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George I, King of the Hellenes, (December 24, 1845 – March 18, 1913) was born as Christian Wilhelm Ferdinand Adolf George, the second son and third child of King Christian IX of Denmark and Princess Louise of Hesse-Cassel. Until his accession in Greece, he was known as Prince Wilhelm. At age only 17, he was elected King of the Hellenes on March 30, 1863 by the Greek National Assembly under the regnal name of George I.

King George I of the Hellenes

King George I of the Hellenes married Grand Duchess Olga Constantinovna of Russia (September 3, 1851 – June 18, 1926), the daughter of Grand Duke Constantine Nikolaievich and his wife, Princess Alexandra of Saxe-Altenburg, at the chapel of the Winter Palace in Saint Petersburg on October 27, 1867 when she was barely 16 and he was he was 21. Over the next twenty years, they had eight children.

Grand Duchess Olga Constantinovna of Russia

All male line descendants of King George are entitled to the be a Prince of Greece and Denmark. Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, husband of Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom, was born the only son and fifth and final child of Prince Andrew of Greece and Denmark and Princess Alice of Battenberg, was a prince of both Greece and Denmark by virtue of his patrilineal descent from George I of Greece and Christian IX of Denmark.

The Duke of Edinburgh is also member of the House of Glücksburg, itself a branch of the House of Oldenburg. The House of Glücksburg (also spelled Glücksborg), shortened from House of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg, is a Dano-German branch of the House of Oldenburg, members of which have reigned at various times in Denmark, Norway, Greece and several northern German states.

The question I raise is, are the Duke of Edinburgh’s children and other descendants also princes/princesses of Greece and Denmark?

At birth the Duke of Edinburgh was in the line of succession to both thrones of Greece and Denmark; the 1953 Succession Act removed his family branch’s succession rights in Denmark.

In 1947 Philip was granted permission by George VI to marry Princess Elizabeth. Before the official announcement of their engagement in July of that year, Philip renounced his Greek and Danish royal titles, became a naturalised British subject, and adopted his maternal grandparents’ surname Mountbatten.

Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark

However, it wasn’t necessary for Philip to under go the naturalization process due to the fact that he was born a British national as a descendant of the Electress Sophia of Hanover and the subsequent Sophia Naturalization Act of 1705 which granted British nationality in perpetuity to Sophia’s descendants. The act was superseded in 1949 by the passage of the British Nationality Act.

Although born a Prince of Greece and Denmark his upbringing was thoroughly British. On September 22, 1922, Philip’s uncle, King Constantine I of the Hellenes was forced to abdicate and the new military government arrested Prince Andrew, his father, along with others. In December, a revolutionary court banished Prince Andrew from Greece for life. The British naval vessel HMS Calypso evacuated Prince Andrew’s family, with Philip carried to safety in a cot made from a fruit box.

Because Philip left Greece as a baby, he does not speak Greek, and has stated that he thinks of himself as Danish. In 1928, he was sent to the United Kingdom to attend Cheam School, living with his maternal grandmother, Victoria Mountbatten, Dowager Marchioness of Milford Haven, at Kensington Palace and his uncle, George Mountbatten, 2nd Marquess of Milford Haven, at Lynden Manor in Bray, Berkshire. Philip has always lived in the United Kingdom ever since.

Prince Philip initially started the process of renouncing his Greek and Danish titles in 1941, after he had joined the British Royal Navy. The renunciation of his Greek and Danish titles was done in a private via a letter to King George II, then in exile, in December of that year. The king accepted the renunciation with some reluctance, but only accepted his request due to Philip’s desire to serve in the British Royal Navy. After George II returned there was never any official action taken by the Greek government to remove Philip’s Greek and Danish, but the decision was accepted by the Greek king therefore that action in itself has been considered official by many historians and governmental figures.

However, there are some historians that believed since there isn’t any direct evidence that official documentation was submitted by King George II of the Hellenes to the government to remove Philip’s titles, therefore it is believed that Philip just simply stopped using his titles. Therefore theoretically, do Philip and his descendants still have their Dynastic titles such as Prince/Princesses of Greece and Denmark as well as other dynastic titles, Duke of Schleswig, Holstein, Stormarn, Dithmarschen, Lauenburg, and Oldenburg? Are they still there, and just in a state of disuse?

Is that true? That is what we’ll examine in part II.