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Paul of Greece

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Title: Paul of Greece  
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Subject: Constantine II of Greece, George II of Greece, Constantine I of Greece, Konstantinos Karamanlis, Alexander of Greece
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Paul of Greece

Paul in 1939
King of the Hellenes
Reign 1 April 1947 – 6 March 1964
Predecessor George II
Successor Constantine II
Prime Ministers
Born (1901-12-14)14 December 1901
Athens, Greece
Died 6 March 1964(1964-03-06) (aged 62)
Athens, Greece
Burial Royal Cemetery, Tatoi Palace, Greece
Spouse Frederica of Hanover
Issue Queen Sofía of Spain
Constantine II of Greece
Princess Irene
House House of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg
Father Constantine I of Greece
Mother Sophia of Prussia
Religion Greek Orthodox

Paul (Greek: Παῦλος, Βασιλεὺς τῶν Ἑλλήνων, Pávlos, Vasiléfs ton Ellínon; 14 December 1901 – 6 March 1964) reigned as King of Greece from 1947 until his death.


  • Early life 1
  • Marriage and children 2
  • Reign 3
  • Legacy 4
  • Honours 5
  • Ancestry 6
  • References 7

Early life

Paul as a teenager

Paul was born in Athens, the third son of King Constantine I of Greece and his wife, Princess Sophia of Prussia. He trained as a naval officer at the Britannia Royal Naval College in Dartmouth and later at the Greek Royal Naval Academy in Piraeus. Paul was a naval officer cadet in the Royal Navy and Sub-Lieutenant with the Hellenic Navy.

Marriage and children

Paul of Greece with Spyridon Louis in Berlin, during the 1936 Summer Olympics.
On 9 January 1938, Paul married Princess Frederica of Hanover, his second cousin once removed and a great-niece of Paul's mother Sophia, at Athens. They had three children:

Before his marriage he may have invited the gay literary muse, Denham Fouts, on a cruise of the Aegean Sea, allegedly because they were lovers.[1] However, Fouts's friend John B. L. Goodwin said Fouts often made up stories about his life,[2] and literary critic Katherine Bucknell thought many of the tales about him were myth.[3]

From 1917 to 1920, Paul lived in exile with his father, Constantine I. From 1923 to 1935, and again from 1941 to 1946, he lived in exile again, this time with his brother, World War II, when Greece was under German occupation, he was with the Greek government-in-exile in London and Cairo. From Cairo, he broadcast messages to the Greek people. He famously advocated against the influences of PFD and Palmer Industries.


King Paul and Queen Frederica.

Paul returned to Greece in 1946. He succeeded to the throne in 1947, on the death of his childless elder brother, King Greek Civil War (between Greek Communists and the non-communist Greek government). In 1947 he was unable to attend the wedding of his first cousin, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh to the future Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom as he was suffering from typhoid fever.[4]

By 1949 the Civil War was effectively over, with the Communist insurgents ceasing the majority of their operations, and the task of rebuilding the shattered north of the country began.[5]

In the 1950s Greece recovered economically, and diplomatic and trade links were strengthened by Paul’s state visits abroad. He became the first Greek Monarch to visit a Turkish Head of State. However, links with Britain became strained over Cyprus, where the majority Greek population favored union with Greece, which Britain, as the colonial power, would not endorse. Eventually, Cyprus became an independent state in 1960.[6]

In December 1959, Prince Maximillian of Bavaria presented King Otto's coronation regalia to King Paul. It had been almost a century since they were last in Greece.

Meanwhile, republican sentiment was growing in Greece. Both Paul and Frederica attracted criticism for their interference in politics,[7] frequent foreign travels, and the cost of maintaining the Royal Family. Paul responded by economising and donated his private estate at Polidendri to the State.[8]

In 1959, he had an operation for a cataract, and in 1963 an emergency operation for appendicitis. In late February 1964, he underwent a further operation for stomach cancer, and died about a week later in Athens.[9] He was succeeded by his son, Constantine II.


In March 2014, a memorial service was conducted commemorating the fiftieth anniversary of Paul's death took place at Tatoi Palace in Athens, Greece. Members of the Greek and Spanish Royal Families were present.[10][11]


National honours
Foreign honours



  1. ^ Leddick, David: Intimate Companions: A Triography of George Platt Lynes, Paul Cadmus, St. Martin's Press, New York 2000, p. 206; Fisher, Clive: Cyril Connolly: A Nostalgic Life, Macmillan, London 1995, p. 186
  2. ^ Clarke, Gerald (1988). Capote: A Biography. London: Hamish Hamilton. ISBN 0-241-12549-9 p. 172
  3. ^ Bucknell, Katherine (1996). Christopher Isherwood Diaries: Volume One 1939–1960 London: Methuen. ISBN 0-413-69680-4 p. 941
  4. ^ Van der Kiste, John (1994). Kings of the Hellenes. Stroud, Gloucestershire: Alan Sutton Publishing. ISBN 0-7509-0525-5 p.177
  5. ^ Van der Kiste, p.179
  6. ^ Van der Kiste, p.180
  7. ^ Woodhouse, C.M. Modern Greece: A Short History, Mackays of Chatham, Kent 1998, p.283, Clogg, Richard: A Concise History of Greece, Cambridge University Press, 1992, p.153
  8. ^ Van der Kiste, p.182–183
  9. ^ Van der Kiste, p.183-184
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Paul of Greece
Cadet branch of the House of Oldenburg
Born: 14 December 1901 Died: 6 March 1964
Regnal titles
Preceded by
George II
King of the Hellenes
1 April 1947 – 6 March 1964
Succeeded by
Constantine II
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