Marking 60 years since the last King of Greece took the throne

By Anefo -, CC0, Wikimedia Commons

On this day in 1964, King Constantine II became King of Greece.

Constantine ascended to the throne upon the death of his father, King Paul, who had been battling stomach cancer.

King Paul died on 6 March 1964, making 23-year-old Crown Prince Constantine the King of the Hellenes. Constantine had already been serving as Regent while his father fought cancer, but during that time, the Crown Prince took on limited duties, including appointing members of the government and accepting their resignations.

By 6 March, that would change as Constantine took on the role of monarch, but it wasn’t until 23 March that he was officially sworn in before the Greek Parliament.

The new monarch was engaged to be married to the Danish Princess Anne-Marie, and their wedding took place on 18 September 1964. Their first child, Princess Alexia was born the following year, and Crown Prince Pavlos followed two years later.

Happiness did not last long for the new King as government instability eventually led to a dictatorship by Colonel George Papadopoulos in 1967. The end of the Greek monarchy was near even after an attempted royal countercoup.

King Constantine and his family went into exile in Italy at the end of 1967. He technically remained King of the Hellenes until 1973 Papadopoulos declared that the monarchy had been abolished and a referendum later that year officially ended the Greek monarchy.

King Constantine in 2010. Photo: Holger Motzkau 2010, Wikipedia/Wikimedia Commons (cc-by-sa-3.0)

The Greek Royal Family remained in exile for most of the rest of King Constantine’s life. He was finally able to return, only for six hours, in 1981 for the funeral of his mother, Queen Frederica. By 1993, Constantine was able to return to his homeland for a holiday with his family after an agreement with Greece’s Prime Minister, Konstantinos Mitsotakis. However, that did not come without drama as supporters greeted them during their family trip around Greece, leading to the government claiming they had no idea the former royals were going to be in the country after police and protestors clashed.

King Constantine and Queen Anne Marie finally returned to live in Greece in 2013. Following years of health battles, the King died in Athens on 10 January 2023.

Funeral of King Constantine. By Iason Raissis –, CC BY-SA 2.0, Wikimedia Commons

He was denied a state funeral by the Greek government, but his funeral was attended by 200 attendees, who included current and former monarchs. Constantine was buried in the Royal Cemetery at Tatoi Palace near his parents.

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About the Author

Brittani Barger
Brittani is from the United States and has been researching, writing and reporting on the royals for over a decade. Successfully gaining exclusives and interviews with royals across the globe, Brittani left her role as an editor for another news site to help bring you Royal News. She's been seen on BBC World, WION News and other news programs to discuss the royal families.

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