Human Interest

Former King Constantine II of Greece dies

Athens, Jan 10 (EFE).- The former King Constantine II of Greece, the brother of now-retired Spanish King Juan Carlos’s wife Sofia, died Tuesday at a private hospital in Athens, where he was admitted last week. He was 82.

The monarch’s entire family – including his sisters Sofia and Irene, who had traveled from Spain – were with the former monarch in his final moments.

Constantine II has been in delicate health for several years. In December 2021, he was hospitalized after suffering an ischemic crisis and, more recently, for a month after contracting Covid-19.

Although in recent days barely any information had been released about his health, Greek media outlets said that the ex-king had suffered a new stroke and had been placed in intensive care at Hygeia Hospital in Athens.

Constantine’s office did not confirm that report, up until Monday saying only that he was in stable, albeit fragile, condition.

The former Greek monarch had suffered from respiratory and cardiac problems for some time and his mobility had been reduced in recent years.

Over the past few days, his close relatives traveled to his bedside from around the world, given that only one of his five children – Nikolaos, who is married to Tatiana Blanik – lives in Greece.

Constantine moved with his wife Anna Maria, the younger sister of Queen Margrethe II of Denmark, from the town of Porto Cheli to Athens last spring to be closer to the hospital and the doctors who were monitoring his health.

He last appeared in public with his wife and sisters in October 2022, when he was seen walking along a downtown Athens avenue.

Constantine II was crowned king of Greece at age 24 upon the death of King Paul, his father, and initially the handsome young monarch was incredibly popular, having won an Olympic gold medal in sailing. However, his popularity quickly plunged due to his active involvement in the maneuvering that brought down the government of Prime Minister George Papandreou.

The military coup in Greece in 1967 resulted in Constantine and his family being exiled to Rome. The dictatorship abolished the monarchy in 1973 and, after the fall of the military junta in 1974, the public voted overwhelmingly to make Greece a republic, thus bringing the curtain down on any remaining chance that he could regain the throne and making him Greece’s last king.

Greece’s socialist government stripped him of his citizenship and his considerable assets in 1994, although the European Court of Human Rights awarded him 12 million euros ($12 million) in 2002 after he filed suit.

Since that time, Constantine had traveled on a Danish passport and held the status of a Danish prince, although he had returned to Greece to live in 2010.

Prince Philip, the Greek-born late husband of the United Kingdom’s late Queen Elizabeth II, was Constantine’s uncle.

EFE ih-dsp/bp

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