On July 1, 1995, Crown Prince Pavlos of Greece, Prince of Denmark married Hong Kong raised British-American socialite Marie-Chantal Miller at a lavish ceremony at St. Sophia’s Cathedral in London. Attended by one of the largest assembled groups of royals this generation, the 20th anniversary of this happy day is a wonderful opportunity to look back at it.
One might think that a royal family in exile might celebrate passages of life on a more modest scale but such was not the case with this event. With 1400 guests, a reported budget of eight million US dollars, a reception at Hampton Court Palace, and 62 pieces of Valentino couture worn by the bridal party and guests, this wedding was as extravagant and grand-scale as they come. I suppose when the bride is the daughter of a billionaire entrepreneur and the groom (who was born crown prince of a reigning monarchy) counts the Queens of Spain and Denmark as his aunts, modest is not an option.
It was therefore, no surprise that Marie-Chantal went to Valentino for her wedding dress. Made of ivory silk, the gown featured a four and a half metre train and was trimmed with twelve different varieties of handmade lace. The high-necked lace bodice with long sleeves was encrusted with pearls, forming a garden of flowers against a delicate lattice background. My favourite detail on the dress was the bottom of the skirt, which was appliquéd with silk roses in a medallion motif.
Marie-Chantal’s veil, made of handmade Chantilly lace, was woven and embroidered with motifs of flowers and butterflies. The wide border of intricate scallops wrapped around the piece, framing both Marie-Chantal’s face and the train of her gown. The veil was anchored by the Greek Antique Corsage Tiara, on loan from Queen Anne-Marie.
This tiara was a wonderful pairing for this ensemble- the lightness and delicacy of the design was perfect for Marie-Chantal’s inaugural tiara while the height and heft of the piece stood up to her elaborately patterned veil.
I think this is one of the royal dresses and veils that requires a close-up look to appreciate its immense and intricate detail (detail that required twenty-five Valentino seamstresses four months to create at an estimated quarter of a million US dollars at the time it was made). Unfortunately, this detail is lost on many photos and the petite Marie-Chantal is left looking swamped by a dress that overwhelms her. While the ensemble is incredibly royal and is undeniably, a couture masterpiece, I think it was simply too much for this young bride.
I’m curious to hear your thoughts about this royal bridal ensemble, 20 years after it was worn. Do you think it has transcended time? You can also watch the full ceremony below.