Princess Irene, Duchess of Aosta

Princess Irene of Greece and Denmark (Πριγκίπισσα Ειρήνη της Ελλάδας και Δανίας) (13 February 1904 15 April 1974) was the fifth child and second daughter of Constantine I of Greece and his wife, the former Princess Sophie of Prussia. She was a member of the royal families of Greece and Italy. From 1941 to 1943 she was also officially Queen Consort of Croatia.

Princess Irene
Duchess of Aosta
Queen consort of Croatia (disputed)
Tenure18 May 1941 – 31 July 1943
Born(1904-02-13)13 February 1904
Athens, Greece
Died15 April 1974(1974-04-15) (aged 70)
Fiesole, Italy
Burial20 April 1974
SpousePrince Aimone, Duke of Aosta
IssuePrince Amedeo, Duke of Aosta
FatherConstantine I of Greece
MotherSophia of Prussia

Family and early life

Her paternal grandparents were George I of Greece and Olga Konstantinovna of Russia. Her maternal grandparents were Friedrich III, German Emperor, and his Empress consort Victoria. Victoria was a daughter of Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha and Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom.

Irene was born in Athens, preceded in birth by three brothers, George (1890), Alexander (1893) and Paul (1901), and one sister, Helen (1896). Another sister, Katherine was born in 1913. In 1927, her brother, George, announced her engagement to Prince Christian of Schaumburg-Lippe, a nephew of Christian X of Denmark,[1] but no marriage occurred.


On 1 July 1939, Princess Irene married Prince Aimone, Duke of Spoleto (b. 9 March 1900 in Florence, Italy) They had one child:

In March 1942 Irene, who was a trained nurse, headed a Red Cross hospital train going to Russia to repatriate wounded Italian soldiers. After a difficult journey, she returned to Florence the following month.[2] Prince Aimone became the 4th Duke of Aosta on 3 March 1942, following the death of his elder brother, Amedeo. On 18 May 1941, taking the name Tomislav II, he was proclaimed King of the Independent State of Croatia, a puppet state of fascist Germany and Italy, but he never set foot on the territory of the state and abdicated in 1943.

After the Allied armistice with the Kingdom of Italy, the princess was interned by the Germans at the Hotel Ifen in Hirschegg, Austria, July 1944, along with her infant son, her sister-in-law and two nieces. They were liberated by the French in May 1945.[3]

After the war and the 1946 plebiscite which ended the monarchy in Italy, the family went into exile. Prince Aimone died on 29 January 1948 in Buenos Aires. Upon his death, his son Amedeo succeeded him as the 5th Duke of Aosta. In June 1948, the family was allowed to return to Italy, and Irene spent the rest of her life living outside of Florence.[4]

Princess Irene died on 15 April 1974 in Fiesole, Italy after fighting a long illness.[5]



  1. "Princess Irene Tells Engagement To Prince Christian of Schaumburg-Lippe", The New York Times, Vienna, 13 October 1927
  2. Hanson, The Wandering Princess, 348.
  3. Hanson, The Wandering Princess, 362-366
  4. Hanson, The Wandering Princess, 375
  5. "Duchess of Aosta dies", The New York Times, Berlin, West Germany, 15 April 1974
  6. Bricka, Carl Frederik (ed.). "Christian IX". Dansk Biografisk Leksikon. 3. p. 523.
  7. Bricka, Carl Frederik (ed.). "Louise". Dansk Biografisk Leksikon. 5. p. 593.
  8. Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "George I., King of the Hellenes" . Encyclopædia Britannica. 11 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
  9. Bricka, Carl Frederik (ed.). "Louise". Dansk Biografisk Leksikon. 10. p. 401.
  10. Nicholas I at the Encyclopædia Britannica
  11. "Olga Constantinovna (1851–1926)". Women in World History: A Biographical Encyclopedia. Gale Research. 2002.
  12. "Alexandra of Saxe-Altenburg (1830–1911)". Women in World History: A Biographical Encyclopedia. Gale Research. 2002.
  13. "Biografie Wilhelm I" (in German). Deutsches Historisches Museum. Retrieved 12 June 2013.
  14. Meisner, Heinrich Otto (1961), "Friedrich III", Neue Deutsche Biographie (NDB) (in German), 5, Berlin: Duncker & Humblot, pp. 487–489; (full text online)
  15. Goetz, Walter (1953), "Augusta", Neue Deutsche Biographie (NDB) (in German), 1, Berlin: Duncker & Humblot, pp. 451–452; (full text online)
  16. Montgomery-Massingberd, Hugh (ed.) (1977). Burke's Royal Families of the World, 1st edition. London: Burke's Peerage
  17. Louda, Jiří; Maclagan, Michael (1999), Lines of Succession: Heraldry of the Royal Families of Europe, London: Little, Brown, p. 34, ISBN 978-1-85605-469-0

Edward Hanson, The Wandering Princess: Princess Helene of France, Duchess of Aosta (1871-1951) [Fonthill, 2017].

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