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Paul I of GreeceFXD.jpg
Paul in 1939
King of the Hellenes
Reign 1 April 1947 – 6 March 1964
Predecessor George II
Successor Constantine II
Prime Ministers
Born (1901-12-14)14 December 1901
Tatoi Palace, Athens, Greece
Died 6 March 1964(1964-03-06) (aged 62)
Athens, Greece
Burial 12 March 1964
Royal Cemetery, Tatoi Palace, Greece
(m. 1938)
House Glücksburg
Father Constantine I of Greece
Mother Sophia of Prussia
Signature Paul's signature

Paul (Greek: Παύλος, Pávlos; 14 December 1901 – 6 March 1964) was King of Greece from 1 April 1947 until his death in 1964. He was succeeded by his son, Constantine II.

Paul was first cousin to Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh and father-in-law to Juan Carlos I of Spain.

Early life

King paul of greece
Paul as a teenager.

Paul was born on 14 December 1901 at the Tatoi Palace in Attica north of Athens, the third son of King Constantine I of Greece and his wife, Princess Sophia of Prussia. He trained as an army officer at the Royal Military College, Sandhurst and later at the Hellenic Military Academy in Kypseli, Athens. Paul was an army officer cadet in the Coldstream Guards and Lieutenant with the Evzones. To his family, he was known as Palo.

From 1917 to 1920, Paul lived in exile with his father, Constantine I. From 1923 to 1935, he lived in exile again in England, this time with his brother, George II. He worked briefly in an aircraft factory under an alias, and through Viscount Tredegar met and befriended notorious literary muse Denham Fouts, who later alleged an affair., claiming they had themselves identically tattooed with a small blue insignia above the heart. A friend of Fouts, John B. L. Goodwin said Fouts often made up stories about his life, and literary critic Katherine Bucknell thought many of the tales about him were myths. Henry Channon wrote in his diary that Paul was a bisexual rake before his marriage.

Marriage and children

Bundesarchiv Bild 183-2003-1103-501, Berlin, Olympiade, Spyridon Louis, Kronprinz Paul
Paul of Greece with Spyridon Louis in Berlin, during the 1936 Summer Olympics.

On 9 January 1938, Paul married Princess Frederica of Hanover, his first cousin once removed through Frederick III, German Emperor, and Victoria, Princess Royal, and second cousin through Christian IX of Denmark, in Athens. They had three children:

World War II

During most of World War II, from 1941 to 1946, when Greece was under German occupation, Paul was with the Greek government-in-exile in London and Cairo. From Cairo, he broadcast messages to the Greek people.


Paul returned to Greece in 1946. He succeeded to the throne in 1947, upon the death of his childless elder brother, King George II, during the Greek Civil War (between Greek Communists and the non-communist Greek government). In 1947 he was unable to attend the wedding of his first cousin, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh to the future Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom as he was suffering from typhoid fever.

By 1949 the Civil War was effectively over, with the Communist insurgents ceasing the majority of their operations, and the task of rebuilding the shattered north of the country began.

In the 1950s Greece recovered economically, and diplomatic and trade links were strengthened by Paul’s state visits abroad. He became the first Greek Monarch to visit a Turkish Head of State. However, links with Britain became strained over Cyprus, where the majority Greek population favored union with Greece, which Britain, as the colonial power, would not endorse. Eventually, Cyprus became an independent state in 1960.

In December 1959, Prince Maximillian of Bavaria presented King Otto's coronation regalia to Paul. It had been almost a century since they were last in Greece.

Meanwhile, republican sentiment was growing in Greece. Both Paul and Frederica attracted criticism for their interference in politics, frequent foreign travels, and the cost of maintaining the Royal Family. Paul responded by economising and donated his private estate at Polidendri to the State.

In 1959, he had an operation for a cataract, and in 1963 an emergency operation for appendicitis. In late February 1964, he underwent a further operation for stomach cancer, and about a week later on 6 March 1964, King Paul I died in Athens. He was succeeded by his son, Constantine II.

Foreign Honours


In March 2014, a memorial service took place in the grounds of Tatoi Palace in Athens commemorating the fiftieth anniversary of Paul's death. Members of the Greek and Spanish royal families were present.

See also

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