Greek Royal Family
Βασιλική Οικογένεια της Ελλάδος (Greek)

House of Glücksburg-Greece
House of Glücksburg-Hellas
Greater coat of arms since 1936
The personal standard of the Kings of Greece
Parent familyHouse of Glücksburg
CountryGreece Kingdom of Greece
Place of originGlücksburg, Schleswig-Holstein
Founded30 March 1863
FounderGeorge I
Current headCrown Prince Pavlos
Final rulerConstantine II
Connected familiesDanish royal family
MottoἸσχύς μου ἡ ἀγάπη τοῦ λαοῦ
(The people's love is my strength)
PropertiesOld Royal Palace (1863–1924)
Royal Palace (1897–1924, 1935–1967)
Tatoi Palace (1880s–1924, 1935–1967)
Mon Repos (1864–1924, 1935–1967)
Deposition1 June 1973

The currently deposed Greek royal family (Greek: Βασιλική Οικογένεια της Ελλάδος[1][2]) was the ruling family of the Kingdom of Greece from 1863 to 1924 and again from 1935 to 1973. The family is a branch of the Danish royal family, itself a branch of the House of Glücksburg. Upon its accession to power, It replaced the House of Wittelsbach that previously ruled Greece from 1832 to 1862. The first monarch was George I of Greece, the second son of King Christian IX of Denmark.[3] The current head of the family is Pavlos, who assumed the role upon the death of his father, former King Constantine II on 10 January 2023. With the sole exception of Aspasia Manos, the consort of King Alexander, her descendants and Marina Karella, Consort of Prince Michael and their descendants, none of the members have been ethnically Greek.[4][5]

With the 1974 Greek republic referendum and Article 4 of the Constitution of Greece, all family members have been stripped of their honorific titles and the associated royal status. Many family members born after 1974 still use the titles "Prince of Greece" and "Princess of Greece" to describe themselves, but such descriptions are neither conferred nor legally recognised by the Greek state as nobility titles.[6] The family accepts that these terms are not nobility titles, but rather personal identifiers.[7][8][note 1]


After the overthrow in 1862 of the first king of the independent Greek state, Otto of Bavaria, a plebiscite in Greece was initiated on 19 November 1862,[note 2] with the results announced in February the following year,[note 3] in support of adopting Prince Alfred of the United Kingdom, later Duke of Edinburgh, to reign as king of the country.[9] The candidacy of Prince Alfred was rejected by the Great Powers. The London Conference of 1832 had prohibited any of the Great Powers' ruling families from accepting the crown of Greece, while Queen Victoria was opposed to such a prospect.[10]

A search for other candidates ensued, and eventually, Prince William of Denmark, of the House of Glücksburg, the second son of King Christian IX and younger brother of the then new Alexandra, Princess of Wales, was appointed king. The Greek Parliament unanimously approved on 18 March 1863[note 4] the ascension to the Greek throne of the prince, then aged 17, as King of the Hellenes under the regnal name of George I.[11] George arrived in Greece in October 1863.[11]


The royal family in 1900

George I married Grand Duchess Olga Constaninovna of Russia, and they had seven surviving children. After a reign of almost fifty years, George I was succeeded by his eldest son, Constantine I, who had married in 1889, Princess Sophia of Prussia, a granddaughter of Queen Victoria and sister of Kaiser Wilhelm II. In turn, all three of Constantine's sons, George II, Alexander and Paul, would occupy the throne.[12]

The dynasty reigned in Greece during the Balkan Wars, World War I, World War II (during which Greece experienced occupation by the Axis), the Greek Civil War, and most of the Greek military junta of 1967–1974.

Following the National Schism during World War I and the subsequent Asia Minor Disaster, the monarchy was deposed in March 1924 and replaced by the Second Hellenic Republic.[12] Between 1924 and 1935 there were twenty-three changes of government in Greece, a dictatorship, and thirteen coups d'etat.[citation needed] In October 1935, General Georgios Kondylis, a former Venizelist, overthrew the government and arranged for a plebiscite to end the republic. On 3 November 1935, the official tally showed that 98% of the votes supported the restoration of the monarchy.[11] The balloting was not secret, and participation was compulsory. As Time described it at the time, "As a voter, one could drop into the ballot box a blue vote for George II, or one could cast a red ballot for the Republic."[13] George II returned to Greece on 25 November 1935, as King.

