In her 65-year reign The Queen has travelled to seemingly every corner of the globe but there’s one country that can’t be counted amongst the 116 nations she’s made official visits to – Greece.
Though she did visit the country when she was a young girl, The Queen has not visited Greece since she ascended the throne, despite Greece’s popularity with British vacationers and ex-pats. The reason behind this is primarily thought to be because of her husband of 70 years, the Duke of Edinburgh. Though he was born Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark, Prince Philip and the rest of the royal family were forced to flee the country in 1922 when his uncle, King Constantine I, was forced to abdicate the throne following the end of World War One.
Royal historian Hugo Vickers shared with the BBC that: “Prince Philip doesn’t like Greece, because they put his father [Prince Andrew] on trial, and he might have been executed. In 1922, they all had to flee.”
Prince Philip was barely 18 months old when the Greek royal house was overthrown by a military government and when his family left Greece they went to Paris, settling in the Paris suburb of Saint-Cloud. The young prince’s education began in France and continued at schools in Germany and the UK before Philip joined the Royal Navy in 1939. Though Philip has returned to Greece since his marriage, notably to visit his mother before she moved to the UK in 1960, The Queen did not accompany him on these visits and they were made in a completely unofficial capacity.
Vickers suggests that the awkward personal ties have “made things difficult” when it comes to a potential state visit to Greece, in addition to the possibility that The Queen may not have ever been invited by a Greek president to make a state visit.