Queen Sofia of Spain: Europe's Last Queen Consort Born Royal


The birth of a Royal Princess

She was born Her Royal Highness Princess Sophia of Greece and Denmark on November 2, 1938 at Tatoi Palace, the former royal residence of the Greek royal family in Athens, Greece. 

She was born during the reign of her paternal uncle, King George II of Greece. Her parents were Prince Paul of Greece and Princess Frederica of Hanover. She has two younger siblings, Constantine,  who would become king in 1964, and Princess Irene of Greece and Denmark.

King Paul of Greece, Queen Frederica and their three children 

During World War II, the Greek royal family went into exile, Princess Sophia and her siblings spent time in Egypt. They returned to Greece after the war, in 1946.

Princess Sophia went to a boarding school in Germany and went back to Greece studying music, childcare and archaeology.

Illustrious Royal Blood

As with most European royals in her time, Princess Sophia is blood related to almost all Royals in Europe through Queen Victoria of Britain and King Christian IX of Denmark.

Her father, who became King Paul in 1947, was a first cousin of Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, and also a great grandson of Queen Victoria in his own right through Princess Vicky, and King Christian IX of Denmark through King George I of Greece. 

While her mother, Princess Frederica, was both a great granddaughter of Queen Victoria and King Christian IX of Denmark through Princess Thyra of Denmark, sister of King George I of Greece, Queen Alexandra of Britain and Empress Marie of Russia.

Queen Elizabeth II, King Juan Carlos, Queen Sofia and Prince Philip are third cousins through Queen Victoria and King Christian IX of Denmark 

Princess Sophia is a third cousin to Queen Elizabeth II, Queen Margrethe II of Denmark, King Harald V of Norway, King Carl XVI Gustav of Sweden and her husband, King Juan Carlos. And also a distant cousin of former Belgian King, Albert II, Queen Astrid.

Royal Marriage

Princess Sophia met her future husband, Infante Juan Carlos, in 1954 during a family cruise in the Greek islands, no romance had spark until they met again in June 1961 during the wedding of both their cousin, Prince Edward, the current Duke of Kent, whose mother was Princess Marina of Greece and Denmark.

The King and Queen of Spain

Their engagement was announced later and got married on May 14, 1962. Princess Sophia converted to Roman Catholicism, the religion of Spanish royal family, and as a result, she was removed from the line of succession to the British throne.

Following the marriage, the princess changed the spelling of her name from Sophia to the Spanish Sofia. The couple also settled in Spain as Juan Carlos had started his training as Spain's future monarch. 

With their young children 

They have three children together: Infanta Elena, Infanta Cristina and the only son who is now King of Spain, Felipe VI.

King Juan Carlos 

The king was not expected to wear the Spanish crown when he was born in 1938. Spain was under the dictator, Francisco Franco who led the Spanish revolution that deposed Juan Carlo's grandfather, King Alfonso XIII, in 1931. His wife, Queen Eugenia, was Queen Victoria of Britain's granddaughter through her youngest child, Princess Beatrice.

King Alfonso and his family went into exile in Italy and the series of family tragedy took place afterwards. His heir, Prince Alfonso, renounced his right to the Spanish throne when he married a commoner. And died in America through a car accident.

His second son, Infante Jaime, who was deaf, also renounced his right to the throne, this leaves the king's fourth son, Prince Juan as claimant to the Spanish throne.

Prince Juan made an effort to negotiate a truce with Franco to restore the Spanish monarchy. After years of negotiation, Franco finally agreed. 

However, Prince Juan renounced his right to the throne and named his eldest son, Infante Juan Carlos instead as next king of Spain. 

Deposition of Constantine II 

Sofia would visit her native Greece several times after moving to Spain. In 1967, she was visiting her brother when the Greek military coup took place. 

King Constantine II was forced to live in exile in 1969 during the military takeover and was stripped of his Greek citizenship and properties.

Queen Sofia wouldn't visit Greece again,  except for the brief period in 1981 during the funeral of her mother, Queen Frederica, until 1998.

Queen Consort 

She became Spain's Queen Consort in November 1975 when the Spanish monarchy was restored and her husband became King Juan Carlos.

During her stint as Queen Consort, Queen Sofia has accompanied her husband on public engagements, overseas tour, and was deeply involved in charities and patronages and was actively supporting campaign against drug addiction. 

King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia

For decades, the Spanish royal couple enjoyed popularity greater than their European counterparts. Many admired King Juan Carlos for his effort in transitioning the Spanish government from dictatorship to constitutional monarchy.

The Spanish royal family with the Prince and Princess of Wales and the young William and Harry in 1988
King Juan Carlos cuddling the young Prince William now the Duke of Cambridge 

But controversies and poor health  later in his reign overshadowed King Juan Carlos accomplishment. In 2014, he decided to abdicate in favor of their only son, Felipe.

The Last Royal Queen Consort 

World War II saw Europe on the brink of eliminating royal houses. Until only 10 royal houses have survived in the current days. 

With son, King Felipe VI 

It eventually saw the decline of marriages between royals. Most of them began looking beyond palace walls for a partner, down to the doorstep of commoners. 

Call of times perhaps.

Queen Sofia of Spain

But there are few European royals who stick to the ethos of royal marriages. Queen Sofia and King Juan Carlos together with her brother, King Constantine II who married Princess Anne Marie of Denmark, and their cousin, Prince Philip who married Queen Elizabeth II in 1947.

With granddaughters, 
Princess Leonor and Infanta Sofia 

After the abolition of the Greek monarchy in 1974, and the death of Queen Ingrid of Denmark  in 2000, Queen Sofia became the last European Queen Consort who was born royal. 

Today, only her cousin, Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, remained the last of that generation of being a consort who is royal by birth.

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Gospel Today November 03, 2020

Luke 14: 15-24,
"the Parable of the Great Feast"

When one of the guests sitting at the tableble heard this, he said to Jedus,
"How happy are those who will sit down atvthe feast in the Kingdom of God!"
Jesus said to him, "There was once a man who was giving a great feast to which he invited many pwople. When it was time the feast,bhe sent his servant to tell his guests, 'Come, everything is ready!' Butvthey all bw, one after another, to make exuses. The first one told and must go and look at it; pleasebaccept my apologies
Another one said, 'I have bought five pairs of oxen and am on my way to try them out; please accept my apolgies. Another one said,,'I have just gottenmarried, and for that reason I cannot come. The servan back and told all this to his master. The master was furious and saod to his servant, 'Hurry out to the streets and alleys of the town, and bring back the poor, the crippled the blind, and the lame, Soon the servanr said 'Your order hasvbeen carried out, sir but there is room for more. So the master said to the servant, 'Go out to the country roads and lanes and make people come in, so that my house wll be full. I tell you all that none of those who were invited will taste my dinner!':
God Bless