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H.R.H. Princess Irene was born in Cape Town, South Africa, in 1942.
From childhood, Her Highness has participated in social work, together with her brother, Crown Prince Constantine (subsequently HM King Constantine of the Hellenes), and her sister, HRH Princess Sophia of Greece (subsequently HM Queen Sofia of Spain), accompanying her parents, Their Majesties King Paul and Queen Frederica of the Hellenes. The Royal Family resided in Greece until December 1967.
Her Highness has studied philosophy, archaeology, under TheophanoArvanitopoulou and music (piano). Together with her sister and Miss Arvanitopoulou, Princess Irene published a book on archaeology, "OstrakaEkDekelias" ("Fragments of Dekelia"). Princess Irene became an amateur concert pianist, playing for benefit causes in Europe and the USA. She has specialized in the study of comparative religions: the Orthodox Greek Church Fathers and the Vedanta Philosophy contained in the Vedas of India, specifically Advaita, during her sojourn in Madras (India), under Professor Dr. T.M.P. Mahadevan, Director of the Center for the Advanced Study in Philosophy at the University of Madras.
Princess Irene is a member of the Dr. T.M.P. Mahadevan Foundation in Madras, which continues the work of the late Professor and publishes his writings, besides other educational projects of Indian culture. Among those projects, Her Highness supports an International Library at Kanchi.
The European Union planned to exterminate four million dairy cows in Europe in 1985 so as to limit milk production and thereby artificially maintain milk prices. Her Highness transported precious milking cows to India and other countries that would appreciate them and use them for milk and nourishment of poor children. She then decided to dedicate most of her time to work for developing countries. At the same time, she endeavors to prevent the unnecessary slaughter of precious animals and to prevent the wasting of valuable agricultural products in prosperous countries especially, thanks to the mass media, as the world is ever more aware of desperate poverty and hunger.
In 1986, Princess Irene created a humanitarian organization called World In Harmony, headquartered in Madrid, Spain. Its aim is to find practical ways of showing solidarity towards human beings in need and compassion to animals.
At present, World In Harmony is also engaged in educational projects to emphasize the importance of cultivating a philosophic outlook among students so that, later in their lives, they too will contribute to world peace.
In December 2002, the Princess received her share from the compensation granted by the European Court of Human Rights, for the confiscation of the Greek Royal Family's property by the Greek Government. She initiated a Greek branch of World In Harmony, donating the entire sum to causes within Greece.
Princess Irene is a member of the following Foundations:
• Patron, African Cultural Organization of South Africa (ACOSA)
• Patron, Ashram International (building houses with the poor through self-help projects)
• Patron, Banco Santander Central Hispano Foundation
• Honorary President, European String Professors Association (ESTA), Spanish Chapter
• Vice President, Dr. T.M.P. Mahadevan Foundation (India)
• Patron, Yehudi Menuhin Foundation, Spanish Chapter
• Vice Chair Person, Sarvodaya International Trust (India), in memory of Mahatma Gandhi
• Member of the Honorary Council, The Peres Center for Peace Association in Spain
Her Royal Highness speaks Greek, English, Spanish, French and German.