King Constantine II of Greece

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His Majesty
The King of the Hellenes
Constantine II in 1987
King of the Hellenes
Reign 6 March 1964 – 10January 2023
Predecessor Paul
Successor Monarchy abolished
Born (1940-06-02) 2 June 1940 (age 84)
Psychiko, Athens, Greece
Died 23 January 2023(2023-01-23) (aged 82)
Athens
Spouse
(m. 1964)
Issue
House Glücksburg
Father Paul of Greece
Mother Frederica of Hanover
Religion Greek Orthodox

Constantine II (2 June 1940 - 23 January 2023) reigned as king of Greece, from 6 March 1964 until the abolition of the monarchy on 1 June 1973.

Early life[edit]

Constantine is the only son of King Paul and Queen Frederica of Greece. As his family was forced into exile during the Second World War, he spent the first years of his childhood in Egypt and South Africa. He returned to Greece with his family in 1946 during the Greek Civil War which was being fought between the royal Greek government and communist. King George II died in 1947, and Constantine's father became the new king, making Constantine the crown prince.

As crown prince, Constantine was a competitive sailor and Olympian, winning a gold medal at the 1960 Rome Olympics in the Dragon class, and later serving on the International Olympic Committee. Along with his fellow crew members of the Nireus sailing vessel, he was named one of the 1960 Greek Athletes of the Year.

Reign[edit]

He acceded as king in 1964 following the death of his father, King Paul. Later that year he married Princess Anne-Marie of Denmark with whom he eventually had five children. Although the accession of the young monarch was initially regarded auspiciously, his reign saw political instability that culminated in a military coup on 21 April 1967 when a group colonels overthrew the government. The coup left Constantine, as the head of state, little room to manoeuvre since he had no loyal military forces on which to rely. As a result, he reluctantly agreed to inaugurate the junta on the condition that it be made up largely of civilian ministers.

On 13 December 1967, Constantine was forced to flee the country, following an unsuccessful countercoup against the junta. He remained (formally) the head of state in exile until the junta abolished the monarchy on 1 June 1973. The 1973 Greek republic referendum on 29 July, ratified the abolition by a margin of 78.57% to 21.43%. There were questions concerning the validity of this referendum and whether people were pressured to vote for a republic. Therefore a fresh referendum was held after the restoration of democracy in 1974.

This second referendum was held after the fall of the military junta on 8 December 1974 and confirmed the abolition of the monarchy and the establishment of the Third Hellenic Republic by a margin of 69.2% to 30.8%. Constantine, who had been disadvantaged in the campaign by being banned from returning to Greece to campaign,[1] nonetheless accepted the results of the plebiscite.[2]

Later years[edit]

Having lived in Rome since he was forced to flee Greece on 13 December 1967, in 1974 King Constantine moved to England where after a short period living in Chobham, Surrey, he set up residence in Hampstead, London. In 2013, Constantine returned to reside in Greece. He and his wife Anne-Marie purchased a villa in Porto Cheli, Peloponnese residing there until they relocated to Athens in the spring of 2022.

King Constantine died on 23 January 2023 in Athens, his eldest son Pavlos, Crown Prince of Greece succeeded him as head of the Royal House of Greece.

Full style[edit]

His Majesty The King of the Hellenes, Prince of Denmark, the Wends and the Goths, Heir of Norway, Duke of Schleswig, Holstein, Stormarn, Dithmarschen, Lauenburg and Oldenburg.

Marriage and issue[edit]

King Constantine was married to Princess Anne-Marie of Denmark on 18 September 1964 in Athens. The couple had five children.

  1. Princess Alexia of Greece and Denmark born 10 July 1965) married Carlos Morales Quintana and had issue.
  2. Pavlos, Crown Prince of Greece (born 20 May 1967) married Marie Chantal Miller and had issue.
  3. Prince Nikolaos of Greece and Denmark (born 1 October 1969) married Tatiana Blatnik but have no issue.
  4. Princess Theodora of Greece and Denmark (born 9 June 1983)
  5. Prince Philippos of Greece and Denmark (born on 26 April 1986)

Ancestry[edit]

References[edit]

  1. Hope, Kevin (November 2011). "Referendum plan faces hurdles". Financial Times. Archived from the original on 6 January 2012. Retrieved 19 November 2020.
  2. "Constantine II", Encyclopædia Britannica Online Academic Edition, 2011, archived from the original on 1 December 2011, retrieved 12 November 2011, On 1 June 1973, the military regime ruling Greece proclaimed a republic and abolished the Greek monarchy. A referendum on July 29, 1973, confirmed these actions. After the election of a civilian government in November 1974, another referendum on the monarchy was conducted on 8 December. The monarchy was rejected, and Constantine, who had protested the vote of 1973, accepted the result.