Helen <I>Oldenburg</I> Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen

Helen Oldenburg Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen

Athens, Regional unit of Athens, Attica, Greece
Death 28 Nov 1982 (aged 86)
Lausanne, District de Lausanne, Vaud, Switzerland
Cenotaph Lausanne, District de Lausanne, Vaud, Switzerland
Memorial ID 61563952 · View Source
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HRH Princess Helen of Greece and Denmark
Queen Mother of Romania

Royal House of Oldenburg

Royal House of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen

Daughter of King Constantine I of the Hellenes and Princess Sophia of Prussia.

Paternal granddaughter of King George I of the Hellenes and HIH Grand Duchess Olga Constantinovna Romanovna of Russia.

Maternal granddaughter of Emperor Friedrich III, German Emperor and King of Prussia, and HRH Princess Victoria, The Princess Royal of the United Kingdom.

Born in Athens, Helen and her family went into exile in 1910 and again in 1917, living in various parts of Europe.

The family was living in Switzerland, where Helen met Crown Prince Carol of Romania in 1919. She accompanied him to his country to celebrate the engagement of his sister Elisabeth to her brother George. The following year, Prince Carol asked for her hand in marriage.

Helen's mother was against the match, but the couple were married on 10 March 1921 in Athens. She was the first princess of Greece to marry there.

She gave birth to her only child, Prince Michael, in October of that year in Romania. And by December, the couple were living in Bucharest.

In 1925, Helen's marriage fell apart when her husband began an affair with the woman that would later become his third wife. Prince Carol renounced his rights to the throne in December and left Romania.

Helen and her young son remained in the country, where he succeeded to the Romanian throne in July 1927. Although she had no official position in the Regency council, she was an integral part of King Michael's life since he was only five years old.

In December 1927, Prince Carol asked Helen for a divorce and in June the following year, the marriage was dissolved. When Carol returned to Romania and was proclaimed king in 1930, the government and the Romanian people strongly wished for Helen to be crowned Queen.

There was much discussion about annulling the divorce of 1928 and reuniting the couple. But King Carol did not wish to remain married to Helen, and she went into exile, forced to leave her son in the care of his father.

She returned to Bucharest in 1932, being granted payment from the Civil list and officially allowed to live in Romania for six months each year.

In 1934, she went to live with her brother Paul, where she remained for the next ten years.

In 1940, Michael was restored as King of Romania and he recalled his mother to the country, where she was titled Queen Mother.

She cared for wounded soldiers during World War II, and was awarded the status of Righteous Among the Nations for her efforts to rescue Romanian Jews from the Germans.

Helen was survived by her son, the former King Michael I of Romania; granddaughters, Crown Princess Margarita, Princess Elena, Princess Irina, Princess Sofia and Princess Maria of Romania.

Her descendants include great-grandsons, Prince Nicholas of Romania and Michael Kreuger; great-granddaughters, Karina Medforth-Mills, Anjelica Kreuger Knight and Elisabeta-Maria Biarneix; and great great-granddaughter, Courtney Knight.



  • Created by: A. I. Zimmer
  • Added: 13 Nov 2010
  • Find a Grave Memorial 61563952
  • Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Helen Oldenburg Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen (2 May 1896–28 Nov 1982), Find a Grave Memorial no. 61563952, citing Cimetière du Bois-de-Vaux, Lausanne, District de Lausanne, Vaud, Switzerland ; Maintained by A. I. Zimmer (contributor 46947938) .