Exceptioonally fine and amusing signed photograph of Grand Duchess Olga Constantinovna of Russia, Queen Olga of the Hellenes (1851-1926), looking directly at the camera through her lorgnettes, these photographs were usually distributed only to close family members. She has signed and dated the photograph in Cyrillic after she had returned to Russia, :
She was the wife of King George I of Greece and, briefly in 1920, regent of Greece. Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, is her grandson. Born a member of the Romanov dynasty, she was the daughter of Grand Duke Constantine Nikolaievich and his wife, Princess Alexandra of Saxe-Altenburg. She spent her childhood in St Petersburg, Poland and the Crimea, and married King George I of Greece in 1867 at the age of sixteen. At first, she felt ill at ease in the Kingdom of Greece, but she quickly became involved in social and charitable work. She founded hospitals and help centres, but her attempt to promote a new, more accessible, Greek translation of the Gospels sparked riots by religious conservatives.
On the assassination of her husband in 1913, Olga returned to Russia. When the First World War broke out, she set up a military hospital in Pavlovsk Palace, which belonged to her brother. She was trapped in the palace after the Russian Revolution of 1917, until the Danish embassy intervened, allowing her to escape to Switzerland. Olga could not return to Greece as her son, King Constantine I, had been deposed.
In October 1920, she returned to Athens on the fatal illness of her grandson, King Alexander. After his death, she was appointed regent until the restoration of Constantine I the following month. After the defeat of the Greeks in the Greco-Turkish War of 1919-22 the Greek royal family were again exiled and Olga spent the last years of her life in the United Kingdom, France and Italy.
Size: 15.5 x 11 cm approx