On 4 August 1936, the king endorsed the establishment of a government led by veteran army officer Ioannis Metaxas.[14]

George II followed the Greek government in exile after the German invasion of Greece in 1941 and returned to Greece in 1946, after a referendum that resulted in the maintaining of the constitutional monarchy.[15] He died in 1947 and was succeeded by his brother Paul. The new king reigned from the time of Greek civil war until his death in 1964, and was succeeded by his son, Constantine II.[12]


On 21 April 1967, the elected government of Greece was overthrown by a group of middle-ranking army officers led by Colonel Georgios Papadopoulos, and a military dictatorship was established. The military junta formed a new government sworn in by Constantine II. On 13 December 1967, the king launched a counter-coup that failed[16] and he, together with his family, fled to Rome and soon after to London.

The dictatorship nominally retained the monarchy but on 1 June 1973, Constantine II was declared "deposed," and Papadopoulos appointed himself "President of the Republic". Some two months later, on 29 July 1973, the military regime held a referendum, the official result of which confirmed, according to the junta, the abolition of the monarchy.[15]

After July 1974, the dictatorship fell. The military handed power over to Konstantinos Karamanlis, a conservative[note 5] politician who had been prime minister in the 1950s and early 60s.[17] Karamanlis formed a "government of national unity" and held a constitutional referendum on 8 December 1974. The voters confirmed the abolition of the monarchy by a vote of 69% to 31% and the establishment of a parliamentary democracy in Greece.[9]

Legal status

In the referendum of 1974, all members of the royal family were stripped of their titles pursuant to article 4 of the Greek constitution; honorifics such as "prince" and "princess" are not officially recognised in Greece.[6]

In 2013, after being declared personae non gratae in the 1980s, having the palaces of the family and other estates expropriated in 1994, and then their passports annulled, Constantine II and his wife Anne-Marie were once again living in Greece.[18] Constantine II died on 10 January 2023, aged 82. He was succeeded by his son, Pavlos, Crown Prince of Greece, as the head of House of Glucksburg-Greece.

Royal coat of arms

The royal coat of arms of Greece still used by the royal family is a blue shield with the white cross of Greece with the greater coat of arms of Denmark of 1819–1903 in the centre. This was consequently also the arms of Denmark when the Danish prince William accepted the Greek throne as King George I. As such this includes the three lions of the arms of Denmark proper, the two lions of Schleswig, the three crowns of the former Kalmar Union, the stockfish of Iceland, the ram of Faroe Islands, the polar bear of Greenland, the lion and hearts of the King of the Goths, the wyvern of the King of the Wends, the nettle leaf of Holstein, the swan with a crown of Stormarn, the knight on horseback of Dithmarschen, the horse head of Lauenburg, the two red bars of the House of Oldenburg and the yellow cross of Delmenhorst. The same shield is in the personal standard of the Kings of Greece. The shield is surmounted by two figures of Heracles,[19] similar to the "wild men" of the Coat of arms of Denmark. The shield also has the Order of the Redeemer, while the royal motto reads " Ἰσχύς μου ἡ ἀγάπη τοῦ λαοῦ" ("The people's love is my strength").[20]

Dynastic lineage

As male-line descendants of King Christian IX of Denmark, members of the dynasty bear the title of Prince or Princess of Denmark and thus are traditionally referred to as "Princes" or "Princesses of Greece and Denmark".[21] With the sole exception of Aspasia Manos, the consort of King Alexander, and their daughter, Princess Alexandra of Greece and Denmark, none of the members were ethnically Greek.[4][5]


Family tree of immediate members

See also: Kings of the Hellenes family tree

Descendants of Constantine II at his funeral in 2023

This section only lists living members of the royal family and deceased members who are ancestors of presently living members of the family.

King George IQueen Olga
King Constantine IQueen SophiaPrince AndrewPrince ChristopherPrincess Françoise
Queen FredericaKing PaulPrince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh*Marina, consort of Prince Michael*Prince Michael*
Queen Sofía of Spain*King Constantine IIQueen Anne-MariePrincess Irene*Charles III, King of UK*Princess Alexandra, Mrs. Mirzayantz*The Duchess of Aosta*
Princess Alexia, Mrs. MoralesThe Crown PrinceThe Crown PrincessPrince NikolaosPrincess TatianaPrincess TheodoraPrince PhilipposPrincess Nina
Princess OlympiaPrince ConstantinePrince AchileasPrince OdysseasPrince Aristidis

* Member of the extended royal family

Extended family

Italicised names denote that the individual has died. Bolded names denote that the individual is/was the head of the royal house. Please note that any living members who are not directly descended from Paul are considered extended family.

