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Queen Sofía of Spain

Queen Sof?a of Spain (née: Princess Sophia Margaret Victoria Frederica of Greece and Denmark; Spanish: Sof?a de Grecia y Dinamarca; Greek: ?; born on 2 November 1938) is the wife of King Juan Carlos I of Spain. Princess Sophia of Greece and Denmark was born in Psychiko, Athens, Greece on 2 November 1938, the eldest child of the King Paul of Greece (1901–1964) and his wife, Queen Frederika (1917–1981), a former princess of Hanover. Queen Sofia is a member of the Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg dynasty. Her brother is the deposed King Constantine II of Greece and her sister Princess Irene of Greece and Denmark. However, since the abolition of the monarchy, the royal titles are not recognized by the Constitution of Greece. Princess Sophia spent some of her childhood in Egypt where she took her early education in Elnasr Girls' College ( E.G.C ) in Alexandria, then went to South Africa during her family's exile from Greece during World War II. They returned to Greece in 1946. She finished her education at the prestigious Schloss Salem boarding school in Southern Germany, and then studied childcare, music and archeology in Athens. She represented Greece in sailing at the 1960 Summer Olympics. On 14 May 1962 Princess Sophia of Greece and Denmark married Infante Juan Carlos of Spain, whom she met on a cruise of the Greek Islands in 1954, in Athens at the Church of Saint Dennis. In doing so, she relinquished her rights to the throne of Greece and converted to Roman Catholicism from Greek Orthodoxy, an act of convenience in order to become more palatable to Catholic Spain. Further, the Latin transliteration of her Greek name (?????), was changed from Sophia to the Spanish variant Sof?a, which nonetheless is pronounced identically to the original Greek version. Sofia was able to bring a cool realism to the marriage and shifted Juan Carlos from the sphere of influence of his father Don Juan to a more realistic rapprochement with Franco. In 1969, Prince Juan Carlos, who was never Prince of Asturias, the traditional title of the heir to the throne, was given the official title of Prince of Spain by the Spanish state; this was a title suggested by Sofia herself. Juan Carlos acceded to the throne as Juan Carlos I in 1975. The couple have three children: HRH Infanta Elena, Duchess of Lugo born 20 December 1963, HRH Infanta Cristina, Duchess of Palma de Mallorca born 13 June 1965, and HRH Felipe, Prince of Asturias born 30 January 1968. The King and Queen have eight grandchildren, four boys and four girls: Felipe and Victoria from the Infanta Elena; Juan, Pablo, Miguel and Irene from the Infanta Cristina; and Infanta Leonor, and Infanta Sof?a, named in her honor, of Prince Felipe; all of whom are in the line of succession to the Spanish Throne. Queen Sof?a is both a great-great-granddaughter (paternally) and a great-great-great-granddaughter (maternally) of Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom and is, through several lines, her husband's third cousin. She is a first cousin of Ernst August of Hanover (Pretender), and through her great-grandfather George I of Greece, she is a second cousin to Charles, the Prince of Wales. Through Christian IX of Denmark and Queen Victoria, she is also related to Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom and thereby related to all the royal families of Europe. She is also a first cousin once removed of Elizabeth II's husband, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. Queen Sofia is of Romanov descent through her father's paternal grandmother, Olga Constantinovna of Russia, and of Hohenzollern descent through her mother, Frederica of Hanover, and through her paternal grandmother, Sophia of Prussia. Besides travelling with her husband within Spain and abroad, the Queen has her own agenda. She is the executive president of the Queen Sof?a Foundation, which in 1993 sent funds for relief in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and is the honorary president of the Royal Board on Education and Care of Handicapped Persons and the Foundation for Aid for Drug Addicts. She takes special interest in programs against drug addiction, travelling to conferences in both Spain and abroad. The Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sof?a is named after her, as is Reina Sof?a Airport in Tenerife. In 2010 Queen Sofia attended the wedding of Victoria, Crown Princess of Sweden, and Daniel Westling, and also attended the final match of the 2010 Wimbledon Championships - Men's Singles where she watched Spanish tennis champion Rafael Nadal win for a second time, as well as the 2010 FIFA World Cup where the team from Spain was crowned as world champion. She has been working closely with Dr. Muhammed Yunus on his Grameen Bank (or "Village Bank"), which offers microcredits to women across the world. Sof?a has travelled to Bangladesh, Chile, Colombia, El Salvador and Mexico to support the activities of the organization led by Yunus. Queen Sofia of Spain has also been a strong supporter of Somaly Mam's efforts and that of the NGO she founded, AFESIP (Agir pour les Femmes en Situation Précaire), in combating child prostitution and slavery in Cambodia. In 1998, Somaly Mam was awarded the prestigious Prince of Asturias Awards for International Cooperation in the presence of Queen Sofia. The Queen is an Honorary Member of the San Fernando Royal Academy of Fine Arts and of the Royal Academy of History. She has received Honorary Doctorates from the Universities of Rosario (Bogot?), Valladolid, Cambridge, Oxford, Georgetown, Evora, St. Mary's University, Texas, and New York. The Queen is fluent in English, Italian, German, Greek and Spanish.

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