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Queen Sofia of Spain only has three close friends, according to her sister Irene of Greece

Loneliness is never more evident than in a hospital. Queen Sofia was admitted last week for an infection in the urinary system. Nothing that was very complex but she kept the emeritus for several days in a hospital in Madrid. Next to her… no one? Her son Felipe came on a couple of occasions, once alone and once with Queen Letizia, to accompany her mother for a few minutes. Infanta Elena did the same. Her daughter Cristina, outside of Spain, did not come to be with her mother. And Irene of Greece, in poor health, was only making a formal visit to her sister.

It is striking that the queen emeritus, despite having an intimate circle of advisors and assistants, has not had the constant presence of her children at a time like this. Sofía has now turned 85 years old and despite being in good physical condition, she is still an older person. Who is next to the queen? Who are her trusted people, those who do not leave her side? Of course, it is not a large or numerous circle. But yes, constant and faithful.

One of the maxims that have always guided Queen Sofia’s life is that a queen has no friends. Above private life, above obligations, is the institution. Reigning is a task that is done alone. King Juan Carlos’s own wife expressed it in the book published by Pilar Urbano and it has been collected by authors such as Pilar Eyre in her “The Solitude of the Queen.” Sofia of Greece was educated to reign and that is what she has dedicated her life to. Hence, the public people who have been by her side have been few and far between.

If one thinks of the queen emeritus, one immediately ends up including Irene of Greece. Queen Sofia’s sister has been at her side for decades. After several romantic attempts that did not come to fruition, the daughter of Constantine of Greece chose to settle with her sister Sofia at the end of the eighties. Together they mourned the death of her father and became more inseparable than ever. They have been more than sisters. His presence has been common at each of the Royal Family’s events. So much so that even Queen Letizia is worried about the condition of her mother-in-law’s sister.

Sofía placed all her trust in her sister. She has been her biggest supporter and also her tears. Although the strict education that Queen Federica gave them meant that feelings were not especially the strong point of any of her children. Now, when they are both over 80, Sofía finds herself focused on her sister. Irene suffers from forgetfulness and her health worries everyone. The older sister taking care of the little one, even if the difference is slight.

The last months of Ana María, the widow of Constantine of Greece, have not been easy. The illness of the former king of the Greeks and his subsequent death left his wife and his children devastated. Also to her sisters. Queen Sofia became the great support of her sister-in-law. Closely united since Ana María and Constantine formalized their relationship, the bond between the queens, with and without a throne, was strengthened. So much so that Sofía moved to Greece as soon as she heard the sad news.

The images of Constantine’s funeral showed the good understanding between Sofía and Ana María. The queen emeritus has been very devoted to her sister-in-law after the death of her brother. For both Sofía and her sister-in-law, family has been a fundamental pillar. “For me, the most important thing is family, and that was the case both in my childhood and in that of my husband, we are two people who were raised in family values, and it is possible that this is the secret,” explained Ana María in an interview. The end of Constantine’s reign meant that both could dedicate themselves to their children. Also to their respective brothers and nephews.

The arrival of the then Princess Sofia to Spain was not easy. Not only for facing a society that she did not know, but also for the lack of affection with which she viewed her interference in the plans of those closest to Franco. The Greek princess would be queen and many did not see it favorably. Alone and without much support, it was then that she found the person who would be her right hand for years. It was Laura Hurtado de Mendoza, personal secretary of the then princess who always remained by her side.

She was in charge of accompanying her in the early years, focusing on the education of the Infantas Elena and Cristina and Prince Felipe and even arranging the accommodation of the then Princess Letizia when she became part of the Royal Family. She was Queen Sofia’s right hand and one of her trusted people. Possibly, only Irene of Greece has been longer and closer to the current queen emerita. Her discretion during the years in which she worked with the queen was her great asset. On very rare occasions she addressed the media. And she knew better than anyone what was going on in the Palace.

Not only Irene of Greece is a key member of Queen Sofia’s family. At her side, since her childhood, is Tatiana Radziwill. She was the daughter of Princess Eugenie of Greece and, therefore, the great-granddaughter of George II of Greece, like Queen Sofia, and they grew up together. “I was lucky to share family life in Greece with her during the holidays throughout my youth, which was an unforgettable source of happiness for me,” Tatiana confessed in the few interviews she has given over the years.

Sofía, Irene and Tatiana lived together since childhood. She was the ‘third sister’, as they have always considered her. In fact, she has remained by Queen Sofia’s side at key moments in her life, from her wedding to the moments in which loneliness has ended up taking its toll on her. Tatiana and her husband, Jean Henri Fruchard, are inseparable companions of the queen emeritus. It is common to see them together both on vacation and on a getaway outside of Spain. “Well, Tatiana and I have always been very friends. Intimate Before we got married, after we got married…”, confessed the queen emeritus in Pilar Urbano’s book.

Their relationship is so close that this past summer we were able to see them on one of the Royal Family’s improvised outings in Mallorca. Kings Felipe and Letizia, along with their daughters Leonor and Sofía, had dinner with Queen Sofía, Princess Irene and yes, Tatiana Radziwill and her husband. It was the pose where attention was drawn to the affection with which Queen Letizia treated Irene of Greece, leading her by the arm as she left the restaurant. Tatiana and her husband also posed for the press because they are, de facto, the family that supports Queen Sofia.

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