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A Royal Love

Their love began innocently enough. The dashing heir to the throne of Greece and the youngest of three daughters of the King and Queen of Denmark. His name was Constantine and her name Anne-Marie.

The romance between the two began to blossom at an early age. The two youngsters first met in Copenhagen, when Anne-Marie was just 13. The Greek Royals were on an official visit to Denmark and, as a treat, the children were taken to the circus. With amazing intuition, King Paul leaned across to his wife and pointed out Anne-Marie. "Look, she is like a butterfly. I hope Tino marries her one day."

It took a little while for the chemistry to spark between the two. Anne-Marie later admitted that, on that first occasion, she had regarded Constantine, her third cousin, as just one more relative and was certain that he had felt the same way about her. However, there is a saying that one wedding leads to another and that proved prophetic in this instance.

The happy chain of events was set in motion by the marriage of the Duke of Kent and Miss Katherine Worsley in June 1960. During the celebrations, Crown Prince Constantine phoned his parents in Athens to alert them to the fact that Juan Carlos of Spain was paying a great deal of attention to his sister, Princess Sophia. Constantine's observation proved true as the couple exchanged vows two years later.

It was at the wedding party of Juan Carlos and Sophia that the 15 year old Anne-Marie and Constantine came to know each other and realized with all the enthusiasm of youth that they were falling in love. Their mutual attraction was certainly obvious for all to see. As the guest enjoyed themselves on the dance floor, Queen Frederica noticed that her son seemed to have eyes only for the beautiful Danish Rose. Like any dutiful hostess, Frederica wandered over to her son and chided him "Tino, will you please look after the other girls?" But the Crown Prince who was plainly smitten replied,"I'm sorry, but I don't want anybody to get the same idea about Anne-Marie as I have."

After the wedding Constantine was a frequent visitor to Copenhagen, where he escorted each of the three Princesses. The press began to suspect that something was in the offing, but most assumed that he was courting Anne-Marie's older sister Benedikte. The following summer he and Anne-Marie were in Norway, Anne-Marie was enjoying a holiday with her former governess, while Constantine was there to compete in a series of yacht races. The two spent a lot of time in each other company. Constantine was an ardent suitor and impetuously proposed marriage. Anne-Marie accepted Constantine's proposal with delight. He immediately told the news to his parents who wholeheartedly agreed with his choice. However, there was reservation in the Copenhagen Court.

At first, the Danish King was hesitant about the engagement. Anne-Marie was still in school and, in her father's eyes too young to contemplate marriage. There was no doubting however that the two youngsters were in love with each other and eventually the King's attitude softened. He gave his consent for the match, but with some stipulations. He stated firmly that the wedding could not take place until after Anne-Marie had completed her education and that no public announcement of the engagement be made before the start of the following year, 1963. Until then, the couple were bound to secrecy.

A Secret Engagement