Sophia of Prussia

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Sophia of Prussia : biography

14 June 1870 – 13 January 1932

Crown Princess of Greece

After a long stay in England celebrating her grandmother’s Golden Jubilee, Sophia became better acquainted with Crown Prince Constantine of Greece ("Tino") in the summer of 1887. The queen watched their growing relationship, writing "Is there a chance of Sophie’s marrying Tino? It would be very nice for her, for he is very good".Gelardi, p. 18. This period fell on an unhappy time for Sophia’s family however, as her father Emperor Frederick III was dying an agonizing death of throat cancer. His wife and children kept vigil with him at Neues Palais, even celebrating Sophia’s birthday. The emperor died the next day. Sophia’s eldest brother Wilhelm, now German Emperor, quickly ransacked his father’s things in the hopes of finding "incriminating evidence" of "liberal plots".Gelardi, p. 20. Knowing her three youngest daughters were more dependent on her than ever for emotional support, Dowager Empress Frederick remained close to them. "I have my three sweet girls – he loved so much – that are my consolation".

During this grim period, Sophia agreed to marry Crown Prince Constantine, which was "hardly a surprising development considering the funereal atmosphere that prevailed at the home of her widowed mother".Gelardi, p. 21. On 27 October 1889, Sophia married Tino in Athens, Greece. They were third cousins through descent from Paul I of Russia, and second cousins once removed through Frederick William III of Prussia. There was an old Greek prophecy that read when Constantine and Sophia reigned, Greece would see greatness again and Constantinople would fall to Greek hands.Gelardi, p. 22.

Their marriage led to in-fighting within her family, particularly with her sister-in-law, the Empress Augusta Victoria, known within the family as Dona, wife of Wilhelm II. In 1890, when Sophie announced her intention to leave her Evangelical faith for Greek Orthodoxy (as she was obliged to do under her new family’s House law), Dona summoned her and told her that if she did so, not only would William find it unacceptable, being the Head of the Evangelical State Church of Prussia’s older Provinces; she would be barred from Germany and her soul would end up in Hell. Sophie replied that it was none of her business whether she did or not. Dona became hysterical and her son, Prince Joachim, was born too early, causing her to cling to him for the rest of his life as she believed him to be delicate. Evidently, so did William as he wrote to his mother that if the baby died, Sophie would have "murdered it."

Death and burial

In her last years Queen Sophie was diagnosed with cancer and died in Frankfurt, Germany, in 1932. With the restoration of the monarchy in Greece, Queen Sophie’s remains were re-buried in 1936 at the royal burial ground at Tatoi Palace alongside her husband.

Legacy

She is the paternal grandmother of her namesake, Queen Sofia of Spain, and of ex-King Constantine II of the Hellenes. Queen Sofia of Spain, is in turn the paternal grandmother of Infanta Sofia of Spain.

Sources