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Princess Andrew returned to the United Kingdom in April 1947 to attend the wedding of her only son, Philip, to Princess Elizabeth, the elder daughter and heir presumptive of King George VI. The wedding occurred on November 20, 1947. She had some of her remaining jewels used in Princess Elizabeth’s engagement ring. On the day before the wedding, her son was created Duke of Edinburgh, Earl of Merioneth and Baron Greenwich by George VI. For the wedding ceremony, Princess Andrew sat at the head of her family on the north side of Westminster Abbey, opposite King George VI, Queen Elizabeth and Queen Mary. It was decided not to invite Princess Andrew’s daughters to the wedding because of anti-German sentiment in Britain following World War II.


In January 1949, the princess founded a nursing order of Greek Orthodox nuns, the Christian Sisterhood of Martha and Mary, modelled after the convent that her aunt, the martyred Grand Duchess Elizabeth Feodorovna, had founded in Russia in 1909. She trained on the Greek island of Tinos, established a home for the order in a hamlet north of Athens, and undertook two tours of the United States in 1950 and 1952 in an effort to raise funds. Her mother, Princess Victoria of Hesse and by Rhine, later Victoria Mountbatten, Marchioness of Milford Haven, was baffled by her actions, “What can you say of a nun who smokes and plays canasta?”, she said. Her daughter-in-law became Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and of the Commonwealth realms in 1952, and Princess Andrew attended her coronation in June 1953, wearing a two-tone grey dress and wimple in the style of her nun’s habit. However, the order eventually failed through a lack of suitable applicants.

Duke of Edinburgh with his mother Princess Andrew of Greece

In 1960, she visited India at the invitation of Rajkumari Amrit Kaur, who had been impressed by Princess Andrew’s interest in Indian religious thought, and for her own spiritual quest. The trip was cut short when she unexpectedly took ill, and her sister-in-law, Edwina Mountbatten, Countess Mountbatten of Burma, who happened to be passing through Delhi on her own tour, had to smooth things with the Indian hosts who were taken aback at Princess Andrew’s sudden change of plans. She later claimed she had had an out-of-body experience. Edwina continued her own tour, and died the following month.

Increasingly deaf and in failing health, Princess Andrew left Greece for the last time following the April 21, 1967 Colonels’ Coup. Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh invited Princess Andrew to reside permanently at Buckingham Palace in London. King Constantine II of Greece and Queen Anne-Marie went into exile that December after a failed royalist counter-coup.

Despite suggestions of senility in later life, Princess Andrew remained lucid but physically frail. She died at Buckingham Palace on December 5, 1969. She left no possessions, having given everything away. Initially her remains were placed in the Royal Crypt in St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle, but before she died she had expressed her wish to be buried at the Convent of Saint Mary Magdalene in Gethsemane on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem (near her aunt Grand Duchess Elizabeth Feodorovna, a Russian Orthodox saint).

When her daughter Princess Sophie of Greece and Denmark (Princess Georg of Hanover), complained that it would be too far away for them to visit her grave, Princess Andrew jested, “Nonsense, there’s a perfectly good bus service!” Her wish was realized on August 3, 1988 when her remains were transferred to her final resting place in a crypt below the church.

Princess Andrew of Greece and Denmark with her grandchildren Prince Charles and Princess Anne.

On October 31, 1994, Princess Andrew’s two surviving children, the Duke of Edinburgh and Princess Georg of Hanover, went to Yad Vashem (the Holocaust Memorial) in Jerusalem to witness a ceremony honouring her as “Righteous Among the Nations” for having hidden the Cohens in her house in Athens during the Second World War. Prince Philip said of his mother’s sheltering of persecuted Jews, “I suspect that it never occurred to her that her action was in any way special. She was a person with a deep religious faith, and she would have considered it to be a perfectly natural human reaction to fellow beings in distress.” In 2010, the Princess was posthumously named a Hero of the Holocaust by the British Government.