Birth and family
Princess Anne-Marie's birthplace: Frederick VIII's Palace at Amalienborg
Princess Anne-Marie was born on 30 August 1946 at Amalienborg Palace in Copenhagen as the third and last daughter and child of the Crown Prince of Denmark and the Crown Princess, Princess Ingrid of Sweden. Her father was the eldest son of the King and the Queen, Duchess Alexandrine of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, and her mother was the only daughter of the Crown Prince of Sweden and his British-born first wife, daughter of the Duke of Connaught, Princess Margaret of Connaught.
The princess was baptised on 9 October 1946 in the Church of Holmen in Copenhagen. Her godparents are the King of Denmark and Queen of Denmark (paternal grandparents); Crown Prince of Sweden (maternal grandfather, Prince Bertil of Sweden (maternal uncle), the King of Norway (paternal grand-uncle), Prince George of Greece and Denmark, the Crown Princess of Norway (father's first cousin), Queen Mary of the United Kingdom, Princess Dagmar of Denmark (paternal grand-aunt) and the Crown Princess of the Netherlands.
At her birth, Princess Anne-Marie had two elder sisters: Princess Margrethe, the present Queen of Denmark, and Princess Benedikte, who later married Prince Richard of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg and lives in Germany.
Princess Anne-Marie with the royal family on the balcony of Amalienborg Palace on her father's 55th birthday in 1954.
Princess Anne-Marie and her sisters grew up in apartments at Frederick IX's Palace at Amalienborg in Copenhagen and in Fredensborg Palace in North Zealand. She spent summer holidays with the royal family in her parent's summer residence at Gråsten Palace in Southern Jutland. On 20 April 1947, King Christian X died and Anne-Marie's father ascended the throne as King Frederick IX.
At the time of her father's accession to the throne, only males could ascend the throne of Denmark. As Anne-Marie's parents had no sons, it was assumed that her uncle Prince Knud would one day assume the throne. The popularity of Frederick IX and his daughters and the more prominent role of women in Danish life paved the way for a new Act of Succession in 1953 which permitted female succession to the throne following the principle of male-preference primogeniture, where a female can ascend to the throne if she has no brothers. Anne-Marie's eldest sister Margrethe therefore became heir presumptive, and Princess Benedikte and Princess Anne-Marie became second and third in the line of succession.
Anne-Marie was educated at N. Zahle's School, a private school in Copenhagen, from 1952 to 1961. In 1961 she attended the Chatelard School for Girls, an English boarding school outside Montreux in Switzerland. In 1963 and 1964 she attended the Institut Le Mesnil, a Swiss finishing school also in Montreux.
In 1959, at the age of thirteen, Anne-Marie first met her future husband, her third cousin Constantine, Crown Prince of Greece, who accompanied his parents, King Paul and Queen Frederica, on a state visit to Denmark. They met a second time in Denmark in 1961, when Constantine declared to his parents his intention to marry Anne-Marie. They met again in Athens in May 1962 at the marriage of Constantine's sister Princess Sofia of Greece and Denmark to Prince Juan Carlos of Spain at which Anne-Marie was a bridesmaid: and again in 1963 at the centenary celebrations of the Greek monarchy.
On 6 March 1964, King Paul died, and Constantine succeeded him as King of the Hellenes. In July 1964, the announcement of the engagement of Constantine and Anne-Marie raised the polite protests of the Left in Denmark. Anne-Marie and Constantine were married on 18 September 1964 (two weeks after Anne-Marie's 18th birthday) in the Metropolis, the Greek Orthodox Cathedral of Athens. The bride wore a
Jørgen Bender design. Prior to the wedding, Anne-Marie converted from Lutheranism to the Greek Orthodox Church. Also, in view of the fact that she was marrying a foreign ruler, consent to the marriage was given on the condition that Anne-Marie renounced her succession rights to the Danish throne for herself and her descendants.
Anne-Marie and her husband Constantine are third cousins: they share King Christian IX of Denmark as patrilineal great-great-grandfather. They also share Queen Victoria as a great-great-grandmother. They have five children: Princess Alexia, Crown Prince Pavlos, Prince Nikolaos, Princess Theodora and Prince Philippos.
As Queen of Greece, Anne-Marie spent much of her time working for a charitable foundation known as "Her Majesty's Fund" which provided assistance to people in rural areas of Greece.
The former King and former Queen with their youngest children in 1987 by Allan Warren
Constantine and Anne-Marie have five children and nine grandchildren.
King Constantine II and Queen Anne-Marie attending a horse show in Rome
during their exile in Italy
In April 1967, Anne-Marie’s husband King Constantine had been compelled, after a military coup, to swear into office a military junta. In December 1967, the King attempted to shake off the unelected authoritarian regime and tried to stage a counter-coup with the help of certain like-minded people. The counter-coup failed and Anne-Marie and her family had to flee to Italy. In the aftermath, Anne-Marie miscarried a child. The family lived for two months in the Greek embassy in Rome and then for the next five years in a house in a suburb of Rome.
In 1973, Anne-Marie moved with her family to England. They lived first in Chobham in Surrey. Later they moved to the London suburb of Hampstead where they continue to live. The Greek government seized their former private home of Tatoi. It was only after a successful appeal to the European Court of Human Rights that the Greek government were forced to pay compensation for the property. King Constantine has used the money obtained to set up the Anne-Marie Foundation.
In 1980 Anne-Marie and Constantine founded Hellenic College of London, a bilingual school where her own children were educated. She is currently honorary chairman of the school.
The government of Greece did not permit Anne-Marie to return to Greece until 1981 when she was allowed to enter Greek territory for several hours to attend the funeral of her mother-in-law, Queen Frederika. She and her family paid a private visit to Greece in 1993. Since 2003 – when the property dispute between her husband Constantine and the government of Greece concluded – Anne-Marie has visited Greece numerous times.
In 2003 Anne-Marie and her husband established the Anna-Maria Foundation with the money reimbursed to them by the government of Greece for the appropriation of their private property. The foundation provides aid to victims of natural disasters, including earthquakes and floods, in Greece. Anne-Marie serves as president of the foundation.
On 21 May 2004 Anne-Marie was peripherally involved in a dispute in Madrid between former Crown Prince Vittorio Emanuele of Italy and his cousin and dynastic rival Prince Amedeo of Savoy-Aosta. At a soirée held at the Zarzuela Palace during the wedding celebrations of Felipe, Prince of Asturias, Amedeo approached Vittorio who reportedly punched him twice in the face, causing him to stumble backward down the steps. The quick intervention of Anne-Marie, who propped him up, prevented Amedeo from falling to the ground. She discreetly assisted him indoors while stanching his bleeding facial wounds until first aid was administered. Upon learning of the incident Spain's King Juan Carlos, a cousin of both men, reportedly declared that "never again" would an opportunity to abuse his hospitality be afforded the competing pretenders.
On 14 August 2004 Anne-Marie and her husband Constantine visited their former home in Athens, the former Royal Palace that is now the Presidential Palace, for the first time since 1967. They were received by then-President of Greece Costis Stephanopoulos along with other members of the International Olympic Committee (of which Constantine is an honorary member). In December 2004 Constantine, Anne-Marie and their children were again invited to pay a personal private visit by President Stephanopoulos.