Anne-Marie of Denmark, Queen of the Hellenes

by Scott Mehl

Queen Anne-Marie of Greece. Photo: Zimbio

Queen Anne-Marie of Greece. photo: Zimbio

Princess Anne-Marie of Denmark was born August 30, 1946, at Amalienborg Palace in Copenhagen, Denmark, the youngest of the three daughters of the future King Frederik IX of Denmark and Princess Ingrid of Sweden.  At the time of her birth, her grandfather King Christian X was King of Denmark.

Anne-Marie has two elder siblings:

 

The princess was christened Anne-Marie Dagmar Ingrid on August 30, 1946, at the Holmens Church in Copenhagen, Denmark. Her godparents were:

Before Anne-Marie’s first birthday occurred, her grandfather died and her father became King of Denmark. Her childhood was spent in three family homes – Amalienborg Palace, Graasten Palace and Fredensborg Castle.  From 1952 – 1961, Anne-Marie attended the Zahle’s Skole, a private school in Copenhagen, the same school her sisters attended.  In 1961, she spent a year at an English boarding school in Switzerland, the Chatelard School for Girls.  From 1963 – 1964, Anne-Marie attended a Swiss finishing school, Institut Le Mesnil, to improve her French.  She also speaks Greek, English and of course Danish.

Anne-Marie first met Crown Prince Constantine of Greece in 1959, when he visited Copenhagen on a trip with his parents, King Paul I and Queen Frederica of Greece.   Anne-Marie met him again in Denmark in 1961 and Constantine declared to his parents that he intended to marry her. In 1962, Constantine’s elder sister Sophia married Prince Juan Carlos of Spain in Athens, Greece. Anne-Marie was a bridesmaid and Queen Frederica noted that at the reception, her son “would dance only with Anne-Marie.”  It was at that wedding the Constantine and Anne-Marie realized that they were falling in love. Constantine proposed during a sailing holiday in Norway, but the engagement announcement was postponed for six months because of Anne-Marie’s young age.  In March 1964, King Paul I died and Constantine succeeded his father as King Constantine II.

Photo Credit – http://www.corbisimages.com

Six months after his accession, on September 18, 1964, Constantine married 18-year-old Anne-Marie in a lavish ceremony in Athens.  Upon marriage, she became Queen of the Hellenes and relinquished her place in the line of succession to the Danish throne. Prior to the wedding, Anne-Marie converted to Greek Orthodoxy. Anne-Marie and Constantine are third cousins twice, sharing both King Christian IX of Denmark and Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom as common ancestors.

Anne-Marie and Constantine had five children:

Photo Credit – royalwatcher.tumblr.com

As Queen, Anne-Marie established “Her Majesty’s Fund” to provide aid to people in rural areas throughout Greece. Unfortunately, her tenure as Queen did not last very long. Following a coup in 1967, the Greek royal family went into exile, living in Rome for several years before moving to Denmark and then finally settling in the United Kingdom. While in exile, King Constantine was deposed and the monarchy formally abolished in 1974.

Anne-Marie, with her husband, established the Hellenic College of London in 1980, a Greek boarding school which her younger children attended. The following year, they were permitted to return to Greece for the funeral and burial of Queen Frederika, however, they were made to leave immediately afterward. In 2003, following reimbursement by the Greek government for properties which had been seized from the royal family, the Anna-Maria Foundation was established with the funds from the reimbursement. Constantine had stated that whatever amount the court ordered would be donated in its entirety for the creation of a foundation so the funds would be returned to the Greek people.The foundation, of which Queen Anne-Marie is president, provides aid and assistance to victims of natural disasters in Greece.  The settlement of the property dispute also allowed Anne-Marie and Constantine to make visits to Greece and purchase a summer home in Portocheli, Peloponnese, Greece.

 

The Official Website of the Greek Royal Family