Queen Elizabeth’s special relationship with Greece has always been one of the most interesting, perhaps even with a dose of mystery, topics of discussion for decades. And now, this relationship is one of the most colourful chapters since it is one of those old stories that sound like a fairytale.
The curious thing was that Queen Elizabeth II never visited Greece, even though she had managed to pass through 200 countries around the world.
The exact fact is that she never officially traveled to our country after assuming royal duties, however, as a princess and heir to the British throne, she arrived in Greece at the beginning of December 1950.
Watch the BBC video of Elizabeth’s visit to Greece in 1950:
She was only 24 years old, newly married for three years and already a mother twice. The young princess accepted the invitation of the Greek King Pavlos and Queen Frederica for a private visit.
She picked up her husband Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, who was serving there as an officer in the British Navy, from the then British possession of Malta, and together they sailed on a warship from Valletta and landed in Faliro.
On its quay, the domestic royal couple welcomed the couple from England with honours.
So, on a sunny Wednesday, December 6, 1950, Saint Nicholas Day, hundreds of citizens with pro-monarchist positions, had lined up early to see and cheer the heiress of the once mighty empire of five continents and the seven seas.
In Greece the civil war had just ended, and the defeated communists had necessarily taken the path of exile, displacement and persecution. In calm surroundings with touches of restrained excitement the princess and her husband boarded an open limousine and were driven to the summer palace at Tatoi.
They stayed in Athens for a week, with a gaggle of English journalists and a larger pack of Scotland Yard men following them round the clock.
Their first ride in Athens was accompanied by mounted officers. On the way the polite Athenians welcomed her, while Philip assumed the duty of translator for his wife, since he himself was of Greek origin, born in Mon Repo, Corfu, son of Prince Andreas of Greece.
Prince Andreas, after being judged to have messed up as general commander of the Second Army Corps in the Asia Minor campaign, was arrested and sentenced to death. However, with the intervention of the House of Windsor, in the end, he was instead exiled from Greece.
He was followed by his family, while his youngest son Philip, then an infant, was carried to the fleeing ship in a makeshift cardboard cradle.