Greece: Rulers from all over Europe at the funeral of former King Constantine
Sovereigns from all over Europe are due to attend the funeral of the last king of Greece Constantine II in Athens at midday on Monday, who died on Tuesday at the age of 82, but no national tribute will be paid to this disputed former monarch.
In the Cathedral of the Annunciation in Athens (or Metropolitan), the Kings and Queens of Spain, Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands, Belgium, Prince Albert II of Monaco, the Norwegian Crown Prince, the Grand Duke of Luxembourg will pay a last tribute to the former Greek sovereign.
The British royal family will be represented by Princess Anne, sister of Charles III, both cousins of Constantine II, Buckingham Palace said on Friday.
The Greek media wondered this weekend about the possible presence of Prince William, godson of the former King of Greece, but without obtaining confirmation or denial.
The former queen of Spain, Sophie, sister of Constantine, and her husband Juan Carlos will also be present in the Greek capital.
In the early hours of the day, hundreds of people lined up in front of the cathedral to come and pray in front of the coffin of the deceased, covered for the occasion with a large piece of fabric in the national colors, blue and white. .
The coffin will be on display until 10 a.m. local time (8 a.m. GMT) in a chapel near the cathedral for this tribute, while the surrounding streets have been closed to traffic, promising traffic jams in the city center of the Greek capital.
A total of 187 guests are expected to attend this funeral.
Deeply republican, the vast majority of the population hesitated between indifference and anger since this descendant of the royal family of Schleswig-Holstein-Glücksburg died Tuesday in a private hospital in Athens following a stroke.
The day after Constantine’s death, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis announced that the funeral would be private.
Neither he nor the current Head of State Katerina Sakellaropoulou will go to the funeral of a deposed king in 1974 during the restoration of the Republic, after the dark period of the dictatorship of the colonels (1967-1974) .
In Athens, only the flags around the Panathenaic Stadium, the ancient stadium in the Greek capital renovated for the first modern Olympic Games in 1896, were lowered.
In 1960, Constantin won a gold medal in sailing at the Olympic Games in Rome. He was also an honorary member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
– Old wounds –
After the Orthodox religious ceremony, he will be buried privately at the former royal residence in Tatoi, north of Athens, where most of the former members of the royal family are buried, including King George I, the first of the Danish dynasty. ascended the throne of Greece in 1863.
The death of the ex-monarch, who lived some forty years in exile, revived old wounds in Greece, especially around his role during the dictatorship of the colonels (1967-1974).
Criticized for not having then prevented the accession to power of the junta, Constantin had left Greece in 1968 and lived forty years in London, before returning to his country in 2013 continuing to call himself “king”.
The monarchy in Greece was abolished by referendum in 1974 which, with a 70% majority, officially deposed Constantine II.
Constantin Glücksburg, as some media call him without mentioning his former royal title, has long battled in court with the Greek state which had confiscated royal property.
Stripped of his nationality in 1994, he lodged a complaint with the European Court of Human Rights to recover his property. In 2002, the latter condemned Greece to pay 14 million euros to the royal family.