Ex-king in former palace

Thirty-seven years after he was forced to flee Greece, the country’s last king was received yesterday in the central Athens mansion that for some six decades served as the royal palace. The visit by Constantine, the 64-year-old former monarch, to the Irodou Atticou St. presidential palace – his first since 1967 – was kept secret at first, and was only confirmed in the afternoon by President Costis Stephanopoulos’s press office. «President Stephanopoulos accepted a plea by former King Constantine to visit the presidential palace, accompanied by his wife and family members,» a statement said. «During the visit, the president met the former king.» Presidential sources said Stephanopoulos had agreed on «humanitarian» grounds, and that no formalities had been observed. Constantine fled Greece months after the 1967 coup. The monarchy was abolished following a 1974 plebiscite, after the fall of the junta. Two years ago, the European Court of Human Rights awarded compensation to Constantine for the seizure of his properties in Greece by the Greek government in 1994.