Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Prince Albert II of Monaco Engaged

Monaco's sovereign, Prince Albert II, has finally become engaged. The 52-year-old prince will marry South African Olympian swimmer Charlene Wittstock, ending decades of speculation over the prince's seemingly endless bachelorhood.

This comes as a sigh of relief to the 700-year-old Grimaldi dynasty. Albert has acknowledged in 2005 and 2006 that he is the father of two children both born out of wedlock to different mothers, though neither of them are eligible to inherit the throne. Presently, Albert's elder sister Caroline, Princess of Hanover, is the heiress to the throne, followed by her children Andrea and Charlotte Cashiragi.

Albert II is the only son of Prince Rainier III and American film actress Grace Kelly. Princess Grace died following a car accident in 1982, and Rainier III passed away in 2005.

Birthday of Edward VIII

Today, June 23, marks the 116th anniversary of the birth of King Edward VIII of the United Kingdom, later the Duke of Windsor.

Edward Albert Christian George Andrew Patrick David was born June 23, 1894 at White Lodge in Surrey. He was named in honor of his late uncle, Prince Albert Victor, Duke of Clarence (who was always known as "Eddy" by his family) as well as his grandfather, King Edward VII. However, to friends and family he was always known by the last of his names, David.

Edward's father became king in 1910 and he was created Prince of Wales in 1911. During World War I, he enlisted in the military and was keen to serve in ba
ttle, but the government refused to send him to the front for fear of his being captured.

After the war, he undertook a number of royal duties and extensively toured the British empire. He was frustrated with the rituals of royalty
, however, and before long he became frustrating to members of the Establishment for his cosmopolitan lifestyle and numerous liaisons with married women.

Edward became king upon his father's death in 1936. By this time, he had fallen deeply in love with the American socialite Wallis Simpson, nee Warfield, who was married to a prominent British businessman and had already been divorced once before. Over the subsequent months following his accession, Edward stirred the frustrations of his family and his cabinet by continuing his relationship with Mrs. Simpson.

In November 1936, Edward met with Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin and announced his intentions to marry Wallis Simpson once her divorce had become final. Aghast, Baldwin informed the king that such a marriage would be unacceptable. Mrs. Simpson was a commoner, yes, but then his younger brother Albert had married Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon. However, Mrs. Simpson was once divorced and currently seeking a second divorce, and as head of the Church of England and Defender of the Faith, the king could not marry a divorcee.

This resulted in a constitutional crisis. Members of the cabinet threatened to resign if the king married Mrs. Simpson, and the heads of the British realms and territories also threatened to resign. The king was forbidden from appealing directly to the people, for if the people expressed their support for the king's decision, he would be creating a breech between the crown and Parliament- something he was bound by the structures of a constitutional monarchy from doing.

Finally, Edward accepted the inevitable - if he were to remain on the throne, he would have to give up his romance with Mrs. Simpson. Edward decided instead to abdicate, and on December 10, 1936, he became the first British monarch to ever do so. His younger brother Albert succeeded in his place, becoming King George VI.

After the abdication, Edward was granted the title "His Royal Highness The Duke of Windsor". When he married Wallis Simpson in June 1937, she became the Duchess of Windsor but was denied the official usage of the style "Royal Highness". Edward remained bitterly resentful of this for the remainder of his life, and in private asked that his household and friends address the Duchess as "Her Royal Highness".

Edward died of cancer in 1972, twenty years after the relatively young death of his brother, the unexpected and reluctant king.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Swedish Royal Wedding

Her Royal Highness Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden, Duchess of Västergötland, married Daniel Westerling on Saturday in the most lavish royal celebration Sweden has seen since the wedding of the bride's parents thirty-four years earlier.

On the eve of the wedding, a concert was given at the Stockholm Concert Hall, featuring performances from a number of Swedish artists including the pop band Roxette.

The wedding on Saturday was attended by a number of royals, man
y of whom are relatives of the Swedish royal family. The monarchs of Belgium, Denmark, Norway, Jordan, the Netherlands, Luxembourg and Monaco attended with their families, along with the former monarchs of Bulgaria and Greece.

Upon marrying Victoria, Daniel Westerling took the title His Royal Highness Prince Daniel of Sweden, Duke of Västergötland. There was slight controversy over the bride's decision to be escorted down the aisle by her father. The Church of Sweden has discouraged this practice for many years now, claiming it sexist, and prefers that the bride and groom walk down the aisle together. However, the palace defended the bride's decision and insisted the practice was meant to be symbolic of the monarch passing his blessing onto his heir. Prince Carl Philip, the crown princess' younger brother, acted as best man.

