Ex-king to be buried as a private citizen in Athens

Ex-king to be buried as a private citizen in Athens

Greece’s former King Constantine II, who died on Tuesday night aged 82, will be buried privately at a former royal estate north of Athens, the Greek government said on Wednesday.

Deposed by military rulers and spurned by his subjects who voted to ditch the monarchy in 1974, Constantine II was the only son of King Paul and Queen Frederica of Greece.

He suffered from chronic heart and mobility problems and had been treated in an Athens hospital since last week.

“It is with deep sadness that the royal family announces that HM King Constantine, beloved husband, father, and brother, passed away yesterday,” Constantine’s private office said in a statement on Wednesday.

Constantine II, godfather to Britain’s Prince William and a second cousin to King Charles, would be buried privately in Tatoi, the summer palace of the former Greek royal family, where his ancestors are also laid to rest, the government said.

The date of the funeral has not yet been announced but the service will take place at a church designated by Constantine’s family and the Greek government.

Constantine II was 27 years old and had only recently ascended to the throne, in 1964, when he was forced into exile with a young family in late 1967.

He would not return for decades to Greece, where he was deeply unpopular for his decision to swear-in the colonels who seized power in April 1967. He would briefly cooperate with them before staging a failed counter-coup.

The military junta forced him to flee the country and abolished the monarchy in 1973. In another referendum after the fall of the junta a year later, Greece rejected monarchy again, making Constantine the last Greek monarch.

Constantine was married to Princess Anne-Marie, the youngest daughter of King Frederick IX of Denmark, and had five children.

Known as “The Ex” or just “Glucksberg” – from the German House of Glucksberg which has connections with royalty throughout Europe – Constantine spent almost 50 years in exile in Italy and London, before quietly returning to settle in Greece in 2013. “The eventful journey of the former King Constantine marked and was marked by turbulent moments in Greece’s modern history,” Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said. “My sincere condolences to his family.” [Reuters]

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