See also


  1. ^ The pertinent court decision (Συμβούλιο της Επικρατείας, αριθμός 4575/1996) states (in Greek): "Η ονομασία αυτή, "πρώην βασιλιάς", αναφέρεται στο δικόγραφο όχι ως τίτλος ευγενείας, ο οποίος απαγορεύεται από το Σύνταγμα (άρθρο 4 παρ. 7), αλλά για να προσδιοριστεί η ταυτότητα του αιτούντος, ο οποίος στερείται, για τους λόγους που αναφέρθηκαν, επωνύμου. Εχει, δηλαδή, την έννοια ότι ο αιτών είναι ο Κωνσταντίνος εκείνος που διατέλεσε βασιλιάς των Ελλήνων έως την έκπτωσή του. Πρόκειται για αναφορά σε ένα ιστορικό γεγονός που, όπως και άλλα στοιχεία, μπορεί πράγματι να προσδιορίσει την ταυτότητα του πιο πάνω προσώπου, προκειμένου το πρόσωπο αυτό να τύχει δικαστικής προστασίας." Full-text available at Συμβούλιο της Επικρατείας - Αναζήτηση Νομολογίας
  2. ^ 1 December in the New Style
  3. ^ March in the New Style
  4. ^ 30 March in the New Style
  5. ^ See: People's Party; National Radical Union


  1. ^ [vasiliˈci ikoˈʝenia tis eˈlaðos]
  2. ^ Wording follows the terminology used in FAQ on the family's website
  3. ^ "Greece:The Rise of Nationalism". MSN Encarta Online Encyclopedia. Archived from the original on 2 November 2009. Retrieved 1 August 2006.
  4. ^ a b "Revealed: the intriguing family ties between the late King Constantine II of Greece and Europe's monarchies". Tatler. 13 January 2023. Retrieved 15 May 2023.
  5. ^ a b "Aspasia Manos". Retrieved 15 May 2023.
  6. ^ a b Article 4, Paragraph 7 of the Greek Constitution states "Titles of nobility or distinction are neither conferred upon nor recognized in Greek citizens."
  7. ^ Γιατί αποδίδονται τίτλοι στον πρώην Βασιλέα των Ελλήνων και τα μέλη της οικογένειάς του;
  8. ^ Technically, according to the Greek courts (Συμβούλιο της Επικρατείας, (αριθμός 4575/1996)), the personal identifier for Konstantinos is "Konstantinos, former King of Greece", something that the family accepts. Presumably, the identifier carries to the other family members having titles conferred to them by the Greek state before 1974, with their identifier becoming "former Prince" and "former Princess." The courts have not ruled on the validity of the identifiers for family members born after 1974.
  9. ^ a b "Constitutional History". Hellenic Parliament. Retrieved 12 December 2011.
  10. ^ Clogg, Richard (1979). A Short History of Modern Greece. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0521295178.
  11. ^ a b c Van der Kiste, John (1994). Kings of the Hellenes. Stroud, Gloucestershire: Sutton Publishing. ISBN 0-7509-0525-5.
  12. ^ a b c Van der Kiste, John (1999). Kings of the Hellenes: the Greek kings, 1863 - 1974. Stroud: Sutton. ISBN 978-0-7509-2147-3.
  13. ^ "By the Grace of God", Time, 18 November 1935
  14. ^ "Italy Tried to Invade Greece in World War II: It Was a Disaster", The National Interest, 28 July 2017
  15. ^ a b Nohlen, Dieter; Stöver, Philip (2010). Elections in Europe: A Data Handbook. Nomos. ISBN 978-3-8329-5609-7.
  16. ^ "Greece : Aftermath of the Civil War". MSN Encarta Online Encyclopedia. Archived from the original on 31 October 2009. Retrieved 1 August 2006.
  17. ^ "1974: Greek military rule gives in to democracy". 23 July 1974. Retrieved 18 July 2023.
  18. ^ "Greece's former king goes home after 46-year exile" by Helena Smith, The Guardian, 15 December 2013
  19. ^ Ἑφημερίς τῆς Κυβερνήσεως τοῦ Βασιλείου τῆς Ἑλλάδος [Government Gazette of the Kingdom of Greece] (PDF) (in Greek), Athens: National Printing Office, 28 December 1863
  20. ^ "Greek Royal Arms". 30 March 2022.
  21. ^ Genealogisches Handbuch des Adels, Fürstliche Häuser XV, C.A. Starke Verlag, 1997, p.20.