The wedding was celebrated on the same day as the nuptials of the bride's parents, King Gustav XVI Adolf and Queen Silvia. The year 2010 also marks the 200th anniversary of the accession of the Bernadotte dynasty.

Princess Madeleine and Prince Carl Philip, younger siblings of Crown Princess Victoria, arrive at the pre-wedding concert.

The King and Queen of Sweden

The King and Queen of Norway

The Queen and Prince Consort of Denmark

The Crown Prince and Crown Princess of Denmark

The Crown Prince and Crown Princess of Norway

Members of the deposed Greek royal family: Princess Alexia, her husband Carlos Morales, Prince Philippos, Prince Nikolaos and his fiance Tatiana Blatnik, and Queen Anne-Marie and King Constantine.

Princess Margarita, eldest daughter of former King Michael of Romania, with her husband Radu.

The Crown Prince of Japan

Former King Simeon of Bulgaria and his wife, Margarita

Former Crown Prince Alexander of Yugoslavia and his wife arrive behind the Grand Duke and Grand Duchess of Luxembourg.

Felipe, Prince of Asturias, heir to the Spanish throne, and his wife Letizia.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Birthday of Sophie of Prussia

June 14 marks the 140th anniversary of the birth of Sophie of Prussia, Queen of the Hellenes.

Sophie Dorothea Ulrike Alice is born on June 14, 1870 in Potsdam, the seventh child of Crown Prince Frederick of Prussia and Victoria, Princess Royal of the United Kingdom.

Sophie's father succeeds to the throne as Emperor Frederick III in 1888. He is terminally ill from throat cancer, however, and dies after a reign of just 99 days. A bereaved Sophie, who has just turned eighteen the day before her father's death, turns to the comfort of Crown Prince Constantine of Greece, eldest son of King George I. The couple falls in love and are married in Athens in October 1888.

Shortly after marrying Constantine, Sophie visits Berlin to attend the wedding of her sister Victoria. There, she announces to her family that, as the wife of the future king of Greece and the mother of potential heirs to the throne of Greece, she considers it appropriate to become Greek Orthodox. Her mother and sisters accept this decision, but her brother, Kaiser Wilhelm II, reacts abominably. Declaring himself the head of her family and the head of the Prussian Lutheran Church, he disapproves of Sophie's change of religions and bans her from returning to Germany for three years. The already distant relationship between Sophie and her elder brother would never recover from this episode.

Sophie and Constantine have six children- George, Alexander, Helen, Paul, Irene and Katherine. All three of their sons will become king of Greece, their daughter Helen will become queen of Romania, and their daughter Irene will briefly become the titular queen of Croatia.

In 1913, King George I is assassinated shortly after the Greek armies liberate Salonika from the Turks. Sophie's husband becomes Constantine I, King of the Hellenes, and Sophie herself becomes Her Majesty The Queen of the Hellenes. At first, the new monarchs are enormously popular among their subjects. Constantine is the victorious commander in the recently-concluded Balkan Wars, and the Greeks praise their new king with a wild fervor. However, following the outbreak of World War I in 1914, Constantine is plagued by intrigue when he declares that Greece shall remain neutral despite overwhelming pressure from both the Allies and the Central Powers to join their sides.

Because Sophie is the German Emperor's sister, she and her family are accused by the Allies of harboring pro-German sentiments. Sophie is even suspected of having stabbed King Constantine with a knife during an argument over his refusal to join the Germans. In July 1916, arsonists set the woods surrounding the royal estate at Tatoi ablaze, nearly killing the royal family. French and British troops impose a blockade upon Greece and launch a bombardment upon Athens in December 1916.

Finally, the Allies demand Constantine's abdication in June 1917. Sophie and Constantine's eldest son, Crown Prince George, is forbidden from becoming king due to his suspected German sympathies; instead, their second son, Alexander, succeeds to the throne. While the family goes into exile in Switzerland, Alexander remains bitter and alone in Athens, surrounded by enemies of his father and acting as a mere puppet ruler.

Sophie is devastated when Alexander dies suddenly in 1920. He had been bitten by a wild monkey while out in the palace gardens and died of blood poisoning. While Alexander lays dying in agony, Sophie pleads with the Greek government to allow her to come to his bedside. They cruelly refuse her requests, but do allow her mother-in-law, Queen Olga, to see him. Queen Olga arrives at Athens just hours after her grandson's death.

