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GreekReporter.comGreek NewsFormer King of Greece Constantine Laid to Rest Near Athens

Former King of Greece Constantine Laid to Rest Near Athens

Former Prince Pavlos and Prince Nikolaos carried the casket to the burial ground at Tatoi. Credit: Video screenshot/ERT

Former King of Greece Constantine II was laid to rest at the former royal residence of Tatoi, north of Athens on Monday afternoon.

His sons former Prince Pavlos and Nikolaos carried the casket from the chapel in Tatoi, followed by his wife Anne-Marie and other members of the royal family.

A brief service was held at the chapel in Tatoi. Credit: Video screenshot/ERT

A crowd of mourners also gathered at the burial ground.

Earlier, thousands paid their last respects to the former King at the Orthodox Metropolitan Cathedral of Athens.

Former King Constantine funeral
The funeral service of the former King of Greece, Constantine. Credit: Video screenshot/ERT

A long queue was created in the early hours outside Saint Eleftherios chapel next to the Cathedral. The coffin draped with the Greek flag lay at rest ahead of the funeral service.

A limited lying-in-state was allowed in the chapel, with members of the public allowed to visit Constantine’s flag-draped coffin from 6 a.m. to 11 a.m.

The sons of former King Constantine (left-to-right), Philippos, Pavlos and Nikolaos, at the funeral service. Video screenshot/ERT

The private service officiated by Archbishop Ieronymos, head of the Orthodox Church of Greece, began shortly after noon with almost 200 guests attending.

Former Prince Pavlos said in his eulogy: “You will always live on in our thoughts and our hearts, as happens in every Greek family when it loses something precious.”

He spoke of moments in his father’s life, among them winning a gold Olympic medal in 1960, and the influence he exerted so that Athens would assume the organization of the Olympic Games in 2004.

He also referred to the moments that led to the dissolution of democracy in Greece, saying: “From the first moment you resisted strongly and sought ways to overthrow the dictators”.

Pavlos also promised that Constantine’s children and grandchildren will safeguard his legacy and “always offer to the country and to Greece”.

Constantine funeral
Pavlos and Nikolaos place a wreath over the casket. Credit: Video screenshot/ERT
Pavlos, the eldest son of former King Constantine delivers a eulogy for his father. Credit: Video screenshot/ERT

Europe’s royal families attend the funeral of Constantine

His funeral is attended by close family and members of Europe’s royal families.

They included King Felipe of Spain with his wife Queen Letitia, Queen Mother of Spain Sofia, Constantine’s sister, with her husband King Emeritus Juan Carlos, as well as Constantine’s other sister, Irene, and the princesses Elena and Cristina, daughters of Juan Carlos and Sofia.

The funeral was also attended by Princess Anne, the sister of King Charles III of Britain, Queen Margrethe of Denmark and her son, and Crown Prince Frederik and Princess Benedikte, sister of the Queen of Denmark and of the former Greek queen consort Anne-Marie, the wife of Constantine.

Other royals included the King Carl Gustaf of Sweden and Queen Silvia, the Crown Prince of Norway Haakon and his wife, Princess Mette-Marit, the Grand Duke of Luxembourg Henri, the King of the Netherlands Willem-Alexander with his wife, Queen Maxima, and the Queen Mother Princess Beatrix and Prince Albert of Monaco. On the part of the Belgian royal family came King Philippe and his wife, Queen Mathilde.

Former royals included Serbian royal couple Catherine and Alexander, Mariya Vladimirovna from Russia, and former prince Radu from Romania.

Constantine dies last week at the age of 82

Deputy Prime Minister Panagiotis Pikrammenos and Culture Minister Lina Mendoni represented the Greek government at the service. The government last week decided not to grant the ex-king a state funeral.

A reported 1,000 police were deployed for the funeral service and burial of the former king. Police said they “will have a presence at vital points [around] the metropolitan cathedral and Tatoi, as well as the funeral procession’s route and the locations where invited officials stay.”

Constantine died in a hospital last Tuesday at the age of 82. Greece’s monarchy was definitively abolished in a referendum in December 1974 and Constantine spent decades in exile before settling in his home country once more in his waning years.

To his final days, Constantine, while accepting that Greece was now a republic, continued to style himself king of Greece and his children as princes and princesses. For most of his years in exile he lived in London and was said to be especially close to his second cousin, now King Charles III.


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