Queen Sofia of Spain
Who is she: Queen Sofia of Spain, wife of King Juan Carlos 1, has her own agenda but does travel with her husband around Spain as well as to other countries. She is the executive president of the Queen Sofia Foundation and the honorary chairman of the Royal Board on Education and Care of Handicap Persons as well as the Foundation for Aid for Drug Addicts. The Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía is named in her honor and the Reina Sofía Airport in Tenerife is also named after her.
Background: The Queen supports all kinds of sports, although soccer and tennis are her current favorites. She watched Rafael Nadal of Spain win the men's singles match for a second time at Wimbledon in 2010, and she was there when Spain won the FIFA World Cup in 2010.
The Grameen Bank started by Dr. Muhammad Yunus is another personal project. The Queen traveled to Chile, Mexico, El Salvador, Bangladesh and Colombia to support the activities of that organization.
The Queen is an Honorary Member of the Royal Academy of History and the San Fernando Royal Academy of Fine Arts. She has Honorary Doctorates Georgetown, the Universities of Rosario (Bogotá), St. Mary's University, Texas, Evora, Cambridge, Oxford, and Valladolid. In addition to speaking Greek and Spanish she is fluent in French, German, Italian, and English.
Queen Sofia is a very opinionated queen who is not afraid to express her acceptance or disdain for prominent political and social issues that have an impact on the world in general. She is opposed to demonstrations of homosexual behavior and same sex marriages, Spain's involvement in Afghanistan and religious education in schools. Some members of the Royal Family agree with her on these sensitive issues even though her comments often create a whirlwind of controversy in the Spanish government.
Princess Sofia Margaret Victoria Frederica of Greece and Denmark, also known as Queen Sofia of Spain, was born in Psychiko, Athens, Greece on November 2, 1938. She is the oldest child of King Paul of Greece and his wife Queen Frederika who was a former Princess of Hanover.
Queen Sofia is the paternal great-great granddaughter and maternal great-great-great granddaughter of Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom. Her first cousin is Ernst August of Hanover and she is the second cousin of Charles, the Prince of Wales through her great-grandfather, George I of Greece. Sofia is also related to Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom through Christian IX of Denmark and through several lines, plus she is her husband's third cousin. She is a descendant of the Hohenzollem family of Prussia through her mother and through her paternal grandmother, Sophia of Prussia. Her brother, Constantine II, is the deposed King of Greece, and her sister is Princess Irene of Greece and Denmark.
Since the abolition of the monarchy, the royal titles are only recognized by the Danish Royal family and the Dutch Monarchy.
Sofia's early education took place in Egypt at the El Nasr Girls College in Alexandria, but she went to South Africa when her family was exiled from Greece during the second World War. The family returned to Greece in 1946, and she finished her education at the Schloss Salem boarding school in Germany.
The Queen continued to study music, archeology and childcare in Athens, and also studied at Fitzwilliam College Cambridge, an associate college of the University of Cambridge. Sofia was not only a diligent student; she represented Greece in 1960 at the Summer Olympics in the sailing competition.
In May 1962, she married Infante Juan Carlos of Spain. They met on a Greek cruise in 1954 but waited to marry for several royal reasons. Sofia finally decided to relinquish her rights to the Greek throne and convert to Catholicism in order to marry Juan Carlos. The ceremony was held in Athens at the Church of Saint Dennis.
Sofia's conversion from the Greek Orthodox religion to Roman Catholicism was necessary in order for Juan Carlos to maintain his status as an heir to the Spanish throne in Catholic Spain. Juan Carlos became Prince of Spain in 1969 and in 1975 he ascended to the throne as Juan Carlos I.