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Nobility: Former Greek king Constantine II died

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King Constantine II was the last king of Greece. The monarchy no longer plays a role in the country – it was abolished in 1974.

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Greece’s ex-king Constantine II died on Tuesday at the age of 82. This was reported in the evening by the state radio and the state news agency. The ex-monarch’s health had deteriorated in the past few days after a stroke. According to government sources, he is to be buried in a forest of his family’s former summer palace in northern Athens.

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Constantine II was the last king of the country. Ten years after he ascended the throne as King of the Hellenes in 1964, the monarchy in Greece was abolished by referendum. The former king maintained close ties to the British royal family. In 1982 he even became Prince William’s godfather.

In recent days, his entire family has been by his side – including his wife Anne-Marie, who is the Danish Queen’s sister, and their five children. His sister, the Spanish queen mother Sofia, also traveled to Greece at the weekend, as reported by state radio.

Death is likely to trigger mourning, especially among the older Greeks. Konstantin was in the headlines from a young age.

The playboy life of young Crown Prince Konstantin is legendary in the country. Veteran journalists still tell of secret meetings with a successful actress. He is said to have had a lot of arguments with his mother. Konstantin was also successful in sport: in 1960, together with two other Greek sailors, he won the gold medal at the Olympic Games in Rome in what was then the dragon class.

After ascending the throne in 1964, he was one of the youngest monarchs in Europe. In the same year he married the then 18-year-old Danish Princess Anne-Marie. The wedding in Athens was then televised in many countries.

Constantine II, who was initially inexperienced, quickly got involved in disputes with the political leadership. He made a fatal mistake: on April 21, 1967, a military group staged a coup in Greece. In order – as he repeatedly said – to avert bloodshed, Constantine tolerated the coup plotters. He had his picture taken with them and even signed for the formation of a military government. Many Greeks have never forgiven him for that.

After the restoration of democracy, the monarchy in Greece was abolished in December 1974. Almost 70 percent of voters voted against Constantine in a referendum.

Painful years of disputes with his native country followed. He was expropriated and only compensated after a decision by the European Court of Human Rights in 2000. After that, relations with both the governments and the Greeks normalized. Konstantin bought a villa on the Peloponnese peninsula and spent several months of the year at home.

Source: Stern

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