List of kings of Greece

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The Royal coat of arms of Greece under the Glücksburg dynasty, created after the restoration of King George II to the throne in 1935, to the exile of King Constantine II in 1967 and finally until the abolition of the monarchy in 1973.

This is a list of kings of the modern state of Greece. The Kingdom of Greece was ruled by the House of Wittelsbach between 1832 and 1862 and by the House of Glücksburg from 1862 to 1924, temporarily abolished during the Second Hellenic Republic, and from 1935 to 1973, when it was permanently abolished and replaced by the Hellenic Republic.

Only the first king, Otto I, was actually styled King of Greece (Greek: Βασιλεὺς τῆς Ἑλλάδος). His successor, George I, was styled King of the Hellenes (Βασιλεὺς τῶν Ἑλλήνων), as were all other modern monarchs.[citation needed]

A republic was briefly established from 1924 to 1935. The restored monarchy was abolished following a referendum in 1973 conducted under the auspices of the then-ruling military regime. Its finding was confirmed by a second referendum in 1974, after the restoration of democratic rule.

House of Wittelsbach[edit]

The London Conference of 1832 was an international conference convened to establish a stable government in Greece. Negotiations between the three Great Powers (United Kingdom, France and Russia) resulted in the establishment of the Kingdom of Greece under a Bavarian Prince. The decisions were ratified in the Treaty of Constantinople later that year.

The convention offered the throne to the Bavarian Prince, Otto. They also established the line of succession which would pass the crown to Otto's descendants, or his younger brothers should he have no issue. It was also decided that in no case would there be a personal union of the crowns of Greece and Bavaria.

Name
Reign
Duration as Monarch Portrait Arms Birth
Parentage
Marriage(s)
Issue
Death Succession right Title
Otto
(Ὄθων)
27 May 1832[1][2]

23 October 1862
30 years, 149 days Prinz Otto von Bayern Koenig von Griechenland 1833.jpg Coat of arms of Greece (Wittelsbach).svg 1 June 1815
Salzburg, Austria

Son of Ludwig I of Bavaria and Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen
Amalia of Oldenburg
22 December 1836

no children
26 July 1867
Bamberg, Bavaria
aged 52
 • Chosen by the Great Powers King of Greece
(Βασιλεὺς τῆς Ἑλλάδος)

House of Glücksburg[edit]

In October 1862, King Otto was deposed in a popular revolt, but while the Greek people rejected Otto, they did not seem averse to the concept of monarchy per se. Many Greeks, seeking closer ties to the pre-eminent world power, the United Kingdom, rallied around the idea that Prince Alfred, the second son of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, could become the next King. British Foreign Secretary Lord Palmerston believed that the Greeks were "panting for increase in territory", hoping that the election of Alfred as King would also result in the incorporation of the Ionian Islands, which were then a British protectorate, into an enlarged Greek state.

The London Conference of 1832, however, had prohibited any of the Great Powers' ruling families from accepting the crown of Greece, and in any event, Queen Victoria was adamantly opposed to the idea. Nevertheless, the Greeks insisted on holding a referendum on the issue of the head of state in November 1862. It was the first referendum ever held in Greece.

Prince Alfred turned down the Kingship and Prince William of Denmark, son of Prince Christian of Denmark, was elected by the National Assembly to become King George I of the Hellenes.

Name
Reign
Duration as Monarch Portrait Arms Birth
Parentage
Marriage(s)
Issue
Death Succession right Title
George I
(Γεώργιος Α΄)
30 March 1863

18 March 1913
49 years, 353 days King George of Hellenes.jpg Royal Arms of Greece (1863-1936).svg 24 December 1845
Copenhagen, Denmark

Son of Christian IX of Denmark and Louise of Hesse
Olga Constantinovna of Russia
27 October 1867

8 children
18 March 1913
Thessaloniki, Ottoman Empire[3]
aged 67
 • Seventh cousin once removed through William the Younger, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg. Elected King of Greece King of the Hellenes
(Βασιλεὺς τῶν Ἑλλήνων)
Constantine I
(Κωνσταντῖνος Α΄)
18 March 1913

11 June 1917
4 years, 85 days Constantine I of Greece (1914).jpg Royal Arms of Greece (1863-1936).svg 2 August 1868
Athens, Kingdom of Greece

Son of George I of Greece and Olga Constantinovna of Russia
Sophia of Prussia
27 October 1889

6 children
11 January 1923 Palermo, Kingdom of Italy
aged 54
 • Son of George I King of the Hellenes
(Βασιλεὺς τῶν Ἑλλήνων)
Alexander
(Ἀλέξανδρος)
11 June 1917

25 October 1920
3 years, 136 days King Alexander of Greece.jpg Royal Arms of Greece (1863-1936).svg 1 August 1893 Athens, Kingdom of Greece
Son of Constantine I of Greece and Sophia of Prussia
Aspasia Manos
17 November 1919
1 child[4]
25 October 1920 Athens, Kingdom of Greece
aged 27
 • Son of Constantine I King of the Hellenes
(Βασιλεὺς τῶν Ἑλλήνων)
Constantine I
(Κωνσταντῖνος Α΄)
19 December 1920

