Prince Andreas of Greece

by Scott Mehl

Photo source: The Peerage

Prince Andreas of Greece

Prince Andreas of Greece and Denmark (typically known as Andrew) was born February 2 1882, in Athens, Greece, the son of King George I of the Hellenes and Grand Duchess Olga Konstantinovna of Russia. At the time of his birth, he was 4th in line to the Greek throne behind his three brothers.  Andreas had 7 siblings:

As a child, he was considered to be more ‘Greek’ than most of his siblings, refusing to speak anything but Greek with his parents, despite also speaking several other languages. His education was mostly in military schools and led to his joining the Greek forces at the age of 19.

Prince Andreas and Princess Alice, c1903.  source: Wikipedia

At the coronation of King Edward VII of the United Kingdom in August 1902, Andreas first met Princess Alice of Battenberg. She was the eldest daughter of Prince Ludwig of Battenberg and Princess Victoria of Hesse and by Rhine (later the Marquess and Marchioness of Milford Haven). The couple married in Darmstadt in a civil ceremony on October 6, 1903, followed by both Lutheran and Greek Orthodox ceremonies. Over the next 18 years, they had five children:

Prince Andreas military service was often interrupted by the political turmoil in Greece. In the early years, he resigned from the army following a coup d’état in 1909. He later returned in 1912 and found in the Balkan Wars. Following the abdication of his brother, King Constantine I, in 1917, Andreas went into exile along with most of the Greek royal family. Upon Constantine’s return to the throne in 1920, Andreas was also reinstated in the Greek Army and saw service in the Greco-Turkish War. Following another coup d’état in 1922, Andreas was arrested and court-martialled. He was found guilty and faced possible death. Through the efforts of King George V of the United Kingdom, arrangements were made for Andreas to be spared and with his family, he went into exile again. The family settled in Saint-Cloud, on the outskirts of Paris.

Prince Andrew and his family in 1928

Prince Andreas and his family in 1928

He spent the next several years defending his actions during his military service in Greece, even writing a book in 1930 – Towards Disaster: The Greek Army in Asia Minor in 1921.  By the early 1930s, Andreas had less and less contact with his family.  His wife and suffered a nervous breakdown and was institutionalized, his four daughters had all married into former German royal families, and his son was attending school first in Germany and then in the United Kingdom.  Somewhat at a loss, having been basically forced into a life of retirement, Andreas moved to the French Riviera.  There, he enjoyed a life of leisure, spending much of his time living aboard the yacht of his mistress, Countess Andrée de La Bigne.

Andreas only returned to Greece once, in 1936, after Greece had reversed his exile, and restored assets to the Greek royal family.  The following year, tragedy brought the family together.  In November 1937, Andreas’s daughter Cecilie, along with her husband, two sons, and mother-in-law, were killed in a plane crash in Belgium. Andreas attended the funeral in Darmstadt, where he was reunited with his wife and son for the first time in six years.  However, the reunion was short-lived, and Prince Andreas soon returned to his life in France.

The onset of World War II brought an end to the little contact Andreas had with his wife and children.  His wife had returned to Greece, his daughters were all behind German lines, and his son was fighting for the British forces.  His hopes of once again seeing his children soon came to and end.  Prince Andreas died at the Metropole Hotel in Monte Carlo on December 3, 1944, at the age of 62.  By that time, it had been five years since he had seen his wife or son.  He was initially buried at the Russian Orthodox Church in Nice, and in 1946, his remains were reinterred in the royal cemetery at Tatoi Palace in Greece.

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