In 1985, Marie-Chantal Miller was a sophisticated high school student who had just started interning with Andy Warhol, when a family friend introduced her to Prince Pavlos of Greece.
Ten years later, they married. She became Crown Princess Marie-Chantal of Greece.
Although the Greek Monarchy officially ended in the 1970s, the couple kept their titles, and to this day, occasionally perform ceremonial duties. But they are also New Yorkers, and these days, they are washing their hands and practicing social distancing like the rest of us.
When she is not busy managing her children’s clothing line, Marie-Chantal pursues other projects, like her illustrated etiquette book for children, “Manners Begin at Breakfast,” which was published this month.
Marie-Chantal, 51, and Prince Pavlos, 52, live in an Upper East Side townhouse with their rotating cast of five children — Olympia, 23, Constantine, 21, Achileas, 19, Odysseas, 15 and Aristides, 11 — as well as their dogs, Akila and Storm.
SET THE TABLE On weekdays, I wake up super early; on weekends it’s about an hour later than usual, around 7:30 or 7:45. My husband will get the dogs out and take them for a walk while I get breakfast ready: on Sunday, we’ll make something special. Either we’ll order bagels from H & H Bagels or make pancakes. I always set the table nicely because I believe in always having a pretty, set breakfast table. My youngest child will be down by 9. The older kids, whoever’s in the house, will kind of wander down between 9 and 11.
NO SCREENS We have a rule — which I try to enforce as best I can — which is no screens at the table. Sometimes I’m guilty on a weekend because on my iPad is where I read my news. So it’s allowed to a limit. But I really enforce no phones. Meals are a time where you learn so much from one another; it’s where you really kind of figure out what your kids are up to and what they’re doing.
FOR THE DOGS Storm is my 10-year-old triple coat Pomeranian. He’s my lazy dog. He will let you open the door, he’ll run out, do his business and come right back in. He’ll only go out when it’s very cold in the city. He doesn’t like going out with Akila, the one-year-old Belgian Malinois, but sometimes he comes with us on the walk.
OFF LEASH From 9 p.m. to 9 a.m. dogs are allowed off the leash in Central Park, which is great. So early in the morning there’s a whole doggy network in the park that takes place. I’ve never seen anywhere else other than Central Park where you have these hounds running loose and everybody’s socializing with their pooches early in the morning. It’s great fun.
ALL TOGETHER NOW Now, we’re doing a lot of family cooking, ordering in, and I’m sharing recipes with my daughter, Olympia. My husband is also teaching her backgammon.
BABY FOOT If everybody’s done their homework, we’ll put in a movie and play foosball together. I grew up in Paris, and we had one in our house growing up. We called it “baby foot.” I loved it. I’ve always played with the kids. So we’ll always put in a game, weekdays, weekends. It’s super fun. It’s very, very competitive. But I think I’m quite good at it. So I can beat two out of the five kids.
PLATED TAKEOUT On a Sunday night, the kids love a takeout meal. There’s a restaurant nearby called Pig Heaven, which they love. Everything is plated, and I take things and put them in bowls. I really like to make it the dining experience, whether it’s breakfast, lunch or dinner. And whether it’s takeout, it’s just to make it look pretty and the tables are set. And if we choose to do a TV dinner, which is usually on a Sunday, everything is placed on trays with little napkins and little tablecloths and nicely plated with everything laid out properly.
CHRONICLES Then the kids will go up to their rooms, finish their homework, get ready for bed. I’ll read to my youngest one, Aristides. We’ve been reading “The Chronicles of Narnia” over the course of the past two years. And we have a bet that it has to be finished before the summer holiday. We have two books left to read, and we’re going to do it.