Open main menu

Princess Maria of Greece and Denmark

Princess Maria of Greece and Denmark (Greek: Πριγκίπισσα Μαρία της Ελλάδας και Δανίας; 3 March 1876 – 14 December 1940) was the fifth child and second daughter of King George I of Greece and Olga Constantinovna of Russia, and thus a member of the House of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg. She was later the king's only surviving daughter after the death of her older sister, Grand Duchess Alexandra Georgievna, in 1891.

Princess Maria
Grand Duchess Maria Georgievna of Russia
Princess Maria of Greece and Denmark (Grand Duchess Maria Georgievna of Russia).jpg
Born(1876-03-03)3 March 1876
Athens, Kingdom of Greece
Died14 December 1940(1940-12-14) (aged 64)
Athens, Kingdom of Greece
Royal Cemetery, Tatoi Palace, Greece
FatherGeorge I of Greece
MotherOlga Constantinovna of Russia


Early lifeEdit

She was born in Athens as a younger sister to the future King Constantine I of Greece, Prince George of Greece and Denmark, Princess Alexandra of Greece and Denmark and Prince Nicholas of Greece and Denmark. Maria (sometimes Marie) was an elder sister of Prince Andrew of Greece and Denmark (father of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh) and Prince Christopher of Greece and Denmark as well as the short-lived Princess Olga of Greece and Denmark. Her family called her "Minnie", like her paternal aunt, Empress Maria Feodorovna of Russia. She and her aunt Minnie's eldest daughter, Grand Duchess Xenia Alexandrovna, were very close; the cousins later married brothers, two Romanov Grand Dukes, and stayed together on many occasions.


On 30 April 1900, Maria was married in Corfu to Grand Duke George Mikhailovich of Russia, a maternal cousin. He had chased after Maria, who was nicknamed "Greek Minnie" to tell her apart from the elder "Minnie" (the Dowager Empress Maria of Russia). She refused to marry unless her place in the line of succession to the Greek and Danish thrones was secured, and made it clear that she was not in love with the Grand Duke when she married him, but George hoped that her feelings would grow in time. The couple had two daughters: Princess Nina, born 7 June 1901; and Princess Xenia, born 9 August 1903. As they grew older, Maria seized the opportunity to spend more time abroad, ostensibly for her daughters' health, but also to spend more time away from her husband. She was in Great Britain when World War I broke out and chose not return to Russia, living in Harrogate, where she was patron of three military hospitals, funding them generously and nursing patients herself.

She became a widow on 30 January 1919, when her husband was murdered by the Bolsheviks. On 16 December 1922, Maria was remarried to Admiral Pericles Ioannides in Wiesbaden. Grand Duchess Maria Georgievna died in her native Athens during the Greco-Italian War (28 October 1940 – 30 April 1941).[1]

Her daughter Xenia lived for years in Long Island and was for a time married to millionaire William Leeds, son of Nancy Stewart Worthington Leeds and the stepson of Maria's brother Prince Christopher. She took in for a few months a woman later found to be an impostor, Anna Anderson. Anderson fraudulently claimed to be Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolaevna of Russia, the youngest daughter of her cousin, Emperor Nicholas II, and was forced to leave Xenia's house at the demand of William Leeds. Grand Duchess George never recognised Anderson.



  Media related to Grand Duchess Maria Georgievna of Russia at Wikimedia Commons

  1. ^ Grand Duchess George (1988). A Romanov Diary. Atlantic international. ISBN 0938311093.