HM King Constantine
Written by Professor David Flint AM   
Thursday, 02 February 2006
 

Mr.George Bougias, head of the Greek Royalist Association of Australia, advises that the website of HM King Constantine is accessible again. Interested persons can easily subscribe for news bulletins on the homepage. The site is http://www.kingofgreece.gr/

From my own reading, and not from any information from the Greek Royalist Association of Australia - so that any errors are mine and not the Association's - it seems that the King had been unfairly treated by the politicians when he was trying to do the best for Greece which had not long emerged from the civil war where the communists had been defeated .

When naval officers tried to overthrow "the Colonels" ,the notorious right wing military junta in 1973, the dictator George Papadopoulos, with the support of a rigged plebiscite, retaliated by declaring a republic in 1973, the third in modern Greek history. The King at this stage was in exile, after an earlier attempt to overthrow the junta.

In April 1974 the junta's disastrous mishandling of events in Cyprus led to its downfall. Then the  apparently pro-royalist leader, Constantine Karamanlis, returned from exile to become Prime Minister. Although the 1973 republican constitution was generally believed to be a sham, the constitutional monarchy under the constitution then in force was curiously not restored, as it obviously should have been. Karamanlis clearly had another agenda .

Instead of observing the constitution, Karamanlis announced that a second vote would be taken on the monarchy, and although he was the leader of the traditionally royalist party, he did not support the King. Karamanlis had had a brittle relationship with Constantine's parents, particularly when Karamnalis was accused of being an informer during the second world war.

By failing to defend the King against the patently unfair charges that he had supported the junta, Karamnalis placed the King at a serious disavantage. As the principal opposition party was republican,it was not surprising that the vote to retain the monarchy was defeated.The King graciously accepted the decision. Karamanlis later was to take the King's position as Head of State. 

Successive Greek governments have displayed a hostility, some would say a vindictiveness, towards the King. They were reluctant to allow the King to visit Greece except under exceptionall circumstances until at last it became clear they could not stop him under EU law. One government even confiscated all his property, and although this was subsequently found to have been unlawful by the European Court, the compensation paid, with which the King endowed a charity, was substantially less than its value.

Constantine is the only King to have won an Olympic gold medal, the first gold for Greece in 50 years. As a private citizen, he returned to Greece for the Athens Olymic Games. He lives in London with Queen Anne-Marie, where he is a close friend of Prince Charles and a godfather to Prince William of Wales. He continues to be invited to state functions there as the "King of the Hellenes," notwithstanding the disdain of successive Greek governments.

Prince Pavlos, the Crown Prince of Greece, Prince of Denmark, was born in 1967.He was married on 1 July 1995 in London to Marie-Chantal Miller, who became The Crown Princess Pavlos of Greece, Princess of Denmark.

Readers of The Spectator may recall that the wedding was described in detail by the magazine's celebrated columnist, Taki, who wittily compared the beauty,virtue and incorruptibility of the royal couple with those of the politicians in Athens.

 

Link to HM King Constanine's website