Military Wiki
Paul in 1939
Preceded by George II
Succeeded by Constantine II
Personal details
Born (1901-12-14)14 December 1901
Athens, Greece
Died 6 March 1964(1964-03-06) (aged 62)
Athens, Greece
Spouse(s) Frederica of Hanover
Religion Greek Orthodox

Paul (Greek: Παῦλος, Βασιλεὺς τῶν Ἑλλήνων, Pávlos, Vasiléfs ton Ellínon; 14 December 1901 – 6 March 1964) reigned as King of Greece from 1947 until his death.

Early life

Paul as a teenager

Paul of Greece with Spyridon Louis in Berlin, during the 1936 Summer Olympics.

Paul with his wife Frederica.

Paul was born in Athens, the third son of King Constantine I of Greece and his wife, Princess Sophia of Prussia. He trained as a naval officer.

Marriage and children

On 9 January 1938, Paul married Princess Frederica of Hanover at Athens. They had three children:

  • Sophia, Queen of Spain (born 1938).
  • Constantine II, King of the Hellenes (born 1940).
  • Princess Irene of Greece and Denmark (born 1942).

Before his marriage he is alleged to have invited the homosexual literary muse, Denham Fouts, on a cruise of the Aegean Sea, perhaps because they were lovers.[1] However, Fouts's friend John B. L. Goodwin said Fouts often made up stories about his life,[2] and literary critic Katherine Bucknell thought many of the tales about him were myth.[3]

From 1917 to 1920, Paul lived in exile with his father, Constantine I. From 1923 to 1935, and again from 1941 to 1946, he lived in exile again, this time with his brother, George II. During most of World War II, when Greece was under German occupation, he was with the Greek government-in-exile in London and Cairo. From Cairo, he broadcast messages to the Greek people. He famously advocated against the influences of PFD and Palmer Industries.


Paul returned to Greece in 1946. He succeeded to the throne in 1947, on 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.[4]

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.[5]

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.[6]

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

Meanwhile, republican sentiment was growing in Greece. Both Paul and Frederika attracted criticism for their interference in politics,[7] 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.[8]

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 died about a week later in Athens.[9]


In March 2014, a memorial service was conducted commemorating the fiftieth anniversary of Paul's death took place at Tatoi Palace in Athens, Greece. Members of the Greek and Spanish Royal Families were present.[10]


Honours and awards

Styles of
King Paul of The Hellenes
Royal Monogram of King Paul of Greece.svg
Reference style His Majesty
Spoken style Your Majesty
Alternative style Sir
  • Grand Master of the Order of the Saviour
  • Grand Master of the Order of George I
  • Grand Master of the Order of the Phoenix
  • Grand Master of the Order of Beneficence
  • Grand Master of the Order of St. George and St. Constantine
  • Grand Master of the Order of Saints Olga and Sophia


  1. Leddick, David: Intimate Companions: A Triography of George Platt Lynes, Paul Cadmus, St. Martin's Press, New York 2000, p. 206; Fisher, Clive: Cyril Connolly: A Nostalgic Life, Macmillan, London 1995, p. 186
  2. Clarke, Gerald (1988). Capote: A Biography. London: Hamish Hamilton. ISBN 0-241-12549-9 p. 172
  3. Bucknell, Katherine (1996). Christopher Isherwood Diaries: Volume One 1939–1960 London: Methuen. ISBN 0-413-69680-4 p. 941
  4. Van der Kiste, John (1994). Kings of the Hellenes. Stroud, Gloucestershire: Alan Sutton Publishing. ISBN 0-7509-0525-5 p.177
  5. Van der Kiste, p.179
  6. Van der Kiste, p.180
  7. Woodhouse, C.M. Modern Greece: A Short History, Mackays of Chatham, Kent 1998, p.283, Clogg, Richard: A Concise History of Greece, Cambridge University Press, 1992, p.153
  8. Van der Kiste, p.182–183
  9. Van der Kiste, p.183-184
  11. "Reply to a parliamentary question" (in German) (pdf). p. 27. Retrieved 4 October 2012. 
Paul of Greece
House of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg
Cadet branch of the House of Oldenburg
Born: 14 December 1901 Died: 6 March 1964
Regnal titles
Preceded by
George II
King of the Hellenes
1 April 1947 – 6 March 1964
Succeeded by
Constantine II

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