Prince Christopher of Greece and Denmark

Prince Christopher of Greece and Denmark

Prince Christopher  of Greece and DenmarkPrince Christopher of Greece and Denmark
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Christoph von Griechenland, Христофор Греческий и Датский, Christophoros af Grækenland og Danmark, Χριστόφορος της Ελλάδας και της Δανίας
Tatoi Royal Cemetery

Prince Christopher of Greece and Denmark (10 August 1888 – 21 January 1940) was the youngest son and last child of King George I of Greece, belonging to a dynasty which mounted and lost the throne of Greece several times during his lifetime. Much of his life was spent living abroad.

Family background

He was born at Pavlovsk, Imperial Russia, son of George I of Greece and his queen, Olga, a Russian grand duchess by birth. He was the youngest of their eight children, being twenty years younger than their oldest child, Constantine. He was called "Christo" in the family. His older brothers were future King Constantine I, George, Nicholas and Andrew. His nephew Philip, son of his brother Andrew, married into the British royal family. Upon his marriage, he and his wife, King George VI's older daughter Elizabeth, were respectively titled The Duke of Edinburgh and Princess Elizabeth, Duchess of Edinburgh.

Christopher, like his siblings, was a polyglot, speaking Greek, English, Danish, Russian, French and Italian. The siblings spoke Greek to one another, and used English with their parents. The parents, however, spoke German to each other.

The Greek royal family maintained close relations with the Danish royal family, to which they also officially belonged. The Hellenic royal line was a cadet branch of the Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg dynasty which had mounted the throne of Denmark in 1863.

Early adulthood

When Christopher came of age he joined the Hellenic Navy, although apparently he would rather have studied the piano. While a young man, he was apparently offered no fewer than three different thrones - those of Portugal,[5] Lithuania, and Albania - but he declined them all, as he did not wish the stress of royal duties.

He was briefly engaged to Princess Alexandra, Duchess of Fife in about 1910 (Alexandra's mother, Princess Louise, Duchess of Fife, was a daughter of King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra of the United Kingdom, herself an older sister of George I of Greece, Christopher's father). The engagement was terminated when disapproving parents learned of the liaison.

First marriage

On 1 January 1920, Christopher married a very wealthy American widow, Nonnie May "Nancy" Stewart Worthington Leeds, at Vevey, Switzerland. His bride, a once-divorced and once-widowed commoner at least a decade older than the prince, was nonetheless recognised as Christopher's dynastic wife by his family (at the time of the engagement and wedding, the Greek royal family lived frugally in exile, and as Christopher was last in the dynasty's order of succession, any children he fathered would not impact the succession rights of other Greek dynasts). Her fortune, estimated in the tens of millions of dollars, was inherited from her second husband, a tin millionaire, and substantially eased the Greek royal family's exile during the 1920s. The wedding followed a six-year engagement while the royal court-in-exile negotiated the terms and arrangements of the marriage.

Shortly after their marriage, Princess Anastasia developed cancer, and died in London on 29 August 1923, leaving no children from this marriage. Prince Christopher did, however, have a stepson, William Bateman Leeds Jr (1902–1971), who had, in 1921, married Princess Xenia Georgievna Romanova of Russia. She was Christopher's niece through his elder sister, Marie of Greece, Grand Duchess George of Russia.

Second marriage and family

Prince Christopher later remarried; his second wife was Princess Françoise of Orléans (25 December 1902 – 25 February 1953).

Françoise was a daughter of Jean d'Orléans, Duc de Guise, Orléanist pretender to the throne of France, by his wife/first cousin, Isabelle d'Orléans. Isabelle was, in turn, a daughter of Philippe, Comte de Paris by his wife and first cousin, Infanta Maria Isabel de Orléans y Borbon.

The couple were married in 1929 in Palermo, Italy; the civil ceremony was on 10 February, and the religious one on 11 February. They were childless for a decade, then one child was born to Françoise: Prince Michael of Greece and Denmark was born in Rome in 1939, shortly before Prince Christopher's death.

Prince Christopher on Anna Anderson

In 1927, Prince Christopher paid a visit to the Long Island home of William and Xenia Leeds, who were his step-son and niece, respectively. Xenia had taken an interest in the strange case of a woman, Anna Anderson, who claimed to be Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolaevna of Russia, youngest daughter of the last Tsar of Russia, Nicholas II.

As Prince Christopher explained, "That was her story, and, fantastic as it was, there were many who believed then − and still believe − in her, among them one or two members of the Imperial Family." He went on, "Dozens of people who had known the Grand Duchess Anastasia were brought to see the girl in the hope that they might be able to identify her, but none of them could come to any definite conclusion." Prince Christopher described her, "In the first place she was unable to speak Russian, which the Grand Duchess Anastasia, like all the Czar's children, had talked fluently − and would only converse in German."

