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Re: The wrong sister
User logged in as Johan
Helene had a short marriage because her husband died young. He was no emperor but to the best of my knowledge their marriage seems to have been very happy.
As possibly the only one of the sisters she married a man she loved.
Always a dutiful daughter she would have married Franz Joseph and probably she would have been a better Empress than her sister turned out to be. I doubt if she would have been happier in her marriage though. Franz Joseph was not a man that inspired passion or romantic love.
Given that the marriage of Anne-Marie of Denmark to Constantine II of Greece has been a long and apparently happy one it seems odd to consider her as having been the "wrong" sister. There is no comparison with Franz Josef and Sissi. Their marriage was indeed an unhappy mismatch at least for her although he never ceased to love her and may have considered it worthwhile despite their separation. In that sense he may have continued to regard her as the "right" sister until the end of his life.
Well, I'm sure most will agree that Emperor Franz Joseph of Austria-Hungary made a mistake in marrying Duchess Elisabeth in Bavaria. Indeed, it's a well-known fact that her older sister, Helene, was his mother's preferred choice of bride. That was the whole reason for the meeting in Bad Ischl arranged by Archduchess Sophie: she invited her sister Ludovika to bring her eldest daughter, to get reacquainted with her son.
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 ...