Constantine II, Greece’s final king, died on January 13, 2023. He was 83 years old. A figure who ignited controversy and was much-loved by royalists, Constantine was married to the former queen Anne-Marie of Denmark in 1964. He had five children: Alexia, Pavlos, Nikolaos, Theodora, and Philip.
Ascent and exile
The only son of King Paul and Queen Frederica of Greece, Constantine took to the throne at the age of 23. His reign lasted a short three years. His reign came during a time of political instability. After the Colonels’ Coup of April 1967, Constantine inaugurated the junta. Following an unsuccessful countercoup against the junta, Constantine fled into exile on December 13, 1967. He formally remained the head of state in exile until the monarchy was officially abolished in June 1973.
A controversial figure, Constantine repeatedly stated that he recognized the Republic, the laws, and the constitution of Greece following the abolition of the monarchy. He told Time, “If the Greek people decide that they want a republic, they are entitled to have that and should be left in peace to enjoy it.
Personal life and Olympics
Prior to serving as king, Constantine won a gold medal at the 1960 Rome Olympics for sailing. He was an avid sailor, as well as a strong swimmer, and had a black belt in karate. An athletic man, he also enjoyed squash, track events, and riding. Constantine became a member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC).]
Constantine and Anne-Marie for many years lived in London for many years. He was a close friend of his second cousin Charles III and a godfather to William, Prince of Wales.
Constantine returned to Greece temporarily during the 2004 Athens Olympic Games as a member of the International Olympic Committee.
In 1992, the royal family’s assets in Greece, notably the estates of Mon Repos in Corfu, Tatoi in Athens, and Polydendri in Larissa were ceded to a nonprofit organization.
Click here to read about the time Jackie O. spent with Constantine and his family on her summer adventures in Greece.
Death and legacy
Royals from around the world traveled to Athens this week to pay their respects to Constantine II.
The funeral was held privately, which Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis explained made sense as the former king was the leader of the “Kingdom of Greece, which no longer exists.” Many felt Constantine was unfairly exiled, and the royal family remains a contentious topic.
Yes, the Danish-German”king” of Greece. With the exception of George I that family did not do well by Greece.