Sophia of Greece and Denmark
Queen consort of Spain
Reign 22 November 1975 – present
(&000000000000004400000044 years, &0000000000000308000000308 days)
Born 2 November 1938 (age 81)
Athens, Greece
Spouse Juan Carlos I of Spain
Infanta Elena, Duchess of Lugo
Infanta Cristina of Spain
Felipe VI of Spain
House Glücksburg
Father Paul of Greece
Mother Frederica of Hanover
Signature Queen Sofía of Spain Signature.svg.png
Religion Roman Catholic
prev. Greek Orthodox
Spanish Royal Family
Coat of Arms of Spanish Monarch.svg

HM The King
HM The Queen

HM King Juan Carlos I
HM Queen Sofía

HRH The Duchess of Badajoz

  • HE Doña Simoneta
  • HE The Viscount de la Torre
  • HE Don Bruno
  • HE Don Luis
  • HE Don Fernando

HRH The Duchess of Soria and Hernani
HE The Duke of Soria and Hernani

  • HE Don Alfonso
  • HE Doña María

HRH The Dowager Duchess of Calabria

v · d · e

Queen Sofía of Spain (born 2 November 1938) is a member of the Spanish royal family who served as Queen of Spain during the reign of her husband, King Juan Carlos I, from 1975 to 2014. Queen Sofía is the first child of King Paul of Greece and Frederica of Hanover. As her family was forced into exile during the Second World War, she spent part of her childhood in South Africa, returning to Greece in 1946. She completed her secondary education in a boarding school in Germany before returning to Greece where she specialised in childcare, music and archaeology. She married Juan Carlos, son of the Spanish pretender Infante Juan, on 14 May 1962 with whom she has had three children: Elena, Cristina, and Felipe.

She became queen upon her husband's accession in 1975. On 19 June 2014, Juan Carlos abdicated in favor of their son Felipe VI.[1]

Early life Edit

PPrincess Sophia of Greece and Denmark was born on 2 November 1938, in Psychiko, Athens, Greece, the eldest child of the King Paul of Greece (1901–1964) and his wife, Queen Frederika (1917–1981), a former princess of Hanover. Queen Sofia is a member of the Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg dynasty. Her brother is the deposed King Constantine II of Greece and her sister is Princess Irene of Greece and Denmark.

Sofia is also a great-granddaughter of the last German emperor, Wilhelm II and second cousin of Charles, Prince of Wales

Education Edit

Princess Sophia spent some of her childhood in Egypt where she took her early education in El Nasr Girls' College (EGC) in Alexandria, then went to 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 childcare, music and archeology in Athens. Sofia also studied at Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge a constituent college of the University of Cambridge. She was a reserve member, alongside her brother Constantine, of Greece's gold medal-winning sailing team in the 1960 Summer Olympics.

In addition to Greek and Spanish, she also speaks French, English, Italian, and German.

Personal life Edit

Marriage Edit

Main article: Wedding Juan Carlos, Prince of Asturias and Princess Sophia of Greece and Denmark

Sofía met her paternal third cousin the then Infante Juan Carlos of Spain on a cruise in the Greek Islands in 1954; they met again at the wedding of the Duke of Kent, her paternal second cousin, at York Minster in June 1961.[2]

The couple married on 14 May 1962, at the Cathedral of Saint Dionysius in Athens. The bride's gown was made by Jean Dessès and she was attended by her sister Princess Irene of Greece and Denmark, the groom's sister Infanta Pilar of Spain, and Sofía's future sister-in-law Princess Anne-Marie of Denmark (later Queen of Greece), along with Princess Irene of the Netherlands, Princess Alexandra of Kent, Princess Benedikte of Denmark, Princess Anne of Orléans and Princess Tatiana Radziwill.[3]

Sofia converted from Greek Orthodoxy to Roman Catholicism to become more palatable to Catholic Spain, and thus relinquished her rights to the Greek throne. Along with this, the usual Latinisation of her Greek name (Σοφία) was changed from Sophia to the Spanish variant, Sofía.

In 1969, Infante Juan Carlos, who was never Prince of Asturias (the traditional title of the Spanish heir apparent), was given the official title of "Prince of Spain" by the Spanish state. Juan Carlos acceded to the throne in 1975, upon the death of Francisco Franco.

