A noble legacy
Welcome to Raffles for our social season of enchantment and wonder, by appointment with six illustrious ambassadors.
In the spirit of adventure, we invited them to step into an imaginary day in the life of their beloved Raffles, as wittily conjured up by filmmaker extraordinaire Peter Greenaway CBE.
Celebrating our shared love of heritage and Raffles’ role as the birthplace of stories and legends – past, present and future.
Meet our ambassadors
Descended from the Greek and Danish royal families, HRH Princess Maria-Olympia grew up between London and New York, and is now making her mark on the fashion world. With her signature husky voice (“Just call me Olympia”), this darling of the glossy mags played her part in Peter Greenaway’s film to perfection – whether asked to swim in a lotus-filled pool wearing high jewellery, or channel the spirit of the Greek goddess Gaia seductively tempting fellow cast member Padmanabh with a green apple.
A glamorous sporting prince who has represented India at polo, HRH Maharaja Sawai Padmanabh Singh of Jaipur effortlessly rode a black stallion into the ballroom at Raffles Singapore at Peter Greenaway’s request. The ceremonial Maharaja of Jaipur seamlessly blends his heritage with modern sartorial flair. He is as much at home on today’s fashion runways as he was on film sporting an Indian tuxedo (bandhgala) with a one-off diamond and ruby brooch designed by Cartier for his grandfather.
A talented author and linguist, HIRH Catharina von Habsburg, Archduchess of Austria, Princess of Hungary and Bohemia has written several books about the strong women in her family, including Empress Sissi and Queen Marie-Antoinette. She was filmed in the Writers Bar, seated where Rudyard Kipling, a favourite author, had written The Jungle Book. In a stroke of genius, Peter Greenaway handed her Marie-Antoinette’s last letter to copy – producing a genuinely moving moment and a beautiful vignette.
As the son of Prince Joachim and Hong Kong-born Alexandra, Countess of Frederiksborg, His Highness Prince Nikolai of Denmark’s ancestry links continents and cultures. A prince charming who mixes business with pleasure as fashion model and student, he was asked by Peter Greenaway to act naked – nudity being one of the filmmaker’s recurring themes. Unshockable, Nikolai remarked that his grandmother wouldn’t love the film as much if he did. They settled on a fanciful pair of silk Prada pyjamas.
As the great-great nephew of Sir Winston Churchill, George Spencer-Churchill, Marquess of Blandford, is thrilled that Raffles is opening in London at Churchill’s Old War Office. Pilot, polo player and adventurer who rowed the Atlantic, he was invited by Peter Greenaway to test his skills at playing floating backgammon with Prince Nikolai in the pool at Raffles Singapore. The future Duke of Marlborough, cousin of Princess Diana, enjoyed it so much that he asked for a return match the next day.
HIRH Anna Gabriele von Habsburg’s father-in-law, Emperor Karl of Austria, was made a saint by the Pope in 2004 – a high bar for a family to live up to! The mother of Catharina von Habsburg, Anna Gabriele is a passionate horsewoman with a zest for travel and discovery and a joyful energy that belies her age. She’s not in the habit of sitting still, although politely acquiesced when Peter Greenaway asked her to do just that for some of the film’s thoughtful and poignant scenes.