Princess Maria of Greece and Denmark

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Princess Maria
Grand Duchess Maria Georgievna of Russia
Princess Maria of Greece and Denmark (Grand Duchess Maria Georgievna).jpg
Spouse Grand Duke George Mikhailovich of Russia
Perikles Ioannidis
Issue Princess Nina
Princess Xenia
House House of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg (by birth)
House of Holstein-Gottorp-Romanov (by marriage)
Father George I of Greece
Mother Olga Constantinovna of Russia
Born (1876-03-03)3 March 1876
Athens, Kingdom of Greece
Died 14 December 1940(1940-12-14) (aged 64)
Athens, Kingdom of Greece
Burial Royal Cemetery, Tatoi Palace, Greece
Religion Eastern Orthodox

Princess Maria of Greece and Denmark (Greek: Πριγκίπισσα Μαρία της Ελλάδας και Δανίας) (3 March 1876 – 14 December 1940) was the fifth child and second daughter of King George I of Greece and Olga Constantinovna of Russia, and thus a member of the House of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg.

Early life[edit]

Maria in costume for a 1903 ball

She was born in Athens as a younger sister to Constantine I of Greece, Prince George of Greece, Alexandra Georgievna of Greece and Prince Nicholas of Greece. Maria (sometimes Marie) was an elder sister of Prince Andrew of Greece (father of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh) and Prince Christopher of Greece as well as the short-lived Princess Olga of Greece. Her family called her "Minnie", like her paternal aunt, Empress Maria Feodorovna of Russia. She and her aunt Minnie's eldest daughter, Grand Duchess Xenia Alexandrovna, were very close; the cousins later married brothers, two Romanov Grand Dukes, and stayed together on many occasions.

Marriage[edit]

The grave of Princess Maria of Greece and Denmark at Tatoi

On 30 April 1900, Maria was married in Corfu to Grand Duke George Mikhailovich of Russia, a maternal cousin. He had chased after Maria, who was nicknamed "Greek Minnie" to tell her apart from the elder "Minnie" (the Dowager Empress Maria of Russia). She refused to marry unless her place in the line of succession to the Greek and Danish thrones was secured, and made it clear that she was not in love with the Grand Duke when she married him, but George hoped that her feelings would grow in time. The couple had two daughters: Nina, born 7 June 1901; and Xenia, born 9 August 1903. As they grew older, Maria seized the opportunity to spend more time abroad, ostensibly for her daughters' health, but also to spend more time away from her husband. She was in Great Britain when World War I broke out and chose not return to Russia, living in Harrogate where she was patron of three military hospitals, funding them generously and nursing patients herself.

She became a widow on 30 January 1919, when her husband was murdered by the Bolsheviks. On 16 December 1922, Maria was remarried to Admiral Pericles Ioannides in Wiesbaden. Grand Duchess Maria Georgievna died in her native Athens during the Greco-Italian War (28 October 1940 – 30 April 1941).

Her daughter Xenia lived for years in Long Island and was for a time married to millionaire William Leeds, son of Nancy Stewart Worthington Leeds. She took in for a few months a woman later found to be an impostor, Anna Anderson. Anderson fraudulently claimed to be Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolaevna of Russia, the youngest daughter of Emperor Nicholas II, and was forced to leave Xenia's house at the demand of William Leeds. Grand Duchess George never recognised Anderson.

Titles and styles[edit]

  • 3 March 1876 – 30 April 1900: Her Royal Highness Princess Maria of Greece and Denmark
  • 30 April 1900 – 16 December 1922: Her Imperial & Royal Highness Grand Duchess Maria Georgievna of Russia
  • 16 December 1922 – 14 December 1940: Her Imperial & Royal Highness Grand Duchess Maria Georgievna of Russia, Mrs. Perikles Ioannidis

Ancestry[edit]

External links[edit]

Media related to Grand Duchess Maria Georgievna of Russia at Wikimedia Commons