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Amalia of Oldenburg

Amalia of Oldenburg
Portrait of Queen Amalia by Joseph Karl Stieler
Queen consort of Greece
Tenure 22 December 1836 – 23 October 1862
Born (1818-12-21)21 December 1818
Oldenburg, Grand Duchy of Oldenburg
Died 20 May 1875(1875-05-20) (aged 56)
Bamberg, Kingdom of Bavaria
Burial Theatinerkirche, Munich, Kingdom of Bavaria
Spouse Otto of Greece
Full name
English: Amalia Maria Frederica
German: Amalie Marie Friederike
Greek: Αμαλία Μαρία Φρειδερίκη
House Holstein-Gottorp (by birth)
Wittelsbach (by marriage)
Father Augustus, Grand Duke of Oldenburg
Mother Princess Adelheid of Anhalt-Bernburg-Schaumburg-Hoym
Religion Lutheranism

Amalia of Oldenburg (Greek: Αμαλία; 21 December 1818 – 20 May 1875) was queen consort of Greece from 1836 to 1862 as the spouse of King Otto (1815–1867).

As the daughter of Duke Paul Frederick Augustus of Oldenburg (later Grand Duke of Oldenburg), she was born a duchess of Oldenburg, though that title was never used in Greece.

When she arrived in Greece in 1837, she at first won the hearts of the Greeks with her refreshing beauty. After the Queen became more politically involved, however, she became the target of harsh attacks — and her image suffered further as she proved unable to provide an heir. She and her husband were expelled from Greece in 1862, after an uprising. She spent the rest of her years in exile in Bavaria.


  • Early life 1
  • Marriage 2
  • Queen of Greece 3
    • Political activity 3.1
    • Fashion influence (Amalia dress) 3.2
    • Assassination attempt 3.3
    • Expulsion 3.4
  • Exile 4
    • Death 4.1
  • Titles 5
  • Ancestry 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8

Early life

Duchess Amalia Maria Frederica was born on 21 December 1818 in Oldenburg, capital of the Grand Duchy of Oldenburg. She was the first child of Duke Paul Frederick Augustus of Oldenburg (later Grand Duke of Oldenburg) and his first wife, Princess Adelheid of Anhalt-Bernburg-Schaumburg-Hoym.


On 22 December 1836, Duchess Amalia of Oldenburg married King Otto of Greece in Oldenburg. Born as the second son of King Ludwig I of Bavaria, Prince Otto of Bavaria had been appointed king of the newly created Kingdom of Greece in 1833.

Queen of Greece

King Otto and Queen Amalia on a ride through Athens

In the early years of the new monarchy, Queen Amalia, with her beauty and vivaciousness, brought a spirit of smart fashion and progress to the impoverished country. She laboured actively towards social improvement and the creation of gardens in Athens, and at first won the hearts of the Greeks with her refreshing beauty. The town of Amaliada in Elis, and the village of Amaliapolis in Magnesia, were named for the Queen. She was also the first to introduce the Christmas tree to Greece.

Political activity

As King Otto and his Bavarian advisers became more enmeshed in political struggles with Greek political forces, the Queen became more politically involved, also. She became the target of harsh attacks when she became involved in politics - and her image suffered further as she proved unable to provide an heir. She also remained a Protestant in an almost universally Orthodox country, throughout her husband's reign.

Fashion influence (Amalia dress)

Type of Amalia dress
Amalia wearing Amalia dress

When she arrived in Greece as a queen in 1837, she had an immediate impact on social life and fashion. She realized that her attire ought to emulate that of her new people, and so she created a romantic folksy court dress, which became a national Greek costume still known as the Amalía dress.[1] It follows the Biedermeier style, with a loose-fitting, white cotton or silk shirt, often decorated with lace at the neck and handcuffs, over which a richly embroidered jacket or vest is worn, usually of dark blue or claret velvet. The skirt was ankle-length, unpressed-pleated silk, the color usually azure. It was completed with a soft cap or fez with a single, long, golden silk tassel, traditionally worn by married women, or with the kalpaki (a toque) of the unmarried woman, and sometimes with a black veil for church. This dress became the usual attire of all Christian townswomen in both Ottoman Empire-occupied and liberated Balkan lands as far north as Belgrade.

Assassination attempt

In February 1861, a university student named Aristeidis Dosios (son of politician Konstantinos Dosios)[2] unsuccessfully attempted to assassinate the Queen. He was sentenced to death, but the Queen intervened, and he was pardoned and sentenced to life imprisonment. He was hailed as a hero for his attempt by certain factions, but the attempt also provoked among the people spontaneous feelings of sympathy towards the royal couple.


The expulsion of King Otto and Queen Amalia in 1862, as portrayed in a popular colour lithography

Just over a year later, an uprising took place in Athens while the royal couple were on a visit to the Peloponnese. The Great Powers, who had supported Otto urged them not resist and Otto's reign was at an end. They left Greece aboard a British warship, with the Greek royal regalia that they had brought with them.

It has been suggested that the King would not have been overthrown had Amalia borne an heir, as succession was also a major unresolved question at the time of uprising.[3] It is also true, however, that the Constitution of 1843 made provision for his succession by his two younger brothers and their descendants.


King Otto and Queen Amalia spent the rest of their years in exile, at home in Bavaria. They decided to speak Greek each day between 6 and 8 o'clock to remember their time in Greece.


King Otto died in 1867. Queen Amalia survived her husband by almost eight years and died in Bamberg on 20 May 1875. She was buried beside the king at the Theatinerkirche in Munich.

She was found postmortem to have suffered from Müllerian agenesis, a congenital malformation in women characterised by a failure of the Paramesonephric duct to develop, resulting in a missing uterus and Fallopian tubes.[4]

Styles of
Queen Amalia of the Greeks
Reference style Her Majesty
Spoken style Your Majesty
Alternative style Ma'am


  • 21 December 1818 – 20 May 1875: Her Highness Duchess Amalie of Oldenburg, Princess of Holstein-Gottorp
  • 22 December 1836 – 23 October 1862: Her Majesty The Queen of Greece
  • 23 October 1862 – 20 May 1875: Her Majesty Queen Amalia of Greece



  1. ^ National Costume of Greece
  2. ^ Brekis, Spyros, L Ph.D.; Ίστορια της Νεωτέρας Ελλάδος (History of Modern Greece) (in Greek) (2003)
  3. ^ John Van der Kiste, Kings of the Hellenes (Sutton Publishing, 1994) ISBN 0-7509-2147-1
  4. ^ The infertility of the first royal couple of Greece (1833–1862)

External links

  • "The Costume in 1800s". Retrieved 2008-06-11. 
  •  "Amalie, Marie Friederike".  
Amalia of Oldenburg
Born: 21 December 1818 Died: 20 May 1875
Greek royalty
Preceded by
Queen consort of Greece
22 December 1836 – 23 October 1862
Succeeded by
Olga Constantinovna of Russia
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