Andre of Greece, the beloved brother of my father, married princess Alice of Battenberg. She was somewhat deaf, and out of fear that she would make a mistake, they had her memorize the responses she was to give to the priest’s questions during the marriage ceremony. Unfortunately for Alice, the priest reversed the order of the questions.
“Have you already been married?
“Have you renounced having any other man in your life?”
What clearly provoked confusion among the clergy, was a source of great laughter for the family.
In this photograph, relaxing between the ceremonies of the wedding on the balcony are Queen Alexandra of England and her daughter Victoria, Tsar Nicholas II and my Father Christopher; below them, King Georges V of England, King Constantine and Prince George of Greece
My grandfather George I hated William II, whose father William I had eaten up a third of Denmark, the birthplace of George I. William II bought the villa of Empress Elizabeth of Austria on the island of Corfu following the empress’s death. He would visit his villa every year, and every year my grandfather would go and receive him. Once, my grandmother, Olga of Greece, asked him why he goes to greet William if he detests him so much.
“Because if I am not there he will start to think it is his island.”
The arrival of the emperor aboard his immense white yacht was quite an affair. A sort of triumphal arc was erected, topped with the imperial crown of Germany. Surrounded by decorations and wearing celebratory dress they cordially saluted the emperor, hiding their loathing.
Every year, my grandmother Olga brought my father, then a child, for long trips in Russia, her homeland. They went from palace to palace, from chateau to chateau, visiting their many relatives. The longest stay, of course, was reserved for her parents at Pavlovsk Palace. Here is my father, perched atop a magnificent Louis XVI armchair. The furniture of Pavlovsk was celebrated for its splendor.
It was during the reign of my grandfather George I, and with his support and aid, that the Stadium of Athens was built. The inauguration was grand event. It was constructed on the grounds of the ancient stadium, in the exact location. Each ruler that visited Athens was entitled to a tour of the stadium, which was the site of the first Olympic games of the modern era. Entering the Stadium are George I of Greece and his sister queen Alexandra of England, behind then Queen Olga of Greece with King Edward VII of England