Royal Wedding Recollections – Prince Juan Carlos of Spain & Princess Sofia of Greece and Denmark

queen sofia dress
Alberto Paredes / Alamy Stock Photo

On 14 May 1962, Princess Sofia of Greece and Denmark married the future King Juan Carlos I of Spain in three different ceremonies. The match was a bit controversial from the start as Sofia came from a reigning dynasty, while Juan Carlos’s future as King was still rather uncertain. He was not known as the Prince of Asturias as Franco had refused to allow him to use the title.1

The first ceremony was the Roman Catholic ceremony, as this was the faith of the groom. It began at 10 a.m. and was held in the Cathedral Basilica of St. Dionysius the Areopagite. The ceremony was performed by the Archbishop of Athens, Venediktos Printesis. Sofia wore a tulle-covered lamé gown with antique lace. Her train was lined with the same lace and was six metres long. She wore a long veil, held in place by the Prussian Diamond Tiara. Her dress was the work of Jean Dessès, and the shoes were by Vivier. Juan Carlos wore a Spanish army uniform. The Cathedral was decorated with red and yellow carnations – the colours of the Spanish. Despite the mass being said in three languages, the ceremony lasted just 30 minutes. They received the blessing of the archbishop as Mozart’s coronation mass played.

The couple then got into a carriage that would take them to the Royal Palace for a civil ceremony. This ceremony was performed by the Mayor of Athens. However, Sofia was Greek Orthodox, and a second ceremony had been allowed by Pope John XXIII. Once more, the couple got into their carriage and were driven to the Metropolitan Cathedral of Athens. At noon, a 21 gun salute announced the commencement of the Orthodox ceremony.

After the ceremony, Sofia threw her wedding bouquet, which was caught by Princess Anne-Marie of Denmark, who would later become her sister-in-law. The couple then returned to the royal palace as they waved to the crowds that lined the route.

During their honeymoon on Corfu, Sofia was officially received into the Catholic Church.

The couple went on to have three children, including the current King of Spain – King Felipe VI. They became King and Queen of Spain in 1975 until Juan Carlos’s abdication in 2014. However, they mostly live separate lives now.


  1. Juan Carlos by Paul Preston p.62

About Moniek Bloks 2762 Articles
My name is Moniek and I am from the Netherlands. I began this website in 2013 because I wanted to share these women's amazing stories.

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