Paul of Greece

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Paul I of Greece.jpg
King Paul during his reign
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, Kingdom of Greece
Died 6 March 1964(1964-03-06) (aged 62)
Athens, Kingdom of Greece
Burial 12 March 1964
Royal Cemetery, Tatoi Palace, Greece
Spouse Frederica of Hanover
Issue Sofía, Queen of Spain
Constantine II of Greece
Princess Irene
House Glücksburg
Father Constantine I of Greece
Mother Sophia of Prussia
Religion Greek Orthodox

King Paul of the Hellenes (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 in 1964.

Early life[edit]

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 an army officer at the Royal Military College, Sandhurst and later at the Hellenic Military Academy in Kypseli, Athens. Paul was an army officer cadet in the Coldstream Guards and Lieutenant with the Evzones.

From 1917 to 1920, Paul lived in exile with his father, Constantine I. From 1923 to 1935, he lived in exile again in England, this time with his brother, George II. He worked briefly in an aircraft factory under an alias, and through Viscount Tredegar met and befriended notorious literary muse Denham Fouts, who later alleged an affair.[1] As Fout's life is clouded by myth, the truth of this is uncertain.[2]

Marriage and children[edit]

Paul of Greece with Spyridon Louis in Berlin, during the 1936 Summer Olympics.

On 9 January 1938, Paul married Princess Frederica of Hanover, his first cousin once removed (a great-niece of Paul's mother Sophia), at Athens. They had three children:

World War II[edit]

During most of World War II, from 1941 to 1946, when Greece was under German occupation, Paul was with the Greek government-in-exile in London and Cairo. From Cairo, he broadcast messages to the Greek people.


Paul returned to Greece in 1946. He succeeded to the throne in 1947, on the death of his childless elder brother, King George II, during the 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.[3]

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.[4]

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.[5]

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,[6] 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.[7]

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.[8] He was succeeded by his son, Constantine II.


In March 2014, a memorial service took place at Tatoi Palace in Athens commemorating the fiftieth anniversary of Paul's death. Members of the Greek and Spanish royal families were present.[9][10]

Honours and arms[edit]

House of Oldenburg
(Glücksburg branch)
Royal Coat of Arms of Greece (1863-1936).svg
Sofia, Queen of Spain
Constantine II
Princess Irene
Paul's monogram


Notes and sources[edit]

  1. ^ Vanderbilt, p. 30; Wishart, p. 52
  2. ^ Bucknell, p. 941; Clarke, p. 172
  3. ^ Van der Kiste, p. 177
  4. ^ Van der Kiste, p. 179
  5. ^ Van der Kiste, p. 180
  6. ^ Clogg, p. 153; Woodhouse, p. 283
  7. ^ Van der Kiste, pp. 182–183
  8. ^ Van der Kiste, pp. 183–184
  9. ^ "GRC: Greece and Spanish Royal Families Attend Commemorative Mass For King Paul I of Greece Pictures & News Photos | Getty Images". Retrieved 4 September 2015. 
  10. ^ "Spanish and Greek royals come together in Athens to remember King Paul I of Greece". Hello Magazine. 
  11. ^ "Reply to a parliamentary question" (pdf) (in German). p. 27. Retrieved 4 October 2012. 
  12. ^ "On the occasion of the centenary of the Greek monarchy, 1963 | Greek Royalty | Pinterest". Retrieved 4 September 2015. 
  13. ^ "Image of CONSTANTIN OF GREECE. - Princess Anne Marie Of Denmark And Prince Constantin Of Greece Announcing Their Engagement , Here In Athens January 30, 1963 With Them L-r Queen Ingrid And King Frederick Of Denmark, Queen Frederica And King Paul 1st Of Greece, Princess Irene Of Greece, La Princess Benedicte Of Denmark And Her Sister Princess Marguerite, Prince Peter From Granger". Archived from the original on 2015-04-02. Retrieved 4 September 2015. 
  14. ^ "Egypt's First Ladies". Retrieved 4 September 2015. 
  15. ^ a b "Image: His+Emperor+Haile+Selassie+I+of+Ethiopia+With+Queen+Elizabeth..jpg, (960 × 714 px)". Retrieved 4 September 2015. 
  16. ^ "cotilleando: Queen Frederika, King Paul, and a young Princess Sophia of Greece, cover of Bunte, 1958 | Royals | Pinterest". Retrieved 4 September 2015. 
  17. ^ "Crown Prince Paul of Greece and Princess Frederika of Hanover, January 9, 1938 | Royal Weddings and other interesting people | Pinterest". Retrieved 4 September 2015. 
  18. ^ "Image: 298863978-greek-monarchy-frederica-of-greece-paul-of-greece-john-xxiii.jpg, (720 × 540 px)". Retrieved 4 September 2015. 
  19. ^ "Recipients of the Order of the Most Holy Annunciation". Archived from the original on 2015-04-02. Retrieved 4 September 2015. 
  20. ^ "Image: Re%2BUmberto%2B1962.jpg, (749 × 1066 px)". Retrieved 4 September 2015. 
  21. ^ "King Paul Bio | King Paul Career | MTV". Retrieved 4 September 2015. 
  22. ^ "Greek Royal Family | The Princess Sophie of Romania's Birthday Anniversary - Princess ... | Royals of the past | Pinterest". Retrieved 4 September 2015. 
  23. ^ "Image: Wedding.jpg, (463 × 640 px)". Retrieved 4 September 2015. 
  24. ^ "Image: image-20.jpg, (478 × 594 px)". Retrieved 4 September 2015. 
  25. ^ "Image: king2.jpg, (504 × 300 px)". Retrieved 4 September 2015. 
  26. ^ "Image: king1.jpg, (505 × 300 px)". Retrieved 4 September 2015. 


  • Bucknell, Katherine (1996). Christopher Isherwood Diaries: Volume One 1939–1960 London: Methuen. ISBN 0-413-69680-4
  • Clarke, Gerald (1988). Capote: A Biography. London: Hamish Hamilton. ISBN 0-241-12549-9
  • Clogg, Richard (1992). A Concise History of Greece, Cambridge University Press
  • Vanderbilt, Arthur (2014). Best-Kept Boy in the World: The Life and Loves of Denny Fouts. Magnus Books
  • Van der Kiste, John (1994). Kings of the Hellenes. Stroud, Gloucestershire: Alan Sutton Publishing. ISBN 0-7509-0525-5
  • Wishart, Michael (1977). High Diver. Blond and Briggs
  • Woodhouse, C.M. (1998). Modern Greece: A Short History, Mackays of Chatham, Kent
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