27 September 1922
1 year, 282 days Constantine I of Greece (1914).jpg Royal Arms of Greece (1863-1936).svg 2 August 1868
Athens, Kingdom of Greece

Son of George I of Greece and Olga Constantinovna of Russia
Sophia of Prussia
27 October 1889

6 children
11 January 1923 Palermo, Kingdom of Italy
aged 54
 • Son of George I King of the Hellenes
(Βασιλεὺς τῶν Ἑλλήνων)
George II
(Γεώργιος Β΄)
27 September 1922

5 March 1924
1 year, 160 days Georgeiiofgreece.jpg Royal Arms of Greece (1863-1936).svg 19 July 1890 Athens, Kingdom of Greece
Son of Constantine I of Greece and Sophia of Prussia
Elisabeth of Romania
27 February 1921
no children
1 April 1947 Athens, Kingdom of Greece
aged 56
 • Son of Constantine I King of the Hellenes
(Βασιλεὺς τῶν Ἑλλήνων)

Second Hellenic Republic[edit]

The Second Republic was proclaimed on 25 March 1924, in the aftermath of Greece's defeat by Turkey in the Asia Minor Campaign, which was widely blamed on the royalist government. During its brief existence, the Second Republic proved unstable. Greek society continued to be divided, as it was since the National Schism, between the pro-Republican Venizelists and the monarchists represented by the People's Party, who refused to acknowledge even the legitimacy of the Republic.

The cleavage in society extended to cultural and social issues such as differences over the use of Greek language to architectural styles. To this polarization was added the destabilizing involvement of the military in politics which resulted in several coups and attempted coups. The economy was in ruins following a decade of warfare and was unable to support the 1.5 million refugees from the population exchange with Turkey.

Despite the efforts of the reformist government of Eleftherios Venizelos in 1928–1932, the Great Depression had disastrous impact on Greece's economy. The electoral victory of the People's Party in 1933, and two failed Venizelist coups, paved the way to the restoration of the reign of King George II.

House of Glücksburg (restored)[edit]

In 1935, Prime Minister Georgios Kondylis, a former pro-Venizelos military officer, became the most powerful political figure in Greece. He compelled Panagis Tsaldaris to resign as Prime Minister and took over the government, suspending many constitutional provisions in the process. Kondylis, who had now joined the Conservatives, decided to hold a referendum in order to re-establish the monarchy, despite the fact that he used to be a supporter of the anti-monarchist wing of Greek politics.

Name
Reign
Duration as Monarch Portrait Arms Birth
Parentage
Marriage(s)
Issue
Death Succession right Title
George II
(Γεώργιος Β΄)
3 November 1935

1 April 1947
11 years, 149 days Georgeiiofgreece.jpg Royal Arms of Greece (1936-1967).svg 19 July 1890 Athens, Kingdom of Greece
Son of Constantine I of Greece and Sophia of Prussia
Divorced
6 July 1935
1 April 1947 Athens, Kingdom of Greece
aged 56
 • Son of Constantine I King of the Hellenes
(Βασιλεὺς τῶν Ἑλλήνων)
Paul
(Παῦλος)
1 April 1947

6 March 1964
16 years, 340 days Paul I of Greece.jpg Royal Arms of Greece (1936-1967).svg 14 December 1901 Athens, Kingdom of Greece
Son of Constantine I of Greece and Sophia of Prussia
Frederica of Hanover
9 January 1938
3 children
6 March 1964 Athens, Kingdom of Greece
aged 62
 • Son of Constantine I King of the Hellenes
(Βασιλεὺς τῶν Ἑλλήνων)
Constantine II
(Κωνσταντῖνος Β΄)
6 March 1964

1 June 1973
9 years, 87 days King Constantine.jpg Royal Arms of Greece (1936-1967).svg 2 June 1940 Athens, Kingdom of Greece
Son of Paul of Greece and Frederica of Hanover
Anne-Marie of Denmark
18 September 1964
5 children
Living; 77  • Son of Paul King of the Hellenes
(Βασιλεὺς τῶν Ἑλλήνων)

Timeline of kings of Greece[edit]

Constantine II of Greece Paul I of Greece George II of Greece George II of Greece Constantine I of Greece Alexander I of Greece Constantine I of Greece George I of Greece Otto of Greece House of Glücksburg Second Hellenic Republic House of Glücksburg House of Wittelsbach

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Protocol signed in 1832 but landed in Greece on 6 February 1833.
  2. ^ Dates are in the New Style Gregorian calendar. The Old Style Julian calendar was used in Greece till Alexander's lifetime.
  3. ^ At the time of the King's assassination, Thessaloniki was in occupied Ottoman territory. The city was recognized as part of the Kingdom of Greece by the Treaty of Bucharest (1913) five months afterwards.
  4. ^ For more information, see this page.