Prince Hidden Socialist Greek
By: WILLIAM CASH
(Thanks to the Royal Archive :flower: )
Prince Nikolaos of Greece may not use a surname but there is no
shortage of alternative soubriquets which you will not find mentioned
in his one-line entry in the Almanach de Gotha, the social bible of
European royalty. They include Best Traditional Greek Dancer in
Gstaad, Most Wanted Prince in London, and Biggest Babe Magnet in St Tropez. While serving as an army officer in the Royal Scots Dragoon
Guards, he was known in his mess just as Nick Constantine. When he
used to work at NatWest Bank in the City, switchboard operators and
receptionists were left constantly confused as to who the debonair
figure with immaculate manners but without a proper name (officially
he is Nikolaos Glucksburg) actually was.
Indeed, apart from the occasional gossip-column sighting, such as his
being seen walking hand in hand with Elle Macpherson, or dining with
Gwyneth Paltrow at Blakes Hotel, where he lives in a suite, Prince
Nikolaos remains one of the most enigmatic and elusive figures in
London society. Yet he has lived here apart from his time in the
States reading International Relations at Brown University, Rhode
Island, followed by an apprentice spell as a playboy working for Fox
TV in New York in the Nineties ever since his family moved to
Hampstead from Rome after the government officially abolished the
Greek monarchy in 1974. The Greek Royals had been forced into exile
in Italy when the Greek colonels seized power in the military coup of
21 April 1967, two years before he was born.
Nikolaos was brought up not in a royal palace but rather a
comfortable Sixties redbrick family house in Hampstead Garden Suburb where posters of football players and supermodels were stuck to the walls of his bedroom and that of his older brother, Crown Prince Pavlos, who's now married to Marie-Chantal Miller, the daughter of American duty-free tycoon Robert Miller. Their July 1995 wedding with glittering parties at Hampton Court Palace and Wrotham Park, Hertfordshire (the setting for Gosford Park) was the royal wedding of the decade, bagging the biggest collection of Euro bluebloods in Britain since the wedding of Charles and Diana in 1981.
Nikolaos, however, remains very much unmarried. He has a reputation
as a man-about-town that makes Tim Jefferies seem like a Greek
Orthodox monk. He is, indeed, shortly to head off to another season
of summer pleasure in St Tropez, where he is a regular in the
upstairs VIP bar at Les Caves du Roi nightclub at the Htel Byblos. To
date, the young Greek prince has kept his head down with the women he has either dated or been linked with. In addition to Paltrow and Macpherson (apparently just friends), the list includes Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden, whom he met in Oslo at Crown Prince Haakon's wedding in 2001, and Sabrina Ramsay, the beautiful half- Brazilian, half-French stepdaughter of millionaire London property magnate Elliot Bernerd. While at Brown, he wasn't a frat-house party boy but went out for most of his time there with a Greek girl also at the university.
That so little is known about him is largely thanks to the jealously
guarded protection Nikolaos receives from the tight group of close
friends, confidants, sycophants and Euro-royal hangers-on who make up his personal court. His circle in London includes the Persian playboy set and scions of the big Greek billionaire shipping clans who have helped the exiled Greek Royals, such as Dimitri Goulandris, the 36- yearold Cambridge-educated banker son of shipping magnate John Goulandris.
Then, of course, there are Nikolaos's ties with the British Royal
Family. He wasn't just another guest at Prince William's 21st;
Nikolaos was very much invited as a close member of the family.
Prince Charles is godfather to his brother Pavlos and Prince Philip,
after all, is King Constantine's cousin, and was born at the royal
summer palace of Mon Repos on Corfu.
Known in royal circles as 'Tino', 63-year-old King Constantine is
godfather to Prince William; Prince William is godfather to Prince
Konstantine Alexios, son of Crown Prince Pavlos, and the Queen is
godmother to Nikolaos's youngest sister Theodora (he has four
siblings: Alexia, 37, Pavlos, 36, Theodora, 19, and Philippos, 17).
Although King Constantine refuses to admit it, it is widely believed
that he was the private ' intermediary' who helped the Queen accept
Camilla Parker Bowles. Indeed, it was at Constantine's 60th-birthday
party at Highgrove back in 2000 that the Queen and Camilla were
reintroduced after a gap of several decades. Nikolaos is, of course,
privy to such royal secrets. Yet the silence that surrounds the Greek
prince in London society circles compares with the omertlike code
that Prince William's friends are bound by on pain of immediate
'For somebody who has never even stepped foot in Greece, he is very
Greek,' says Taki Theodoracopoulos, The Spectator's Greek High Life
columnist, himself married to an Austrian princess and a long-time
friend of the exiled Royal Family. 'Nikolaos is extremely
goodlooking, which is quite annoying, and he is completely one of the
boys. He likes women and is extremely popular with them. But he is
not stiff like the ghastly Belgian Royals. He is Greek in a way we
call mangas, which means somebody who is upper-class but can mix with anybody.
He knows both how to behave in Buckingham Palace and the ways of the street. Every time I see him, he puts me in a good mood, although I know that if he was out of the way, I would be getting a lot more beautiful girls in my bed.' When I rang people up, Prince Nikolaos's famous looks were invariably the first thing they mentioned. His bushy dark eyebrows were described to me by one girl as 'silky and thick as a grenadier's bearskin' and his head of tousled dark hair makes Hugh Grant look like John Malkovich. Certainly, I know his looks have caught the attention of society doyen Nicky Haslam. One evening at Noble Rot, the louchely decadent Mayfair restaurant and members' club, Haslam spotted Nikolaos dining at a table with his cousin Prince Felipe of Spain. Close by was Prince Emmanuel of Savoy. 'My goodness,' Haslam was overheard exclaiming. 'Three princes in the same room. And all so good-looking especially Nikolaos.'