Interesting article about Constantine at the games.
A Mixed Welcome for Greece's Ex-King
While Europe's royal families have long added a bit of glamour to the Olympics, one blue-blooded Athens visitor is getting a mixed reception from Greeks: Constantine, who ruled the country as king for less than four years before going into exile.
The "ex", as some Greek newspapers call the former monarch, has been in Greece since the beginning of the Games and has attended numerous competitions with Greek athletes.
While Constantine himself has told reporters that Greeks have been kind to his family wherever he goes, not everyone seems to be happy to have him back.
He left Greece in 1967 after a military coup. The monarchy was abolished in a referendum in 1974, when 69 percent of Greeks voted for a republic. He's not been immensely popular in his native country ever since.
Greek leftist politicians were irked when Constantine attended an event at the country's presidential palace, which used to serve as the royal family's residence.
Media coverage of his visit hasn't been too pleasant for him, either: Greek newspaper To Wima for example criticized his joyous reaction to the Greek team's success during sailing competitions, calling Constantine's behavior "inappropriate."
"Spain's Queen Sofia, the ex's sister, at least displayed aristocratic countenance at a Basketball game," the paper wrote.
The journalists might have cut Constantine some slack as he became the first Greek to win an Olympic gold medal since 1912 in 1960 -- four years before he became king. He did so in Sailing (Dragon Class) as helmsman. He is honorary president of the International Sailing Federation as well as an honorary member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
According to news reports, the IOC is still thinking about letting Constantine hand out medals during a sailing competition.
Traveling on a Danish passport -- Constantine's ancestor, King George I., was a Danish prince -- the ex-king even had trouble getting into the country. But Greeks might get to see much more of their former monarch as he said he is looking for a new home.
"I don't care if I'm the head of state, if I'm the king of the country or just a simple citizen -- (it) is just being with Greek people and be in my own country that counts most of all," he said in a interview with US broadcaster NBC.
Despite the controversy surrounding his visit, Constantine will have a chance to catch up with relatives who have come to Athens as well.
Apart from his sister Sofia, the Spanish queen, the Danish royal family is also attending. Constantine's wife, Anne-Marie, is a sister of Denmark's Queen Margrethe II.
Danish Crown Prince Frederik and his new wife, Mary, are also in Athens, just like Sweden's royal couple, King Carl XVI. Gustaf and Queen Silvia.
Both couples have a special relationship with the Olympics as they met during previous games: Frederik and Mary met in Sydney in 2000 and Carl Gustaf and Silvia in Munich in 1972.
Other royals who have or will visit the Athens Games include Belgium's King Albert II., Britain's Princess Anne, Crown Prince Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands and Crown Prince Haakon of Norway. (win)