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Europe's crowned heads in Athens for funeral of Constantine II

Private ceremony, Greek Minister of Culture Mendoni attended

16 January, 16:07

    (ANSAmed) - ATHENS, 16 GEN - The kings and queens of Spain, Sweden, Belgium, Denmark, the Netherlands, Prince Albert II of Monaco, the Swedish heir to the throne, the Grand Duke of Luxembourg, gathered together at Athens Metropolitan Cathedral this morning, to take part at the private funeral, which were celebrated by Athens' Archbishop Ieronymos II. Constantine II was the former King of Greece, he passed away last Tuesday at age 82, due to an ictus.

    A descendant of the royal family of Schleswig-Holstein-Glücksburg, Constantine II became king in 1964 and was king until 1973. In 1968, during the Regime of the Colonels, he was forced to go into exile, first in Rome and later in London, where he lived for 40 years, until he returned to his home country in 2013. In 1960 he won a gold medal for sailing at the Rome Olympic games. He will be buried at the former royal residence of Tatoi, to the north of Athens, where most of the royal family members are buried.

    A few hours after the death of the last monarch, the Greek government communicated that the funerals would be held as a private ceremony. At the ceremony, representing the Greek government, were the Vice President Panagiotis Picrammenos and the Minister of Culture, Lina Mendoni. Among other present, there was the president of the Hellenic Olympic Committee, Spyros Capralos.

    The British royal family was represented by Princess Ann, the sister of Charles III, both cousins of the former Greek king.

    There were also present the former queen of Spain, Sofia, the sister of Constantine II and her husband, Juan Carlos.

    Outside the Cathedral, according to the Greek TV ERT, approximately 3,000 people were gathered to pay their final goodbye. Historically, the Greek royal family has not been popular among the people, who saw the monarchs as the expression of foreign interference in their country. In 1974, in a referendum, the monarchy was definitely abolished with 70% votes in favor. (ANSAmed).

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