Tuesday, August 30, 2016

70th Birthday of HM Queen Anne-Marie of Greece

Her Majesty Queen Anne-Marie of Greece turns seventy on August 30, 2016. The wife of former
King Constantine II of Greece, she has led a remarkable life, from her beginnings as a princess of Europe's oldest monarchy to becoming the young queen of a politically unstable kingdom before facing nearly fifty years of exile. Despite such misfortunes, the Queen has drawn comfort from a loving marriage, a happy family life with five children and, later on, nine grandchildren, and the privilege of retaining close family ties to the other reigning houses of Europe.

She was born as Princess Anne-Marie of Denmark on August 30, 1946 at Amalienborg Palace in Copenhagen, the third and youngest daughter of King Frederick IX and Queen Ingrid. Her father was the son of King Christian X, while her mother was the only daughter of King Gustaf VI Adolf of Sweden. Through her mother, Anne-Marie is a great-great-granddaughter of "the grandmother of Europe", Queen Victoria of Great Britain, and through her father, a great-great-granddaughter of "the father-in-law of Europe", King Christian IX of Denmark. Her eldest sister, Margrethe II, is the reigning Queen of Denmark, and her second elder sister, Princess Benedikte, is married to the German prince Richard of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg. 

King Constantine and Queen Anne-Marie in the early years of their marriage.
Anne-Marie met Crown Prince Constantine of Greece, her third cousin and a fellow descendant of both Queen Victoria and King Christian IX, when she was thirteen years old and he was nineteen. They met again a few years later, when Anne-Marie was fifteen, and became unofficially engaged. The Danish king and queen asked the couple to wait until their daughter had reached maturity before marrying (King Frederick reportedly locked Crown Prince Constantine in his bathroom after being told of his intentions to propose), but the sudden death of Constantine's father, King Paul, and his ascension to the Greek throne sped up their plans. On September 18, 1964, two weeks after her eighteenth birthday, Princess Anne-Marie of Denmark married King Constantine II of Greece at the Mitropolis Cathedral in Athens. Upon marriage, she officially became Her Majesty The Queen of the Hellenes, and also the world's youngest queen consort.

King Constantine and Queen Anne-Marie at their golden wedding anniversary celebration in 2014 with their children and their spouses. From left: Princess Alexia, her husband Carlos Morales; Crown Princess Marie-Chantal, Crown Prince Pavlos, Queen Anne-Marie, King Constantine, Prince Nikolaos, his wife Princess Tatiana, Princess Theodora, and Prince Philippos.

The new Queen of the Hellenes only spent three years in her new kingdom before a military coup in April 1967 and the King's failed counter-attack in December of that year forced the royal family to flee into exile. They stayed in Rome and with the Queen's family in Denmark before finally settling in a mansion outside of London, where they stayed until 2013. Between 1965 and 1986, Queen Anne-Marie gave birth to five children - Princess Alexia, Crown Prince Pavlos (who were both born in Greece), Prince Nikolaos (born in Rome after the family's exile), Princess Theodora and Prince Philippos (both born in London). King Constantine and Queen Anne-Marie visited Greece in 1981 for the funeral of Constantine's mother, Queen Frederica, and again in 1993 on a sailing trip that led to the Greek government buzzing their yacht with warplanes and stripping the family of their citizenship and private property. A lawsuit filed in the European Court of Human Rights led to a cash settlement with King Constantine, who donated the funds to a charity entitled the Anna-Maria Foundation, named in Queen Anne-Marie's honor and with her serving as chairwoman.
Queen Anne-Marie, her sisters Queen Margrethe II and Princess Benedikte, and their mother, Queen Ingrid.


















In 2013, King Constantine and Queen Anne-Marie returned to live in Greece. Though they have been deposed since 1973, they retain close family ties to the other monarchies of Europe. Anne-Marie is still a member of the Danish royal family, often present at events such as her sister Queen Margrethe's birthday and jubilee celebrations, and the wedding of her nephew, Crown Prince Frederik, in 2004. Anne-Marie's sister-in-law is Queen Sofia of Spain, consort of King Juan Carlos until his abdication in 2014. Anne-Marie and her husband attended the 2004 wedding of their son, the current Spanish king Felipe VI, and were also present at his enthronement ceremony in June 2014.

King Constantine II and Queen Anne-Marie with their son and daughter-in-law, Crown Prince and Crown Princess Pavlos of Greece, and their grandson, Prince Constantine, preparing to attend the wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton in 2011.


In true modern fashion, Queen Anne-Marie was celebrated on social media by members of her family. Her daughter Princess Theodora and her son Crown Prince Pavlos took to their respective Instagram accounts to post birthday greetings for their mother. 



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