NOS Nieuws•vandaag, 15:47
In Athens, thousands of Greeks said goodbye to Constantine II, the last king of the country, who died last week. Members of several European royal families also traveled to the Greek capital for the funeral of the former monarch, including King Willem-Alexander, Queen Máxima and Princess Beatrix.
Constantine II was king for only a short time: in 1967, after three years on the throne, he was exiled from Greece, which officially became a republic in 1974. Despite this, Constantine II continued to refer to himself as king and his children as princes and princesses until his death.
Many royals who attended his funeral today are related to the former Greek king. For example, Constantine II was the uncle of King Felipe VI of Spain and the brother-in-law of the Danish Queen Margrethe II. He was also a second cousin of the British King Charles and the godfather of Prince William. Neither were there today; the British royal family was represented by Princess Anne.
This is what the funeral of Constantine II, who died at the age of 82, looked like:
European royals at Constantine’s funeral
Constantine II is buried in the former royal estate of Tatoi, just north of Athens. His parents and ancestors also have their graves there.
The estate fell into disrepair after the exile of the Greek royal family, although several attempts have been made in recent years to restore it.
Two years ago Tatoi was still ravaged by forest fires, after which it was blackened and abandoned again. For the funeral of Constantine II, the site was cleared and cleaned as much as possible and overgrown paths were made passable again.
Residents of Greece lined up for hours this morning to pay their last respects to the late former king. Many in attendance disagree that Constantine II was not given a state funeral:
Greeks say goodbye to Constantine II: ‘The sadness is great’
The reign of Constantine II therefore did not last long: he came to the throne in 1964 as a 23-year-old, but had to step down three years later. This happened in the aftermath of a military coup in Greece. Constantine II sworn in the new military rulers under great pressure and with visible reluctance, but was exiled after he had launched a (failed) counter-coup a short time later.
Constantine II and his family were banned from entering Greece after their exile, although the junta did not abolish the monarchy in the country until 1973. When the reign of the military rulers came to an end a year later, Constantine II hoped to return to Greece.
However, that did not happen, because according to the new government there were still too many tensions in the country. In addition, a majority of Greeks have indicated in a new referendum that they are not in favor of the return of the monarchy. Constantine II accepted the result of the plebiscite and lived mainly in London in the following period.
It would be years before the former king, who also lost his Greek nationality in the 1990s, would return permanently to his native land. In 1981 he was allowed to spend a few hours in Greece for his mother’s funeral, but it was not until 2010 that he moved back to live there.
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