One of the members of the British Royal Family that fits the topic of this series is HRH The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. Just what is his nationality? German, Greek, Danish, English? He is an interesting case. HRH The Duke of Edinbugh was born a Prince of Greece and Denmark at Mon Repos, Corfu to HRH Prince Andreas of Greece and Denmark and HSH Princess Alice of Battenberg, on June 10, 1921. How did a prince get to be a prince of Greece and Denmark?

By the 15th century the majority of the Greek Islands came under the control of the Ottman Empire. Previously, Greece had been a conglomerate of kingdoms and independant city states until it became first part of the Roman Empire, then under the Eastern Roman Empire, or what is commonly called the Byzantine Empire, before being taken over by the Ottomans. As the Ottoman Empire continued to weaken and its states sought independence or were conquered by European States, the Greek states rebelled in 1821 and soon had their independence.

With the Treaty of London of 1832 Greece became amonarchy. The first candidate selected was Prince Dom Pedro of Braganza, Prince Royal of Portugal, Brazil and the Algarves (future King Pedro IV of Portugal and later the first Emperor of Brazil). Dom Pedro turned down the offer. The throne of Greece went to Prince Otto of Bavaria, son of King Ludwig I of Bavaria and Princess Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen. Otto ruled Greece for 30 years until he was deposed in a coup in 1862 due to his unwelcomed influence in Greek Politics.

The Greek government still desired to continue as a monarchy. The pro-British Greek government desired that Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh, second son of Queen Victoria, should take the Greek throne. Eventually Prince William of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg was selected the next king of Greece. Prince William was the second son of Prince Christian of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg and Princess Louise of Hesse-Cassel (within a few months after his son became King of Greece, Prince Christian became King Christian IX of Denmark). Prince William also retained his Danish title and his descendants have been both princess of Greece and Denmark. five boys and three girls.  

Prince William chose the name George and became King George I of the Hellenes. In 1867 King George married Grand Duchess Olga Constantinovna of Russia in the chapel of the Winter Palace in Saint Petersburg Russia. The couple had eight children, five boys and three girls. The seventh child and and the fourth boy was Prince Andreas, born in 1882. In 1902 Prince Andreas attended the coronation of King Edward VII of the United Kingdom of Great Britain. While in London Prince Andreas met Princess Alice of Battenberg, great-niece to the newly crowned king and the daughter of Prince Louis of Battenberg and Princess Victoria of Hesse and By Rhine (herself a granddaughter of Queen Victoria),

The couple fell in love and married in October of 1903 in Darmstadt, Germany. Between 1905 and 1914 Prince and Princess Andreas had four girls; Margarita, Theodora, Cecilie and Sophie. Seven years would lapse before the birth of the fifth and last child, Prince Philippos in 1921. 

Continued in Part IV…

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