Princess Irene, Duchess of Aosta
|Irene of Greece and Denmark|
|Duchess of Aosta; Duchess of Spoleto|
|Queen consort of Croatia (disputed)|
|Tenure||18 May 1941 – 31 July 1943|
13 February 1904|
|Died||15 April 1974
|Burial||Il Borro, then Basilica of Superga|
|Spouse||Prince Aimone, Duke of Aosta|
|Issue||Prince Amedeo, Duke of Aosta|
|Father||Constantine I of Greece|
|Mother||Sophia of Prussia|
prev. Greek Orthodoxy
Princess Irene of Greece and Denmark (Πριγκίπισσα Ειρήνη της Ελλάδας και Δανίας) (13 February 1904 – 15 April 1974) was the fifth child and second daughter of Constantine I of Greece and his wife, the former Princess Sophie of Prussia.
Family and early life
Her paternal grandparents were George I of Greece and Olga Konstantinovna of Russia. Her maternal grandparents were Friedrich III, German Emperor, and his Empress consort Victoria. Victoria was a daughter of Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha and Queen regnant Victoria of the United Kingdom.
Irene was born in Athens, preceded in birth by three brothers, George (1890), Alexander (1893) and Paul (1901), and one sister, Helen (1896). Another sister, Katherine was born in 1913. In 1927, her brother, George, announced her engagement to Prince Christian of Schaumburg-Lippe, a nephew of Christian X of Denmark. but later instead married his cousin, Princess Feodora of Denmark.
- Prince Amedeo Umberto Constantino Giorgio Paolo Elena Maria Fiorenzo Zvonimir of Savoy, born 27 September 1943
By her marriage she converted herself from Greek Orthodoxy (religion of her parents) to Roman Catholicism.
From 1941-42, she served with the International Red Cross in the Soviet Union. Prince Aimone became the 4th Duke of Aosta on 3 March 1942, following the death of his elder brother, Amadeo, the 3rd Duke. On 18 May 1941, taking the name Tomislav II, he was proclaimed King of the Independent State of Croatia. He never set foot on the territory of the state, and subsequently abandoned the crown on 12 October 1943, after the Italian withdrawal from the war.
Princess Irene was not in favour of her husband taking the Crown of Zvonimir, but supported his plans to avoid becoming the King of Croatia. After the Allied armistice' with the Kingdom of Italy, the princess was captured by the Germans and taken to a labour camp in Austria and later in Poland. She and her family were interned in a Nazi concentration camp in 1944. Amedeo, her son and heir, was at that time a small infant and often ill. Irene was liberated by the French. Prince Aimone died on 29 January 1948 in Buenos Aires. Upon his death, his son Amedeo succeeded him as the 5th Duke of Aosta.
Titles, styles, honours and arms
Titles and styles
- 13 February 1904 – 30 June 1939: Her Royal Highness Princess Irene of Greece and Denmark
- 1 July 1939 – 17 May 1941: Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Spoleto
- 18 May 1941 – 2 March 1942: Her Majesty The Queen of Croatia, Duchess of Spoleto
- 3 March 1942 – 31 July 1943: Her Majesty The Queen of Croatia, Duchess of Aosta
- 1 August 1943 – 28 January 1948: Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Aosta
- 29 January 1948 – 15 April 1974: Her Royal Highness Princess Irene, Duchess of Aosta
- Kingdom of Greece : Dame Grand Cross of the Order of Saints Olga and Sophia -
- Austria-Hungary : Dame of the Order of the Starry Cross -
- "Princess Irene Tells Engagement To Prince Christian of Schaumburg-Lippe", The New York Times, Vienna, 13 October 1927
- "Duchess of Aosta dies", The New York Times, Berlin, West Germany, 15 April 1974