Sophia ~ King Juan Carlos I of Spain
The Greek Glücksburg Princess who became Queen of Spain
Queen Sophia of Spain was born 1938 as Princess of Greece, the eldest daughter and first child of King Paul I and Queen Frederika of Greece. In 1962 she married Don Juan Carlos, from 1975 king of Spain as King Juan Carlos I (*1938). The Queen is the sister of ex-King Constantine II of Greece, who now lives in exile in London. Her youngest sister is Princess Irene (*1942), who has remained unmarried and lives in Spain as a professional concert pianist.
The Queen's father, the late King Paul I of Greece was known to be very concerned about his children's marriages. Here is a nice photograph of the king visiting General Franco in Madrid prior to the marriage. It seems that the negotiations were successful -- on the right the official wedding photograph from the marriage that took place in Athens in 1962.
Juan Carlos’s personal appeal persuaded the majority of military personnel to support the government. Favoring gradual democratic reform, he instituted a parliamentary government based on a new constitution that was popularly approved in 1978.
He has since provided a focus for national unity and underpinned the stability of democratic Spain as a constitutional monarchy. The Basque separatist terror group ETA made several abortive plans to assassinate him and members of his family during the 1980s and 1990s. In 1998 it was revealed that right-wing media figures apparently plotted in 1994 to force Juan Carlos to abdicate by publishing scandalous stories about him, as part of a wider plan to destabilize Spain. The couple's two daughters, the Princesses Elena and Cristina, are both married and live in Spain with their families.
In 2004 Crown Prince Felipe married a Spanish civil citizen, Miss Letizia Ortiz. For this occasion Spain issued two quite different postage stamps to honour the royal couple. Don Felipe de Borbón y Grecia, officially became heir to the throne on his 18th birthday, and received the official title of Principe de Asturias (a Spanish equivalent to the title of Prince of Wales).
Before her wedding Crown Princess Letizia was a moderator on Spanish TV. The philatelic communities of the world wish them a long and happy life together.
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Sources and links:
Microsoft Encarta 2002.
Bo Bramsen: "The House of Glücksburg through 150 Years", Danish ed., ISBN 87-01-00251-1.
The Royal House of Spain
|First published May 2000. Revised 03-jan-2007
Copyright © 2000-2007 Ann Mette Heindorff
All Rights Reserved