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European royalty arrive in Athens for the funeral of the former king of Greece

The Prince and Princess of Wales are set to join other European royals as they gather in Athens tomorrow for the funeral of Greece’s King Constantine II.

The monarch, who was the last king of Greece, died of a stroke on January 10 in Athens at the age of 82, more than 50 years after he was exiled in a military coup.

His funeral, which takes place at the city’s Orthodox Metropolitan Cathedral on Monday, January 16, is expected to be attended by close family and members of other royal families in Europe.

Among those present will be Queen Letizia of Spain, who will be there with her husband and Constantine’s nephew, King Felipe, as well as Queen Margrethe of Denmark, who was his sister-in-law.

Denmark’s Queen Margrethe is arriving in Athens today ahead of King Constantine’s funeral tomorrow

Spain's King Felipe and Queen Letizia arrive at the Hotel Grande Bretagne in Athens on Sunday evening

Spain’s King Felipe and Queen Letizia arrive at the Hotel Grande Bretagne in Athens on Sunday evening

The public funeral will be attended by the king’s widow, Queen Anna-Marie, as well as his son, Crown Prince Pavlos, who is now the head of the former Greek royal family.

Other European royals will include Belgium’s King Philippe and Queen Matilda, Sweden’s King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia, as well as Princess Beatrix of the Netherlands.

William and Kate, Prince and Princess of Wales, could represent Charles and Camilla at the service, reports Hello.

Constantine was Prince William’s godfather, as well as Prince Philip’s nephew.

Greek media reports that Anne, the Princess Royal, will be at the funeral, as will Princess Alexandra, the Honorable Lady of Ogilvy.

There were also suggestions that Prince Edward and Sophie, Countess of Wessex, could attend.

Deputy Prime Minister Pangagiotis Pikramenos and Minister of Culture and Sports Lina Mendoni will represent the Greek government at the service.

The king has been in poor health in recent months and was hospitalized several times in late 2022.

He was admitted to the private Hygeia Hospital in Athens last week with breathing difficulties, where he was reportedly treated in the intensive care unit.

His public funeral will be followed by a 29km long procession to Tatoi Palace, where a special private ceremony will be held and he will be laid to rest with other members of the Greek royal family.

King Constantine II of Greece, pictured here at a 75th birthday dinner for his sister-in-law Queen Margrethe of Denmark in 2015.

King Constantine II of Greece, pictured here at a 75th birthday dinner for his sister-in-law Queen Margrethe of Denmark in 2015.

William and Kate, Prince and Princess of Wales, pictured here at the Royal Liverpool University Hospital on Merseyside on Thursday, are due to attend the funeral

William and Kate, Prince and Princess of Wales, pictured here at the Royal Liverpool University Hospital on Merseyside on Thursday, are due to attend the funeral

Princess Anne, pictured here at Paddington Station on Thursday, is due to attend King Constantine's funeral

Princess Anne, pictured here at Paddington Station on Thursday, is due to attend King Constantine’s funeral

When he ascended the throne as Constantine II in 1964 at the age of 23, the young monarch, who had already achieved fame as an Olympic gold medalist in sailing, was very popular.

By the following year, he had squandered much of that support with his active participation in the machinations that brought down the popularly elected Central Union government of Prime Minister George Papandreou.

This episode, still known in Greece as the “defection” or defection of several politicians from the ruling party, destabilized the constitutional order and led to a military coup in 1967.

Constantine eventually clashed with the military rulers and was forced into exile.

A dictatorship abolished the monarchy in 1973, while a referendum after democracy was restored in 1974 dashed all hopes of Constantine to rule again.

Reduced in the following decades to only fleeting visits to Greece, which each time caused a political and media storm, he was able to settle again in his native country, when his presence was no longer held against the currency as a sign of vigilance. republicanism.

With minimal nostalgia for the monarchy in Greece, Constantine became a relatively uncontroversial figure from the past.

Until his last days, Constantine, while accepting that Greece was now a republic, continued to refer to himself as King of Greece and his children as princes and princesses even though Greece no longer recognized noble titles.

For most of his years in exile he lived in the London suburb of Hampstead Garden, and was said to be particularly close to his second cousin Charles, now King Charles III.

While it took Constantine 14 years to return to his country, briefly, to bury his mother, Queen Federica in 1981, he has since multiplied his visits and has been there since 2010.

Disputes continued: in 1994, the socialist government of the time stripped him of his citizenship and expropriated what remained of the royal family’s property.

Constantine sued the European Court of Human Rights and was awarded €12m (£10.6m) in 2002, a fraction of the €500m (£441.8m) he had sought.

Constantine traveled with a Danish passport as a Danish prince.

He is survived by his wife, the former Princess Anne-Marie of Denmark, the youngest sister of Queen Margrethe II; five children, Alexia, Pavlos, Nikolaos, Theodora and Philip; and nine grandchildren.

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