plate-throwing, although the Queen's china was safely locked away.
For the bride's father, Robert Miller, it was the culmination of a life's endeavour. Born in the United States in a small town in Massachusetts, he recently bought Earl Peel's magnificent Gunnerside estate in Yorkshire. For the wedding, which is said to have cost him more than L1 million, he released a biography in which he disclosed that his company, Duty Free Shoppers, has a "$ 3 billion annual turnover". While the newlyweds are clearly not short of a few drachma, Prince Pavlos, 28, has no intention of spending his entire life sailing and skiing - the only two hobbies he lists. He is to become a shipping broker in Connecticut, near New York, where his bride will continue studying art history and collecting Renaissance paintings.
Today the Greeks will celebrate the nuptials with a brunch at The Grosvenor House Hotel. Then the couple leave for a honeymoon. The prince claims that even his new princess does not know their destination, but it is a safe bet that the paparazzi are already training their lenses on swimming pools and secluded bays around the globe.
The Princess of Wales was not present at yesterday's Greek wedding. Instead, she was quietly celebrating her 34th birthday with her two sons, Prince William, who is 13, and Prince Harry, 10, at their prep school, Ludgrove, near Wokingham in Berkshire. How they were spending the weekend was a closely-guarded secret.
IN ONE respect at least, the rich are not so different: their parents hijack their weddings just the way ours do. If Crown Prince Pavlos of Greece did not know this already, he discovered it yesterday when he married millionaire's daughter Marie-Chantal Miller in London.
Not only were the happy couple obliged to entertain hundreds of ageing relatives, they also had to put up with a dreary bunch of besuited right-wing politicians whom the bridegroom's father, ex-King Constantine of Greece is trying to impress. And all this in front of the baying wolves of the world's press, and a sizeable crowd of excited Euro-royalists.
Another Royal who married yesterday would call Pavlos a wimp for agreeing to it. Princess Stephanie of Monaco, who said 'I do' in Monaco's town hall to Daniel Ducruet, her former bodyguard and father of her two children, turned her nose up at the idea of such shenanigans. She insisted on a small, private, civil ceremony followed by dinner for about 50 friends and close relatives in the smart Loews Hotel in Monte Carlo.
Whether Stephanie's father, Prince Rainier, who underwent delicate heart surgery last year, tried to persuade her to let him lay on a more impressive bash is unclear. But she did it her way.
And perhaps it was just as well, since by the time Stephanie named the day late last week, just about every Royal in Europe had already RSVP'd to Pavlos and Marie-Chantal's. No one would have been able to go.
On the Greek prince's guest list were senior members of the royal houses of Spain, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Belgium, Luxembourg, Lichtenstein, Italy, Holland and Bulgaria, as well as King Hussein and Queen Noor of Jordan and a dozen British Royals, including the Queen, Duke of Edinburgh and Prince of Wales.
Only Princess Diana, who chose to celebrate her 34th birthday elsewhere with her sons Wills and Harry, was absent from what a crowd-restraining police constable said was the biggest gathering of Royals in Britain since the Queen married the Duke 48 years ago.
Preparations for the descent yesterday on the tiny Byzantine-style Greek Orthodox Cathedral of Santa Sofia in Bayswater, west London, were intense.
Jean Lee, 77, who lives around the corner, said: 'We have been watching the gold chairs go in all week, and the flowers are just fantastic: lilies, peonies, roses, stock - all white.'
The day before, according to local architect Tom Croft, a press pen had been erected, complete with aluminium ladders, all the better for the paparazzi to see over big hats with. Then there was 'an entire television studio, the size of my flat', for the Greek and satellite TV companies broadcasting the wedding around the world. 'Absolutely no expense has been spared,' said Jean, impressed.
We wondered who was paying: Constantine and his wife, Anne-Marie (who infuritated the Greek government by dropping the 'ex' from their titles on the wedding invitations) or the bride's father, Robert Miller, who has reportedly provided her with a $200 million dowry. 'I shouldn't imagine it would make much difference to either of them,' observed Jean.
We wondered, also, how we would recognise people like King Michael and Queen Anne of Romania, the Grand Duke and Duchess of Luxembourg, and their son, the hereditary Prince Henri. The Spanish King Juan Carlos and Queen Sophia (Constantine's sister) might be easier to spot - but what about Former Crown Prince Alexander of Former Yugoslavia and his wife, Katrina? Or King Simeon of Bulgaria? Did anyone have a clue what they looked like?
'Search me,' said a News of the World photographer. 'I'm just going to get one of everyone.'
Paul Wyton and Joe Spiteri, perched on a window-ledge opposite the cathedral, were confident they could identify most of the crowned heads. They run a company that makes commemorative royal china, so they have to study photographs of European Royals for a living. 'This will be the first time I have seen so many of them together,' Joe confided. 'I'm so excited I think I'm going to have a heart attack.'
