obit: Queen Frederika of Greece & aunt of Prince Philip has died

Zarzuela Royal Palace, Madrid

A spokesman for Zarzuela Royal Palace in Madrid said Queen Frederika fell asleep  at a local hospital after undergoing eyelid surgery. (see more about this later in this obit).  She was 63 years old.

The Queen who had been born Frederica Louisa Thyra Victoria Margareta Sophie Olga Cécilie Isabelle Christa of Hanover, 18 April 1917, most recently lived in London, had been spending a holiday at the palace with her daughter, Queen Sophia and King Juan Carlos of Spain.

 She was buried in the Royal Cemetery in Athens next to her husband, King Paul & had been in exile since the ouster of her son King Constantine II in 1973/

Through her maternal grandfather, Frederica was a great-granddaughter of Friedrich III, the Prussian Kaiser (Emperor) & Princess Victoria, Princess Royal, the eldest daughter of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, making Queen Victoria her great-grandmother. This makes  Frederica a second cousin to both Queen Elizabeth II and of Prince Philip on her father’s side, but through marriage, she is also related to Prince Philip by marriage and is his aunt.

King Geor

As a descendant of George III who himself was a f Frederick Louis, prince of Wales, and Princess Augusta of Saxe-Gotha III (the mad king that the American colonists fought) , she was, at birth, 34th in the line of succession to the British throne although she had no British rank or title.   Here is part of Queen Elizabeth’s Royal Tree, you can click around to see the rest.  This one is much more direct.

In 1936 Crown Prince Paul, later King Paul of Greece proposed to her in Berlin when he was there to see the 1936 Summer Olympics; she was born in Prussia.  Their engagement was announced official on September 28, 1937.

On January 9, 1938 they married in Athens. Paul himself was the son of Constantine I (himself Danish/German on his father’s side which is how he is related to the Hapsburgs of England as well as through his mother, the Royal Russian Family: Princess Sophia his mother was the Royal Aunt to the deposed Last Tsar of Russia. (Therefore he was a great-grandson of Queen Victoria and a second cousin to Frederica)

Mauseoleum of King Constantine I
During the early part of their marriage they resided at Villa Psychiko in the suburbs of Athens. Ten months after their marriage their first child, Sophia, was born on November 2, 1938. She is the ex-Queen of Spain as her husband King Juan Carlos abdicated in favour of their son in 2011).

On June 2, 1940 their son and heir, Constantine II  was born. With World War II breaking out, the Royals valiantly fled the adopted country and settled in South Africa. Here Frederica’s last child Princess Irene was born on May 11, 1942 amd the South African leader, General Jan Christiaan Smuts, served as her godfather. Smuts died in 1950.
When German forces attacked Crete. the Royal family was forced to evacuate again, setting up a government-in-exile office in the safe haven of London though they eventually settled in Egypt in February of 1944. 
On September 1, 1946 Greece decided by vote to restore King George to the throne. A year later on April 1, 1947 George II died & Princess Frederica and her husband ascended the throne as King Paul I and Queen Frederica of the Hellenes. This did not last as Bolshevists in Northern Greece started another civil war (many years later this became Macedonia). The King and Queen toured Northern Greece under severe security to try appeal for loyalty in the summer of 1947.
However at home in Greece Frederica was often the target of opposition, because as a girl Frederica had belonged to a Hitler Youth group. While at school in Italy, she was said to have been heard defending Nazi Germany and three of her brothers served in the Wehrmacht. Her defenders argued that it would be an unwise parent in 1930s Germany who did not allow their offspring to join the Hitler Youth, and she would not have been the only German child to have, in their naivety, to defended the political system operating there at the time. 
Queen Frederika of Greece c. 1960

However in adulthood these things were to be weighed against her, by critics on the left. Opposition also arose against her, during her reign as queen and even later, on account of her strong-willed personality and her meddling in Greek political affairs as she tried to stamp her Royal Authority on the events.

On May 14, 1962 her eldest daughter Sofia married Don Juan Carlos of Spain, (later King Juan Carlos) in Athens where she was at her death. 
On March 6, 1964 King Paul died, and her son ascended the throne as Constantine II. He married Princess Anne-Marie of Denmark later that year on September 18. Queen Frederica, now Queen Mother, attended many royal events including the christenings of her grandchildren in both Spain and Greece. She still remained unpopular, though, as people saw her as the driving force behind her son.


King Constantine’s clashes with Prime Minister Georgios Papandreou were blamed by critics for causing the destabilisation that led to a military coup on April 21, 1967 (I happened to be there as a small child with my mother btw. The movie Z chronicles those events.)

His Majesty King Constantine II Of The Hellenes
King Constantine II

After a clumsily organised counter-coup by the King failed, King Constantine was forced to flee into exile and on June 1, 1973 the Regime of the colonels abolished the Greek Monarchy. The new head-of-state was President of Greece George Papadopoulos.

That ended 32 years ago, today, July 24, 1974 and new democratic plebiscite was held in 1974 and confirmed the abolition of the monarchy naturally.
Queen Frederica died on February 6, 1981 in exile in Madrid during ophthalmic surgery. In its obituary of the Queen, The New York Times reported that she died during “eyelid surgery,” which led to frequent, but unsubstantiated rumors, that she died while undergoing plastic surgery. 
Other sources state that she died of a heart attack while undergoing the removal of cataracts. Your guess is as good as mine as  to what really happened.