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|Amalia of Oldenburg|
Portrait by Joseph Karl Stieler
|Queen consort of Greece|
|Tenure||22 December 1836 - 23 October 1862|
|Born||21 December 1818|
Oldenburg, Grand Duchy of Oldenburg
|Died||20 May 1875 (aged 56)|
Bamberg, Kingdom of Bavaria
(m. 1836; died 1867)
|Father||Augustus, Grand Duke of Oldenburg|
|Mother||Princess Adelheid of Anhalt-Bernburg-Schaumburg-Hoym|
As the daughter of Duke Paul Frederick Augustus of Oldenburg (later Grand Duke of Oldenburg) and Princess Adelheid of Anhalt-Bernburg-Schaumburg-Hoym. 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 was given the right to govern as regent in the case of the absence or incapability of the monarch or the heir to the throne. She and her husband were expelled from Greece in 1862, after an uprising. She spent the rest of her years in exile in Bavaria.
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. She was less than two years old when her mother died, on 13 September 1820.
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.
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.
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. Her Mistress of the Robes Baroness Wilhelmine von Plüskow was widely rumored to influence state affairs, particularly in matters relating to Austria, through both the queen and the king, which exposed her to controversy: when the king and queen were deposed, it was reported in the press that all their courtiers were left unmolested with the exception of Pluscow, who was exposed to sarcasm from the crowd when she left.
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. It follows the Biedermeier style, with a loose-fitting, white cotton or silk shirt, often decorated with lace at the neck and cuffs, 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.
In February 1861, a university student named Aristeidis Dosios (son of politician Konstantinos Dosios) 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.
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 to resist, and Otto's reign came to 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. It is also true, however, that the Constitution of 1843 made provision for Otto to be succeeded by his two younger brothers and their descendants.
The cause of the royal couple's infertility remained contested even after an autopsy was performed on the queen.