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Who is Queen Anne-Marie of Greece?

Happy Birthday to Queen Anne-Marie!

Queen Anne-Marie of Greece, Queen Consort of the Hellenes is the wife of King Constantine II of Greece, though Greece now being a republic they currently live in Hampstead. Queen Anne-Marie was born on 30th August 1946 at the Amalienborg Palace as she is a member of the Danish Royal Family. She was born the third daughter of the Crown Prince later to become King Frederick IX of Denmark, and his wife, former Princess Ingrid of Sweden.

Anne-Marie grew up moving around the Danish royal palaces including Amalienborg, Fredensborg Palace in Northern Zealand and the summer palace, Gråsten Palace in Southern Jutland. Then, like her sisters before her, she went to N Zahles School for Girls, a private school in Copenhagen, between 1952 and 1961. It was towards the end of this time, aged 13 in 1959, she had her first meeting with her King Constantine, then Crown Prince of Greece. He came to Denmark with his parents, King Paul and Queen Frederica on a state visit.

The Danish Royal Family and Greek Royal Family during Christmas 2014 in Denmark. Photo: Steen Brogaard/Kongehuset

Her education then took her to Montreux, first at an English boarding school and then a finishing school. During this time, her path and that of Prince Constantine kept passing. Following another meeting in Denmark in 1961, the Prince declared to his parents that Anne-Marie was the girl he wished to marry. They met again in Athens in May 1962 when Anne-Marie was a bridesmaid at the wedding of Constantine’s sister (Sophia – later changed to Spanish variant Sofía) to Prince Juan Carlos of Spain. Anne-Marie also joined the celebrations for the century of the Greek monarchy in 1963.

The couple got engaged in July 1964, some four months after the death of Constantine’s father King Paul. They were married in the September, just after Anne-Marie’s eighteenth birthday; before the wedding, she had become a member of the Greek Orthodox Church and renounced her and her heirs claim to the Danish crown. However, their reign was not a happy one. In 1967, there was a military coup in Greece and an after an attempted counter-coup, which failed, they fled as a family first to Italy where they stayed for five years. They then moved to England in 1973.

King Constantine and Queen Anne-Marie with their two youngest children Princess Theodora and Prince Philippos. Photo: Allan Warren (CC BY-SA 3.0)/Wikimedia Commons

Anne-Marie and Constantine have five children: Princess Alexia, Crown Prince Pavlos, Prince Nikolaos, Princess Theodora and Prince Philippos. In 1980, they opened the Hellenic College of London, a bi-lingual school where all her children were educated, and Anne-Marie is still the chairman. Constantine has also made peace with the republican government in Greece, and all the family have been back there. In 2003, Anne-Marie and her husband set up the Anne-Marie Fund from compensation they received for their property that was seized. Money from this fund goes to aid Greek citizens following natural disasters – such as the earthquakes which hit the Greek islands recently.

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