A Book Review by Coryne Hall of The Royal Hellenic Dynasty (co-authored by Prince Michael of Greece, Mrs Helen Helmis-Markesinis and Arturo E. Beéche)
[Note: This book review by Coryne Hall was originally published in Volume 10.5, Issue LIX of the European Royal History Journal of October 2007.]
A few years ago a wonderful picture book of the Greek Royal family was published under the title “Helleniki Dynazteia.” The photographs came from the collection of Mrs Helen Helmis-Markesinis, whose aunt was close to Queen Frederica and also to a lady-in-waiting at the court of King George II. This current book is an English-language edition of the Greek book. The original captions have been translated and expanded by Prince Michael and Arturo Beéche and doubtful identifications have been clarified, but the integrity of the original book has been retained.
The photographs run chronologically, starting with King George I of Greece and following the ups and downs of the Greek Royal family through exile and restoration. The wider family is not forgotten either, especially the King’s Danish and Russian relations. There are some real gems and it is a problem to pick out just a few favourites. There is a most unusual picture of King George and Queen Olga out riding; a gorgeous childhood photo of Prince Alexander and Princess Helen; and a later one of Princess Helen in traditional Macedonian costume. Other pictures include Queen Sofía of Spain, King Michael of Romania, Princess Marina and, of course, the Duke of Edinburgh. It is particularly poignant to see images of Princess Katherine (Lady Katherine Brandram), whose death was announced recently.
Picture books are always popular but this one is a particular delight. It is beautifully laid out and it is obvious that a lot of thought has gone into the production of the work. The photographs, in a word, are marvellous. Many of the images are rare (some are even signed) and the captions are extremely informative. Apparently, Mrs Helmis-Markesinis has enough royal photographs for several volumes and it is to be hoped that more picture books in this vein will be published.
For anyone interested in the Greek Royal family and their relations, this is a book quite simply not to be missed!