As it was, Elisabeth traveled with her mother and sister only reluctantly, and in particular at the urging of Helene, who needed her for moral support. The last thing she expected was to herself catch the eye of the emperor and get engaged to the very man intended for her older sister.
Given their temperaments, it was no surprise that the resulting marriage was a disaster. In particular, Elisabeth was a total misfit for the court life of imperial Austria: Helene would undoubtedly have made a much better empress. One gets to wondering had Franz Joseph's heart had matched his head ...
Flash forward to the 1960's: I read somewhere that Queen Frederica of the Hellenes had actually favored Princess Benedikte of Denmark as the prospective bride of her only son. Is this true?
I can't imagine either sister being especially favorable over the other: the only issue I could see in Anne-Marie would have been age. She was only a teenager not yet finished with school, who had yet to obtain her legal majority. As it was, she barely did both before marrying the enthroned King Constantine II.
If I understand correctly, their wedding was originally scheduled for early 1965, but was moved up after his unexpected accession to the throne as a young man. In this, their situation was perhaps comparable to that of the marriage of Czar Nicholas II and Empress Alexandra of Russia.
Certainly Frederica had to have been more accepting of Anne-Marie -- if indeed she was the *wrong sister* -- than Archduchess Sophie of Austria was of Elisabeth. By all accounts the two queens got along, meaning that the older woman wasn't unduly upset for having another Danish princess as a daughter-in-law.
Still, given her youth (not much older than Empress Elisabeth of Austria at the time of marriage), Anne-Marie must certainly have faced a daunting challenge. To think that she overnight went from being a girl to a woman, a princess to a queen ... No doubt she would have liked to first be a crown princess for a number of years. As it was, when getting engaged, she hadn't counted on the early death of King Paul, who would have been her father-in-law ...