Princess Irene of Greece and Denmark, the sister of Queen Sofía of Spain, was awarded Spanish citizenship by the Council of Ministers of Spain last Friday, 16 March.
The citizenship, which is awarded through a Royal Decree, comes after the Princess applied for naturalisation to the Ministry of Justice. The Ministry informed that this kind of naturalisation may happen to those whose life has been linked by special bonds and extraordinary circumstances to Spain.
Princess Irene has been living in Spain, where she maintains a permanent residence in Zarzuela Palace, since the overthrown of the Greek monarchy following her elder sister, Queen Sofía, who moved to the country after her marriage to King Juan Carlos, and the Princess is said to have a close relationship with her sister’s family.
Princess Irene’s previous status was unclear since she was stripped of her Greek Nationality in 1994, but Her Royal Highness must now swear loyalty to her nephew, King Felipe VI and to obey the Constitution of Spain.
It is expected, however, that her new documents as a citizen of Spain will not identify her as a Royal Highness or a Princess of Greece.
Princess Irene of Greece and Denmark was born on 11 May 1942 in Cape Town, South Africa, where her parents, King Paul I and Queen Frederica of the Hellenes were living in exile. She’s the younger sister of both King Constantine II of the Hellenes and Queen Sofía of Spain. Even though she took part in her sister’s marriage to King Juan Carlos as a bridesmaid, she never married and has no children.
Following the death of her father in 1964, she became heir to the throne of Greece and remained as such until the birth of her niece, Princess Alexia, first daughter of King Constantine.
Currently, Princess Irene’s primary occupation is her role as President of World in Harmony, a non-governmental organisation that she founded in 1986, and she has, on occasion, accompanied Queen Sofía to foreign royal events.