Family Portrait, I

Marriage of King Constantine of Greece and Princess Anne-Marie of Denmark, Athens September 18, 1964.

9All the kings of Europe, and of other continents as well, whether reigning or not, gathered together for the marriage of the youngest king and the ravishing daughter of the King of Denmark. According to Orthodox customs, the crowns are held above the heads of the bride and groom. I was chosen, and am to the right holding the crown above the young bride. The archbishop of Athens brought the young couple around the table for what the Orthodox call “The Dance of Isaïe.” Among the royals, from right to left, Prince Philip, King Baudouin of Belgium, Queen Fabiola, Queen Ingrid of Denmark, King Gustav Adolf of Sweden, and the current Queen Margarèthe of Denmark. In the second row, we see Queen Marie José and King Umberto of Italy, and King Siméon of Bulgaria.


My Grandmother, Isabelle of France, the Duchess de Guise.

10Daughter of the Count of Paris, great-granddaughter of Louis Philippe, she married her first cousin Jean d’Orléans. She took me under her wing following the death of my mother, her daughter. She played an essential role in my development. I idolized this formidable personality, on which one could write volumes. My stays at her home in Morocco were the happiest vacations of my life. She is wearing the famous set of sapphire and diamond jewels of the House of France. It is said that the sapphires belonged to Queen Marie-Antoinette. After, they passed to Empress Joséphine, and then to her daughter Queen Hortense from whom Louis Philippe bough them. Presently, the jewels are on display in the gallery of Apollon at the Louvre.


A Te Deum in the time of the Greek Monarchy, Athens, 1960.

11Three times a year, we, the royal family, went in great ceremony from the Royal Palace to the cathedral of Athens for a Te Deum. The royal cortege made its way through the city observed and hopefully applauded by the enthusiastic crowd. In the royal Rolls Royce sits King Paul and Queen Frederika, and in front of them, their daughter, Princess Irène. Once, during the ceremony, the wife of the ambassador of the Unites States, finding the ceremony too long, called to the Queen “Your Majesty,” and from her place gestured to her watch to say one could truly shorten these Orthodox rites, a sincerity which certainly was not appreciated.


At the Saudi Arabian Court, Jeddah, Autumn 1964.

12I was sent on an official visit to Saudi Arabia to reconcile Greece with King Faycal for I don’t know what offense. The sovereign was one of the personalities that struck me the most in my entire life. Tall and slim, ascetic, the Court during his time was the contrary of the showing luxury it has become today. I was taken by the intensity of his personality, of his will, the love he had for his country and his burning desire to modernize it. He received me for lunch; I am seated to his right. The two other men in European dress are the ambassador of Greece, and my aide-de-camp, lieutenant Korkolis. Jeddah, where I stayed and was received, was, at the time, a city out of the Middle Ages.


Orthodox prelates at the wedding of Constantine of Greece and Princess Anne-Marie of Denmark, September 18, 1967.

13For the ceremony, all the bishops in Greece gathered together. They wore their sumptuous ceremonial vestments, brocade dalmatics in red, blue, pale yellow and pale green, diamond laden crowns, and carried staffs of gold encrusted with precious stones. With their long beards, they are particularly imposing. At the near center of the photo, in profile, is Benedictos, the Patriarch of Jerusalem. Facing the camera, to the left, the prelate wearing glasses with the grey beard is the chaplain of the Court, Monsignor Geronimos. A year later, he would officiate my own wedding ceremony. Later still, he became Archbishop of Athens.


My wife Marina with the painter Yannis Tsarouchis.

14Marina Karella belongs to a distinguished family of Greek industry. Refusing the fate that was reserved for her, as it was for all young women of her milieu, which is to say marry another rich Greek and bear children, she left for Paris and enrolled in the school of Fine Arts. She was 18 years old. At a young age, she developed her talents. She was hired by the actor Dimitri Horn to design the costumes and sets for his plays. She was the pupil of the greatest and most celebrated painter of modern Greece, Yannis Tsarouchis. After being requested by Maria Callas to design the costumes for a performance of “Norma” at the ancient theater of Epidaure, in celebration of the diva’s return her country, he took Marina as his pupil. Thus, did she assist in many rehearsals with the famous diva, a truly unforgettable experience.


Requiem for the Duke d’Orléans, Notre Dame of Paris, 1925.

15Philippe of France, Duke d’Orléans, head of the House of France, Pretender to the throne, and my mother’s uncle, died in 1925. He was succeeded in titles by his first cousin Jean d’Orléans, Duke de Guise, my grandfather, who was automatically exiled from France by law. But his wife, my grandmother, as a woman, was exempted from this restriction. She presided over a requiem held in the cathedral of Paris in memory of her brother. Thus, for the first time in many decades, did the fleur-de-lys of French kings adorn the old sanctuary. My grandmother, photographed here, is exiting the cathedral, following by my mother Françoise, to the left with her head lowered. An immense crowd of French royalist awaited them, and let out cries of “Long live the queen, long live the queen.” My grandmother gently placed a finger to her lips, this simple gesture sufficed to quiet the cries of the many partisans.



by  Prince Michael of Greece