CULTURE

Constantine and family in a whirlwind visit to Athens

The arrival of Constantine De Grecia and family in Athens last weekend created turmoil. The arrival, en famille, of the former monarch, bearing a Danish passport in the name of Constantine De Grecia, sparked excessive media interest, especially from the privately owned channels, which excluded shots from the rally against war on Iraq, with 150,000 demonstrators shouting for «peace, not war,» and showed a handful of anarchists spoiling the peaceful image by creating disturbances around Syntagma Square and the police retaliating with tear gas. So there was smoke and fire as well, because the arrival of Constantine, his wife Anna Maria, their sons Pavlos and Nicholas, and their heavily pregnant daughter Alexia with her husband Carlos Morales, stirred up such television interest that camera crews pursued the family, step by step, from the Pentelicon Hotel in Kifissia where they stayed and hosted a meal for old friends from Kastri, where there was a party at the home of the children’s former classmates, though a table had been booked at a nightclub where Anna Vissi was singing, so as to put the media off the scent. Before they left on Sunday evening, the family held a memorial service at the graves of their relatives in the Tatoi estate, which now belongs to the Greek State, and they visited the Sailing Club of Greece in Kastella, where Constantine showed his sons the boat on which he and his crew Odysseus Eskidioglou and Giorgos Zaimis won a gold medal at the Olympic Games in Rome, when he was the successor to the throne. Past glories, but the avidity of the private television channels and the flurry of announcements from ministers accepting Constantine «as a Greek but also as anti-Greek» (Economy Minister Nikos Christodoulakis) and «as a tourist who is here because of the Schengen agreement» (Press Minister Christos Protopappas), show a certain fear as to his future intentions. Constantine is planning to buy a house in Ekali to live in, on Rodon Street, as sources informed Helbi who, however, was not at the dinner or the party.