110th Anniversary of King Paul I of Greece’s Birth
December 14th marks the 110th anniversary of His Majesty King Paul I of the Hellenes’ birth in 1901.
Born His Royal Highness Prince Paul of Greece in Athens as the third son of Their Royal Highnesses Crown Prince Constantine and Crown Princess Sophia, Paul was never meant to be King. He joined older siblings George, Alexander and Helen. Two younger sisters, Irene and Katherine, joined the family in the coming years.
Prince Paul was trained as a naval officer, and spent several years in exile with his family on three occasions: the First World War, the overthrown of the Greek monarchy and the Second World War. During the Second World War, Prince Paul joined his brother, then His Majesty King George II, in exile in London and Cairo.
During his visit to Berlin in 1936 for the Summer Olympic Games, Prince Paul met and proposed to Her Royal Highness Princess Frederika of Hannover, the daughter of Ernest Augustus III, Duke of Brunswick and Princess Viktoria Luise of Prussia. The engagement was officially announced over a year later, in September 1937. The couple wed in Athens on January 9th, 1938. Paul and Frederika welcomed their first child, daughter Sophia, on November 2nd that year, with son Constantine following in June 1940. Their third and final child, Irene, was born in May 1941, whilst the family was in exile in South Africa during the Second World War. Princess Sophia was to become the Queen of Spain, following her 1962 marriage to Infante Juan Carlos, the Spanish heir. Prince Constantine married Princess Anne-Marie of Denmark in 1964.
Following the end of the War, the Greek Royal Family returned to Greece in 1946 and King George was returned to the throne. His death in 1947 made Paul King of the Hellenes. The Greek Civil War was still raging at the time, and only came to a close in 1949, leaving the country in further tatters. King Paul worked during his sixteen-year reign to rebuild Greece’s economy and to improve their relations with other countries.
In the later years of his life, King Paul suffered from a series of health problems, undergoing surgeries for cataracts, appendicitis and stomach cancer. He died on March 6th, 1964 in Athens. The King was buried in the Royal Cemetery at Tatoi Palace, following a state funeral. He was succeeded by his son, now Constantine II.
King Paul and Queen Frederika’s marriage produced three children, eight grandchildren, and (at present) seventeen great-grandchildren:
- Queen Sofia’s three children, Infanta Elena (b. 1963), Infanta Cristina (b. 1965) and Prince Felipe (b. 1968). Infanta Elena has two children, Don Felipe Juan Froilan and Dona Victoria Federica de Marichalar y de Borbón. Infanta Cristina has four children, Don Juan, Don Pablo, Don Miguel and Dona Irena Urdangarin y de Borbón. Prince Felipe has two children, Infanta Leonor and Infanta Sofia.
- King Constantine’s five children, Princess Alexia (b. 1965), Crown Prince Pavlos (b. 1967), Prince Nikolaos (b. 1969), Princess Theodora (b. 1983) and Prince Philippos (b. 1986). Princess Alexia has four children, Arrietta, Ana-Maria, Carlos and Amelia Morales y de Grecia. Crown Prince Pavlos has five children, Princess Maria Olympia, Princes Constantine Alexios, Achileas-Andreas, Odysseas-Kimon and Aristide Stavros. Prince Nikolaos and his wife Tatiana are currently expecting their first child.
Click here to read more about King Paul I.Filed under Greek Royals, Historical Royals
Tagged Anniversary, Biography, Birth, King Paul.