Constantine II 1940-2023

Constantine II, the last king of Greece before the royal monarchy was abolished, died on Tuesday 10th January 2023, aged 82.  After experiencing breathing problems, Constantine had been taken to a private hospital in Athens and treated in an intesive care unit.  A descendant of Denmark's royal Glucksburg family, Constantine was a second cousin of Britains Charles III and godfather to William, prince of Wales. Constantine II ascended to the throne in 1964 during a turbulent period in Greek history that culminated in a military coup three years later.  He was forced to flee abroad following an unsuccessful counter-coup.  The monarchy was abolished in 1973 and Constantine was later stripped of his Greek citizenship.  He married Princess Anne-Marie of Denmark in 1964 and they had five children.

A keen sailor, Constantine II won gold in a team event at the 1960 Olympics in Rome.  He also later served on the International Olympic Committee.  Constantine II's title of king was officially abolished following a referendum after the fall of the brutal military Junta in 1974, when Greek voters confirmed the abolition of the monarchy and the establishment of the Third Hellenic Republic.  Constantine II then travelled with a Danish passport as a Danish prince.  For many years, Constantine II, Anne-Marie and their family lived in Hampstead Garden Suburb, North London.  In 2002, Constantine and other family members received compensation for their former properties in Greece and they acquired two private estates in Ermionida.  In 2010 he and his family returned from exile to live in his beloved Greece. 

The former King of the Hellenes, who was born on 2nd June 1940, had been hospitalised several times in recent years.  He relocated from Ermionida, near Porto Heli, to Athens in 2021 to be closer to medical facilities.  Despite the fact that Greece (Hellenic Republic) does not recognise titles of nobility any more, Constantine II continued to call himself 'King of Greece' and his children 'princes' and 'princesses' until his dying moments in Athens.

The Greek government announced that Constantine II would be buried as a private citizen in Tatoi, the former summer residence of Greece's royals and where his parents and ancestors are laid to rest.  The Greek government will be represented at the funeral by the Deputy PM and the Culture Minister, while all protocol procedures will be followed for dignitaries from abroad who will attend the funeral service held at noon on Monday 16th January at the Orthodox Metropolitan Cathedral of Athens.  The body of the former king will then be transffered to the royal tombs at the former royal palace in Tatoi, 30kms north of Athens.  Royal representatives from Spain, Luxemburg, Norway, Sweden, Netherlands, Denmark, Monaco and the United Kingdom are expected to attend, in addition to members of former royal families of Romania, Bulgaria and Serbia.

 

The former royal palace at Tatoi will be restored and open as a public museum by 2025, according to the Greek Minister of Culture and Sports, Lina Mendoni.  The announcement was made a day after the burial of former Greek king Constantine II at the estate.