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Who is Queen Sofía of Spain?

Queen Sofía is the mother of the current Spanish King, King Felipe VI, and wife of King Juan Carlos who abdicated in his son’s favour in 2014. However, she was born into the Greek Royal Family on 2nd November 1938 in Psychiko near Athens, as the eldest child of King Paul and Queen Frederica. She has a brother, who is the deposed King Constantine II, and a sister Princess Irene who has never married and following the death of her mother lives with Queen Sofía in an apartment in La Zarzuela Palace in Madrid.

Her family fled Greece during World War II, and her education was mainly in Africa, firstly in Egypt at the El Nasr Girls College in Alexandria before the family fled to South Africa. She completed her studies after the war at the Schloss Salem boarding school, and then in Athens where she studied childcare, music and archaeology before completing her education at Fitzwilliam College in Cambridge.

Both Queen Sofía and her brother King Constantine were keen sailors, and they represented Greece at the 1960 Olympics. She was a reserve member of the gold medal-winning sailing team, and it was also through sailing she met her husband to be, during a cruise in the Greek Islands in 1954. They met again at the wedding of the Duke of Kent at York Minster in 1961. The couple were married at the Catholic Church of St Dionysus in Athens on 14th May 1962. Sofía had converted from Greek Orthodox to Roman Catholicism to appeal to the Spanish people, though doing so, was excluded from the Greek succession.

The couple have three children Elena, Christina and the current Spanish King Felipe VI, and eight grandchildren.

Queen Sofía has undertaken many official engagements throughout the world both accompanying her husband or solo. She represented the Spanish Royal Family at the weddings on Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden and Daniel Westling in 2010, also Prince William and Catherine Middleton in 2011. Queen Sofía is also a keen follower of Spanish sport and was at Wimbledon to see Rafael Nadal win for the second time, and the Spanish football team win the World Cup both in 2010.

However, she does also undertake work of a caring nature and has been a keen supporter of work with handicapped people and drug addicts within Spain. She has also travelled extensively throughout the poorer nations of the world and is Honourary President of Unicef within Spain. She has visited the former Spanish colony of the Philippines on a number of occasions to see several development projects the Spanish government are undertaking there.

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