Frederica of Hanover

Frederica of Hanover

Infobox Greek Royalty|majesty|consort
name = Frederica of Hanover
full name = Frederica Louise Thyra Victoria Margaret Sophie Olga Cecily Isabelle Christina
title = Queen consort of the Hellenes

imgw =
reign = 1 April 19476 March 1964
spouse = Paul I
issue = Sofia, Queen of Spain
Constantine II
Princess Irene
royal house = House of Hanover
House of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg
titles = "HM" Queen Frederica
"HM" The Queen of the Hellenes
"HRH" The Crown Princess of Greece
"HRH" Princess Frederica of Hanover
"HM" Queen Frederica The Queen Mother
father = Ernest Augustus III, Duke of Brunswick
mother = Princess Viktoria Luise of Prussia
date of birth = birth date|1917|4|18|df=y
place of birth = Blankenburg, Harz, Germany
date of death = death date and age|1981|2|6|1917|4|18|df=y
place of death = Madrid, Spain
place of burial =flagicon|Greece Royal Cemetery, Tatoi Palace, Greece|

Frederica of Hanover ("Frederica Louise Thyra Victoria Margaret Sophie Olga Cecily Isabelle Christina"; _gr. Φρειδερίκη; 18 April 19176 February 1981) was Queen Consort of King Paul I of the Hellenes as "Queen Frideriki of the Hellenes" ( _gr. Βασίλισσα Φρειδερίκη των Ελλήνων)


Frederica was attractive and intelligent, [Kousoulas, Dimitrios George: "Revolution and Defeat: The Story of the Greek Communist Party", Oxford University Press 1965, p247; Grose, Peter: "Gentleman Spy: The Life of Allen Dulles", University of Massachusetts Press, 1996, pp430,450; Sulzberger, Cyrus Leo: " A Long Row of Candles: Memoirs and Diaries, 1934-1954", Macmillan, 1969, p391; Eisenbud, Merril: "An Environmental Odyssey: People, Pollution, and Politics in the Life of a Practical Scientist", University of Washington Press 1990, p119] but also autocratic. Her outspokenness and constant political interference was harshly criticised and played a significant role in the rise of Greek republicanism. [Woodhouse, C.M. "Modern Greece: A Short History", Mackays of Chatham, Kent 1998, p283, Clogg, Richard: A Concise History of Greece, Cambridge University Press, 1992, p153] At home in Greece and abroad in the United Kingdom, she was targeted by the opposition. Much was made of her Germanism and the fact that she had once belonged to a branch of the Bund Deutscher Mädel, the girls' branch of the Hitler Youth, although evading membership in the group would have been difficult under the existing political climate in Nazi Germany at the time. Far less known was her spiritual quest, which eventually led her to accepting the non-dualism or absolute monism of Adi Shankara as her philosophy of life. [Mangalwadi, Vishal: "When the New Age Gets Old: Looking for a Greater Spirituality", InterVarsity Press, Westmont, Illinois, 1992, Appendix.]

Early life

Frederica was born on 18 April 1917 in Blankenburg, Harz, Germany. She was the daughter of Ernest Augustus III, Duke of Brunswick and Princess Viktoria Luise of Prussia, the only daughter of German Emperor William II and Augusta Viktoria of Schleswig-Holstein. As daughter of a Hanoverian prince, she was Princess Frederica of Hanover, Great Britain and Ireland, and also Duchess Frederica of Brunswick-Lüneburg.

Through her maternal grandmother Frederica was a great-granddaughter of German Emperor Frederick III and Victoria, Princess Royal, eldest daughter of Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom and Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha.

Through this relationship Frederica was a distant cousin of the United Kingdom's Elizabeth II and also of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. As a descendant of George III of the United Kingdom she was, at birth, 34th in the line of succession to the British throne although she had no British rank or title.


In 1936 Prince Paul, Crown Prince of Greece, proposed to her in Berlin when he was there to see the 1936 Summer Olympics. Their engagement was announced officially on 28 September 1937. On 9 January 1938 they married in Athens. Prince Paul was the son of King Constantine I of Greece and Sophie of Prussia, sister of German Emperor William II (therefore he was a great-grandson of Queen Victoria and a first cousin once removed to Frederica).

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 was born on 2 November 1938: Sophia, the future Queen Sofia of Spain. On 2 June 1940 their son and heir, Constantine was born.

War and Exile

At the peak of World War II, in April, 1941 the Greek Royal Family evacuated to Crete in a Sunderland flying boat. In exile, King George II and the rest of the Greek Royal Family settled in South Africa. Here Frederica's last child, Princess Irene, was born on May 11, 1942. The South African leader, General Jan Smuts, served as her godfather.

Shortly afterwards the German forces attacked Crete. Frederica and her family were evacuated again, setting up a government-in-exile office in London. The family eventually settled in Egypt in February of 1944.

On September 1, 1946 the Greek people decided by referendum to restore King George to the throne. The Crown Prince and Crown Princess returned to their villa in Psychiko. infobox hrhstyles

royal name=Queen Frederica of The Hellenes
dipstyle=Her Majesty
offstyle=Your Majesty

Husband's reign

On 1 April 1947 George II died and Frederica's husband ascended the throne as Paul I, which made Frederica queen consort. Communist political instability in Northern Greece led to the Greek Civil War. The King and Queen toured Northern Greece under severe security to try to appeal for loyalty in the summer of 1947.

