Princess Katherine of Greece and Denmark

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Princess Katherine
Princess Katherine of Greece.jpg
Princess Katherine in 1937
Spouse Richard Brandram
Issue Paul Brandram
House House of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg
Father Constantine I of Greece
Mother Sophia of Prussia
Born (1913-05-04)4 May 1913
Athens, Greece
Died 2 October 2007(2007-10-02) (aged 94)
London, England, United Kingdom
Burial Royal Cemetery, Tatoi Palace, Greece

Princess Katherine of Greece and Denmark[1] (Greek: Αικατερίνη; 4 May 1913 – 2 October 2007) was the third daughter and youngest child of King Constantine I of Greece and Sophia of Prussia.

Early life[edit]

Her paternal grandparents were King George I of Greece, child of King Christian IX of Denmark, and Olga Konstantinovna of Russia. Her maternal grandparents were Frederick III, German Emperor, and the Empress Victoria, the eldest child of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert.

Katherine was born in the Royal Palace in Athens, a few weeks after her grandfather, King George I of Greece, was assassinated in Salonika. She had five siblings - three brothers (George, Alexander and Paul, each of whom would become King of the Hellenes) and two sisters (Helen, who married Carol II of Romania, and Irene who married Prince Aimone of Savoy, Duke of Spoleto). Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh was a first cousin. When she was christened, the members of the whole Greek Army and Greek Navy became her godparents. At three years of age, the princess "had to be rescued from the family's villa, Tatoi, outside Athens, after the secret police set the house ablaze"; her mother being a sister of the Kaiser, the Greek royal family was suspected of being pro-German.[2]

Life in exile[edit]

Her father abdicated in 1917, replaced as King by her brother Alexander. She and her parents were exiled to Switzerland. They were re-instated following Alexander's death in 1920, but Constantine abdicated again in 1922. Exiled again, this time to Sicily, her father died in Palermo in 1923. The family moved to Villa Sparta in Florence, where Katherine took up painting. Her second brother George became King George II of the Hellenes in 1922, but was deposed in 1924.

Katherine was educated in England, at a boarding school at Broadstairs and then North Foreland Lodge. Her mother died in January 1932, after which she continued to live at the Villa Sparta with her sister, Helen. She and the future Elizabeth II were bridesmaids at the wedding of her first cousin, Princess Marina, to the Duke of Kent in 1934. It is interesting to note that through Christian IX of Denmark, Katherine was a first cousin of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, and a second cousin once removed of Elizabeth II. However, in descent from Queen Victoria, she was a second cousin once removed of both of them.

House of Oldenburg
(Glücksburg branch)
Royal Coat of Arms of Greece (1863-1936).svg
Constantine I
George II
Helen, Queen Mother of Romania
Princess Irene, Duchess of Aosta
Princess Katherine, Lady Brandram

Return to Greece and marriage[edit]

Her brother George was reinstated as King of Greece in 1935, and Katherine returned to Greece with her sister, Irene. She joined the Greek Red Cross when the Second World War broke out in 1939. In 1941, after Greece had been overrun by Axis forces, she fled to South Africa with her third brother, Paul, in a Sunderland flying boat, where she worked as a nurse at a hospital in Cape Town. She heard no news of her sister Helen for four years. She returned to England in 1946, sailing the last leg from Egypt to England on the Cunard liner RMS Ascania. On board, she met Major Richard Campbell Brandram MC (5 August 1911 – 5 April 1994), son of Richard Andrew Brandram and Maud Campbell Blaker, an officer in the Royal Artillery. They were engaged three weeks after they arrived in England, and married on 21 April 1947 at the Royal Palace in Athens. Her brother George died on 1 April, three weeks before the wedding, and was succeeded by her third brother Paul, or Pavlos. Now Paul I of Greece, he acted as best man at the wedding, and reigned until his death in 1964.

She then accompanied her husband to his new British Army posting in Baghdad, and they later settled in England. She received permission to style herself Lady Katherine Brandram from King George VI, who also granted her the status of a duke's daughter in the order of precedence. However, this style was valid only within the United Kingdom, as she remained Princess Katherine of Greece and Denmark. She and her husband lived in Eaton Square in Belgravia, and later moved to Marlow, Buckinghamshire.

According to her obituary in The Daily Telegraph, "Lady Katherine lived quietly but remained in close touch with her own and the British royal families. She attended the Queen's wedding to Prince Philip (her first cousin), and was a guest at the service to mark Prince Philip's 80th birthday at St George's Chapel, Windsor, in 2001."[2]

After the death of Infanta Beatriz of Spain in 2002, Katherine was the last surviving great-granddaughter of Queen Victoria, as well the last surviving grandchild of Frederick III, German Emperor and Victoria, Princess Royal. She lived for almost 87 years after the death of her brother, King Alexander of Greece and her death left Count Carl Johan Bernadotte of Sweden (31 October 1916 - 5 May 2012) as Queen Victoria's last living great-grandchild.

From the time of the death of her sister Helen, Queen Mother of Romania (Helen of Greece and Denmark) in 1982, to the time of her own death, she was Queen Victoria's most senior female line descendant. Her death marked the end of all female-line direct descendants of Frederick III, German Emperor and Victoria, Princess Royal.[1]


Princess Katherine of Greece and Denmark and Major Richard Campbell Andrew Brandram had one child, a son:[1]

  • Richard Paul George Andrew Brandram (b. 1 April 1948), married, firstly, Jennifer Diane Steele, daughter of Lt. Col. Robert Steele and Gyllian Diane Greville-Williams, on 12 February 1975 at London, England. The couple had three children:[1]
    • Sophie Eila Brandram (b. 23 January 1981)[1]
    • Nicholas George Brandram (b. 23 April 1982)[1]
    • Alexia Katherine Brandram (b. 6 December 1985)[1]
Styles of
Princess Katherine of Greece and Denmark
Arms of a Prince of Greece.svg
Reference style Her Royal Highness
Spoken style Your Royal Highness
Alternative style Ma'am

Titles, styles, honours and arms[edit]

Titles and styles[edit]

  • 4 May 1913–2 October 2007 : Her Royal Highness Princess Katherine of Greece and Denmark
    • In United Kingdom : 21 April 1947–2 October 2007 The Lady Katherine Brandram




  1. ^ a b c d e f g Marlene A. Eilers, Queen Victoria's Descendants (Baltimore, Maryland: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1987), page 165.
  2. ^ a b "Lady Katherine Brandram," The Daily Telegraph, 4 October 2007, accessed 8 March 2013.