George II King of Greece
- Category : Notable-Famous-Royal-family
- Type : GP
- Profile : 2/4 - Hermit / Opportunist
- Definition : Split - Small (10,34)
- Incarnation Cross : RAX Laws 2
Greek prince by birth, who reigned as King of the Hellenes from 1922 to 1924 and from 1935 to 1947.
George was the eldest son of Prince Constantine of Greece and his wife, Princess Sophia of Prussia. He pursued a military career, training with the Prussian Guard at the age of 18, then serving in the Balkan Wars as a member of the 1st Greek Infantry. When his grandfather was assassinated in 1913, his father became King Constantine I and George became the crown prince.
After a coup deposed King Constantine during the First World War, Crown Prince George, by then a Major, followed his father into exile in 1917. George's younger brother, Alexander, was installed as king by prime minister Eleftherios Venizelos, an avowed Republican.
When Alexander I died following an infection from a monkey bite in 1920, Venizelos was voted out of office, and a plebiscite restored Constantine to the throne. Crown Prince George served as a colonel, and later a major general in the war against Turkey. During this time he married his second cousin, on 27 February 1921 in Bucharest, Princess Elisabeth of Romania, daughter of King Ferdinand and Queen Marie of Romania. When the Turks defeated Greece at the Battle of Dumlupınar, the military forced the abdication of Constantine, and George succeeded to the Greek throne on 27 September 1922.
On 19 December 1923 he was forced into exile and moved to his wife's home nation of Romania. When a republic was proclaimed on 25 March 1924, he was officially deposed and stripped of his Greek nationality, and his property was confiscated. His wife stayed in Bucharest whilst he spent more and more time abroad visiting Britain, and his mother in Florence. In 1932 he left Romania permanently and moved to Britain. Elisabeth and he had no children, and were divorced on 6 July 1935.
George, who had been living at Brown's Hotel in London, returned to Greek soil on 25 November 1935. Ruling with Prime Minister Metaxas, George oversaw a right-wing regime in which political opponents were arrested and strict censorship was imposed. An Index of banned books during that period included the works of Plato, Thucydides and Xenophon.
On 23 April 1941 the King and the government left the Greek mainland for Crete, but after the German airborne attack on the island he was evacuated to Egypt. Once again he went into exile to Great Britain.
During the war he remained the internationally recognized head of state, backed by the exiled government and Greek forces serving in the Middle East.
On 26 September 1946 George returned to Greece to find the Royal Palace looted, the woods at Tatoi chopped down for fuel and corpses buried in shallow graves outside. His country faced economic collapse and political instability.
He died of arteriosclerosis on 1 April 1947, after he was discovered unconscious in his room at the Royal Palace in Athens.