Princess Olympia of Greece was just 10 when she first wore a designer handbag. Her grandmother loaned her a mini Louis Vuitton style to wear to a family dinner, and so began her love of luxury fashion and accessories. “I was chic for that one meal,” she laughs. “I was only 10 years old, but I felt so empowered. My grandmother still owns that bag, and it still looks fabulous. I’m a real bag lady now, I have an issue. How many do I own? I have absolutely no idea.”
She may come from royalty, but Olympia has none of the stiff-upper-lip and reserve typically associated with those of similar standing. During our conversation, she laughs easily and talks with warmth and energy. Her father, Pavlos, Crown Prince of Greece, describes her as his ‘firecracker daughter’ and she also has a close relationship with her mother, the luxury childrenswear designer Marie-Chantal Miller, whom she FaceTimes everyday. As the oldest sister to four younger brothers, she is both a mummy and daddy’s girl. “There was a time when mum said, ‘maybe I’ll have a sixth child’ and honestly the thought of that… I said, ‘you’re not allowed’ because I just knew it would be a girl,” she laughs. “I love having boys around. I think it makes you a bit tougher, too.”
Olympia was born in the Greek royal family home on Corfu, but has spent the majority of her life in London where the family migrated after her grandfather, King Constantine II, lost the crown under the abolition of the Greek monarchy in 1973. Through her father’s side, she is related to nearly every European royal family – her godfather, for example, is Prince Charles, who she credits for always remembering her birthday. Now nearly 25, she lives in Notting Hill with her dog, Eccho – a lockdown investment that’s worked out well. “I’m constantly with her,” she says. “She’s like my child. I’m happy I have a dog as it means I have to look after someone and be a grown-up.” Her Instagram is a whirl of fashion parties, photogenic dinners and sun-drenched holidays, but this is a princess who enjoys staying at home binge-watching a TV series as much as she does high-octane glamour. “I love watching TV,” she says guiltily. “I cried my eyes out at the end of Stranger Things. That show is fantastic. There are times where I have to stop myself from watching TV because I can binge-watch anything. It's bad, sometimes I walk around my house holding my iPad so I can carry on watching something.
A lot has been said about the pressure and scrutiny given to members of the royal family, specifically towards women, but Olympia and her family occupy an enviable position of holding the title without having any of the duty and trappings that come with it. Who needs a kingdom when you have freedom, or a crown when you’re allowed to wear a miniskirt and heels? She says the only behaviour impressed on her by her family was the importance of good manners, a virtue her mother wrote a book about, Manners Begin at Breakfast: Modern Etiquette for Families.
“If you’re in the limelight, people will always look at how you behave and dress, but my parents would have taught me the same things if I wasn’t from my family: manners at the table, always get up when someone walks in the room, little things like that,” she tells me. “They did it in a fun way though; I never thought they were telling us how to behave.” She pauses before adding, “Being in the limelight definitely changes things, but it shouldn’t. I think we should all act like there’s someone watching. [If you’re royal] you do need to go that extra mile, even with Instagram and what I post, but I think, in terms of behaviour, my parents raised us in a way that ‘this is how one has to behave’ in terms of politeness. From a very young age, we joined our parents at dinner parties and I loved it. I loved hanging out with older people and learning things.”
One of the benefits of her background is access to her mother’s elegant, luxury wardrobe. The two share clothes and Olympia’s most treasured possessions are pieces that have been handed down to her – along with items that might have accidentally made its way from her mother’s closet to hers, including a pair of cowboy boots. “The things that mean the most are pieces that my grandmother wore when she was, say 40, or pieces that my mum gave me that she wore before she had me,” she says. “Now I wear those pieces out to events and it reminds me of my mum. They have history and a story. My favourite was an old black custom Valentino dress [pictured below] from my mum which she first wore when she was 20 and I then wore when I was 18 or 19. That felt really special.”
Olympia’s love of fashion goes beyond the superficial. When she was 17, she did an internship at Christian Dior Couture under Raf Simons, then went on to study fashion, business and marketing at NYU. She is currently the face of Louis Vuitton’s Capucine bag campaign, a perfect fit for the little girl who wore her grandmother’s Vuitton bag, aged 10.
“Vuitton is amazing at making their items iconic and enduring; I wish I knew how they did it,” she says. “There’s something empowering and amazing about the brand. They know how to capture everyone’s eye.”
To celebrate the launch of the new campaign, Olympia hosted an intimate dinner at the private apartment above the brand's New Bond Street store this week, with stylish guests including Camille Charrière and Sabine Getty – all of whom were toting a Capucines bag in varying sizes and shades. “Every single person at my dinner looked so different but looked so good,” she says. “People kept walking in and I was like, 'wow'.”
She pauses and adds: “You are what you wear. If you buy well, that piece will last forever, and everyone will wear it differently.”
Olympia also has dreams of launching her own fashion business. “I’d love to one day have something of my own, but I’m not sure what that would be because there’s just so much out there right now,” she says. “I’ve been having so much fun collaborating and learning from other brands about what it takes and finding out about everything behind it. It’s hard to have your own business, so I’m glad to be learning.”
One thing she does have figured out is elegance – what it looks like and what it represents. I ask her what the word means to her as a modern princess. “Whenever I see someone that looks elegant, I think wow, but it’s when you speak to them and they’re so lovely that cinches it,” she says. “Elegance is more than what you wear. It’s how you are as a person and how you treat others. Maybe it’s cheesy, but that’s how I feel.”
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