His face fell, however, when the first coachful of guests drew up. Perhaps it was appropriate, given the straitened circumstances many Euro-Royals find themselves in these days (King Karl Gustav of Sweden is said to be so poor he has to do his own photocopying on a second-hand machine). But somehow it didn't seem right. 'You'd never see our Royals travelling anywhere by coach,' said Mr Wyton.
On cue, Prince Philip (Constantine's second cousin) pulled up in a limousine, but Infantas and empresses and crown princes and princesses continued to step with as much dignity as they could muster from hired single-deck buses. 'They're not even air-conditioned', someone said. John Cahill, who works for for John Galliano, the designer of the bride's mother's dress, was relieved when she at least drew up in a Roll-Royce. 'Imagine having to tell John his frock had been squashed into the back row of a 42-seater,' he said.
As the Queen and Prince Charles arrived, resplendent in powder blue and grey morning suit respectively, and the bridegroom emerged from the cathedral to kiss Her Majesty's hand, it was bizarre somehow to be witnessing such pomp and ceremony in a Bayswater back street. The large Greek contingent in the crowd seemed unbothered. Sporting 'K' for Konstantin lapel pins, they chanted his name loudly, and swooned with pleasure when he emerged from the cathedral to go walkabout with his son.
The arrival of the bride in an ivory lace Valentino dress, seven minutes early at 10.53am, produced shrieks of pleasure. People pushed and shoved to get a better view as she and her father, Mr Miller, disappeared into the church. One elderly lady climbed the News of the World photographer's ladder and waved her Instamatic in front of his zoom lens before he shoved her off.
Mr Miller has vowed to buy 'the whole of Greece', including several media outlets, if it helps to get Constantine, exiled from Greece to Hampstead for the past 26 years, back on the throne. This, almost as much as the wedding itself, has infuriated the ruling Socialist party in Greece.
They viewed Constantine's dishing-out of invitations to 40 MPs in the centre -right New Democracy party as a blatant attempt to curry favour as part of his attempt to have the monarchy restored, and condemned the event itself as an act of 'political provocation'. On the day, only 10 New Democracy MPs turned up, though most milked the event shamelessly, soundbiting about domestic politics to the Greek TV cameras after the ceremony for all they were worth.
As the coaches departed for the reception at Hampton Court, to join hundreds more guests who had been watching the wedding there on a huge video screen, it seemed doubtful that Constantine had pulled off the kind of coup that would take him any nearer to winning back the Greek throne.
Nor did King Simeon of Bulgaria or King Michael of Romania or Former Crown Prince Alexander of Former Yugoslavia look like much of a threat to the new order of Eastern Europe as they clambered on board their bus. For now, at least, the only domain they seem close to ruling is the pages of Hello!
Additional reporting by Helena Smith in Athens
I may be wrong, but I'm willing to bet my last devalued drachma that the June 1995 season will be remembered as the greatest dress ball season of the decade. There were parties given that in other times would probably land in literature; now you will have to settle for Atticus's memoir, however hazy due to age.
In Paris, where entertainment has long been an art and where parties have always been taken seriously, making an effort to entertain and dazzle one's guests is not considered a vice. In fact, it is noblesse oblige. The more exquisite the host and hostess, the more lavish the bash. Not so here, where conspicuous consumption is seen as flash by the aristocracy, a group that would rather die than pay.
This is why the last month was so brilliant. Every time one thought it couldn't get any better, it did. I'll start with the royal one last Thursday night.
It took place at Wrotham Park, Hertfordshire, and it had Cecil BDeMille turning in his grave... out of envy. It was to celebrate yesterday's wedding of Crown Prince Pavlos of Greece to Marie-Chantal Miller, a wedding that saw the biggest gathering of royals in Britain since Charles and Diana got hitched 13 years ago.
The setting for it was magical, an ancient Greek garden with 100 Greek dancers in native dress dancing to Greek folk music. Then, out of the blue, Queen Sofia of Spain, sister of King Constantine and as Greek as they come, got up and joined them, followed by her brother.
However corny it may sound, I was very moved. We Greeks have gone through many wars, civil and otherwise, but one thing that unites civilised and patriotic Hellenes is the monarchy. Watching Queen Sofia and King Constantine dancing Greek dances reminded me of King Paul and Queen Frederica, their parents, doing the same in the mountains of Pindos in 1947, where the Greek army beat back communist guerrillas trying to take over the cradle of democracy under orders from Uncle Joe Stalin.
I will digress before going back to the ball. King Constantine's uncle and father inspired a small nation to put up a brilliant defence against monstrous odds during the second world war, and following that against the Soviet-backed commies.