In a twist of history that could only occur in the Balkans, the Greek people vote on a referendum to restore Constantine I to the throne. Sophie and Constantine return to Athens, but just two years later they are thrown out again when Greece suffers a humiliating defeat in the Greco-Turkish War of 1919-1922.

This time, Sophie and her family go into exile in Italy. Constantine dies less than a year after his second abdication; bewildered, Sophie purchases a private villa in the Italian countryside where she remains for the rest of her life.

Her eldest son succeeds to the throne as King George II, but like his father he is forced into exile twice, once from a revolution and a second time from the Nazi occupation of Greece in World War II. His marriage to Princess Elisabeth of Romania, daughter of Sophie's first cousin Queen Marie of Romania, is a pitiful failure. Likewise, the marriage between Sophie's daughter Helen and Queen Marie's eldest son King Carol II of Romania will also end bitterly. When Carol humiliates Helen by abandoning her and their son for his married mistress, Sophie comforts her daughter by offering her refuge at her Italian villa.

Ironically, in spite of the brutal treatment Sophie suffered at the hands of her brother, Wilhelm II, her son Paul will one day marry Wilhelm's granddaughter, Princess Frederica of Hanover.

Sophie dies of cancer in 1932 at the age of 61. She is initially buried in Germany, but following the restoration of the Greek monarchy, her son King George II orders her remains and the remains of her husband Constantine to be returned to the royal crypt at Tatoi.

Sophie's legacy lives on through her granddaughter, the present Queen of Spain, Sofia, the eldest daughter of Paul and Frederica who was named in her honor. A fashionable boulevard in present-day Athens bears the name Queen Sophia Avenue (Greek:
Leoforos Vassilissis Sofias). Sophie's other grandchildren include King Michael of Romania, King Constantine II of Greece, the late Queen Alexandra of Yugoslavia, and Amadeo, Duke of Aosta (disputed pretender to the Italian throne).

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Queen Elizabeth II's Official Birthday

Though her actual birthday is April 21, the official birthday of Queen Elizabeth II was celebrated today with pomp and splendor.

The official birthdays of British monarchs have been celebrated in June since the 18th century, so that there would be good weather for the event. The defining part of the celebrations is the Trooping the Color, where various regiments of the armed forces parade past the queen while displaying their flags and colors.

Trooping the Color is capped off by a fly-over show from military aircraft. They fly over Buckingham Palace while the queen and the royal family w
atch from the palace balcony.

Queen Elizabeth II and members of the British Royal Family gather on the balcony of Buckingham Palace to watch the fly-over portion of Trooping the Color on the sovereign's official birthday.

Friday, June 11, 2010

93rd anniversary of King Constantine I's first abdication

On June 11, 1917, King Constantine I of the Hellenes went into exile in Switzerland. Constantine I had been in a precarious situation since the outbreak of World War I three years earlier. Despite close family and political ties to both the Allies and the Central Powers, Constantine had no desire to drag Greece into the war, especially since his kingdom had just concluded the victorious though costly Balkan Wars.

Both belligerents of the war were particularly insistent that Constantine allow Greece to join on their respective sides. The Allied Powers, made up of Britain, Russia and France, argued that Greece owed her very existence to them; indeed, it was the Great Powers that had established an independent Greece following its war of independence from Turkey, and in particular they were instrumental in placing Constantine's late father, King George I, on the Greek throne.

The Central Powers, dominated by the German Empire, felt Constantine also owed his loyalty to their cause. The Greek king attended military school in Germany, and, most glaringly, his wife Sophie was the Kaiser's younger sister. Though Constantine had expressed his admiration for the German military machine and its organized style of government, he had little personal affection for the Kaiser (the Kaiser had mercilessly bullied and threatened Sophie when she announced her intention to become Greek Orthodox shortly after marrying Constantine).

King Constantine's international standing took a beating as the war progressed. When the Germans attacked Serbia, Greece's decision to remain neutral instead of aiding their fellow Orthodox neighbors was viewed as cowardly by the rest of Europe. The Greek prime minister, Eleftherios Venizelos, defied his monarch by openly campaigning for Greece to join the Allies; this schism between crown and government left Greece's political situation in turmoil.