Children Edit

The couple have three children:

Abolition of the Greek monarchy Edit

The then-Princess Sofía was in Greece on a private visit to her brother, King Constantine II, when the 1967 Greek military coup took place. Since then, he has been stripped of his title, citizenship and property in Greece. Except for a brief stay for the funeral of her mother in 1981, Queen Sofía did not visit Greece in the form of the Hellenic Republic until 1998. She and her husband paid an official visit as guests of the then–President Constantinos Stephanopoulos after 17 years.

Opinions Edit

She has expressed opinions on policy including her criticism of the military intervention in Afghanistan, where Spanish troops were taking part at the time, her defence of religious education in schools, and her conviction that gender violence publicity will encourage new cases to occur.[4] Her opinions were subjected to lively criticism by LGBT associations and Spanish intellectuals.[5] Also responding were Spanish republican political parties like IU and ERC. The governing PSOE decided to keep silent, while the conservative opposition PP also did so, after initial criticism of the Queen from one of its representatives.[6]

On the occasion of her 70th birthday, she made a number of conservative ideological statements on issues then being debated in Spanish society. These statements were published by the Opus Dei journalist Pilar Urbano, and included Queen Sofía's rejection of same-sex marriage, rejection of Gay Pride celebrations, her opposition to abortion, and her defence of religious education in schools. Her opinions produced great unrest among progressive sectors of Spanish society, and prompted criticism of her for getting involved in partisan opinions against her constitutional mandate.[7]

A biography published in May 2012 claims that the Queen is a vegetarian who dislikes bullfighting.[8]

In the media Edit

In April 2018, the video of a tense interaction between Sofía and her daughter-in-law Letizia following the Easter Mass at Palma Cathedral made headlines.[9] The rumours of a conflict between the two dates back to 2008.[9] Letizia who was reportedly "dismayed" with the rumors, was spotted a few days later with Sofía arriving at La Moraleja Hospital to visit King Juan Carlos. The amicable interactions between the two put an end to the rumours.[10]

Activities Edit

Besides accompanying her husband on official visits and occasions, Queen Sofía also has solo engagements. She is executive president of the Queen Sofía Foundation, which in 1993, sent funds for relief in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and is honorary president of the Royal Board on Education and Care of Handicapped Persons of Spain, as well as the Spanish Foundation for Aid for Drug Addicts.

She takes special interest in programs against drug addiction, travelling 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.

Queen Sofia is an Honorary Member of the San Fernando Royal Academy of Fine Arts and of the Spanish Royal Academy of History. She has received honorary doctorates from the Universities of Rosario (Bogotá), Valladolid, Cambridge, Oxford, Georgetown, Evora, St. Mary's University (Texas), and New York.

A keen supporter of sport, Queen Sofia also attended the final match of the 2010 Wimbledon Championships – Men's Singles where she watched Spanish tennis champion Rafael Nadal win for a second time, as well as the 2010 FIFA World Cup where the Spanish team was crowned as world champion.

Queen Sofía has been honorary president of the Spanish Unicef Committee since 1971.[11] She has been working closely with Dr.Muhammed Yunus on his Grameen Bank (or "Village Bank"), which offers microcredits to women across the world. Queen Sofía has travelled to Bangladesh, Chile, Colombia, El Salvador and Mexico to support the activities of the organization led by Yunus. Queen Sofía has also been a strong supporter of Somaly Mam's efforts and of the NGO she founded—Agir pour les Femmes en Situation Précaire (AFESIP)—in combatting child prostitution and slavery in Cambodia. In 1998, Mam was awarded the prestigious Prince of Asturias Award for International Cooperation in her presence.

In July 2012, Queen Sofia visited the Philippines for a fourth time. She inspected several development projects around the former Spanish colony that her country's government is funding via the Agencia Española de Cooperacion Internacional para el Desarollo (AECID). She visited the National Library, National Museum and the Pontifical and Royal University of Santo Tomas, The Catholic University of the Philippines, which had the oldest extant university charter in Asia and housed the world's largest collection of suyat scripts. She also met with Spanish nationals residing in the Philippines, and attended a reception at the Spanish Embassy. She also attended a state dinner in her honour at Malacañan Palace hosted by President Benigno Aquino III,[12][13] and thanked the president for promoting the Spanish language in the Philippine educational system.[14]

Titles, styles, honors, and armsEdit


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

  • 1938–1962: Her Royal Highness Princess Sophia of Greece and Denmark
  • 1962–1969: Her Royal Highness Princess Sofía of Spain
  • 1969–1975: Her Royal Highness The Princess of Spain
  • 1975–2014: Her Majesty The Queen of Spain
  • 2014–present: Her Majesty Queen Sofía of Spain


