Constantine II: Royals attend funeral for Greece's last king

World Monday 16/January/2023 15:51 PM
By: DW
Constantine II: Royals attend funeral for Greece's last king

Athens: Constantine II, the last king of Greece, is being laid to rest in a funeral service in Athens on Monday, with European royalty expected to attend.

The late monarch died last week at the age of 82, after his health deteriorated following a stroke. Constantine was a divisive figure in Greece's history and will be buried as a private citizen.

Who is attending?
Over 200 people are expected to attend the private funeral service, which is being held at the Athens Metropolitan Cathedral.

Members of the public were able to pay their respects on Monday morning. Thousands of people lined up outside the church to pass by Constantine's casket.

He will later be buried at the summer palace of the former royal family in northern Athens where Constantine's ancestors are buried.
Among those attending are royals and nobility from across Europe.

Denmark's Queen Margrethe II, the king and queen of the Netherlands and the entire royal family of Spain will be in attendance. Royals from Sweden, Luxembourg and Monaco are also set to attend.

The British royal family is being represented by Princess Anne — the daughter of the late Queen Elizabeth II. Neither King Charles III, the current British monarch and cousin of the late Greek king, nor Prince William, who was the godson of Constantine, are expected to attend.

Controversy over funeral
Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and President Katerina Sakellaropoulou will not attend the funeral.

The Greek government will be represented by Deputy Prime Minister Panagiotis Pikrammenos and the country's Culture and Sports Minister Lina Mendoni.

The funeral arrangements for Constantine sparked controversy, as the Greek government declined to hold a state funeral for the late leader.
Prime Minister Mitsotakis defended the move, saying that the former monarch was the leader of the "Kingdom of Greece, which no longer exists."

Who was Constantine II?
Constantine was born on June 2, 1940, in Athens to Prince Paul and Princess Federica of Hanover.

Before Constantine's first birthday, the royal family was forced to flee Greece during Nazi Germany's invasion in World War II.
Constantine married Anne-Marie, the sister of Denmark's Queen Margrethe, and the couple had five children.

At the age of 23, he acceded the throne in 1964 and was one of the youngest monarchs in Europe at the time.

Constantine was popular as a crown prince, winning a sailing gold medal in the 1960 Olympics held in Rome. He was also an honorary member of the International Olympic Committee.

As king, however, a series of political mistakes cost him dearly, with many Greeks now regarding him with indifference or with resentment.

After ruling as king for just three years, a brutal military dictatorship seized control of the country in 1967.

Constantine allowed himself to be photographed with the junta and signed off on the formation of a military government.

Several months after the coup, Constantine organized a military counter-coup that failed. He and the royal family later fled to London.

After the restoration of democracy, Greeks voted not to restore the royal family in December 1974.