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Greece
The wedding of William Leeds with Princess Xenia of Russia

Greece family portraits

My grandmother Queen Olga of Greece in exile in Italy. Immediately behind her is my father, Christopher, and next to him, his sister Maria. Behind her is her brother Andrew, father of the Duke of Edinburgh.   King Georges II of Greece and his brother, the heir to the throne Paul of Greece, visiting the…

LE MENTOR

Today a sleepy, coastal village, at the beginning of the 19th century Avlemonas was the scene of dramatic events. The Russians landed there to kick the French off the island. On September 15th 1802, the few inhabitants witnessed a fateful shipwreck. A small sailing ship by the name of “Mentor” arrived from the East and…

THE PIRATES, MELIDONI

We cross a hill near Aghia Elessa then begin our descent into the unknown. There is a dirt track, rocks and stones and the sea. Nothing else. There are no houses, no roads, no telegraph poles. The hills rise up in the distance, the sea is an intense blue and there are no signs of…

ROSA HERN

In 1850, an Irish doctor by the name of Charles Hern was appointed by the British authorities as resident physician on the island of Kythera. He was young and was blessed with the typical charm of the Irish. One evening, at a ball at the British governor’s palace, he met a young Kytheran girl, Rosa…

THE HANGED MEN

That morning, October 9th 1821, an inhabitant of Karava saw everything. He went straight to Hora and denounced the killers. The English governor ordered a police inspector to go immediately to Karava. The inspector’s name was Jean Kasimatis, and he was a member of one of the dynasties which had ruled over Kythera for a…

FAMILY PHOTOS

The wedding of William Leeds with Princess Xenia of Russia. He was the son of my father’s first wife, Princess Anastasia of Greece. She was the daughter of my father’s sister. In the photo we can see my father, Christopher, his wife Anastasia, and the married couple. Next to the bride is her mother, Maria…

THE BIGGEST SAPPHIRE IN THE WORLD

It is one of the biggest cut sapphires in the world, weighing over 300 carats. It was bought at the end of the19th century by the Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna of Russia, a passionate jewelry collector. It was passed on to her daughter-in-law, the Grand Duchess Cyril. After the 1917 Revolution, needing money, she sold…

THE PIANIST AND THE TWO SISTERS

It was during, or at the end of the World War. A young Austrian pianist arrived on a Greek island. He was handsome, and alone. He was talented. The two sisters belonged to the island’s aristocracy. Among their numerous properties, they prefered one they had called “happiness”. It was situated on top of a hill…

YANNI’S GREAT-GRANDMOTHER

Yanni is the head of the largest family on the island of Spetses. He is also one of the most renowned butterfly experts in the Balkans. He is a contemporary of mine, and a friend. His family has an interesting history. In the early 19th century, his ancestors were shipowners. But at the time, there…

ANTIKYTHERA

Having woken at one o’clock in the morning, we speed off in a Jeep to Diakofti. The ferry from Athens arrives shortly afterwards. We step on board and meet Fivos’ father, Aris Tsaravopoulos, the archaeologist, and my old friend Adonis, an erudite amateur archaeologist. We settle down in a vast, almost deserted lounge area and…