Royals from all over the globe in Athens for funeral of King Constantine of Greece

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Royals from all over the globe in Athens for funeral of King Constantine of GreeceFormer king of Greece Constantine II laid to rest in Tatoi. Thousands turn out to bid farewell

The body of the former and last king of Greece, Constantine II, was buried alongside his ancestors at the former royal estate of Tatoi, north of Athens, shortly before 4 PM on Monday afternoon.

The private burial service was held after the completion of the funeral service at the Athens Metropolitan Cathedral, led by the Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Ieronymos, with the participation of senior clerics of the Holy Synod of the Orthodox Church of Greece.

As a crowd of thousands chanted “Long live the king” and “Constantine, Constantine,” the casket carrying the former and last monarch of Greece emerged from Athens’ Metropolitan Cathedral Monday after a funeral service attended by royalty from across Europe.

Constantine’s wife, Anne-Marie, the sister of Denmark’s Queen Margrethe II, and his eldest son, Pavlos, followed at the head of the funeral procession. The casket, draped with the Greek flag, was loaded into a hearse for the trip to Tatoi, a former royal estate north of Athens where Constantine was to be buried near his parents and ancestors.

Once a richly forested site popular with Athenians for picnics and nature walks, Tatoi was ravaged by a wildfire about two years ago and had remained mostly blackened and derelict ever since. Cleanup crews worked feverishly since Constantine’s death last week at age 82 to clean up the site in time for Monday’s funeral.

A referendum definitively abolished Greece’s monarchy in 1974. Constantine, a controversial figure during a turbulent time in Greek history, spent decades in exile before returning to settle in his home country in his waning years.

“By the grace of God, you drew your last breath in our country, which you always loved above all else throughout your life,” Pavlos said in a eulogy to his father. Constantine’s children and grandchildren, Pavlos said, “are ready, as you had always been, to offer Greece whatever the country asks of us.”

European royals, many closely related to Constantine, descended on Athens for the funeral, including Margrethe and the Spanish royal family. Constantine’s sister Sophia is the mother of Spain’s King Felipe VI and the wife of former King Juan Carlos I.

Greece’s former Queen Anne Marie, former Crown Prince Pavlos and Princess Marie-Chantal, seen first row, former Spanish King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia, second row, attend the funeral service of the former king of Greece Constantine II at Metropolitan Cathedral in Athens, Monday, Jan. 16, 2023. Constantine died in a hospital late Tuesday at the age of 82 as Greece’s monarchy was definitively abolished in a referendum in December 1974. (Stoyan Nenov/Pool via AP)

Constantine was one of the godparents of Prince William, heir to the British throne. William’s aunt, Princess Anne, represented the British royal family in Athens.

Juan Carlos, walking with the aid of a walking stick, attended with Sophia at his side. It was a rare public appearance for the former king, who has lived in Abu Dhabi since being cut off from the Spanish royal family in 2020 amid financial scandals.

The Greek government had announced Constantine would be buried as a private citizen without honors reserved for former heads of state. A limited lying-in-state was allowed from 6 a.m. to 11 a.m. in a chapel next to the cathedral.

Thousands of people turned out, some traveling from across Greece and lining up for hours in the predawn darkness and winter chill.

“He was a constitutional leader of the country. It was a monarchy then, so we must honor this man who stayed in Greece for so many years and who is Greek,” Athens resident Georgia Florenti said while waiting to pay her respects to the former monarch.

Some mourners expressed disappointment that Constantine was being buried without the honors awarded to former heads of state.

Read more at thenationalherald.com

RELATED TOPICS: GreeceGreek tourism newsTourism in GreeceGreek islandsHotels in GreeceTravel to GreeceGreek destinationsGreek travel marketGreek tourism statisticsGreek tourism report

Photo Source: Wikimedia Commons License: CC-BY-SA Copyright: Allan warren

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