The wedding of His Royal Highness Pavlos, Crown Prince of Greece, Prince of Denmark and Miss Marie-Chantal Miller took place on 1 July 1995 at St Sophia's Cathedral, Bayswater, London, England, United Kingdom. The wedding ceremony, hosted by Miller's father, billionaire Robert Warren Miller, reportedly cost $1.5 million and was attended by 1,400 guests. The wedding ceremony, receptions, and celebrations combined reportedly cost Miller $8 million. The wedding of Pavlos and Marie-Chantal brought together the largest gathering of royalty in London since Queen Elizabeth II married Prince Philip in 1947 and more crowned heads were in attendance than at the wedding of Charles, Prince of Wales and Lady Diana Spencer.
Crown Prince Pavlos, the eldest son of King Constantine II and Queen Anne-Marie of Greece, was one of the first European heir apparents of his generation to marry a commoner, which began a trend then followed by Haakon, Crown Prince of Norway, Willem-Alexander, Prince of Orange, Emanuele Filiberto, Prince of Venice and Piedmont, and Pavlos's first cousins, Frederik, Crown Prince of Denmark and Felipe, Prince of Asturias.
Crown Prince Pavlos and Marie-Chantal Miller were first introduced in 1992 on a blind date arranged by Alexander "Alecko" Papamarkou, a New York investment banker billionaire and the son of a former aide to Pavlos's grandfather King Paul of Greece. Prior to this encounter, Papamarkou had told Pavlos of Marie-Chantal, who was the daughter of his client, Robert Warren Miller. Papamarkou introduced the couple at the 40th birthday party for Philip Niarchos in New Orleans, which was given by Philip's father, Greek shipping magnate Stavros Niarchos. According to Marie-Chantal in a 2008 Vanity Fair interview, "It was love at first sight. I knew that [Pavlos] was the person I would marry.” Papamarkou has traditionally been credited with "engineering" their marriage.
Pavlos proposed marriage to Marie-Chantal on a ski lift in Gstaad, Switzerland over the Christmas holiday in 1994. Following the proposal, Pavlos formally asked Marie-Chantal's parents for their permission for the marriage. King Constantine and Queen Anne-Marie officially announced the engagement from their residence in London on 11 January 1995. In his announcement, King Constantine added, "I am over the moon about this."
The same week as King Constantine's announcement, Pavlos and Marie-Chantal traveled to Fener in Istanbul, Turkey to be blessed by Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople. Prior to their meeting with the Ecumenical Patriarch, Marie-Chantal announced that she would be converting from the Roman Catholic to the Greek Orthodox Church. Marie-Chantal was received into the Greek Orthodox Church on 22 May 1995 at St. Paul's Chapel in New York with Alecko Papamarkou acting as her godfather. Both the Greek Royal Family and the Miller family were in attendance.
During their engagement, Pavlos was attending the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. where he received a master's degree in international relations and economics in May. While at Georgetown, Pavlos's roommate was his first cousin, Felipe, Prince of Asturias. Marie-Chantal was on leave as an art history major at New York University and attended courses at the Corcoran College of Art and Design to be closer to Pavlos.
Celebrations and eventsEdit
The week before the wedding, Queen Elizabeth II hosted a tea party reception at Claridge's in Mayfair.
Marie-Chantal's parents, Robert Warren Miller and his wife Chantal, hosted an extravagant pre-wedding champagne reception, dinner, and ball for between 1,200 and 1,300 guests two nights before the wedding at Wortham Park, a Palladian mansion in Butter Green near Sevenoaks, Kent. Two giant marquees were erected on the grounds at Wortham Park to resemble the Parthenon, which were decorated in blue and white, the national colors of Greece. The tent and marquees were designed by Robert Isabell, a last-minute addition to the wedding planning team when he was invited by Marie-Chantal's mother to save the Parthenon tent after a miscalculation in the amount of fabric. Mrs. Miller asked, "Could [Isabell] come right away?" to which Isabell responded, "I’ll take the Concorde and be there tomorrow. Get me a room at Claridge's, and we’ll put this thing together." For the party, Isabell conceived of the marquee steel structure with a floor of hand-stamped cork, a false linen ceiling, and pillars and a cornice that looked as if they were made of marble. After cocktails were finished, a white curtain behind the pillars was pulled back, and the guests walked through the arch to dinner, where large urns on laurel-wrapped pedestals each contained thousands of yellow and orange Ecuadoran roses. 100,000 flowers were flown in from Ecuador for the event. The lights that illuminated the field behind the tent were so extensive that they had to be cleared with London Heathrow Airport. Much of the scenery was fabricated in the United States and transported to England by an art shipper. Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh drove himself to the reception in a Land Rover. Albert, Hereditary Prince of Monaco was also in attendance, but was unable to attend the wedding due to the private wedding ceremony for his younger sister, Princess Stéphanie of Monaco, and Daniel Ducruet in Monte Carlo on the same day. The reception continued until 4:00 a.m. when most of the remaining guests enjoyed a champagne breakfast.
