She’s the daughter of a king, sister of a queen, sister-in-law to a queen, first cousin to a king and aunt to another king. Danish-born Anne-Marie is one of the most royal of royals and most well connected due to her marriage into the Greek Royal Family. We take a look at Anne-Marie, the last Queen of Greece.
Princess Anne-Marie Dagmar Ingrid of Denmark was born on 30 August 1946 in Amalienborg Palace in Copenhagen as the third and youngest daughter of then-Crown Prince Frederick (later King Frederick IX) and Crown Princess Ingrid (later Queen Ingrid). Her older sisters are Margrethe (now Queen of Denmark) and Princess Benedikte.
Anne-Marie and her sisters were raised in Frederick IX’s Palace in Copenhagen and Fredensborg Palace in North Zealand. They were extremely popular in Denmark, and their popularity, along with women having more prominent roles in the country, is credited with the change in the laws of succession to allow women to reign in their own right if she has no brothers (as when they were born, only males could ascend the throne).
Less than a year after her birth, in April 1947, Anne-Marie’s grandfather died, and her father took the throne.
She was educated at N. Zahle’s School, Chatelard School for Girls and the Institut Le Mesnil.
Path to Queenship
Anne-Marie met her future husband (and third cousin), Constantine in 1959 when she was only 13 and he was 19. At the time, he was the Crown Prince of Greece and had joined his parents, King Paul and Queen Frederica on a state visit to Denmark.
A few years later, in 1961, they met again in Denmark, and he told her parents he wanted to marry her. The following May, Anne-Marie and Constantine met for the third time in Athens when his sister, Princess Sophia married Prince Juan Carlos of Spain (they later became the King and Queen of Spain). Anne-Marie served as a bridesmaid to Sophia (who changed the spelling of her name to the Spanish form Sofía). They met for a fourth time a year later when Greece celebrated the monarchy’s centenary.
King Paul of Greece died in March 1964, and the new King Constantine II announced his engagement to Princess Anne-Marie of Denmark in July (after proposing six months earlier while in Norway on a sailing holiday).[getty src=”3424975,3382660″ width=”594″ height=”422″]
Anne-Marie converted to Greek Orthodox, after being raised in the Church of Denmark, and renounced her and her descendants’ rights to the Danish throne ahead of the wedding. They married in Athens on 18 September 1964 – two weeks after she turned 18.
Anne-Marie, Queen of the Hellenes
From her marriage, she became Queen of the Hellenes, Princess of Denmark and focused a lot of her work on “Her Majesty’s Fund” to help people in rural Greece. She joined her husband on trips around the country, including a visit to the site of an earthquake in central Greece in 1966.
She and Constantine’s first child, Princess Alexia was born on 10 July 1965 at Mon Repos; Alexia was followed by a brother, Crown Prince Pavlos on 20 May 1967 at Tatoi Palace.[getty src=”103453930″ width=”437″ height=”594″]
After their marriage, scandal surrounded the government in Greece, and eventually, the Prime Minister resigned. King Constantine then appointed a new leader, Georgios Athanasiadis-Novas, without Parliament’s confidence. This was called the “Royal Coup” and was called unconstitutional. There was political instability for over two years after this, and by 1967, a military junta was in power.
The King was compelled to swear in the military junta that year. By December, he did attempt to stand a counter-coup but failed. The family then fled to Italy in exile.
During the five years in Italy, their third child, Prince Nikolaos was born on 1 October 1969.
In June 1973, the leader of the junta, George Papadopoulos declared Greece a republic and a plebiscite confirmed this on 29 June. The vote was viewed as rigged, and Constantine did not accept the results. Democracy was restored to Greece the following year, and a referendum was held on 8 December 1974 regarding the monarchy. An overwhelming majority voted in favour of keeping the republic.
The End of the Story
Queen Anne-Marie and her family, who retain their titles out of courtesy, moved to London in 1973. She and King Constatine founded Hellenic College of London in 1980 where their children were educated in London.
After fleeing the country in the 1970s, they would not return to Greece until 1981 when the government allowed Anne-Marie and the family back for a few hours for the funeral of Constantine’s mother, Queen Frederica.
Queen Anne-Marie gave birth to her fourth child, Princess Theodora in London on 9 June 1983; the Queen gave birth to her youngest child, Prince Philippos on 26 April 1986.
After the Greek government seized the Royal Family’s Tatoi Palace, an appeal launched with the European Court of Human Rights decades later required the Greek government to pay King Constantine and his family compensation. The King and Queen used that money to create the Anna-Maria Foundation in 2003. Anne-Marie is the president of the foundation that aids Greek citizens following natural disasters.
Anne-Marie occasionally appears at events in her native Denmark alongside her sisters, Queen Margrethe and Princess Benedikte. She is always at family events for the Danish Royal Family in Denmark like weddings and birthday celebrations. Anne-Marie and her family, on occasion, do celebrate the Christmas holidays back in Denmark, as well.
King Constantine and Queen Anne-Marie moved back to Greece in 2013.