By Carlos Mundy
On Tuesday the 10th HM King Konstantinos II of the Hellenes died at the age of 82. In a statement after his death, the late King’s private office released a statement that read: “It is with deep sadness that the Royal Family announces that HM King Constantine, beloved husband, father, and brother, passed away yesterday, January 10, 2023, while being treated at ‘HYGEIA’ hospital in Greece.”
HM King Constantine II and Queen Anne-Marie of Greece
Before succeeding to the throne and as Crown Prince he won a Golden Medal at the 1960 Rome Olympic Games– the country’s first gold medal in nearly 50 years. He was received by the population of Athens as a hero. After King Pavlos’ death in 1964, he was crowned and from the start of his reign attempted to modernise the country.
Pavlos, Crown Prince of Greece, Prince of Denmark, and his wife Marie-Chantal, Crown Princess of Greece, Princess of Denmark
In the summer of 1965, thousands of citizens took to the streets across the country in protest of the removal of the centrist prime minister, Yeoryios Papandreou and two years of political instability followed and culminated in the coup d’état of the Colonels, on April 21, 1967.
HM King Constantine II of Greece www.greekroyalfamily.gr
With the Palace surrounded by tanks the King was forced to recognize the government of the coup plotters but from the very start was planning their overthrow. The junta, led by Colonel Georgios Papadopoulos brutally consolidated their regime using censorship, mass arrests of opponents, torture, and imprisonments. Monarchist navy officers with the knowledge of their King unsuccessfully attempted to overthrow the colonels in June 1973 and Papadopoulos declared the country a republic, endorsed subsequently in a rigged plebiscite.
In 1974, the Military Junta collapsed and was succeeded by a civilian government. The government of Konstantinos Karamanlis held a further referendum to determine whether the king should be restored to his throne, but Konstantinos was not allowed to return to campaign on his own behalf but was allowed an address from London. This lack of unacceptable democratic protocol should have invalidated the referendum’s results.
Thereafter, for decades, Konstantinos was prevented from visiting Greece except briefly and on rare occasions: for his mother’s funeral in 1981 and for an attempted holiday in 1993. The following year, the Greek government of Andreas Papandreou withdrew the Greek nationality from the royal family and expropriated their assets. In 2002 the European Court of Human Rights sentenced the Greek State to compensate him with 12 million euros for the confiscated assets. It nevertheless took another two years to pay the money and, when it did so, the government took it from its extraordinary natural disasters fund rather than general reserves. In retaliation, the King used the money to set up the Queen ana Maria Foundation to assist Greeks suffering from natural disasters. The Greek government acted unjustly and vindictively and insulted him by not allowing him to be Greek.
Finally, the King was allowed to return to live there in 2013, long after the events that had toppled him from the throne and now one of Greece’s heads of State has passed away and the Greek Government one again has taken another disgraceful decision that shows such vindictiveness that it reflects negatively on the government and the country as a whole. The Greek government, led by Prime Minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis has taken the surprising decision of stripping the funeral that will be held on Monday, Jan. 16, in the Metropolitan Cathedral of Athens of any State recognition. The service will be officiated by Archbishop Hieronymos, head of the Greek Orthodox Church.
The government will give him no State honours, no military honours and will be represented solely by the Minister of Culture. This is a shameful day for the Hellenic Republic and it’s government and an insult to the Royal families that will be attending including those of Spain, the United Kingdom and Denmark. Regardless of any political favouritism that might be expected from whatever side of the political spectrum, the King will be buried as a normal citizen despite having served as Head of State, despite his unquestionable patriotism and despite his life of service. He will be buried in the cemetery of Tatoi, the house the government stole from him, as a normal citizen, after having had his nationality revoked for a considerable part of his life, with no recognition for his contribution to the nation.
This shameful decision by the Greek government contrasts with that of Romania, also a republic who held a full State funeral for their former king Michael II in Bucharest in 2017. It shows the lack of compassion and empathy toward the family and to the Greek monarchists. It is clear to everyone that they are afraid that a state funeral would have stirred monarchist feeling and sympathy for Crown Prince Pavlos, who is now the rightful King of the Hellenes.