Princess Sophia spent her childhood in Egypt and South Africa during her family's exile during World War II, returning to Greece in 1946, finishing her education in Germany, and returning home to study pediatrics, music and archeology. She represented Greece in sailing at the 1960 Olympic Games.
On May 14, 1962 she married Prince Juan Carlos de Borbon y Borbon of Spain, whom she met on a cruise of the Greek islands in 1954. In doing so, she relinquished all rights to the throne of Greece and converted to Roman Catholicism from Eastern Orthodox. The couple have three children: Infanta Elena on December 20, 1963, Infanta Cristina on June 13, 1965, and Prince Felipe on January 30, 1968.
Queen Sofia's mother died in 1975 in Madrid, of heart failure, after what a palace spokesman reported as "eyelid surgery," according to Queen Mother Frederika's obituary in The New York Times.
The queen of Spain is the executive president of the Queen Sofia Foundation, which in 1993 sent funds for relief in Bosnia, and is the honorary president of the Royal Board on Education and Care of Handicapped Persons, and the Foundation for Aid for Drug Addicts. She takes special interest in programs against drug addiction, traveling to conferences in both Spain and abroad. The Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía is named after her.
She is a vegetarian, which is rather uncommon in Spain.