Queen Sofia of Spain

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Queen Sofía (née Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg), born Princess Sophia of Greece and Denmark, is the queen consort of King Juan Carlos I of Spain.

Early life and family

She was born in Athens, Greece on November 2, 1938, the eldest child of the King of the Hellenes, Paul I (1901-1964) and his wife, the former Frederika, Princess of Hanover (1917-1981). Both her parents were descendants of Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom and despite her country of birth, the family tree on both sides is almost exclusively German and Danish in origin. The Greek royal house is a cadet branch of the Danish royal family of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg, which is itself a branch of the House of Oldenburg. Her brother is former King Constantine II of Greece and her sister is Irene of Greece.

Princess Sophia spent her childhood in Egypt and South Africa during her family's exile from Greece during World War II. They returned to Greece in 1946. She finished her education at the prestigious Schloss Salem boarding school in Southern Germany, and then studied pediatrics, music and archeology in Athens. Her Majesty speaks Spanish, Greek, German, French and English.

Marriage and family

On May 14, 1962 she married Don Juan Carlos de Borbón y Borbón Dos Sicilias, Prince of Spain and the future king, whom she met on a cruise of the Greek islands in 1954. In doing so, she relinquished her rights to the throne of Greece and converted to Roman Catholicism from Greek Orthodoxy. The couple have three children: Infanta Elena born December 20, 1963, Infanta Cristina born June 13, 1965 and Prince Felipe born January 30, 1968.


Through her mother, Sophia is a great-great granddaughter of the United Kingdom's Queen Victoria and is, through several lines, a distant cousin of her husband. Because of this, she is also related to all of the royal families of Europe.

Royal duties

The Queen of Spain is the executive president of the Queen Sofía Foundation, which in 1993 sent funds for relief in Bosnia, and is the honorary president of the Royal Board on Education and Care of Handicapped Persons and the Foundation for Aid for Drug Addicts. She takes special interest in programs against drug addiction, traveling to conferences in both Spain and abroad. The Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía is named after her, as is Reina Sofía Airport in Tenerife.

The Queen is an Honorary Member of the San Fernando Royal Academy of Fine Arts and of the Royal Academy of History. She has received Honorary Doctorates from the Universities of Rosario (Bogota), Valladolid, Cambridge, Oxford, Georgetown, Evora and New York.

Titles from birth

Here is a list of titles Queen Sophia held from birth in chronological order :

  • Her Royal Highness The Princess Sophia of Greece and Denmark (1938-1962)
  • Her Royal Highness Princess Sofia of Spain (1962-1975)
  • Her Majesty The Queen of Spain (Since 1975)


She is a pescetarian (a vegetarian who eats fish), which is a rather uncommon custom in Spain. She also does not watch bullfighting, in contrast with her husband, who is an aficionado.

When she and King Juan Carlos I made their first official state visit to Puerto Rico in 1987, after taking a tour of the governor's mansion La Fortaleza, she was so left enchanted by the Rattan Living Room (known as Salon Ratán in Spanish), that the room officially was renamed in her honor and remains so to this very day (La Galeria de la Reina, or in English, The Queen's Gallery). [1]

As a matrilineal relative of Nicholas II of Russia, she and all her children are of mitochondrial haplogroup T.

External links

A portion of content for this article is credited to Wikipedia. Content under GNU Free Documentation License(GFDL)