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Greek blood of the new Spanish King

03 June 2014 / 13:06:25  GRReporter
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Immediately after the announcement of King Juan Carlos’ decision to abdicate, the world community has turned to his son, Prince Felipe, who will ascend to the throne of Spain.

Juan Carlos’ third child and only son is one of the most prominent members of the royal family in Europe. Although the popularity of the Spanish royal family has significantly declined over the past few years, because of financial scandals and extravagance during the crisis, this has hardly affected Felipe. Today, 66% of Spaniards have a positive opinion of the future king.

In addition to the former prince, his mother Queen Sofia, who is of Greek origin, is popular among the Spaniards too. According to commentators, she has saved the image of the Spanish throne over the years.

Sofia is the daughter of King Pavlos and Queen Frederica of Greece. She was born in the Athens district of Paleo Psychico in 1938 as Princess of Greece and Denmark. She is a member of one of the oldest European monarch’s families, as both her ​​parents were descendants of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. Sofia is a member of the Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glüksburg dynasty and her brother Constantine II was King of Greece until the suspension of the monarchy in Greece in 1974.

She is the oldest child in the family of the Prince of Greece of the time - her father was crowned King in 1947. Sofia spent her childhood in Egypt and South Africa, as the royal family left Greece during the German occupation of the country. Sofia and her family returned to Athens in 1946. She was educated in colleges in Greece and Germany where she studied newborn care, music and archaeology. She speaks Greek, Spanish, English, French and German.

The wedding of Princess Sofia with Prince Juan Carlos at the time took place in a Catholic Church on 14 May 1962. She then embraced Catholicism and renounced her rights as heiress to the Greek crown. Their marriage gave life to three children as follows: Infant Elena in 1963, Infant Cristina in 1965 and crown prince Felipe in 1968.

An interesting fact of her life connected to Greek history is that Sofia was in Athens during the military coup in 1967, which established the military dictatorship known as the junta. She did not visit Greece from then until 1998, except for the few-hour attendance of the funeral of her mother in February 1981.

After the official visit of the Spanish royal couple to Athens in 1998, her official and unofficial visits to her homeland became very common. Early this March she attended the memorial service at the graves of her parents Pavlos and Frederica in the former royal mansion Tatoi near Athens.

Another senior member of a royal family, who is of Greek descent, is the husband of Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Philip. He is the grandson of Greece’s King George I and the nephew of his successor to the throne, Constantine I.

He was born in Mon Repos Royal Palace in Corfu in 1921; he was baptized as an Orthodox Christian and recorded in the civil registry of the island. Two years after his birth, the Greek royal family was sent into exile and they settled in the Saint-Cloud suburb in Paris. A little later, they moved to southern France.

After completing his education in Germany and the UK, Philip joined the British Royal Navy and met heiress to the crown at the time, Elizabeth, with whom they have distant kinship ties. Shortly before their wedding on 20 November 1947, Philip acquired British citizenship and renounced his rights to the Greek throne, obtaining at the same time his mother Alice of Battenberg’s revised English surname Mountbatten. After his wedding to Elizabeth, he received the title of Duke of Edinburgh.

Tags: PeopleMonarchiesQueen SofiaSpainPrince FelipeSpanish crownGreek descentPrince PhilipGreat Britain
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