Summing up, he said of her, "The poor girl was a pathetic figure in her loneliness and ill health, and it was comprehensible enough that many of those around her let their sympathy over-rule their logic... She was unable to recognise people whom the Grand Duchess Anastasia had known intimately, and her descriptions of rooms in the different palaces and of other scenes familiar to any of the Imperial Family were often inaccurate."

Prince Christopher on monarchy

Prince Christopher recorded his thoughts on monarchy and those aspiring to it: "Nothing under the sun would induce me to accept a Kingdom. A crown is too heavy a thing to be put on lightly. It has to be worn by those born to that destiny, but that any man should willingly take on the responsibility, not being constrained by duty to do so, passes my comprehension."


Prince Christopher of Greece died on 21 January 1940, aged 51.



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1Tatoi PalaceTatoi Palacede, en, fr, pl, ru, ua



        Relation nameRelation typeBirth DateDeath dateDescription
        1George IGeorge IFather24.12.184518.03.1913
        2Olga  Constantinovna of RussiaOlga Constantinovna of RussiaMother03.09.185118.06.1926
        3Prince Andrew of  Greece and DenmarkPrince Andrew of Greece and DenmarkBrother02.02.188203.12.1944
        4Constantine I of GreeceConstantine I of GreeceBrother02.08.186811.01.1923
        5Prince Nicholas of  Greece and DenmarkPrince Nicholas of Greece and DenmarkBrother22.01.187208.02.1938
        6Princess Maria of Greece and DenmarkPrincess Maria of Greece and DenmarkSister03.03.187614.12.1940
        7Alexandra  GeorgievnaAlexandra GeorgievnaSister30.08.187024.09.1891
        8Princess Françoise  of OrléansPrincess Françoise of OrléansWife25.12.190225.02.1953
        9Princess Anastasia of  Greece and DenmarkPrincess Anastasia of Greece and DenmarkWife20.01.187829.08.1923
        10Alexander IIAlexander IIUncle29.04.181813.03.1881
        11Николай СтаршийНиколай СтаршийUncle27.07.183113.04.1891
        12Великий Князь Георгий МихайловичВеликий Князь Георгий МихайловичUncle23.08.186330.01.1919
        13Константин КонстантиновичКонстантин КонстантиновичUncle10.08.185802.06.1915
        14Николай КонстантиновичНиколай КонстантиновичUncle14.02.185027.01.1918
        15Дмитрий Константинович РомановДмитрий Константинович РомановUncle01.06.186030.01.1919
        16Grand Duchess Maria  Nikolaevna of RussiaGrand Duchess Maria Nikolaevna of RussiaAunt18.08.181921.02.1876
        17Olga  NikolaevnaOlga NikolaevnaAunt11.09.182230.10.1892
        18Всеволод  РомановВсеволод РомановNephew20.01.191418.06.1973
        19Кирилл ВладимировичКирилл ВладимировичNephew12.10.187612.10.1938
        20Dmitri  PavlovichDmitri PavlovichNephew06.09.189105.03.1942
        21Andrei  VladimirovichAndrei VladimirovichNephew02.05.187930.10.1956
        22Prince PhilipPrince PhilipNephew10.06.192109.04.2021
        23Князь Роман ПетровичКнязь Роман ПетровичNephew17.10.189623.10.1978
        24Дарья  БогарнэДарья БогарнэNephew07.03.187005.11.1937
        25Nikolajs II RomanovsNikolajs II RomanovsNephew19.05.186817.07.1918
        26Георг IIГеорг IINephew19.07.189001.04.1947
        27Vladimir  PaleyVladimir PaleyNephew09.01.189718.07.1918
        28Prince Nikita  Nikitich RomanovPrince Nikita Nikitich RomanovNephew13.05.192303.05.2007
        29Boris  Wladimirowitsch RomanowBoris Wladimirowitsch RomanowNephew24.11.187709.11.1943
        30Edward  VIIIEdward VIIINephew23.06.189428.05.1972
        31Кирилл  АндросовКирилл АндросовNephew05.12.191507.02.1992
        32Georg von MerenbergGeorg von MerenbergNephew16.10.189711.01.1965
        33Mikhail Aleksandrovich RomanovMikhail Aleksandrovich RomanovNephew04.12.187813.06.1918
        34Марина  РомановаМарина РомановаNiece11.03.189215.05.1981
        35Grand Duchess Maria PavlovnaGrand Duchess Maria PavlovnaNiece18.04.189013.12.1958
        36Ольга  РомановаОльга РомановаNiece13.06.188224.11.1960
        37Natālija AndrosovaNatālija AndrosovaNiece23.02.191725.07.1999
        38Marie of RomaniaMarie of RomaniaNiece29.10.187518.07.1938