Though the Germans have often been portrayed as ruthless, it was the Allies that were particularly brutal in their treatment of Greece and its royal family. All across Europe, newspapers published defaming stories of King Constantine and Queen Sophie - they reported that the queen had a direct telephone line in her sitting room to her brother, Kaiser Wilhelm (similar stories plagued Sophie's cousin, Empress Alexandra of Russia, who was also perceived as vehemently pro-German during the war). In 1915, Constantine fell seriously ill from pneumonia and had to have some of his ribs surgically removed; gossip-mongers viciously reported that Constantine had actually been stabbed in a fit of rage by his wife during an argument where she fumed about his unwillingness to join the Germans. These stories were deeply painful for the royal family to bear, but they were mere sticks and stones compared to what happened in July of 1916.

In the early morning hours of July 14, 1916, the woods surrounding the royal family's private estate at Tatoi erupted into flames. The royal family were notified by a servant, and the household frantically rushed to escape. Several servants and members of the household were burned alive, and the royal family themselves barely escaped with their lives. Queen Sophie, in particular, had to run for nearly two miles on foot with her four-year-old daughter, Princess Katherine, cradled in her arms. It was later discovered that the fire was the result of arsonists, and that the Greek royal family's situation was quickly becoming more dangerous.

On December 1, 1916, a scuffle between Greek soldiers and occupying French and British forces escalated into a full-on shelling of Athens. The royal family were forced to hide in the wine cellars of the Royal Palace while bombs and shells flew across the city.

Finally, in early 1917, French and British ships weighed anchor in Athens harbor and set Greece under a blockade. By June, it was clear that there was no other solution- the Allies would lift the blockade only if Constantine stepped down from the throne and left Greece. His eldest son, Crown Prince George (later King George II) could not be his successor because he too had been educated by the German army, so Constantine's second son Alexander took his father's place.

King Constantine, Queen Sophie, all their children except the new king Alexander, and Constantine's brothers and their families boarded a ship in Athens harbor, surrounded by hysterical Greeks begging their king not to leave. They returned to Greece just three years later, when King Alexander suddenly died of blood poisoning from a monkey bite. However, Greece's defeat in the Greco-Turkish war of 1919-1922 cost Constantine his crown, and he went into exile for the second and last time in September 1922.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

80th Anniversary of Carol II's proclamation as King

June 8 marked the 80th anniversary of the proclamation of Carol II as King of the Romanians. In 1925, it had been discovered that Carol was having an affair with Elena "Magda" Lupescu, a Romanian commoner. This hastened the collapse of Carol's marriage to Princess Helen of Greece and deeply upset his parents, King Ferdinand I and Queen Marie. Because of the scandal that ensued, and due to a Romanian law that forbade members of the royal family from marrying Romanian citizens, Carol was obliged to renounce his claim to the throne and go into exile.

Following Carol's renunciation, King Ferdinand declared Carol and Helen's son Prince Michael as heir to the throne. When Ferdinand I died in 1927, five-year-old Michael ascended the throne, albeit under the regency of his uncle, Prince Nicholas.

On June 7, 1930, Carol unexpectedly returned to Romania. He reversed his renunciation and proclaimed himself King of the Romanians. Michael was reverted back to Crown Prince, but the situation with his mother was far more difficult. Princess Helen had been deeply humiliated by Carol's affair and eventual abandonment of his country, their marriage and their son. The marriage had been dissolved by the Romanian supreme court in 1928, but upon Carol's return the prime minister declared that by right, upon Carol's ascension as king, Helen rightfully became Her Majesty The Queen of the Romanians. Carol refused to allow this title for his wife and on the official decree he scribbled out the title "Queen of the Romanians" and instead declared she should be titled as Her Majesty Helen.

The government expressed concern that the divorce of 1928 should be reversed, but Carol refused to allow this. When Helen also agreed that their divorce should be annulled, he had her placed under virtual house arrest and kept soldiers at her doors. A humiliated Helen eventually left Romania and spent the next years in Florence, where her mother, Queen Sophie of Greece, had purchased a private villa.

Carol II's reign is extremely controversial among Romanian historians. He reigned virtually as a dictator for the next ten years. Carol II was ousted from his throne by General Antonescu, going into exile in Portugal with his mistress, Magda Lupescu.

His son Michael ascended the throne for a second time following his father's abdication, but his reign would last until 1947, when he was ousted by a Communist coup. Michael refused to ever meet his father again. Carol II died in Portugal in 1953.