Pavlos’s aunt Queen Margrethe II of Denmark traveled to London aboard Denmark's royal yacht, Dannebrog, which was moored on the River Thames at the Tower of London for the duration of her visit. Margrethe hosted a luncheon for Pavlos and Marie-Chantal aboard the Dannebrog with 100 guests in attendance.
Before the couple's wedding, Marie-Chantal's father provided her with a £200 million dowry.
The heavily publicized Greek Orthodox wedding ceremony, organized by Lady Elizabeth Anson, took place six months after the proposal on 1 July 1995 at St Sophia's Cathedral in Bayswater, London. The wedding ceremony was conducted in the Greek language and was led by Gregorios Theocharous, Archbishop of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Thyateira and Great Britain, and officiated by ten prelates. Lasting more than one hour, the wedding ceremony was attended by over 450 guests seated within the cathedral and another 850 guests, including the Queen Mother, seated at Hampton Court Palace where the ceremony was broadcast via satellite.
The personal florist of the Danish Royal Family, Erik Bering, and six assistants decorated St Sophia's Cathedral with 30,000 pink flowers (lilies, peonies, and carnations) hung in garlands.
Marie-Chantal's pearl-encrusted ivory silk wedding dress with a tulip-shaped front and 4.5 meter Chantilly lace train was made by Valentino Garavani and reportedly cost $225,000, as did her mother's and sisters' gowns. Twenty-five people worked on Marie-Chantal's dress, which took four months and 12 different kinds of lace to complete. Valentino's Roman ateliers made 62 outfits for the wedding, including the dresses for Queen Sofía of Spain, Infanta Cristina of Spain, Rosario, Princess of Preslav, and Empress Farah Pahlavi of Iran. Marie-Chantal also wore a diamond and peral tiara lent to her by Pavlos's mother, Queen Anne-Marie of Greece.
Pavlos and his groomsmen wore hand-tailored suits by Brioni of Rome.
Marie-Chantal's parents also hosted an afternoon luncheon reception at Hampton Court Palace, which was also decorated by Robert Isabell. In addition to the wedding service, Lady Elizabeth Anson also organized the catering, just as she did at the wedding of the Prince and Princess of Wales in 1981. Her brother, Patrick Anson, 5th Earl of Lichfield, was the official photographer, as he had been for Charles and Diana. Colette Peters created the eight-tiered wedding cake, which was accompanied by 300 additional cakes, one per table. The cake's design was inspired by a china pattern from the Royal Collection. Tom Finn was the reception's D.J. Valentino Garavani, the designer of Marie-Chantal's wedding dress, remarked "I have never been to such a beautifully arranged wedding--the flowers, the tables, the tent." The cost of the dinner at Wortham Park and the Hampton Court Palace luncheon reception was reportedly $5 million.
Political controversy in GreeceEdit
Ten conservative New Democracy members of the Hellenic Parliament accepted invitations and attended the wedding ceremony, which sparked fierce controversy in Athens. Prime Minister of Greece Andreas Papandreou, a member of Greece's Panhellenic Socialist Movement political party, asked for the resignation of each member of Parliament that traveled to the wedding. Papandreou claimed that by attending the wedding, members of Parliament lent "tacit support" for the abolition of the Hellenic Republic and the restoration of the Kingdom of Greece. The wedding ceremony was televised live in Greece and attracted significant audiences on Greece's two leading channels. Opinion polls taken after the wedding revealed a boost in the popularity of the Greek Royal Family.
- T.M. The King and Queen of the Hellenes
- Robert and Chantal Miller
The couple's matchmaker, Alecko Papamarkou, was not in attendance reportedly due to a falling-out with King Constantine after he asked for a commission for his services. However, according to W, Papamarkou was away recuperating from a recent surgery and also due to his mother's illness.
The couple's honeymoon destination was a closely guarded secret leading up to the wedding day. Not even Marie-Chantal knew of their honeymoon details.
Style and titleEdit
In Denmark of by courtesy elsewhere Marie-Chantal's official style and title since her marriage to Crown Prince Pavlos is Her Royal Highness The Crown Princess Pavlos of Greece, Princess of Denmark.