|HRH PRINCESS ALEXIA, MRS MORALES|
HRH Princess Alexia, was born on 10 July 1965 at a house called 'Mon Repos' in Corfu. This had been the 18th century home of the English Governors of Corfu and was owned by the Greek Royal Family. It was also the birthplace of Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, in 1921.
Her early years were spent in Greece until her Father, King Constantine, left with his wife, Queen Anne-Marie, for Rome after the Colonel's coup in December 1967.
She remembers her home in Rome at 13, Via di Porta Latina, playing in the gardens with her younger brothers, Crown Prince Pavlos (who was born in Greece on 20 May 1967) and Prince Nikolaos (who was born in Rome on 1 October 1969).
In Rome she began her education. She and her brothers were taught in Greek by a private tutor, John Kanellopoulos. Eventually a few other children of Greeks living in Rome joined them in their lessons - which were held in a summerhouse in the gardens.
She would visit her Grandmother, Queen Frederica (who lived just outside Rome) every Saturday while her other Grandmother, Queen Ingrid of Denmark, used to come and stay with the family. Princess Alexia always had a very close relationship with both of them.
In 1973, they left Rome for Denmark, and lived for a year in the Amalienborg Palace in Copenhagen - which Princess Alexia remembers as being 'very cosy, and getting dark early'.
She also remembers her Grandmother, Queen Ingrid, serving tea very punctually at 4 o'clock every day - a habit which Princess Alexia believes Queen Ingrid may have inherited from her English mother, Princess Margaret (daughter of Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught, who was a son of Queen Victoria). She also introduced Princess Alexia to her love of ballet with visits to 'Giselle' and 'Les Sylphides' at the Royal Copenhagen Theatre.
In 1974, the family moved to Cobham in Surrey, England. Princess Alexia has very happy memories of her childhood in England. She played vivid imaginary games with her brothers and friends - re-enacting historical and mythical stories.
She recollects the 1974 Greek referendum about the return of the monarchy as being a time of hope and then sadness, when it was realised that the family could not return to their true home in Greece.
Like her brothers, Princess Alexia attended the Hellenic College in London, which her parents had founded in 1980. Her class was the last to receive the Greek Baccalaureate. Princess Alexia gained 2 British 'A' levels to add to her Greek qualifications. She then spent a year (1984-5) doing voluntary work at the London Hospital for Sick Children helping in the Play Centre at the Hospital.
She went to the Froebel College of the Roehampton Institute, a division of Surrey University, in 1985 and took a BA in History and Education in 1988.
In 1989, she achieved a Post Graduate Certificate of Education and became a primary school teacher in the inner city area of Southwark in London between 1989 and 1992. She says that she found this an extremely rewarding and demanding experience, working with youngsters with a variety of family backgrounds. 'I grew up a lot in that period', she says.
In 1992, Princess Alexia took a year's sabbatical and went to Barcelona to attend the 1992 Olympics, where some of her friends won Gold Medals for sailing. She was then offered the opportunity to take part in a World Championship sailing contest in the 3/4 Ton Class in 1993 with an 'All Girl' crew. She liked the weather and the people in Spain and decided to stay.
She attended the Catalan Foundation for Down's Syndrome where she took a Master's Degree in 'Early Childhood Intervention'.
This qualified her to work with children who have physical or psychological problems, -and to help their parents in coping with the difficulties. Up to the birth of her first daughter, Arrietta, she worked as a Group Therapist with Down's Syndrome children at the Foundation, having in her particular care 18 children.
Her work involved raising their self-esteem and helping them accept their situation by developing their sense of autonomy and improving their thinking skills through play and talk.
Princess Alexia remembers visiting Greece with her family in 1981 for her Grandmother, Queen Frederica's funeral. The ceremony took place at Tatoi, the home of the Royal Family in Athens. She found it an emotional experience as it stirred very early childhood memories. Her next visit to Greece would be a tour around the islands with her family in 1993. 'It was a moving and unforgettable experience', she says. She has since joined her parents on numerous visits to Athens and other parts of Greece.
Princess Alexia continues to sail; she met her future husband, Carlos Morales Quintana, in a race in Barcelona in 1994. He was a member of the Spanish-Sydney 2000 pre-Olympic sailing team in the Tornado Class.
They married in London, on 9 July 1999, a day before her birthday. The wedding, attended by all the Royal Families of Europe, was a lovely and distinguished occasion. The ceremony took place at St. Sophia Cathedral in London, while the reception was held at Kenwood House on the edge of Hampstead Heath. Princess Alexia wore a tiara and veil which had belonged to Princess Margaret of Connaught. Both had been worn by her Grandmother, Queen Ingrid, at her wedding to King Frederic IX of Denmark - and later by her Mother, Queen Anne-Marie, at her wedding to King Constantine.
In May 1999, a month before the wedding, the couple were involved in a bad sailing accident when their boat was hit in the stern by a larger boat -called the 'Alexia'! Out of a crew of thirteen, they were the only ones to be injured. She broke her collarbone and Carlos fractured his kneecap although they both fully recovered before the wedding.
Princess Alexia and Mr Carlos Morales reside in Lanzarotte, Canary Islands, with their daughters Arrietta and Anna-Maria, and their son Carlos.