The Kingdom of Greece began its life in 1832 after the Greeks had risen up against the Ottoman Empire. They became fully independent in 1830, and the Treaty of London in 1832 made Greece a monarchy. A Bavarian Prince named Otto was chosen as its first King.
Otto married Amalia of Oldenburg, and she was thus the first Queen of Greece, but tragically the couple would have no children together. It was perhaps one of the reasons that in 1862 a coup was launched and Otto and Amalia were exiled. Otto died in exile in 1867. Amalia died in 1875 in Bavaria. The Greeks were still in favour of a monarchy and went in search of a new King. Eventually, they settled on the 17-year-old Prince William of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg, later “of Denmark”, the brother of Alexandra of Denmark, who married the future King Edward VII of the United Kingdom. William became known as King George I of Greece.
On 27 October 1867, George married 16-year-old Grand Duchess Olga Constantinovna of Russia who was an Orthodox Christian, like the majority of the Greeks. The couple would go on to have eight children, though one daughter would die in infancy. On 18 March 1913, George was shot at close range in the back by Alexandros Schinas, and he died instantly. George was succeeded by his eldest son, now King Constantine I of Greece.
Constantine had married Sophia of Prussia in 1889, and they had six children together. During The First World War, Constantine wished to remain neutral, but in the end, they lost supporters in the Triple Entente, and the Allied High Commissioner asked for the abdication of the King. The family left Greece and their second son was proclaimed as King Alexander after their first son was deemed too pro-German. In a controversial move, Alexander married commoner Aspasia Manos in 1919, and she was pregnant when Alexander died in 1920 after being bitten by a monkey. She gave birth to a daughter named Alexandra on 25 March 1921. In the beginning, Alexandra was deemed illegitimate as her parents’ marriage was considered illegal, but a law was passed in 1922, recognising the marriage retroactively.
The throne was then offered to Alexander’s younger brother Paul, who refused to accept it while his father and older brother were still alive. The throne remained vacant until the return of King Constantine I, under the regency of his mother, Olga. However, the King’s return was unpopular, and within two years, he would be forced into his second exile. He spent the last four months of his life in exile and died on 11 January 1923. Upon his second exile, Constantine was succeeded by his eldest son, now King George II of Greece.
George had married Elisabeth of Romania in 1921, but the couple would have no children together, and they eventually divorced in 1935. Within two years, George too would be forced into exile, although he refused to abdicate. A republic was proclaimed on 25 March 1924. It wasn’t until 1935 that the Greek people voted for the return of the monarchy. During the Second World War, George evacuated to Egypt but remained a recognised head of state. After the war, he returned to Greece once more. He died on 1 April 1947 and was succeeded by his younger brother, now King Paul of Greece.
Paul had married Princess Frederica of Hanover on 9 January 1938, and they had three children together. During Paul’s reign, the economy of Greece began to gradually recover from the hardships. Despite this, republic sentiments grew. Upon his death on 6 March 1964, he was succeeded by his only son, now King Constantine II of Greece. Later that same year, Constantine married Princess Anne-Marie of Denmark, the sister of Queen Margrethe II of Denmark. They went on to have five children together.
In 1967, ongoing political instability led to the successful Colonels’ Coup, and he was forced to agree to inaugurate the Greek military junta of 1967-1974. In December 1967, Constantine was forced to flee the country, though he formally remained head of state until 1973 when the junta abolished the monarchy. Anne-Marie was thus the last Queen of Greece.
The claim to the throne of Greece is still held by King Constantine II.