        39Helen of Greece and DenmarkHelen of Greece and DenmarkNiece02.05.189628.11.1982
        40Princess Elizabeth of  Greece and DenmarkPrincess Elizabeth of Greece and DenmarkNiece24.05.190411.01.1955
        41Princess Marina  of Greece and DenmarkPrincess Marina of Greece and DenmarkNiece13.12.190627.08.1968
        42Princess IrenePrincess IreneNiece13.02.190415.04.1974
        43Natalia PaleyNatalia PaleyNiece05.12.190527.12.1981
        44Надежда  РомановаНадежда РомановаNiece15.03.189821.04.1988
        45Великая княгиня Ксения АлександровнаВеликая княгиня Ксения АлександровнаNiece06.04.187520.04.1960
        46Princess Catherine IvanovnaPrincess Catherine IvanovnaNiece25.07.191513.03.2007
        47Sophia of PrussiaSophia of PrussiaSister in-law14.06.187013.01.1932
        48Alice von BattenbergAlice von BattenbergSister in-law25.02.188505.12.1969
        49Grand Duchess Elena VladimirovnaGrand Duchess Elena VladimirovnaSister in-law17.03.188213.03.1957
        50Sophia of  PrussiaSophia of PrussiaBrother in-law14.06.187013.01.1932
        51Михаил НиколаевичМихаил НиколаевичGrandfather25.10.183218.12.1909
        52Konstantin NikolayevichKonstantin NikolayevichGrandfather21.09.182725.01.1892
        53Александра ИосифовнаАлександра ИосифовнаGrandmother08.07.183006.07.1911
        54Olga  FeodorovnaOlga FeodorovnaGrandmother20.09.183912.04.1891
        55Leopold BadenLeopold BadenGreat grandfather29.08.179024.04.1852
        56Михаил ПавловичМихаил ПавловичGreat grandfather08.02.179828.08.1849
        57Nicholas I of RussiaNicholas I of RussiaGreat grandfather06.07.179618.02.1855
        58Георгий Петрович ОльденбургскийГеоргий Петрович ОльденбургскийGreat grandfather00.00.178400.00.1812
        59Paul IPaul IGreat grandfather01.10.175423.03.1801
        60Charles FrederickCharles FrederickGreat grandfather02.02.178308.07.1853
        61Louis Württemberg, DukeLouis Württemberg, DukeGreat grandfather30.08.175620.09.1817
        62Александра ФёдоровнаАлександра ФёдоровнаGreat grandmother13.07.179801.11.1860
        63Maria FeodorovnaMaria FeodorovnaGreat grandmother14.10.175924.10.1828
        64Екатерина ПавловнаЕкатерина ПавловнаGreat grandmother10.05.178809.01.1819
        65Maria  PavlovnaMaria PavlovnaGreat grandmother04.02.178611.06.1859
        66Елена ПавловнаЕлена ПавловнаGreat grandmother28.12.180621.01.1873
        67Henriette  Nassau-Weilburg, PrincessHenriette Nassau-Weilburg, PrincessGreat grandmother22.04.178002.01.1857
        68Oleg  KonstantinovichOleg KonstantinovichCousin15.11.189229.09.1914
        69Alexander IIIAlexander IIICousin10.03.184501.11.1894
        70Вера КонстантиновнаВера КонстантиновнаCousin24.04.190611.01.2001
        71князь Георгий Максимилианович Романовскийкнязь Георгий Максимилианович РомановскийCousin29.02.185203.05.1912
        72Великий князь Пётр НиколаевичВеликий князь Пётр НиколаевичCousin10.01.186417.06.1931
        73Princess Nina GeorgievnaPrincess Nina GeorgievnaCousin20.06.190127.02.1974
        74Maria AlexandrovnaMaria AlexandrovnaCousin17.10.185324.10.1920
        75Paul  AlexandrovichPaul AlexandrovichCousin03.10.186030.01.1919
        76Grand Duke Nicholas  Nikolaevich of RussiaGrand Duke Nicholas Nikolaevich of RussiaCousin18.11.185605.01.1929
        77Сергей  РомановСергей РомановCousin11.05.185717.02.1905
        78Gabriel RomanovGabriel RomanovCousin15.07.188728.02.1955
        79Сергей АлександровичСергей АлександровичCousin11.05.185717.02.1905
        80Александр ИскандерАлександр ИскандерCousin15.11.188726.01.1957
        81Princess Xenia  Georgievna of RussiaPrincess Xenia Georgievna of RussiaCousin22.08.190317.09.1965
        82Владимир АлександровичВладимир АлександровичCousin10.04.184704.02.1909
        83Georgy  KonstantinovichGeorgy KonstantinovichCousin23.04.190307.11.1938
        84Igor  ConstantinovichIgor ConstantinovichCousin29.05.189418.07.1918
        85Prince Ioann  Konstantinovich of RussiaPrince Ioann Konstantinovich of RussiaCousin05.07.188618.07.1918

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