Throughout that period Andreas Papandreou, the present Greek prime minister, was in Florida and California and had taken American citizenship. After the colonels' coup in 1967, the king tried to overthrow them and was forced to flee. In 1974 a referendum saw the king get only 30%, which in retrospect was a miracle if one took into account the intimidation and outright cheating that took place against the monarchy. The anti-monarchy propaganda has been going on non-stop ever since.
What I would like to know is the following: why is the Greek Communist party with its 5% of the Greek vote considered legal and the monarchists, who probably now count for more than 45%, illegal? How can Papandreou who struck a deal with the colonels in order to gain his freedom declare Constantine, the first man to fight the junta, a non-Greek and take away his property and passport? Why are the socialists so afraid of the only man who represents all the Greeks, rather than one faction? Why isn't foreign public opinion coming to the king's aid the way it did when the late Melina Mercouri had her citizenship taken away?
But back to the ball. Among the 1,000 guests was a very contented looking Duke of Edinburgh, and Prince Edward in a very fetching white dinner jacket. Among the most beautiful was Queen Noor of Jordan and the future Queen of Sweden, a teenager who, with Prince Nicholas of Greece as her dancing partner, made the most beautiful couple. I, as usual, made a fool of myself by dancing with Queen Margrethe of Denmark, who put me in my place when I moved too close.
An old Spanish proverb says that living well is the best revenge and Robert Miller, the host to the extravaganza, knows how to do it. He gave the most splendid ball imaginable and those envy-ridden Greek politicians and hacks back in the Big Olive can grind their teeth all they want.
Yesterday the Queen, the Prince of Wales and the royal houses of Greece, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Jordan, Belgium, Luxembourg, Italy and Liechtenstein confirmed their support for the royal house of Greece.
At the party I sat next to Princess Ira von Furstenberg and across from Princess Margarita of Romania, daughter of King Michael. She is an academic who works hard for omanian charities and quite attractive. She also has a sense of humour. When a Greek friend of mine inquired whether she was an interior decorator she smiled sweetly and showed him her place card.
Then she had the bad luck to dance with yours truly. A jitterbug, of all dances. Never in the history of royalty has one been thrown around the floor with such abandon and not ended up in hospital. At one moment I even saw the great band leader Lester Lanin looking quite concerned.
Fireworks followed and then it was back to the dance floor. Then the two Greek princes and some of their friends got up on stage and gave us a rendition of YMCA. It was like the good old days back in Greece. All the guests were friends united by our love for the monarchy, although I was a latecomer to this particular idea.
I used to be a republican until I realised that the worst monarch is better than the best president. In Greece, presidents have mostly been appointed in deals cut between politicians. They are men of straw. In Italy, ditto. Seated next to the mother of my children was Victor-Emmanuel, a friend of mine dating back 35 years but one I have had a falling-out with. If he were king of Italy, he would nevertheless be beholden to nobody, unlike Scalfaro, the current president.
In Romania, the old communists still run the place and King Michael, the rightful head of state, is not permitted to return. I had a brief chat with him after my gyrations with his daughter. He is the most dignified of gentlemen, a far cry from the rabble that run his country and mine.
BY: BY PAUL ANAST
GREECE'S socialist government has reacted angrily to an upsurge in royalist sentiment after the media success of the wedding of ex-Prince Paul to the American millionairess Marie-Chantal Miller, writes Paul Anast in Athens. Premier Andreas Papandreou has claimed that by attending the wedding members of parliament lent tacit support for the abolition of the republic and restoration of the monarchy. Ten conservative deputies attended the ceremony in London, which was televised live and attracted large audiences on the nation's two leading channels. Opinion polls taken afterwards revealed a boost in the popularity of the Greek monarchy, which has lived in self-imposed exile in London since 1967, following ex-King Constantine's abortive attempt to overthrow the then ruling military junta. In 1993 the government banned the ex-royal family from ever visiting Greece unless they acknowledge the abolition of the monarchy.
BY: HILARY ALEXANDER
IT WAS the most remarkable wedding, a marriage of millions and monarchies. In a vast yellow silk tent filled with flowers on the lawns of Hampton Court Palace were the crowned - and uncrowned - heads of Europe and all points east and west. They assembled on Saturday to welcome their newest member. Yet despite the staggering array of royals - at least eight queens and five kings alone - the wedding of Prince Pavlos of Greece (eldest son of the exiled King Constantine of Greece), to the American heiress Marie-Chantal Miller had an air of informality as heady and delightful as the scent of the 100,000 roses flown in from Ecuador. Princes and princesses arrived by the coachload. King Constantine ferried his young daughters and Queen Sofia of Spain around in a golf cart. Princess Benedikte of Denmark and her sister, Queen Anne-Marie of Greece, chatted excitedly. The Prince of Wales beamed above a blue carnation. As Lester Lanin led his orchestra through a Glenn Miller medley, the pink champagne flowed - and so did the family gossip. Vast sums were whispered. The cost of the entire affair - L1 million to L2 million; the dowry - could it really have been L120 million? What was certain was that Robert Warren Miller, the duty free magnate, and his Ecuadorian wife Chantal, had promised their middle daughter a wedding fit for a princess - and it was.
