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Aliki Diplarakou as an Oceanid in the Delphic Games

Aliki Diplarakou, in Greek: Αλίκη Διπλαράκου, (August 28, 1912 - October 30, 1993) grandmother of Princess Sibilla of Luxembourg, and the first Greek contestant to win the Miss Europe title. Aliki's name has been spelled in various ways, from Alice Diplarakou to Aliki Diplearakos and Aliki Diplarakos.

Family

She was the daughter of Georgios Diplarakos and Elena Nicolessi. Aliki had two sisters, Nada Diplarakos who married the French diplomat André Rodocanachi, and Cristina Diplarakos. Her sister Cristina was married to Henri Claudel, the third of Paul Claudel’s five children. They are the parents of writer Paul Claudel named after his famous grandfather.

Although the Diplarakou family lived in Athens, they originally were Maniots Greek: Μάνης, from Krini, Greek: Κρήνη in the Peloponnese area. Her original family name was Vavouli Greek: Βαβούλη but the family changed it to her paternal grandmother's maiden name of Diplarakou.

Aliki was married twice; the first time was on October 31, 1932 to Paul-Louis Weiller, a wealthy French director of Gnome et Rhône Family. Guests at the event included author Paul Morand, poet Paul Valery, diplomat Philippe Berthelot. They had two children, Paul-Annick Weiller and Beatrice Weiller. Paul-Annick Weiller (d.1998) married Princess Olimpia Torlonia di Civitella-Cesi, parents of Princess Sibilla of Luxembourg.

Her second marriage took place on December 15, 1945 to Sir John (Jack) Wriothesley Russell, who was descended from John Russell, 6th Duke of Bedford, given her the title Lady Russell. They had two children, Georgiana Alexandra Russell and Alexander Charles Thomas Wriothesley Russell.

Career

In 1929 Aliki entered the Miss Hellas pageant as Miss Athens. Her biggest competitor at the event was Miss Thessaloniki Roxani Stergiou Greek: Ρωξάνη Στεργίου, who came in second to Aliki. Having won the title of Miss Hellas, Aliki was given the chance to represent her country at the Miss Europe event in Paris where she went on to be crowned Miss Europe on February 6, 1930.

That same year the 18-year-old brunette beauty was once more given the chance to represent her country and Europe at the International Beauty Contest what was then the Miss Universe Contest. The event was held on October 13, 1930 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and Aliki did very well, coming away as runner-up to Miss Universe.

Aliki can be seen as somewhat of a pioneer in the Beauty Pageant world. In an era when it was believed that beauty-winners with intelligence did not exist, she proved them wrong. She toured the United States giving lectures on ancient and modern Greek culture. Aside from her native Greek language, she also spoke fluently in English language, French language and Italian language. She made headlines in the 1930s when she dressed up in men's clothes and smuggled herself into the monks' sanctuary on Mount Athos that had stood "inviolated" since the time of the Byzantine Empire.

When asked by reporters on how she became Miss Europe, she was quoted in Time magazine as saying:

"My mother, some friends and I were at tea one day last year at the British Embassy in Athens when someone for fun suggested we go look at the beauty contest being held in an Athens theatre. We went and sat in a box. The judges . . . suddenly called out my name. I thought they were fooling. . . . When I tried to refuse, the President of Greece said I must accept as a patriotic duty. Three days later I found myself in Paris: I won the European contest, and of course had then to go through with it and go to Rio."

Aliki also tried her skills in theater, her first appearance being in the theatrical play Prometheus.

On July 13, 1953 Aliki was a feautered item in a Time's article titled The Climax of Sin, an article in which talked about the transformation of a woman's role through out history. Aliki was one of the women that was mentioned in regards to her shocking escapades of dressing up as a man and sneaking into a place like Mount Athos where no women are allowed.

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