89th Birthday of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh

His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh will celebrate his 89th birthday tomorrow, June 10. Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark (Philippos in Greek) was born on the Greek island of Corfu on June 10, 1921 (Old Style: May 28, 1921- Greece continued using the Julian calendar until 1923; on his birth certificate, Philip's birthdate is listed as May 28). He was the fifth child and only son of Prince and Princess Andrew of Greece and Denmark. Through his father, Philip is a grandson of King George I of Greece and a great-grandson of King Christian IX of Denmark. Through his mother, who was born Princess Alice of Battenberg, he is a great-great-grandson of Queen Victoria.

Prince Philip with his mother, Princess Andrew of Greece (nee Princess Alice of Battenberg).

At the time of Philip's birth, his father Andrew served as a commanding officer during the Greco-Turkish war of 1919-1922. Following Greece's defeat and the abdication of Philip's uncle, King Constantine I, a number of senior military officers were arrested and tried by a military tribunal, including Prince Andrew. Fearing (rightfully so) for her husband's life, Princess Andrew appealed to government officials and foreign leaders to intervene. Prince Andrew was found guilty but, through diplomatic appeals, was sentenced to banishment from Greece. Thanks to his cousin King George V of Britain, Andrew's family were rescued from Corfu by a British warship; an infant Philip was reputedly carried aboard in a makeshift crib fashioned out of an orange crate.

Prince and Princess Andrew settled in Paris' Saint-Cloud district. There, along with a number of other exiled Greek royals, they relied on the financial generosity of Andrew's wealthy sister-in-law Princess Marie Bonaparte, who was married to Andrew's brother Prince George of Greece.

Philip experienced a rather unstable childhood. In the early 1930s, Princess Andrew was diagnosed as a schizophrenic and committed to an asylum in Switzerland. This permanently ruptured his parents' marriage, and his father moved to the south of France where he lived with his mistress. Philip also found himself an only child as his four sisters all went off to marry German aristocrats. From then on, P
hilip's primary guardians were his maternal grandmother, Victoria, Marchioness of Milford-Haven, and his mother's brothers, George, Marquess of Milford-Haven and Louis Mountbatten, Earl Mountbatten of Burma. Philip attended school at Cheam, and then at Schlue Schloss Salem in Germany, which was owned by his sister Theodora and her husband. However, the rise of Hitler and the Nazis in the 1930s prompted Philip's English relatives to transfer him out of Salem, and he went to Gordonstoun in Scotland, founded by Salem's Jewish headmaster Kurt Hahn, who fled Germany due to Nazi persecution. Philip thrived at Gordonstoun and has often recalled his memories at the school with pride.

Philip saw little of his parents during this time. His mother was eventually released from the asylum but embarked upon a nomadic existence across Europe. In 1937, Philip's sister Princess Ce
cilie was killed in a tragic plane crash in Belgium; her husband, their two sons and her unborn child also perished in the accident. Cecilie's funeral marked the first time Philip had seen either of his parents in years.

During World War II, Philip served in the Royal Navy and became one of its youngest first lieutenants. In 1947, Philip proposed to Princess Elizabeth, elder daughter and heiress to King George VI of Britain. He and Elizabeth were both great-great-grandchildren of Queen Victoria, making them third
cousins (Philip's great-grandmother, Princess Alice, was the sister of Elizabeth's great-grandfather, King Edward VII) while they were second cousins once-removed through King Christian IX of Denmark (Philip's grandfather, King George I of Greece, was the brother of Elizabeth's great-grandmother, Queen Alexandra). Before their marriage, Philip was obliged to renounce his titles as Prince of Greece and Denmark. He also adopted a new surname- Mountbatten, the English translation of his mother's family name, Battenberg. (his father's family name, Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg, was deemed inappropriate; particularly for its German roots in a post-World War II society).

Philip and Princess Elizabeth were married in 1947, and he was cr
eated Duke of Edinburgh by King George VI. George VI died in 1952, and Elizabeth succeeded to the throne as Queen Elizabeth II. Though Philip holds no constitutional role, he consistently accompanies the Queen on various official engagements and visits, as well as accompanying her to the official state openings of Parliament.

Philip has championed environmental causes- he was the international president of the World Wildlife Fund from 1986-1991, and he has also taken an acute interest in the prese
rvation of Antarctica. He has set up the Duke of Edinburgh's Award to honor exceptional young people.


