Olympia did an interview with the Telegraph:
Princess Olympia of Greece on Prince Charles: ‘He always remembered my birthday’https://www.telegraph.co....ways-remembered-birthday/
Her family may have lost the Hellenic throne, but Olympia of Greece is well on her way to becoming fashion royalty
By Hermione Eyre
Bright and breezy, stirring an oat-milk tea and talking superfast in a lightly American accent, Olympia of Greece, 24, is full of life, plans, hope and energy. "My firecracker daughter", Crown Prince Pavlos calls her; also, "the apple of my eye’" She is the eldest of his five children, and the only daughter. If her family were still ruling Greece there would surely be a row brewing about changing the law of male succession so she could ascend the throne in her turn. But her grandfather, Constantine II, was deposed when the monarchy was abolished in 1974, so although she does tell me about the lingering sadness of her grandfather’s exile, her own life is a carefree whirl of parties, pools, pooches and Louis Vuitton photo shoots (she’s the face of the Capucines bag), with a New York University fashion-marketing degree thrown in. Olympia makes being a princess without a kingdom look a lot of fun.
"I’m kind of in-between. I am quite lucky because I can do what I like, just walking around" - ie, unnoticed and without a bodyguard. "I can wear what I want; I can wear short skirts. You have to behave differently if you’re going to be part of public life." She is inadvertently describing the dilemma currently facing the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. "If I did go back to live in Greece my life would be insanely different. But at the same time not that different because I was brought up by my mother to behave myself at all times – especially now there are phones everywhere - be nice to everyone and always be polite."
I watch from the wings as she poses with her favourite Capucines, in khaki taurillon leather. "Such a good bag: classic, elegant. I would wear it on a casual day with combat boots and a sweater, and funk up the bag." Her mother, Marie-Chantal, an American heiress turned children’s clothing entrepreneur, is not easily impressed but adores the Capucines design. "My mother and grandmother say you must always have a bag, because it 'closes the look'."
Olympia is warm and vivacious in person, but in front of the camera she assumes a cool, rather regal pout, so that I am suddenly reminded that her paternal genetic inheritance includes most of the crowned heads of Europe. One great-auntie is the Queen of Denmark, another is Queen Sofía of Spain; one of her great-grandmothers was Ingrid of Sweden, while another was Frederica of Hanover – among the few relatives of Prince Philip, if you recall, who was invited to his wedding to our own dear Queen. It is said that at that event Winston Churchill remarked to Frederica that she was the kaiser’s granddaughter, to which she replied that she was also Queen Victoria’s great-great-granddaughter. "It makes my head swim to work it all out," says Olympia, understandably. The Duke of Edinburgh, who died just a week before our shoot, was her father’s first cousin twice removed. "Yes, my great-grandfather’s cousin. I never met him, but my father always spoke so highly of him, and so did my grandfather. He was an important man who touched a lot of people. My parents and brothers are all in the States at the moment [they relocated from London to New York last year], so it was really nice that I was here in England experiencing what everyone was going through."
Prince Philip was born in the Greek royal family home on Corfu, a Palladian-style villa called Mon Repos. "And my father was born there as well," says Olympia. "I have been there, but we couldn’t go inside; it was all locked up. It’s really sad it’s not a museum." Mon Repos has since been semi-restored and opened to visitors. The Tatoi Palace, just outside Athens, was modelled on part of Peterhof in St Petersburg by the Romanov Queen Olga in the 1880s, and used as the royal summer palace - until Olympia’s grandfather was forced to leave when tanks surrounded the building. Long derelict, with abandoned vintage cars rotting in the garages, it is now a huge restoration project.
The ructions of the last century saw the monarchy in Greece abolished in 1924, restored in 1935 and pushed out again in a colonels’ coup in 1967. That the transition was bloodless was thanks in no small part to the determination of her grandfather. "I have a lot of admiration for him. It’s an incredible story and a sad story. My grandfather inherited the throne [in 1964] when he was such a young man, only 23. It’s very hard for him, thinking about it: becoming king and then having to leave your country." His queen, Anne-Marie of Denmark, was just 18 when they married the same year Constantine inherited the throne. She went from Swiss finishing school to being part of a counter-coup. When this failed in 1967, they fled to Rome, bundling two-year-old Princess Alexia and seven-month-old Prince Pavlos into a plane in the middle of the night. Soon after, Anne-Marie had a miscarriage.
After spells in exile in Egypt and South Africa early in the 20th century, then Rome in the late 1960s, the family put roots down in London in 1973, and founded a school for the children of Greeks, Hellenic College of London, in Knightsbridge, which ran for 25 years. They bought a Lutyens-style mansion in Hampstead Garden Suburb. "We would go there every weekend," says Olympia. "My grandfather tells so many stories, I can’t even keep up… They’re dramatic and heartbreaking and also often very funny. We’re a loud family. My mother sometimes gets his stories on camera."
Ties with our own Royal family were affirmed when Constantine II was asked to be Prince William’s godfather; Prince Charles returned the favour for Olympia. Is he a good godfather? "He’s the best; he always remembered my birthday. He’s such a nice man, has done so much for the environment and has such great stories. He would nail my present: something from Gap when I was really into that, or maybe a little necklace, and once he sent me a fountain pen. Of course, presents stop when you’re 18, but we still write to one another." As a godfather, Prince Charles was present at her Greek Orthodox baptism in Istanbul. At that point the family were personae non gratae in Greece. "We didn’t go there for years," says Olympia. The rule was relaxed only for a matter of hours, in 1981, to allow Constantine and Anne-Marie to attend his mother Frederica’s funeral, and bury her in the royal cemetery at the decaying Tatoi.