During the civil war Queen Frederica set the Queen's Camps or Child-cities (translation of: Παιδο(υ)πόλεις / Paidopoleis or Paidupoleis) a network of 53 Camps around Greece where she would gather mostly orphans and children of poor families. These camps admirably provided much needed shelter, food, and education to these children who were aged 3 years to adolescence.

The role of these Queen's Camps is disputed as a means of propaganda by the monarchy through the educational program. The Queen's Camps were a way to fend for the children - victims of the civil war. Some communist sources have always insisted that many children were illegally adopted by American families while they were in the Paidopoleis.

The Greek Civil War ended in August, 1949. The Sovereigns took this opportunity to strengthen the monarchy, they paid official visits to Marshal Josip Broz Tito in Belgrade, the Presidents Luigi Einaudi of Italy in Rome, Theodor Heuss of West Germany, Bechara El Khoury of Lebanon, Emperor Haile Selassie I of Ethiopia, Chakravarthi Rajagopalachari of India, King George VI of the United Kingdom, and the United States as guest of President Dwight D. Eisenhower. However, at home in Greece and abroad in the United Kingdom, Queen Frederica was targeted by the opposition, because as a girl she had belonged to a Bund Deutscher Madel girl's branch of the Hitler Youth group, while her supporters argued that evading membership in the group would be difficult under the existing political climate in Nazi Germany at the time.

Her 16 November 1953 appearance in "Life" as America's guest was taken on one of the many state visits she paid around the world. Also that year she appeared on the cover of "Time". On 14 May 1962 her eldest daughter Sofia married Prince Juan Carlos of Spain, (later King Juan Carlos I of Spain) in Athens.

Queen dowager

On 6 March 1964 King Paul died of cancer, and her son ascended the throne as Constantine II. He married Princess Anne-Marie of Denmark later that year on 18 September. Queen Frederica, now queen dowager, attended many royal events including the christenings of her grandchildren in both Spain and Greece.


King Constantine's clashes with the democratically elected Prime Minister George Papandreou, senior were blamed by critics for causing the destabilisation that led to a military coup on 21 April 1967 and the rise of the regime of the colonels. Faced with a difficult situation, King Constantine initially collaborated with the military dictatorship, swearing in their government under a royalist prime minister. Later that year he attempted a counter-coup in an attempt to restore democracy, whose failure forced him into exile. Following this, the junta appointed a Regent to carry out the tasks of the exiled Monarch.

On June 1, 1973 the junta abolished the Greek Monarchy without the consent of the Greek people and then attempted to legitimize its actions through a 1973 plebiscite that was widely suspected of being rigged. The new head-of-state became President of Greece George Papadopoulos.

The dictatorship ended on 24 July 1974 and the pre-junta constitutional monarchy was never restored. A plebiscite was held in which King Constantine (who was able to campaign only from outside the country) freely admitted his past errors, promised to support democracy, and in particular, promised to keep his mother Queen Frederica away from Greece and out of Greek politics. 70% of Greeks voted to make Greece a democratic republic.

Later life

Queen Frederica died on 6 February 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 her cause of death was a heart attack while undergoing the removal of cataracts.

She was interred at Tatoi (the Royal family's palace and burial ground in Greece). Her son and his family were allowed to attend the service but had to leave immediately afterwards.

Titles, styles, honours and arms

Titles and styles

*18 March 19179 January 1938: "Her Royal Highness" Princess Friederike of Hanover
*9 January 19381 April 1947: "Her Royal Highness" The Crown Princess of Greece
*1 April 19476 March 1964: "Her Majesty" The Queen of the Hellenes
*6 March 19646 February 1981: "Her Majesty" Queen Frideriki of Greece



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1=1. Frederica of Hanover
2=2. Ernest Augustus, Duke of Brunswick
3=3. Princess Viktoria Luise of Prussia
4=4. Ernest Augustus, Crown Prince of Hanover
5=5. Princess Thyra of Denmark
6=6. William II, German Emperor
7=7. Princess Auguste Viktoria of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Augustenburg
8=8. George V of Hanover
9=9. Princess Marie of Saxe-Altenburg
10=10. Christian IX of Denmark
11=11. Princess Louise of Hesse-Kassel (or Hesse-Cassel)
12=12. Frederick III, German Emperor
13=13. Victoria, Princess Royal
14=14. Frederick VIII, Duke of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Augustenburg
15=15. Princess Adelheid of Hohenlohe-Langenburg
16=16. Ernest Augustus I of Hanover
17=17. Duchess Frederica of Mecklenburg-Strelitz
18=18. Joseph, Duke of Saxe-Altenburg
19=19. Amelia of Württemberg
20=20. Friedrich Wilhelm, Duke of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg
21=21. Princess Louise Caroline of Hesse-Kassel (or Hesse-Cassel)
22=22. Prince William of Hesse
23=23. Princess Louise Charlotte of Denmark
24=24. Friedrich Wilhelm, Duke of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg
25=25. Princess Louise Caroline of Hesse-Kassel (or Hesse-Cassel)
26=26. Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
27=27. Victoria of the United Kingdom
28=28. Christian, Duke of August of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Augustenburg
29=29. Countess Lovisa-Sophie Danneskjold-Samsøe
30=30. Ernst, Prince of Hohenlohe-Langenburg
31=31. Princess Feodora of Leiningen

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