CM: Frederica of Hanover (Frederica Louise Thyra Victoria Margaret Sophie Olga Cecily Isabelle Christina; 18 April 1917 - 6 February 1981), Queen consort of Greece of King Paul I of the Hellenes (1901-1964) as Queen Frederica of the Hellenes, was born on 18 April 1917 in Blankenburg, Harz, Germany. She was the daughter of Ernest Augustus III, Duke of Brunswick (1887-1953) and Princess Viktoria Luise of Prussia (1892-1980), the only daughter of Kaiser Wilhelm II (1859-1941) and Augusta Viktoria of Schleswig-Holstein (1858-1921). As daughter of a Hanoverian Prince, she was Princess Frederica of Hanover, Great Britain and Ireland, and also Duchess Frederica of Brunswick-Lüneburg.
Through her maternal grandfather, Frederica was a great-granddaughter of Kaiser Frederick III (1831-1888) and Victoria Adelaide Mary Louisa, Princess Royal (1840-1901), eldest daughter of Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom and Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. Through this relationship, Frederica was a distant cousin of the United Kingdom's Elizabeth II and also of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. As a descendant of George III of the United Kingdom, she was, at birth, 34 th in the line of succession to the British throne although she had no British rank or title.
In 1936 Prince Paul, Crown Prince of Greece, proposed to her in Berlin when he was there to see the 1936 Summer Olympics. Their engagement was announced officially on 28 September 1937. On 9 January 1938 they married in Athens. Prince Paul was the son of King Constantine I of Greece and Sophie of Prussia, sister of German Emperor William II (therefore he was a great-grandson of Queen Victoria and a first cousin once removed to Frederica). In addition to her standard style, Princess Frederica, she used the style of Crown Princess as her husband was heir presumptive to his childless elder brother, King George II.
During the early part of their marriage they resided at Villa Psychiko in the suburbs of Athens. Ten months after their marriage their first child was born on 2 November 1938: Sophia, the future Queen Sofia of Spain. On 2 June 1940 their son and heir, Constantine was born.
At the peak of World War II, in April, 1941 the Greek Royal Family evacuated to Crete in a Sunderland flying boat. In exile, King George II and the rest of the Greek Royal Family settled in South Africa. Here Frederica's last child, Princess Irene, was born on 11 May 1942. The South African leader, General Jan Smuts, served as her godfather.
Shortly afterwards the German forces attacked Crete. Frederica and her family were evacuated again, setting up a government-in-exile office in London. The family eventually settled in Egypt in February 1944.
On 1 September 1946 the Greek people decided by referendum to restore King George to the throne. The Crown Prince and Crown Princess returned to their villa in Psychiko.
On 1 April 1947 George II died and Frederica's husband ascended the throne as Paul I, which made Frederica queen consort. Communist political instability in Northern Greece led to the Greek Civil War. The King and Queen toured Northern Greece under severe security to try to appeal for loyalty in the summer of 1947.
During the civil war Queen Frederica set the Queen's Camps or Child-cities (translation of "Paidopoleis") a network of 53 Camps around Greece where she would gather mostly orphans and children of poor families. These camps admirably provided much needed shelter, food, and education to these children who were aged 3 years to adolescence.
The role of these Queen's Camps is disputed as a means of propaganda by the monarchy through the educational program. The Queen's Camps were a way to fend for the children - victims of the civil war. Some communist sources have always insisted that many children were illegally adopted by American families while they were in the Paidopoleis.
When the Greek Civil War ended in August 1949, the Sovereigns took the opportunity to strengthen the monarchy, by paying official visits to Marshal Josip Broz Tito in Belgrade, the Presidents Luigi Einaudi of Italy in Rome, Theodor Heuss of West Germany, Bechara El Khoury of Lebanon, Emperor Haile Selassie I of Ethiopia, Chakravarthi Rajagopalachari of India, King George VI of the United Kingdom, and the United States as guest of President Dwight D. Eisenhower. However, at home in Greece and abroad in the United Kingdom, Queen Frederica was targeted by the opposition, because as a girl she had belonged to a Bund Deutscher Madel girl's branch of the Hitler Youth group, while her supporters argued that evading membership in the group would be difficult under the existing political climate in Nazi Germany at the time.
Her 16 November 1953 appearance in Life as America's guest was taken on one of the many state visits she paid around the world. Also that year she appeared on the cover of Time. On 14 May 1962 her eldest daughter Sofia married Prince Juan Carlos of Spain, (later King Juan Carlos I of Spain) in Athens.
On 6 March 1964 King Paul died of cancer, and her son ascended the throne as Constantine II. He married Princess Anne-Marie of Denmark later that year on 18 September. Queen Frederica, now queen dowager, attended many Royal events including the christenings of her grandchildren in both Spain and Greece.
King Constantine's clashes with the democratically elected Prime Minister George Papandreou Sr. were blamed by critics for causing the destabilisation that led to a military coup on 21 April 1967 and the rise of the regime of the colonels. Faced with a difficult situation, King Constantine initially collaborated with the military dictatorship, swearing in their government under a royalist prime minister. Later that year he attempted a counter-coup in an attempt to restore democracy, whose failure forced him into exile. Following this, the junta appointed a Regent to carry out the tasks of the exiled Monarch.
On 1 June 1973 the junta abolished the Greek Monarchy without the consent of the Greek people and then attempted to legitimize its actions through a 1973 plebiscite that was widely suspected of being rigged. The new head-of-state became President of Greece George Papadopoulos.
The dictatorship ended on 24 July 1974 and the pre-junta constitutional monarchy was never restored. A plebiscite was held in which King Constantine (who was able to campaign only from outside the country) freely admitted his past errors, promised to support democracy, and in particular, promised to keep his mother Queen Frederica away from Greece and out of Greek politics. 70% of Greeks voted to make Greece a democratic republic.
Queen Frederica died on 6 February 1981 in exile in Madrid during ophthalmic surgery. In its obituary of the Queen, The New York Times reported that she died during "eyelid surgery", which led to frequent but unsubstantiated rumors that she died while undergoing cosmetic surgery. Other sources state that her cause of death was a heart attack while undergoing the removal of cataracts.
She was interred at Tatoi, the Royal family's palace and burial ground in Greece. Her son and his family were allowed to attend the service, but had to leave immediately afterwards.