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Miller Time
W magazine (April 1995)


Not since the Gilded Age have three heiresses been so well betrothed
We'll believe it when we see it, but the Miller sisters are set to settle down. By fall, the hyperactive daughters of duty free billionaire Robert Miller will all be married. Well married. As Suzy reported, Marie-Chantal will wed Crown Prince Pavlos of Greece on July 1, in London. A couple of months later, Alexandra, 22, is scheduled to march down the aisle with Alexandre von Furstenberg, probably in Venice. Pia, 28, has already exchanged vows with Christopher Getty.

So while one is married into the plutocracy, two are entering the aristocracy. Edith Wharton, were she still around, couldn't have written it better. Cash meeting class, in the great American tradition. One hopes, of course, the two younger sisters fare better than Consuelo Vanderbilt, whose forced marriage to His Grace the 9th Duke of Marlborough began dismally, and went downhill from there.

That doesn't seem too likely here. By all accounts, Prince Pavlos is charming and levelheaded. His folks, however, are down to their last drachmas. Since losing the throne in the Seventies, King Constantine and Queen Anne-Marie have been dependent upon the kindness of moguls. Reportedly, all the rich Greeks make annual contributions to the ex-royal family.

Over the winter in Gstaad, where the Greeks and Millers hit the slopes, Topic A of conversation was the prenuptial agreement being drawn up between the betrothed, who were reportedly matched up by Alecko Papamarkou. "Everyone wanted to know what kind of dowry she'll have, and if she'll be able to keep her title if they divorce."

Robert Miller will undoubtedly give Marie-Chantal a wedding fit for a Queen. Many of them will be attending, what's more, including two of young Pavlos' aunts: Sofia of Spain, and Margrethe of Denmark. Prince Philip, another relation of the groom, will probably be attending, with the wife. The wedding date was set, reportedly, to accommodate Regina Elizabeth's schedule: July was the only day the Queen could attend.

Details about the ceremony, which will take place in the Greek Cathedral of Saint Sophia, and the reception at Claridges, are sparse as yet, but you can be sure no extravagance will be spared. "They're out to compete with the Livanos and Luxembourg weddings," says a family friend. Anybody not asked will surely be making plans to be out of town, and not just for the day. "There will be parties everywhere, the whole week," says a girlfriend of the bride, whose gown is being designed by Valentino.

The Millers don't often give big parties, but when they do, they really do. For Alex's 21st birthday, the Rainbow Room was transformed into a Twenties speakeasy, for a white-tie seated dinner for 130. Cost: well above $500,000.

Like their parents, the girls rarely stay in any one place for too long. They hop at the drop of a hat to the family's various houses- New York, Paris, London, Hong Kong and Gstaad-or anyplace in between.

From an early age, these girls trained their sights on international affairs. While the eldest married a great Forbes 400 name, the younger sisters were looking for husbands from the Old World. "They're not very interested in Americans," says an acquaintance. "No title, no accent, no play." "But they're not as spoiled as people think," claims one friend.

In their defense, it would have been hard for them not to have turned out fairly jaded, having been brought up by their mother, who is a world champion shopper. Chantal Miller, who was born in Ecuador, only buys the best of the best-and lots of it. The family's Upper East Side townhouse, decorated by Renzo Mongiardino, contains perhaps the city's most staggering collection of art and antiques, including a Boulle armoire purchased for $10 million, and a collection of German siver that would make crazy King Ludwig really mad. "Every room must have $50 million in it," estimates one of the few persons lucky enough to have been invited inside.

Indeed, one of the great mysteries of Manhattan seems to be the ultra-private parents of the Miller girls. After all, the effort and expense that went into the townhouse, they almost never entertain there. And they rarely seem to go out, either. While their daughters can't get enough of the limelight, the parents are hell-bent on staying out of it.