Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Queen Olga of Greece dead at 75

June 19, 1926

Former Queen Olga of Greece died today at her home, the Villa Anastasia, in Rome, reports the Associated Press.  She was 75 years old.   Her life "was embittered of late years by the numerous tragedies that has struck down her royal family." 

She "lived in the strictest privacy" in Rome, in her home which was filled with "the past glories of her life were kept alive" by the paintings and furniture from her palace in Athens.  Queen Olga was tragically resigned "to the fate that had befallen her family."  

In the final years of her life, the former Dowager Queen was visited "occasionally" by her son, Prince Andrew, her daughter-in-law, former Queen Sophie, and other close relatives.

She became a widow in March 1913, when her husband, King George I, was assassinated at Saloniki.   She lived to see her grandson, King Alexander, die from the affects of a monkey bite in 1920, and to see her eldest son, King Constantine, abdicate in 1922, which was followed by the established of the Greek Republic two years later.

Queen Olga suffered from enteritis.  Her condition was not deemed serious at first, but due to her age, it soon became apparent that the queen was not going to survive.  Her family was "summoned to the modest villa where she had found refuge."

Her son Prince Christopher, and two granddaughters, Princess Helen and Princess Irene, quickly arrived from Florence, and were at her bedside when she died "early this morning."   She spent her final days reading and "occasionally receiving old friends to whom she bitterly lamented the dispersal of her family throughout Europe through the upheaval that swept Greece after the World War."    Queen Elena of Italy and her daughter, Princess Mafalda, were frequent visitors to Olga's villa.

Queen Olga was born Grand Duchess Olga Constantinovna of Russia, the daughter of Grand Duke Constantine Nicolaievitch.  On October 15, 1867, Grand Duchess Olga married Prince Vilhelm of Denmark, the soon-to-be elected King of the Hellenes.  Olga was only 16 when she married.  

The couple had five sons and three daughters, one of whom died in infancy.  Queen Olga's two other surviving sons, Prince Nicholas and Prince Andrew, and her grandson, King George II, are now en route from Paris to Rome.

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