Spanish honors
  • Dame Grand Collar of The Royal and Distinguished Order of Charles III.
  • Dame of the Royal Order of Queen Maria Luisa (1,193rd lady on 14 May 1962).
Foreign honors

Foreign honorsEdit

  • Belgium: Grand Cordon of the Order of Leopold
  • Brazil: Grand Cross of the Order of the Southern Cross
  • Denmark: Knight of the Order of the Elephant
  • Ethiopia: Dame Grand Cross of the Order of the Queen of Sheba
  • Germany Grand Cross Special Class of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany
  • Greece: Grand Cross of the Order of Saints Olga and Sophia
  • Greece: Grand Cross of the Order of the Redeemer
  • Iceland: Grand Cross of the Order of the Falcon
  • Italy: Dame Grand Cross of Justice of the Sacred Military Constantinian Order of Saint George
  • Italy: Grand Cross with Grand Cordon of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic
  • Japan: First Class of the Order of the Precious Crown
  • Luxembourg: Lady of the Order of the Gold Lion of the House of Nassau
  • Mexico: Collar of the Order of the Aztec Eagle
  • Morocco: Special Class of the Order of the Mohammedi
  • Nepal: Dame Grand Cross of the Order of Ojaswi Rajanya
  • Netherlands: Grand Cross of the Order of the Netherlands Lion
  • Norway: Grand Cross of the Order of St. Olav
  • Poland: Order of the White Eagle
  • Portugal: Dame Grand Cross decorated with Grand Cordon of the Order of Saint James of the Sword
  • Portugal: Grand Cross of the Order of Christ
  • Portugal: Grand Cross of the Order of Prince Henry
  • Romania: Grand Cross of the Order of the Star of Romania
  • Slovakia: Order of the White Double Cross
  • Sweden: Member of the Royal Order of the Seraphim
  • Thailand: Dame Grand Cross of the Order of the Royal House of Chakri
  • Thailand: Dame Grand Cordon of the Order of Chula Chom Klao
  • Vatican City: Collar Lady of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem


The personal coat of arms of the Queen impales the Spanish Royal Arms (her husband's shield) to the dexter (viewer's left) with her father’s shield, the arms of King Paul of Greece – Azure a cross argent; inescutcheon, the coat of arms of Denmark as used when George I became king of Greece and showing the dynastic link to the Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg dynasty; a shield containing a cross argent fimbriated gules from the Danish flag and subcoats representing Denmark, Schleswig, the former Kalmar Union, Iceland, the Faroe Islands, Greenland, Holstein, Stormarn, Dithmarschen, Lauenburg, Oldenburg, Delmenhorst, and the former Danish royal titles of King of the Wends and Goths.

All surmounted by the Spanish Royal Crown (Crown's arches differenced as consort) and surrounded by the Collar of the Order of Charles III.

The Queen's coat of arms has no official status. In Spain only the coats of arms of the King and the Prince of Asturias are official.

References Edit

  1. Spain will have two kings and two queens. The Telegraph
  2. Queen Sofia of Spain. Unofficial Royalty
  3. Wedding Wednesday: Queen Sofía's gown. Order of Splendor
  4. No nos queman a nosotros. Son trozos de papel. Ya se apagarán. El País
  5. Malestar en el colectivo homosexual por las palabras de la Reina. El País
  6. PP y PSOE ordenan guardar silencio sobre las declaraciones de la Reina. El País
  7. "No nos queman a nosotros. Son trozos de papel. Ya se apagarán". El País
  8. Queen Sofia of Spain: Europe's lonely royal consort. The Telegraph
  9. 9.0 9.1 Queens' clash at church goes viral to expose tensions in Spanish royal family. The Daily Telegraph
  10. Queen Letizia and Queen Sofia Reunite After Their Tense Exchange on Easter Was Caught on Camera. People
  11. Queen Sofía: "I feel the same as always. Everything is going to carry on as it is". El Pais
  12. Viaje de Cooperación de Su Majestad la Reina a la República de Filipinas.Royal Family of Spain
  13. Albay gives Spanish queen warm welcome. Inquirer Global Nation
  14. PNoy and Spain’s Queen Sofia welcome return of Spanish language in PHL schools. GMA News Online

External linksEdit

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