The Royal Blood Ancestry of Queen Sofia, Her Most Stunning Tiaras, and Her Fashion

Queen Sofia of Spain and her tiara collection

Sofia, the Queen Emerita of Spain was born Sophia Margarita Victoria Frederica, known as Princess Sophia of Greece and Denmark, on November 2, 1938, at Tatoi Palace in Athens, Greece. She is the eldest child of King Paul I of Greece and Queen Frederica (born Princess Frederica of Hanover, the granddaughter of the last Emperor of Germany, William II).

When she married Infante Juan Carlos of Spain in 1962, she began using the Spanish version of her name, Sofia. She has two younger siblings: Constantine II, the former King of Greece, and Princess Irene of Greece and Denmark. Irene, who did not marry, moved to Spain to live with her sister and became a Spanish citizen in 2018.

King Paul I of Greece and Queen Frederica and their young children from left: Constantine, Princess Sophia, and Princess Irene

As a direct descendant of Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom and King Christian IX of Denmark, Queen Sofia is a blood relative to most of the European royals. She is a second cousin of King Charles III (her father, King Paul I, and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh were first cousins).

Queen Sofia of Spain
Queen Sofia attending royal events

She spent her childhood in Egypt during her family's exile in World War II. After the war, they returned to Greece. Princess Sophia and Princess Irene were sent by their parents to Baden, Germany to finish their secondary school at the prestigious private boarding school, the Schloss Salem, where Prince Philip spent his secondary school before moving to Gordonstoun in Scotland.

Schloss Salem was owned by Prince Berthold of Baden's family, he was the husband of Princess Theodora, the older sister of Prince Philip. When Prince Berthold died, the management of Schloss Salem went to Prince Georg William of Hanover, the second husband of Prince Philip's older sister, Princess Sophie. Prince Georg William is the older brother also of Queen Frederica.

The young couple in the 1960s

Queen Sofia also studied childcare, music, and archeology in Athens, and at Fitzwilliam College of the University of Cambridge in the UK. Just like her younger brother, King Constantine II, husband, King Juan Carlos, and son, King Felipe VI, Queen Sofia was also into sailing during her youth.

She first met her future husband, Infante Juan Carlos, when she was only 16 in 1954, aboard a cruise liner in the Greek islands. They met again in June 1961 when they both attended the wedding of their cousin, Prince Edward, the Duke of Kent, to The Honorable Katharine Worsley, in London.

Wedding day of Infante Juan Carlos and Princess Sophia

The wedding of Infante Juan Carlos and Princess Sophia was held in Athens on May 14, 1962, first at a Catholic cathedral and then at the Greek Orthodox church. Sophia converted to the Catholic faith following the wedding. They have three children: Elena (born in 1963), Cristina (born in 1965), and Felipe (born in 1968). In 1969, Spanish dictator, Francisco Franco, bypassed Infante Juan de Bourbon, Count of Barcelona, to be the next King of Spain, and gave the honor to Juan's son, Juan Carlos.

The young Spanish royal family: Prince Juan Carlos and Princess Sofia with their children from left: Infanta Elena, Infanta Cristina, and Prince Felipe

Franco bestowed the title Prince of Spain to Juan Carlos instead of the traditional Prince o Asturias, thus King Juan Carlos did not become Prince of Asturias. He bestowed this title later to his son, Felipe, in 1977. The Spanish monarchy was restored upon the death of Francisco Franco and Juan Carlos was crowned by King of Spain.

Queen Sofia of Spain style fashion
The Queen of style! Queen Sofia wearing a bright red dress

Queen Sofia was known for her glamor and stylish fashion during her tenure as Queen consort of Spain, from 1975 to June 2014 when her husband abdicated the Spanish throne. She has worn incredible fashion pieces, from dresses, and shoes, to jewelry, and tiaras. 

Queen Sofia of Spain style fashion
Queen Sofia and her incredible glamour and stunning tiaras

Queen Sofia of Spain style fashion

As a daughter of the former King of Greece, Queen Sofia brought stunning tiaras and pieces of jewelry to Spain after the marriage, either as wedding gifts or as part of her inheritance. At her wedding in 1962, she wore the Prussian Tiara, which she also loaned to Letizia Rocasolano when the latter wed Prince Felipe in 2004.

The stunning tiaras of Queen Sofia

The Prussian Tiara was originally owned by her maternal grandmother, Princess Viktoria Louise of Prussia, the only daughter of William II of Germany, (he was Queen Victoria of Britain's eldest grandchild). 

Queen Sofia of Spain style fashion
Queen Sofia of Spain wearing a Prussian Tiara

It was a gift from Emperor William to his only daughter, Princess Viktoria Louise, on the occasion of her marriage to Prince Ernst Augusts of Hanover, Duke of Brunswick, a direct descendant of King George III of Britain, and also a great-grandson of King Christian IX of Denmark.

