King Constantine II of The Hellenes Dies at 82

  January 10, 2023 at 9:01 pm by

Constantine II, the last king of Greece, has died at the age of 82. This was announced on Greek television on Tuesday evening. Constantine was king from 1964 to 1973, when Greece turned into a republic. From 1967 he was exiled after a coup by conservative army officers, but the last few years he was allowed to return.

Constantine was hospitalized last week with breathing problems. According to the Greek broadcaster ERT, he eventually died of a stroke. According to Greek media, his wife and children have always been with him in recent days. His health had been fragile for years.

Constantine was born on June 2, 1940 as the second child of King Paul and Queen Frederika, née Princess of Hannover. Because Constantine was the only son, he succeeded his father when he died in 1964. He married Princess Anne Marie of Denmark, sister of the current Queen Margrethe II.

Less than three years after his accession to the throne, Constantine felt the full weight of his position. Colonel Papadopoulos staged a coup in April 1967 with a number of far-right officers. Constantine stayed on and attempted to regain power in December of the same year, but the half-hearted attempt failed.

Constantine and his wife fled to Italy. Papadopoulos named himself president and proclaimed a republic in 1973, ending the Greek monarchy once and for all. In a referendum a year later after the restoration of democracy, 70 percent of the population voted against reintroducing the monarchy, as many blamed Constantine for the chaos his counter-coup had caused.

The expelled royal couple then spent some time in Denmark, but eventually settled in London. There they built a new life and had five children. Over the years, Constantine returned to Greece several times, including for the 2004 Olympic Games.

Constantine then said he would consider settling back in Greece. “Being back in Greece, the Greek smell of the sea, seeing the mountains and being with Greek people is the main thing,” he said. “I don’t care if I am the head of state or the king of the country or just a simple citizen. Being with Greek people and being in my own country means the most.”

The King is survived by his wife, Queen Anne-Marie, their five children, four children-in-law, nine grandchildren and his two sister, Queen Sofia of Spain and Princess Irene.

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