Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Birthday of Queen Frederica of Greece

Today, April 18, marks the 95th anniversary of the birth of Princess Frederica of Hanover, who later became Queen Frederica of Greece through her marriage to King Paul.

Princess Frederica Louise Thyra Victoria Margaret Sophie Olga Cecily Isabelle Christina of Hanover, Duchess of Brunswick-Lüneburg, Princess of Great Britain and Ireland, was born on April 18, 1917 in Blankenburg, Prussia, part of the German Empire. She was the only daughter of Prince Ernst Augustus of Hanover, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg, and Princess Victoria Louise of Prussia. Through her mother, Princess Frederica was a granddaughter of Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany.

In 1937, Princess Frederica accepted the marriage proposal of Crown Prince Paul of Greece. Paul was Frederica's first cousin once-removed: his mother, Queen Sophia of Greece, was the sister of Frederica's grandfather, Kaiser Wilhelm. Paul and Frederica were also descendants of both Britain's Queen Victoria and King Christian IX of Denmark. They were married in Athens in January 1938. She gave birth to their first child, Princess Sophia of Greece, in November of that year. Their first son, Prince Constantine of Greece, was born in June 1940, and their last child, Princess Irene, arrived in 1942.

As Crown Princess of Greece, Frederica was praised for her youthful exuberance and vivacious character, but initially gained some criticism concerning her German heritage. Crown Prince Paul became king in 1947, and for the first years of his reign Greece was plagued by civil war. King Paul and Queen Frederica worked tirelessly to aid their war-torn subjects. Queen Frederica set up the Queen's Camps to shelter and feed displaced child refugees of the war, and also braved dangerous battlefields to pay visits to soldiers. Despite her charitable efforts, Queen Frederica could never completely escape criticism. Her German heritage remained a source of contention for many Greeks, particularly after World War II, and her active political involvement also garnered detractors.

King Paul died suddenly in March 1964, and Queen Frederica's only son ascended the throne as King Constantine II. As queen mother, Frederica curtailed many of her royal duties in favor of her son's new wife, Queen Anne-Marie. In December 1967, after King Constantine unsuccessfully attempted to overthrow the military regime that had seized control of the Greek government earlier that year, Queen Frederica fled Greece into exile with her son, his children and her daughter Irene.

In exile, Queen Frederica made numerous trips to India and became interested in eastern mysticism. She also spent her time visiting her growing brood of grandchildren. While her son Constantine went to live in a mansion in the outskirts of London, Frederica and Princess Irene lived primarily in Madrid with her daughter Sophia's family.

Queen Frederica died on February 6, 1981 at a hospital in Madrid of complications resulting from eye surgery (presumably done to remove cataracts). The Greek government permitted her family to bury her at the royal family's residence in Tatoi, near Athens, alongside her late husband. Frederica's son, King Constantine, and his family were allowed to attend the funeral, on the condition that they left Greece immediately after the burial.

Queen Frederica's eldest daughter is Queen Sofia of Spain, wife of King Juan Carlos. Frederica's eight grandchildren are - Infanta Elena of Spain, Infanta Cristina of Spain, Felipe, Prince of Asturias; Princess Alexia of Greece, Crown Prince Pavlos of Greece, Prince Nikolaos of Greece, Princess Theodora of Greece, and Prince Philippos of Greece.

The Queen of Denmark's Ruby Jubilee

HM The Queen of Denmark celebrated forty years on the Danish throne (her Ruby Jubilee) back in January. A series of celebrations took place across Denmark to commemorate the occasion.

The Ruby Jubilee began on a somber note with a visit on January 14, the official anniversary of the Queen's accession to the throne, to the graves of the Queen's parents, King Frederick IX and Queen Ingrid, at Roksilde Cathedral in Copenhagen. The actual day of the Queen's accession incidentally is also the date of King Frederick's death. This small memorial service was attended by the late King's children and grandchildren, who make up the Danish and Greek royal families and the princely family of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Burleburg.

The ceremony began with the King's three daughters laying individual wreaths across their parents' graves.

From left: Queen Margrethe II of Denmark, Princess Benedikte (the Princess of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Burleburg), and Queen Anne-Marie of Greece lay wreaths at the graves of their parents, King Frederick IX and Queen Ingrid of Denmark.

Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark, Crown Prince Pavlos of Greece, and Prince Gustav of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Burleburg, King Frederick's three elder grandsons, then placed a joint anchor-shaped wreath on their grandparents' graves.

The jubilee celebrations continued with a lavish dinner gala a few days later held at Christiansborg Palace. Guests included the Queen and Prince Consort of Denmark, the Crown Prince and Crown Princess of Denmark, Prince Joachim of Denmark, the King and Queen of Greece, the Crown Prince and Crown Princess of Greece, Princess Theodora of Greece, Prince Philippos of Greece, the Prince and Princess of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Burleburg, and other members of the Queen's close family. The Kings and Queens of Sweden and Norway also attended the gala.

About Royalty is Back

Greetings, readers!

We apologize for the long hiatus and thank you for your patience.

We will be doing our best to keep About Royalty updated. 2012 is shaping up to be a busy year for royalty, particularly with the Diamond Jubilee celebrations for Queen Elizabeth II.

Happy reading, everyone!