Princess Viktoria Louise gifted the tiara to her daughter, Princess Frederica when she married Crown Prince Paul of Greece. Today, the tiara became part of the Spanish jewelry collection and is often worn by Queen Letizia. 

Other incredible tiaras owned by Queen Sofia are the following:

The Cartier Loop Tiara - The tiara, which is made of diamonds and pearls set in platinum, was originally made by Cartier for a nineteenth-century Spanish queen: Maria Cristina, the Austrian-born wife of King Alfonso XII. When Alfonso died, Maria Cristina was pregnant with the future King Alfonso XIII. Because of this, she was not only a queen consort but also a queen regent, as she ruled the country from her husband’s death until their son turned sixteen.

From left Pearl and Diamond Tiara, Cartier Loop Diamond Tiara, and the Diamond Floral Tiara

Queen Ena’s Fleur-de-Lis Tiara -  the diamond fleur-de-lis tiara made a century ago for her husband’s great-grandmother, Queen Ena of Spain. The tiara was made by Ansorena; its design prominently includes the fleur-de-lis symbol of Spain’s reigning family, the House of Borbon. King Alfonso XIII gave the tiara to his new bride as a wedding present.

The Diamond Floral Tiara - a wedding gift from Spanish dictator, Francisco Franco. This tiara had an incredible story of how Franco acquired it. It was a gift from King Alfonso XII of Spain to his wife, Archduchess Maria Cristina of Austria. It was inherited by their son, King Alfonso XIII. When the Spanish monarchy was abolished in 1931 and the Spanish royal family went to live in exile, this tiara was sold.

Franco, who headed the Third Republic that ousted the monarchy, was a conservative royalist and dreamed to restore the monarchy one day. He purchased this tiara. and In 1962, gifted it to Juan Carlos' bride, Princess Sophia. It's a convertible tiara that can be worn as a necklace or a brooch.

Queen Ena's Pearl and Diamond Tiara - a wedding gift from Queen Maria Cristina of Spain (born Archduchess of Austria from the imperial Hapsburg).

From left: Mellerio Shell Tiara, Niarchos Ruby Bandeau, Fleur-de-Lis Tiara 

Mellerio Shell Tiara - a wedding gift from Juan Carlos' parents: Infante Juan and Princess Maria de las Mercedes of Bourbon Two-Sicilies, the Cartier Loop Tiara. It was originally owned by Queen Isabella II of Spain, the last Queen regnant of Spain. She bequeathed it to her daughter, Infanta Isabella, and passed it to her nephew, Alfonso XIII. The king gifted the tiara to his son, Infante Juan, Count of Barcelona, when he wed Princess Maria de las Mercedes.

From left Queen Ena's Pearl and Diamond tiara and the Fleur-de-Lis Tiara

Niarchos Ruby Bandeau - a wedding gift from Stavros Niarchos, the famous Greek shipping magnate. This is a Ruby Parure bandeau and comes with a pair of beautiful ruby and diamond earrings, a ring, and a necklace. Stavros commissioned Van Cleef and Arpels, one of the world's famous jewelers, to create this set of stunning pieces made of bright rubies and diamonds. 

King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia of Spain

The incredible royal bloodline of Queen Sofia:

From Queen Victoria and King Frederick III of Germany:

  • Princess Vicky (eldest child of Queen Victoria)
  • Emperor William II of Germany - son of Princess Vicky
  • Princess Viktoria Louise - daughter of Emperor William II
  • Queen Frederica - daughter of Princess Viktoria Louise
  • Sofia - daughter of Queen Frederica
Also from Queen Victoria and King Frederick III of Germany:

  • Princess Vicky (eldest child of Queen Victoria)
  • Princess Sophia of Prussia/Germany - daughter of Princess Vicky
  • King Constantine I of Greece - son of Princess Sophia
  • King Paul I of Greece - son of Constantine I
  • Sofia - daughter of Paul I

  • King Juan Carlos of Spain and Queen Sofia
    King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia at the wedding of their only son now King Felipe VI

    From King Christian IX of Denmark
    • King George I of Greece (born Prince William of Denmark)
    • King Constantine I of Greece - son of George I
    • King Paul I of Greece - son of Constantine I
    • Sofia - daughter of Paul I
    Also from King Christian IX of Denmark
    • Princess Thyra (younger sister of King George I of Greece and youngest child of Christian IX)
    • Princess Maria Louise of Hanover - daughter of Princess Thyra
    • Ernst August of Hanover, Duke of Brunswick - son of Princess Maria Louise
    • Queen Frederica - daughter of Ernst August
    • Sofia - daughter of Queen Frederica
    From Emperor Nicholas I of Russia
    • Grand Duke Konstantin - son of Nicholas I
    • Grand Duchess Olga Konstantinovna - daughter of Grand Duke Konstantin
    • Constantine I - son of Queen Olga
    • King Paul I - son of Constantine I
    • Sofia - daughter of Paul I

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