Pavlos, Crown Prince of Greece, first met Marie-Chantal Miller on a blind date in 1992 and it was love at first sight. The prince proposed to Marie-Chantal on a ski lift in Gstaad, Switzerland, over Christmas 1994, and the engagement was formally announced on 11 January 1995. Before the marriage, Marie-Chantal decided to convert to the Greek Orthodox faith and was received into the Church on 22 May 1995 at St. Paul’s Chapel in New York.
Since the Greek royal family are living in exile in England, a tea party was hosted by Queen Elizabeth II at Claridge’s in Mayfair, followed by a champagne ball two nights before the wedding at Wrotham Park, a mansion near Sevenoaks, Kent. Two giant marquees in the national colours of Greece were erected on the grounds at Wrotham Park to resemble the Parthenon. The marquee had a floor made of hand-stamped cork, a false linen ceiling, and pillars and a cornice that looked like marble. After cocktails, a white curtain was pulled back for guests to walk through the arch to dinner, where large urns on laurel-wrapped pedestals contained thousands of yellow and orange Ecuadoran roses.
The Greek Orthodox ceremony took place on 1 July 1995 at St. Sophia’s Cathedral in Bayswater, London, with the ceremony being conducted in the Greek language. Lasting more than one hour, the wedding ceremony was attended by over 450 guests seated within the cathedral and another 850 guests seated at Hampton Court Palace where the ceremony was broadcast via satellite.
Marie-Chantal’s ivory silk wedding dress was made by Valentino, and it reportedly took twenty-five seamstresses over four months to complete. The high-necked lace bodice was encrusted with pearls, with rose appliqué and floral motifs against a delicate lattice background. The long train was trimmed with twelve different kinds of lace, and the bottom of the skirt was appliquéd with silk roses in a medallion motif. The Chantilly lace veil had a scalloped edge with butterfly embroidery and was held in place with the Antique Corsage Tiara borrowed from the groom’s mother, Queen Anne-Marie.