Olympia learnt about Greece through stories, photographs and treasures, cufflinks and smoking jackets. "Which all fit! It’s really nice to see these things passed down, eldest son to eldest son. My grandfather has a lot of heirlooms in his office - little pieces from churches, ceremonial swords – and my brother spent the night there once and had the weirdest dreams…" Olympia has a coat of her grandmother’s with a secretly spiffy lining: baby-blue silk and monogrammed initials with a crown. Of course, her best inheritance might be her title – "Oh, I don’t use it! It’s an amazing thing to have, and I’m so lucky, but I was always just Olympia at school." The Windsors have a surname, but I put it to Olympia she does not. "Of Greece. That’s my name. It’s in my passport."
In 2003, relations between the former king and Greece improved when reparations for the confiscation of Tatoi were paid to Constantine and Anne-Marie, by order of the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg. In 2013, the couple made a quiet return to Greece, selling up in Hampstead and retiring to a villa in Porto Cheli, in the Peloponnese. Olympia and her family spend every summer there with them. A happy ending, in a way – but when I ask if she would ever wish to return to rule, should the moment come, she speaks from the heart. "That would be amazing. Amazing for my father. He was two when he left. He’s so gentle and sweet. It would just be the most incredible thing for him. Anyone would just pick up and go. I would. I always think about that. It would make my family so happy." But there are consolations. Freedom, for a start. "My life is very different to how it would have been if I’d grown up in Greece," she says. "I get to do a lot of things I’d never have been able to do." For example? "Maybe… doing this photo shoot wouldn’t have been allowed. There are no rules about what I can and can’t wear."
Earlier this year, Olympia posed astride a bicycle for an "amazing, really fun" Louis Vuitton shoot in Paris. It was beside the Seine, near rue Neuves-des-Capucines, where the first Vuitton atelier was founded in 1854 – the address giving the name to the Capucines bag. Even her endless legs couldn’t reach the pedals. "It was a man’s Louis Vuitton racing bike!" she exclaims. "It was really high. I was wearing a little skirt as well."
Her sense of regal decorum is strong – and no wonder, because her mother not only wears a sash and tiara wonderfully well, but she is also the author of a handbook on family etiquette, Manners Begin at Breakfast, which implies Olympia had a pretty exacting upbringing. "Yeah," she says, suddenly sounding like a truculent teen. "It wasn’t that bad. My mother cleverly made it all like a game for us. Whoever had the best manners got to pick what the meal would be on Tuesday or whatever. We were all very competitive and kids always want a prize. Anyway, we inspired the book with our bad behaviour! Just kidding."
Whatever her mother did worked, because Olympia radiates poise, "always" writes a proper thank you, and manages to resist looking at her phone until about halfway through our interview, when she cracks and shows me a picture of her "baby": a sausage dog named Eccho, dressed in stone-coloured knitwear. Does Eccho ride in a handbag? "Erm, I told myself I would never be that person, but yes, sometimes I put her in a duffel bag. She doesn’t like walking that much." Getting Eccho was part of basing herself permanently in Notting Hill, away from the former family home in Cheyne Walk, Chelsea. "She’s giving me structure. Now that I’m a mother, I always have dog treats in my handbag." As well as Eccho, she has a boyfriend of one year’s standing: Peregrine Pearson, son of Viscount Cowdray and heir to Pearson publishing. "I got to bring him to the Nicolas Ghesquière Vuitton show at La Samaritaine in Paris in October last year," she says. "He was in a green-screen room so he was like, floating, apparently, so that was really cool. I actually do enjoy watching shows on screen; it’s less about who’s there and what they’re wearing, more about the show."
The other side of her inheritance is very business-savvy. Marie-Chantal runs an eponymous high-end children’s clothing label; Olympia’s maternal grandfather, Robert Warren Miller, co-founded the original Duty Free Shoppers in Hong Kong in 1960, significantly changing the luxury market and founding an American dynasty. His three beautiful It-girl daughters, the Miller sisters, married respectively Christopher Getty, Crown Prince Pavlos and Prince Alexander von Fürstenberg. (All three sisters have recently worked together fixing their father’s vaccine appointments.) "I really look up to him," Olympia says. At 88, Mr Miller - "I love that! I’ve always known him as Mr Miller" – is now a landowner in Yorkshire, naturalised British and last seen on UK rich lists at number 63. "He’s very much on the go," she says. "When my grandfather wants us out on the moors, we’re all there. If you’re not ready, he doesn’t care; he’s out the door. I love that. We go there for Thanksgiving, and the Glorious 12th in August. My brothers shoot, we invite our friends and all go for long walks. It’s a beautiful place. My grandfather loves to hear news of what we’re doing. He’s very strong – says, 'You must keep going,' and 'Never be bored.' He’s always telling us, 'Push yourself!' and 'Do more.' At school he would ask me how many classes I was doing. 'Not enough!' he would say." Olympia’s voice shrinks to a wobble as she impersonates her cowed younger self: "But it’s the required amount."
Her next step is making her own way - she has a "fashion business idea". "I really want to work," she says, "and I’m trying to now. I’ve learnt a lot from my mother and grandfather." Olympia vanishes with a polite "So lovely to meet you" and a quick exit into a taxi. Maybe she will rule one day, after all - a fashion business, rather than a kingdom.