Princess Aspasia of Greece

Today marks the 50th Anniversary of the Death of Princess Aspasia of Greece, who passed away on this day in 1972! The daughter of Colonel Petros Manos and Maria Argyropoulos, Aspasia Manos grew up in Athens and studied in France and Switzerland, she was childhood friends with members of the Greek Royal Family, and by 1915, became secretly engaged to Prince Alexander of Greece, the second son of King Constantine I of Greece and Princess Sophia of Prussia, who disapproved of the match. Prince Alexander was installed as a ‘Puppet King’ in 1917, when the Entente Powers and the followers of the Prince Minister pushed the King and Crown Prince into exile, and he agreed to wait until the end of the First World War before marrying.

However, completely isolated from his family and any friends or allies, the couple married secretly in 1919, but she was titled Madame Manos not Queen of Greece, and was initially exiled in Rome and then Paris before returning to Athens in 1920, when she was pregnant. However, in October, the King was bitten by a domestic Barbary macaque and suddenly died of sepsis at the age of 27. Only his grandmother, Queen Olga of Greece, was allowed into the country and attended his funeral, acting as the Regent until King Constantine was restored to the throne, after a general election and referendum. Madame Manos was made Princess Alexander of Greece in 1922, after an intervention by Queen Sophia just days before King Constantine’s final abdication, and the couple’s daughter, Princess Alexandra, who eventually became the last Queen of Yugoslavia.

The political situation soon grew tense and the Royal Family were again exiled in 1924, though only Princess Aspasia and Princess Alexandra were allowed to remain, before joining Queen Sophia in Florence, and eventually acquiring the ‘Garden of Eden’ Villa in Venice, which remained Princess Aspasia’s home for the rest of her life, especially after being almost engaged to Prince Starrabba di Giardinelli, who passed away in 1933 before she accepted his proposal. While Princess Alexandra regularly attended royal events after the restoration of the Greek Monarchy in 1935, Princess Aspasia did not return to Italy until 1940, joining King George II and the rest of the Royal Family in exile after the Nazi Invasion in 1941, first in Crete, then in Egypt and South Africa and eventually London, where Princess Alexandra met and married the exiled King Peter II of Yugoslavia.

After the War, Princess Aspasia returned to the ‘Garden of Eden’ Villa, though was faced with finical difficulties and the deteriorating marriage of King Peter and Queen Alexandra, with the Princess even becoming the temporary guardian of her grandson, Crown Prince Alexander. Queen Alexandra made several suicide attempts and moved in with her mother by 1970, passing away just weeks after the Wedding of Crown Prince Alexander and Princess Maria da Gloria of Orléans-Braganza, which she had been unable to attend. Initially buried in Venice, Princess Aspasia was reinterred in the Greek Royal Cemetery at Tatoi Palace with Queen Alexandra in 1993, thought the laters remains were transferred to Serbia in 1993.


Leave a Reply