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Family Portrait, II

Me and my tank, military parade of the Greek National Festival, 25 March, 1962.

1Shortly after finishing my studies at the University of Political Sciences in Paris, I moved to Greece; I quickly enlisted in order to complete my military service. I was in the calvary, which is to say the modern day tank regiment. I knew nothing about them, and to this day still know nothing, but I took great pleasure in driving these enormous machines, and nearly burst with pride during the national parade… only, barely after passing the doorway of the barracks, my tank broke down… The thought that this disaster could have occurred only a half hour earlier, during the parade…

 

Presentation of my Officer’s Sword, the Athenian Royal Palace, 1962. 

2After completing my studies at the reserve officer’s training school, King Paul, in the throne room of the Royal Palace, presented me with my sword. Behind him is the Queen Frederika, and behind her, the Princes Sophie of Greek and her husband, the Prince Juan Carlos of Spain, the future King and Queen of Spain. In morning coats and in uniforms were the members of the royal court. To the right, the cross on a table and the Bible, upon which I would take my oath of fidelity. The black tunic belongs to the barely noticeable Archbishop of Athens.

 

Centenary of the Greek Royal Dynasty, Athens, 1863.

4In 1863, Prince William of Denmark, then aged 18, arrived in Athens after being chosen by the powers and elected by the people of Greece to rule under the name of George I. One hundred years later, his descendants honored this event with a large parade. On horses, from right to left, the Crown Prince Constantine, the future king, King Paul of Greece, Prince Pierre and myself. I have always hated horses. Mounting a horse was always a nightmare, particularly on this day. I was worried over the smallest mishap, and the ridicule that a fall might provoke. Fortunately, Queen Frederika, always sensible, had given me a few sedatives. In any event, I have never forgotten this ordeal. On the rostrum, we see the king of Denmark, Frederic IX, Queen Frederika in a white hat, and Queen Ingrid of Denmark.

 

Marriage of Princess Anne of France and Prince Amédée of Savoie Aoste, Naples, 1927.

5After the church ceremony, the mother of the bride, the Duchess de Guise, my beloved grandmother, and the Duke d’Aoste, the father of the groom, in a court carriage, passed through the portal of the Royal Palace where the reception was held. The wedding, which took place in 1927, had a great popular impact. An immense crowd welcomed and applauded the newlyweds.

 

Millenary of Mount Athos, 1963.

7In the north of Greece, the peninsula of Mount Athos appears as an immense forest peppered with twenty or so medieval monasteries and ends at the imposing peak of the Sacred Mountain. This community is the only true theocratic state in the world, which is to say that God alone is the head of state. It is a semi-independent state with its own traditions and privileges. The Greek royal family and the Orthodox prelates gathered to celebrate the millenary. Between the never-ending Orthodox ceremonies that took place in this or that monastery, we had a moment to relax on the balcony of one of the monasteries. King Paul in the black sunglasses, the Crown Prince Constantine with his back turned and myself mid-laugh facing the camera, chatting with some of the prelates. At lunch with the Orthodox Patriarchs, I was seated beside a representative of the Russian Church, Monsignor Nicodème. This personage, large, stocky, and red-haired, made me feel ill at ease; as I wrote then in my journal “I wouldn’t be surprised if he were a member of the KGB.” More than forty years later, I read an article in le Figaro confirming my suspicions; he was in fact a distinguished member of the Soviet secret service.

 

My first visit to Greece, 1953.

8My mother Françoise died in 1953, I was 14 years old. I came to Greece for her burial in the Greek Royal Pantheon in Tatoï near Athens. It was my first visit to my country. I was brought to the Acropolis, amongst other places, where I was photographed alongside a young boy, George Levidis, the son of the Grand Marshall of the Court. Although I arrived in Greece behind my mother’s coffin, I would find many years of happiness.

 


by  Prince Michael of Greece

5 comments on “Family Portrait, II


  1. Evangelos Kyrialanis

    Υψηλότατε!
    Ονομάζομαι Ευάγγελος Κυριαλάνης , ειμαι 33 ετών , απο την Παραδημή Κομοτηνής και είμαι Βασιλόφρονας απο μικρό παιδί . Αγαπώ πάρα πολύ την Ελληνική Βασιλική Οικογένεια και τον Βασιλέα Κωνσταντίνο Β’ των Ελλήνων καθως και την Βασίλισσα Αννα Μαρία . Ειμαι φίλος με τον Διάδοχο Παύλο στο Facebook και θα ήθελα πολύ να γνωρίσω κι Εσάς . Γνωρίζω οτι είσαστε ενας επιτυχημένος Συγγραφέας και ενας πολύ καλός άνθρωπος . Σας θαυμάζω και Σας αγαπώ πολύ οπως και την συζυγό Σας την Μαρίνα που ειναι εξαιρετική ζωγράφος !

    Θα ηθελα πολύ να Σας γνωρίσω απο κοντά , γιατί γνωρίζω οτι εισαστε εγγονός του Μακαριστού Εθνομάρτυρα Βασιλέως Γεωργίου Α’ των Ελλήνων ,, που τον αγαπώ πάρα πολυ ! Ευχομαι ο Θεός να Σας ευλογεί πάντοντε!

    Θα χαρώ πολύ αν μου αποστείλετε μια φωτογραφία Σας υπογεγραμμένη με την υπογραφή Σας και μια αφιερωση στο ονομά μου , αν επιτρεπεται αυτο φυσικα . Η ταχυδρομική μου διεύθυνση ειναι

    Evangelos Kyrialanis
    Paradimi Komotinis
    Postal Box 1084
    Zip Code 69100
    Komotini
    Rodopi
    Greece

    Κλεινοντας το μηνυμα μου , θα ήθελα να Σας ζητήσω συγγνώμη για τον ενθουσιασμό μου και αν κατι απο οσα Σας εγραψα Σας φανηκε παραξενο η υπερβολικο . Θελω να Σας εκφράσω τον σεβασμό μου και την αγάπη μου προς το προσωπό Σας , γι’αυτο λοιπόν υποκλίνομαι ταπεινά στην Υψηλότητα Σας με σεβασμο .

    ο Θεός να Σας ευλογει

    Μετα τιμής , αγάπης και σεβασμου
    Ευάγγελος Κυριαλάνης

    ΥΓ πατώντας κλικ στην διευθυνση της ιστοσελίδας μου θα δείτε το προφίλ μου στο Facebook . Αν εχετε κι Εσεις προφιλ στο Facebok θα χαρω πολύ αν μου κάνετε αίτημα φιλίας για να τα λέμε !



  2. Gérard Caule

    Un site magnifique, d’une grande élégance, avec des photos inconnues pour voyager dans l’histoire du XXe siècle et la Grèce d’aujourd’hui.



  3. Nikolaos Logothetis

    Your Highness
    The Stories and these wonderful historic pictures are very enlightening and a glimpse in a bygone era please continue posting more.I am a fan of your work and i would like to ask you when are you going to write about later life in Greece when you returned at the age of 18 if am not mistaken in 1960.Since i consider my self a part time historian i would love to read your views of that period, you being a member of the Greek Royal Family, and a first hand witness of that period. Please keep up the great writing, it would be my sincere honor and pleasure to meet Your Royal Highness one day maybe in Athens.

    Sincerely yours, Nikolaos Logothetis
    432 Larkspur Dr
    Joppa MD,21085
    USA

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