CULTURE

Grand duchess can still cause a stir when a best seller comes out

Well-known collector Ian Vorres’s book «The Last Grand Duchess» has become a best seller in Denmark, with the author’s permission. Originally written in English, it was published in Denmark a year ago without the permission of Vorres, who had no option but to take legal action. After contacting the Greek Embassy in Copenhagen and the Danish Embassy in Athens, he sued the publisher. But just as he was ready to leave for Copenhagen to defend his intellectual property rights, he received an honest letter from the publisher, who admitted fault, apologized and offered to pay compensation. And the publisher invited Vorres to Copenhagen where he was given a warm welcome. And so, instead of a court battle, there were numerous events in his honor which many friends and diplomats posted to Copenhagen attended to offer him their congratulations. This is what happened in the case of the Eva Christina Makelainen, a former Finnish ambassador to Athens for five years, who came especially to attend the reception for Vorres given by the Greek ambassador to Copenhagen, Antonios Nikolaidis, and his wife at the embassy. Makelainen was accompanied by Constance Oke Blom, widow of the director of the Finnish Institute in Athens. This reception gave Vorres an opportunity to sign many copies of his book. The queen of Denmark wrote him a letter thanking him for the copy he had sent her with a handwritten dedication. The Finnish ambassador to Copenhagen, Ralf Friberg and his wife, who met Vorres during their term in Athens, held a dinner for him at the embassy. Danish newspapers published full-page stories about the Vorres Museum in Paeania, Attica, and its collection of folk and modern Greek art. Vorres announced the offer of the museum to the volunteer program during the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, and ATHOC President Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki thanked him for his kind gesture. The book has sold out and there will be a a new ceremony in Copenhagen to launch the second edition, which will include previously unpublished photographs and a new introduction by the writer. The book itself, originally published in Canada and the US in 1962 and later in London, tells the story of Grand Duchess Olga of Russia, younger sister of the last czar, Nicholas II. In Denmark there is particular interest in her life, because that was the country where she took refuge after the Russian Revolution of 1917, and also because her mother, Empress Maria Feodorovna, sister of George I of Greece, was of Danish origin. During World War II, the grand duchess migrated to Canada for security reasons, and there she met Vorres, who was working as a journalist for major Canadian newspapers. The book, which was written with the cooperation of the grand duchess, is an historical document written like a lively novel. It was well received worldwide and translated into many languages, including Greek. A Romanov, Duchess Olga always makes an impact. Also present at the Greek Embassy reception were the last of the Romanovs, Dimitri Romanov and his wife. Now for news of a future event of special interest. Ambassador Nikolaidis is looking into the possibility of organizing a large exhibition in Denmark of Greek painting from the collection of the Vorres Museum in January 2003, when Greece takes over the rotating presidency of the European Union from Denmark, when many members of the Greek government will be in Copenhagen. Intracom gained 2.94 percent to 9.82 euros after it confirmed it had taken a 41-percent stake in the Greek branch of Germany’s Siemens for an undisclosed amount.