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Aliki Diplarakou, Lady Russell, ( , 28 August 1912 - 30 October 2002) was the grandmother of Princess Sibilla of Luxembourg and the first Greek contestant to win the Miss Europe title after winning the "Miss Hellas" ( ) title at the Miss Star Hellas Pageant. 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 wife Elena Nicolessi or Nicolessis. Aliki had two sisters, Nada Diplarakos who married the Frenchmarker Diplomat André Rodocanachi, and Cristina Diplarakos, who 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 Athensmarker, they originally were Maniots ( , from "Krini", ) in the Peloponnesemarker area. Her original family name was "Vavouli" (Βαβούλη) but the family changed it to her paternal grandmother's maiden name of Diplarakou.

Aliki was married twice; the first time was on 31 October 1932 to aviator Paul-Louis Weiller, a wealthy French director of the Gnome et Rhône family, son of Lazare Weiller and wife Alice Javal. Guests at the event included author Paul Morand, poet Paul Valéry, and diplomat Philippe Berthelot. They had one child, Paul-Annick Weiller (Parismarker, 28 July 1933 - Genevamarker, 2 November 1998). He married in Romemarker, at Santa Maria in Trasteveremarker, on 26 June 1965, Donna Olimpia Emmanuela Torlonia di Civitella-Cesi (b. Lausannemarker, Mont Choisi, 27 December 1943). They became parents of Princess Sibilla of Luxembourg.

Her second marriage took place on 15 December 1945 to Sir John (Jack) Wriothesley Russell (23 August 1914 - 3 August 1984), who was descended from John Russell, 6th Duke of Bedford, giving 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 Athensmarker. Her biggest competitor was Miss Thessalonikimarker Roxani Stergiou ( ), who came in second to Aliki. Aliki won the title and was given the chance to represent her country at the Miss Europe event in Paris, where she was crowned Miss Europe on 6 February 1930.

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

Aliki can be seen as somewhat of a pioneer in the beauty contest world. In an era when it was believed that pageant 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 fluent English, French and Italian. She made headlines in the 1930s when she dressed up in men's clothes and smuggled herself into the monks' sanctuary on Mount Athos which had stood "inviolated" since the time of the Byzantine Empire, save for harbouring female refugees twice in the past.

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 Prometheus.

On 13 July 1953, Aliki was a featured item in a Time article, "The Climax of Sin",[249113] which discussed the transformation of women's role throughout history. Aliki was mentioned in regard to her escapades of dressing up as a man and sneaking into Mount Athos where no women were allowed.


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