Today marks the 70th Anniversary of the Death of Princess Françoise of Greece and Denmark, who passed away on this day in 1953! The daughter of Prince Jean, Duke of Guise, Head of the House of Orléans, and Princess Isabelle d’Orléans, Princess Françoise was the sister of the Count of Paris and Princess Anne, Duchess of Aosta. Born in Paris and growing up between France, in Paris and the Chateau in Nouvion-en-Thiérache, and Morocco, where they lived on an estate in Larache, in 1927, the family moved to Belgium when her father became the Head of the House of Orléans and were barred from living in France.
After failed marriage negotiations with King Alexander of Yugoslavia, in 1929, Princess Françoise married Prince Christopher of Greece and Denmark, the youngest son of King George I of Greece and Grand Duchess Olga Constantinovna of Russia, at the Orléans Palace in Palermo. Through her husband, she became the aunt of King George II, King Alexander and King Paul of Greece, Queen Helen of Romania, the Duchess of Aosta (the short-lived Queen of Croatia), the Duke of Edinburgh, Princess Margarita, Princess of Hohenlohe-Langenburg, Princess Cecile, Grand Duchess of Hesse, Princess Theodora, Margravine of Baden, Princess Marina, Duchess of Kent, Princess Paul of Yugoslavia, Princess Sophie of Greece and Hanover, Princess Eugenie of Greece, and Grand Duke Dmitri Pavlovich of Russia.
Having inherited a fortune from his late first wife, Nancy Leeds, the couple resided at the Villa Anastasia in Rome before the administrator of Prince Christopher’s fled with his money and they had to reduce their lifestyle, moving to the Hotel Excelsior in Rome, and also visiting Greece, where the monarchy had been restored. The couple had one son, Prince Michael of Greece, who was born less than a year before Prince Christopher passed away on a trip to Athens.
The Princess sold Queen Olga’s Turquoise Parure in Paris and due to the advancing Nazi occupation of Greece, decided to go to her family at Larache in Morocco, but due to political differences and financial troubles, she and Prince Michael settled at the Hotel Miramar in Malaga in 1944, and after the war, their situation improved when she received the inheritance from her father and managed to sell Prince Christopher’s property in Palermo and Rome. In 1948, Princess Françoise and Prince Michael moved to Paris, after not being allowed to go to Greece due to the civil war and being barred from settling in England. The Princess became a recluse and quite depressed, passing away in 1953, and being buried, after a Funeral at the Royal Chapel of Dreux, in the Royal Cemetery at Tatoi Palace. Prince Michael became a ward of his uncle, the Count of Paris, and upon reaching his age of majority, a working member of the Greek Royal Family, before becoming an accomplished author and historian.