A multi-generational cast of real life royals have joined forces in a ground-breaking commercial for luxury hotel chain Raffles Resorts.
Launching ahead of the opening of the opening of Raffles London at Whitehall’s Old War Office in late 2022, the campaign sees a whole host of royals and blue-blooded brand ambassadors join forces in a never-before-seen campaign.
Princess Maria Olympia of Greece and Denmark, 25, the Maharaja Sawai Padmanabh Singh of Jaipur, 23, Prince Nikolai of Denmark, 22, Winston Churchill’s great-great nephew George Spencer-Churchill, 29, Archduchess of Austria and Princess of Hungary and Bohemia Anna Gabriele von Habsburg, 80, and her daughter Catharina von Habsburg, 49, are all seen in an imagined day at Raffles Singapore.
The whimsical two-minute video, entitled Hotel Royalty Since 1887, was filmed by director Peter Greenaway on location and takes a look at the brand’s iconic royal history in a rarely-seen gathering of royal faces.
A cast of real life royals have joined forces in a ground-breaking commercial for luxury hotel chain Raffles Resorts. Left to right: : Marquess of Blandford, Princess of Hungary, Maharaja of Jaipur, Princess Maria Olympia of Greece, Prince Nikolai of Denmark, Archduchess of Austria
The video sees the grand entrance of the plush Raffles hotel in Singapore, as flowers arrive by bicycle before the video cuts to the breakfast menu – which is being ironed – and George Spencer-Churchill having a bloom attached to his label as he enjoys a coffee with his paper.
In between flashbacks to 19th century real life scenes of royal bashes at the hotel, the scene cuts to Princess Maria Olympia of Greece, who is posing with a dog and a rebellious parrot in a grand drawing room.
Meanwhile Prince Nikolai of Denmark holds a pelican as he works on a piece of art on the stunning terrace encased in tropical flowers, before getting into the shower – fully clothed – in a marble bathroom complete with a revolving bouquet of flowers.
In between flashbacks to 19th century real life scenes of royal bashes at the hotel, the scene cuts to Princess Maria Olympia of Greece, who is posing with a dog and a rebellious parrot in a grand drawing room
The video sees George Spencer-Churchill having a bloom attached to his label as he enjoys a coffee with his paper
Elsewhere Archduchess of Austria and Princess of Hungary and Bohemia Anna Catharina von Habsburg rewrites Marie Antoinette’s final letter at the stunning Writer’s Bar at Raffles Singapore, where Rudyard Kipling penned The Jungle Book.
Anna’s mother Gabriele, Archduchess of Austria and Princess of Hungary and Bohemia is seen lounging on the day bed by the luxurious pool alongside Nikolai, where they share tales of their past.
And the Maharaja Sawai Padmanabh Singh of Jaipur makes an appearance on a horse, toting his polo mallet as he poses on his thoroughbred in the art gallery – while the video cuts back to the hotel’s history of polo playing.
The video’s grand finale ends with the six blue-blooded descendents dripping in diamonds as they enjoy a plush royal-red banquet in the spectacular hotel – complete with peacock and flashes of the glorious hotel and scenes of its history.
Archduchess of Austria and Princess of Hungary and Bohemia Anna Catharina von Habsburg rewrites Marie Antoinette’s final letter at the stunning Writer’s Bar at Raffles Singapore (left). Centre: George Spencer Churchill, right Maharaja Sawai Padmanabh Singh of Jaipur
George Spencer Churchill, who is distant relative to Princess Diana, told Forbes: ‘I was quite touched and honored to make the link with the brand’s new landmark set to open next year in London’s Old War Office building in Whitehall, a place that served as my great grand-uncle’s headquarters during World War II. I’m beyond excited to be welcoming Raffles to London.’
Princess Maria Olympia added of her role as ambassador: ‘Raffles is emblematic of so much history and sophistication, and the brand has played host to so many notable moments with fashionable icons through the ages’.
And Prince Nikolai, who has modelled for the likes of Burberry, added:’I love travelling in Southeast Asia – I have roots there. The people are so welcoming, and I love the culture. Over the years, I have travelled frequently to Hong Kong, where my mother was born’.
The Maharaja Sawai Padmanabh Singh of Jaipur makes an appearance on a horse, toting his polo mallet as he poses on his thoroughbred in the art gallery – while the video cuts back to the hotel’s history of polo playing
Raffles states: ‘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.’
Raffles Singapore and its history
Raffles Singapore was named after Sir Stamford Raffles, who colonised Singapore 200 years ago and boasts a rich and colourful history.
Built in 1887 it had the lethal combination of elegance, style and sophistication as well as knowing how to throw a rip roaring party.
Upper class British colonials scrambled to stay in its rooms, dine in the restaurant or take a turn around its exotic palm lined gardens.
Past guests include Joseph Conrad, Rudyard Kipling, Somerset Maugham and Hermann Hesse, while Noel Coward first stayed for a month in 1931, after completing Private Lives.
Glamorous guests inlcude Ava Gardner, Elizabeth Taylor and, more recently, Johnny Depp and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
When it opened on 1 December 1887 the hotel had just 10 rooms and was a bungalow-style building overlooking the beach and the South China Sea.
The property at 1 Beach Road was leased from its wealthy Arab owner to the Armenian Sarkies brothers, Tigran, Aviet and Arshak who transformed it from beach front home to hotel. In 1890 a pair of two storey wings with 22 new suites were added.
The hotelier family enlisted the help of R. A. J Bidwell from the architecture firm Swan & Maclaren to build the main building in 1899.
With names like Somerset Maugham, Noel Coward, Rudyard Kipling, Joseph Conrad and Charlie Chaplin checking in over the following decades Raffles’ reputation grew.
Perhaps the most famous story however comes from 1902 when a tiger apparently infiltrated the billiard room of the hotel.
A man was dispatched to shoot the poor animal – thought to have escaped from a local circus – and life continued as usual.
Thousands of tourists make the spiritual pilgrimage to the Singapore Sling’s home and order one from the infamous 1920s themed Long Bar, still there today.
However the glamour doesn’t come cheap, and the 115 suites are not cheap start at an eye-watering £520 a night.