The festivities began on Thursday with a ball for 1,100 in a Greek temple erected in the grounds of Wrotham Park, Hertfordshire. The couple married in the 19th-century Byzantine cathedral of St Sofia in Bayswater, an Orthodox service culminating with a cascade of rose petals from the domed ceiling. Guests included the Queen and Prince Philip, the Duke and Duchess of Kent, the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, Prince Michael of Kent and members of the royal families of Spain, Germany, Denmark, the Netherlands, Sweden, Bulgaria, Romania and Jordan. After the service, they were ferried in Daimlers and Rolls-Royces to Hampton Court to join a further 800 guests, who had watched the ceremony by a satellite link.
Marie-Chantal, 26, wore a hand-made silk and lace gown by Roman couturier Valentino, costing a reputed L100,000. The dress, with an 8ft train, was embroidered with rose medallions and butterflies to signify good luck, the veil was a mosaic of 12 laces. With the men in regulation morning dress, it was the women who showed off the finery, an array that must have left the haute couture ateliers of Paris stripped bare. Mrs Miller, a recent convert to the skills of British designer John Galliano, wore a one-off ensemble of pale gold and eau-de-nil scattered with tiny seed pearls. Her eldest daughter Pia, Mrs Christopher Getty, wore a Galliano bias-cut, Forties-look dress in raspberry silk.
In the late afternoon sun, the guests gathered around the Mercedes 4WD that would speed the couple off on honeymoon, first stop Oman. Mrs Miller had time for a few whispered words to her newly-married daughter, but she has little time to rest. In three months she will be mother of the bride again at an equally lavish wedding in Venice, when youngest daughter Alexandra marries Alexander von Furstenberg.
BY: Nigel Dempster
SO delicious was the Chateau Margaux (not Margot, as ludicrously stated in the downmarket Express yesterday) served at the wedding lunch at Hampton Court Palace for Crown Prince Paul of Greece and Marie-Chantal Miller that the bride's mother could not bare to see a drop of the vintage wasted. When the Queen, who drinks sparingly, and her party left their table covered in full glasses of the elixir, Ecuadorian Chantal Miller was observed pouring it into other glasses and offering it around.
WHAT a very pretty wedding it was, as anyone who read this newspaper's fashion page yesterday could testify. All that was most sumptuous of name and title had flown in for the marriage of Prince Pavlos of Greece and Marie-Chantal Miller, heiress of duty-free millions, which was celebrated over the weekend at Hampton Court. Those lucky enough to secure an invitation must have been pressed to conceive of a happier or more innocent way of passing a Saturday afternoon than in the company of Her Majesty the Queen, pink champagne and 100,000 roses flown in from Ecuador.
How baffled these revellers must have been, therefore, to read the reaction of the socialist government in Athens. In the office of the prime minister, Andreas Papandreou, brows are dark. Demarches have been made. Statements have been issued. Anathemas have been pronounced upon 10 Greek conservative MPs who attended, on the ground that they were thereby supporting the abolition of the republic and the restoration of the monarchy. Not since Themistocles consorted with the King of Persia has there been such pious outrage among Athenian democrats. They have gnashed their teeth all the louder at opinion polls showing that the revels in London, widely televised, have boosted the idea of monarchy. The denunciations seem curiously overdone. Though modern Greece has been an intermittent monarchy since the 1830s, and though monarchy was formally abolished (by a conservative government) only in 1974, there is no realistic prospect of its restoration.
Mr Papandreou would be better advised to recognise that monarchist feeling in Greece is essentially a romantic, minority taste which thrives on the unattainability of its aims. He should follow the example of other post-monarchic European cultures, such as the French, and reintegrate King Constantine and the rest of his family into ordinary Greek society. To that end, the Greeks should lift the vindictive 1993 ban on their royal family's right to travel to Greece. If he really intends to quash renascent monarchism, Mr Papandreou should instantly restore to the King of the Hellenes not only his passport but also his estates in Athens and central Greece, and the Mon Repos summer palace in Corfu, the birthplace of the Duke of Edinburgh. Few acts could give the world a better earnest of Mr Papandreou's confidence in the security of Greek democracy.
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