Paul of Greece

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Paul I of Greece.jpg
King Paul in 1939
King of the Hellenes
Reign1 April 1947 – 6 March 1964
PredecessorGeorge II
SuccessorConstantine II
Prime Ministers
Born(1901-12-14)14 December 1901
Tatoi Palace, Athens, Greece
Died6 March 1964(1964-03-06) (aged 62)
Athens, Greece
Burial12 March 1964
Royal Cemetery, Tatoi Palace, Greece
(m. 1938)
FatherConstantine I of Greece
MotherSophia of Prussia
SignaturePaul's signature

Paul (Greek: Παύλος, Pávlos; 14 December 1901 – 6 March 1964) was King of Greece from 1 April 1947 until his death in 1964. He was succeeded by his son, Constantine II.

Paul was first cousin to Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh and father-in-law to Juan Carlos I of Spain.

Early life[edit]

Paul as a teenager.

Paul was born on 14 December 1901 at the Tatoi Palace in Attica north of 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] Allegedly, Prince Paul of Greece alongside Denham Fouts visited a tattooist in Vienna and had themselves identically marked—a small blue insignia above the heart.[2][3] However, Fouts's friend John B. L. Goodwin said Fouts often made up stories about his life,[4] and literary critic Katherine Bucknell thought many of the tales about him were myths.[5]

To his family, he was known as Palo.[6]

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 through Frederick III, German Emperor, and Victoria, Princess Royal, and second cousin through Christian IX of Denmark, in 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, upon 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.[7]

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.[8]

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.[9]

In December 1959, Prince Maximillian of Bavaria presented King Otto's coronation regalia to 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,[10] 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.[11]

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 about a week later on 6 March 1964, King Paul I died in Athens.[12] He was succeeded by his son, Constantine II.


In March 2014, a memorial service took place in the grounds of Tatoi Palace in Athens commemorating the fiftieth anniversary of Paul's death. Members of the Greek and Spanish royal families were present.[13][14]


Notes and sources[edit]

  1. ^ Vanderbilt, p. 30; Wishart, p. 52
  2. ^ Vanderbilt, Arthur (2014). Riverdale Avenue Books (ed.). Best-Kept Boy in the World. New York. p. 112. ISBN 978-1936833-41-2.
  3. ^ Capote, Answered Prayers, p. 5.
  4. ^ Clarke, p. 172
  5. ^ Bucknell, p. 941
  6. ^ The Duke: Portrait of Prince Philip. Written by Tim Heald
  7. ^ Van der Kiste, p. 177
  8. ^ Van der Kiste, p. 179
  9. ^ Van der Kiste, p. 180
  10. ^ Clogg, p. 153; Woodhouse, p. 283
  11. ^ Van der Kiste, pp. 182–183
  12. ^ Van der Kiste, pp. 183–184
  13. ^ "GRC: Greece and Spanish Royal Families Attend Commemorative Mass For King Paul I of Greece Pictures & News Photos | Getty Images". Retrieved 4 September 2015.
  14. ^ "Spanish and Greek royals come together in Athens to remember King Paul I of Greece". Hello Magazine. 6 March 2014.
  15. ^ a b Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "George I., King of the Hellenes" . Encyclopædia Britannica. Vol. 11 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
  16. ^ a b c d Meisner, Heinrich Otto (1961), "Friedrich III", Neue Deutsche Biographie (in German), vol. 5, Berlin: Duncker & Humblot, pp. 487–489; (full text online)
  17. ^ a b Bricka, Carl Frederik (ed.). "Louise". Dansk Biografisk Leksikon. Vol. 5. p. 593.
  18. ^ a b "Olga Constantinovna (1851–1926)". Women in World History: A Biographical Encyclopedia. Gale Research. 2002.
  19. ^ a b Louda, Jiří; Maclagan, Michael (1999), Lines of Succession: Heraldry of the Royal Families of Europe, London: Little, Brown, p. 34, ISBN 978-1-85605-469-0


  • 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
  • Μιχάλης Φύλλας, «Στιγμές από την ιστορία της σύγχρονης Ελληνικής θεολογίας. Ο βασιλιάς Παύλος και η «Ένωση Ελλήνων Θεολόγων», Σύναξη, τχ.156, (Οκτώβριος-Δεκέμβριος 2020), σελ.85-88.[1]

External links[edit]

Paul of Greece
Cadet branch of the House of Oldenburg
Born: 14 December 1901 Died: 6 March 1964
Regnal titles
Preceded by King of the Hellenes
1 April 1947 – 6 March 1964
Succeeded by