Former King of Greece Constantine II dies at 82

Former King Constantine II, who briefly ruled Greece in the 1960s, died in Athens on Tuesday at the age of 82, Greek public broadcaster ERT reported. The ex-sovereign “died (…) following a stroke”, announced ERT. He had been hospitalized in Athens last week also suffering from respiratory problems, according to some Greek media.

Descendant of the royal family of Schleswig-Holstein-Glücksburg, Constantin was the cousin of the British sovereign Charles III and godfather to his son William. He was also the brother of Sofia, the mother of King Felipe VI of Spain.

The monarchy in Greece was abolished by referendum in 1974, ending the Danish dynasty established in 1863 by Constantine II’s great-grandfather, George I.

Brief reign

Constantine II had acceded to the throne at the age of 23 in 1964, one of the most turbulent periods in contemporary Greek history. The political crises that followed were fertile ground for the colonels’ coup in April 1967 and the seven-year term of the junta that the CIA was accused of supporting.

According to US diplomatic documents released later, Constantin also tried to impose martial law in 1967 to avoid the return of Georges Papandreou or his socialist son Andreas, elected Prime Minister fifteen years later.

He left Greece in 1968 and lived for forty years in London, before returning to his country in 2013. Married to Anne-Marie, sister of Queen Margaret II of Denmark, he leaves five children.

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