February 6, 2023

Taylor Daily Press

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The last king of Greece died

Greece does not have a king anymore. Constantine II, the last to sit on the Greek throne, died on Tuesday. He was 82 years old. His nine-year reign coincided with one of the most turbulent periods in the country’s political history.

When Constantine was born on June 2, 1940, 101 shots rang out from Lycabettus, the highest hill in Athens. Finally born of the Greek royal family, finally heir to the throne. And Constantine will be on the move sooner than anyone can imagine. He ascended the throne at the age of 23, when his 62-year-old father, Paul I, died of stomach cancer.

Constantine immediately enjoyed immense popularity among the Greek population. His Olympic gold medal, which he won in sailing in Rome in 1960, undoubtedly had something to do with it. Given his young age, he was seen as a symbol of change. Something that the population craves in times of great contradictions between the right and the left.

It turned out to be a vain hope. Political reality soon overtook Constantine. The country plunged into a deep crisis after the resignation of Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou in 1965. Several attempts by Constantine to form new governments failed, culminating in the military coup of 1967. Constantine’s residence was surrounded by tanks. The king had to bow to the leaders of the coup, but after a few months he organized a counter-coup, which failed miserably.

The Greek king and queen in Corfu in 1964.

Photo: EPA-EFE


Constantine fled to Rome with his children and his wife, the former Danish Princess Anne Marie. In 1973, the military junta dealt the final blow to King Constantine by officially abolishing the monarchy. After the end of the military junta in 1974, Constantine hoped for a glorious comeback, but that was beyond the will of the people. The new government organized a referendum on the restoration of the monarchy and no less than 69 percent did not want to hear about the return of Constantine. To make matters worse, Athena later stripped him of his citizenship. Result: Constantine was the last king of Greece.

Constantine lived in exile for 46 years, only to return home in 2013. Not only was the former king unwanted in his country, but politics also dealt him a severe financial blow. By 1994, all of his palaces and other royal possessions had been confiscated by the government. It was not until 2002 that he and other members of his family were compensated in the amount of 13.7 million euros.

In his last public appearance in central Athens last year, the former king was seen in a wheelchair with a catheter in his nose. In recent years, Konstantin has suffered from serious health problems, including mild heart attacks, pulmonary edema, and a serious corona infection. According to Greek media, he died in hospital of a stroke.

The last king of Greece died

Flags in Greece were moved to half-mast after the death of the previous king.

Photo: Reuters

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