In spite of his numerous charities, foundations and environmental causes, Philip is often viewed as a controversial figure due to his outspoken nature that has landed him in a number of high-profile "gaffes". In 1986, he infamously joked with a group of British students studying in China not to stay too long otherwise they'd all "become slitty-eyed". He also told a group of deaf youngsters at a rock concert "No wonder you're deaf listening to this music" (the Duke later said it was taken out of context, and pointed out the fact that his mother, Princess Andrew, was actually born deaf). When it was suggested that he and the Queen pay a state visit to the Soviet Union, he replied "those bastards murdered half my family" (this was in reference to the 1918 murders of the Russian imperial family- Empress Alexandra of Russia was the sister of Philip's maternal grandmother).

At the present time, Philip is the longest-lived consort of a British monarch and is also the longest-serving royal consort in British history. He is also the second-busiest member of the royal family; only his daughter, Princess Anne, carries out more royal engagements and duties.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

King Constantine Celebrates 70th Birthday

Constantine II, the deposed king of Greece, celebrated his 70th birthday on June 2.

Prince Constantine of Greece and Denmark was born June 2, 1940 in Psy
chiko, a suburb of Athens. He was the second child and only son of Crown Prince Paul of Greece and Princess Frederika of Hanover. At the time of his birth, his uncle King George II was on the Greek throne, but because his marriage to Princess Elisabeth of Romania had produced no children, Constantine's father was the heir presumptive.

In April 1941, when Constantine was barely a year old, his family fled into
exile as the Nazis marched into Greece. Constantine went to Cairo and eventually South Africa with his mother and elder sister Sophia, while his father went to London, where George II established the Greek government-in-exile.

Crown Prince Constantine with his mother, Queen Frederica, and his sister, Princess Sophia, the present Queen of Spain.

The royal family returned to Greece in 1946, and Constantine became crown prince when his father, Paul, ascended the throne upon the sudden death of George II in 1947. Constantine served in all three divisions of the Greek armed forces and studied law at Athens University. In 1960, 20-year-old Crown Prince Constantine competed in sailing at the Olympic Games in Rome, where his team won a Gold medal in sailing, Dragon Class.

Constantine became engaged to Princess Anne-Marie of Denmark, yo
ungest daughter of King Frederick IX, in 1964. In March of that year, King Paul died, and Constantine ascended the throne as Constantine II, King of the Hellenes. He and Anne-Marie were married in Athens in September 1964; the wedding was one of the largest gatherings of European royalty Greece had ever seen.

Queen Frederica, the future Queen Sophia of Spain, Queen Anne-Marie with her son Crown Prince Pavlos, Princess Irene, King Constantine and his daughter Princess Alexia at the christening of Crown Prince Pavlos in 1964.

A military coup in April 1967 placed Constantine in a precarious position. He swore in the military junta as the legitimate Greek government, but in December of that year he staged a counter-coup to overthrow the regime. The coup failed, and Constantine fled with his wife, their two elder children, his mother and his younger sister to Rome. Constantine remained the de facto head of state of Greece until 1973, when the junta declared Greece a republic and abolished the monarchy. When the junta collapsed a year later, the democratic prime minister Karamanlis returned from exile and, since the junta was generally regarded as an illegal government who took their power by illegitimate means, ordered a plebiscite to officially decide the fate of the monarchy. The Greek people voted 2 to 1 for the abolition of the monarchy, and since officially being deposed as king of Greece, Constantine and his wife have lived in exile near London.

King Constantine and Queen Anne-Marie have five children- Alexia, Pavlos, Nikolaos, Theodora and Philippos.

King Constantine is related to most of Europe's royal families. His elder sister, Soph
ia, is the Queen of Spain, while his wife Anne-Marie is the sister of Queen Margrethe II of Denmark. Through both of his parents, Constantine is descended from both Queen Victoria of Britain and King Christian IX of Denmark (Queen Anne-Marie is also their descendant). King Constantine is a close friend of Charles, Prince of Wales (Charles' father, Prince Philip, is a first cousin of Constantine's late father King Paul) and Constantine is also godfather to Charles' son, Prince William. The 1995 wedding of Constantine and Anne-Marie's eldest son Pavlos saw the gathering of more crowned heads of Europe than the storybook wedding of the Prince of Wales to Lady Diana Spencer.

King Constantine and Queen Anne-Marie at the 2004 wedding of Anne-Marie's nephew, Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark.

From left: Crown Princess Pavlos, Crown Prince Pavlos, Queen Anne-Marie, King Constantine and Constantine's sister, Princess Irene, in Madrid at the 2004 wedding of Constantine's nephew, Felipe of Spain.