Thursday, June 2, 2016

Royal Profile: King Constantine II of Greece

King Constantine II of Greece was born 2 June 1940 as the middle child and only son of King Paul I & Queen Fredrica {Source}. He has two sisters, a brother-in-law, two nieces, a nephew, four great nieces, and four great nephews{Source}:

  1. Queen Sofia of Spain (1938)
    1. King Juan Carlos I of Spain (1938, m. 1962)
      1. Infanta Elena, Duchess of Lugo (1963)
        1. Don Felipe Juan Froilán de Todos los Santos de Marichalar y de Borbón (1998)
        2. Doña Victoria Federica de Todos los Santos de Marichalar y de Borbón (2000)
      2. Infanta Cristina of Spain (1965)
        1. Iñaki Urdangarín
          1. Don Juan Urdangarín y de Borbón(1999)
          2. Don Pablo Urdangarín y de Borbón (2000)
          3. Don Miguel Urdangarín y de Borbón (2002)
          4. Doña Irene Urdangarín y de Borbón (2005)
      3. King Felipe VI of Spain (1968)
        1. Queen Letizia of Spain (m. 2004)
          1. Leonor, Princess of Asturias (2005)
          2. The Infanta Sofia of Spain (2007)
  2. Princess Irene of Greece & Denmark (1942)
Shortly after his birth, he and his family went into exile in South Africa{Source}. The royal family eventually returned to Greece, where Constantine began speaking fluent Arabic with servants and staff{Source}. His uncle, King George II died in 1947, without any heirs, therefore, his father became King Paul I, and he became Crown Prince of Greece{Source}.

Beginning in 1949, he attended Aanavryta High School in Greece {Source}. During his education, he also undertook military training on the weekends{Source}. As the only son, he took an oath of allegence to the Greek military (army, navy and air force) in 1958{Source}.

In 1960, he became the first Greek to win an Olympic Gold Medal since 1912{Source}. He achieved this in Sailing (Dragon Class){Source}. After the Olymics, he began to study law at Athens University{Source}. During this time, he also undertook a visit to the United States, to see military and industrial establishments{Source}.

His diplomatic education began at a young age, and he often attended state visits with his parents-Italy, UK, West Germany, Lebanon, Ethiopia, India, and Thailand, where he met many world leaders{Source}.

In March 1964, his father died, leaving Constantine as King of Greece{Source}.

Later that same year, he married Princess Anne-Marie of Denmark{Source}. Together, they have the following children, children-in-law and grandchildren:
  1. Princess Alexia of Greece and Denmark (1965)
    1. Carlos Morales Quintana (m. 1999)
      1. Arrietta Morales y de Grecia (2002)
      2. Ana María Morales y de Grecia (2003)
      3. Carlos Morales y de Grecia (2005)
      4. Amelia Morales y de Grecia (2007)
  2. Crown Prince Pavlos of Greece, Prince of Denmark (1967)
    1. Crown Princess Marie-Chantal of Greece (m. 1995)
      1. Princess Maria-Olympia of Greece & Denmark (1996)
      2. Prince Constantine-Alexios of Greece & Denmark(1998)
      3. Prince Achileas-Andreas of Greece & Denmark (2000)
      4. Prince Odysseus-Kimon of Greece & Denmark (2004)
      5. Prince Aristidis-Stavros of Greece & Denmark(2008)
  3. Prince Nikolaos of Greece & Denmark (1969)
    1. Princess Tatiana of Greece & Denmark (m. 2010)
  4. Princess Theodora of Greece & Denmark (1983)
  5. Prince Philippos of Greece & Denmark (1986)

After his accession to the throne, King Constantine was faced with a challenging internal situation. There were riots in the hot days of July 1965 after the resignation of Papandreou as Prime Minister{Source}.. Just before elections were due to be held in May 1967, there was a 'coup d'etat' by Army Colonels{Source}.. King Constantine was faced with conflicting pressures, but always put the safety of the people at the top of his agenda{Source}.In December 1967, King Constantine went to Kavalla, in the north of Greece, to lead an attempt to overthrow the military junta in order to restore democracy{Source}. He soon recognized that any further action could result in bloodshed, so left with his family for Rome, where he lived until 1973{Source}. Frequent requests were made to the King to return, but he refused to do so unless democracy was first restored{Source}. On 1 June 1973, King Constantine was formally deposed by Papadopoulos, leader of the coup, and a Republic declared{Source}.

During 1973, King Constantine flew regularly from Rome to Cambridge to attend a course in political history at the University{Source}. The following year, he and his family moved to England - where they have lived ever since. After a short period in Chobham, Surrey, he settled in Hampstead, on the northern heights of London{Source}. However, in recent years, he has returned to Greece and placed their London home up for sale {Source}.

In 1980, a few years prior to the births of his youngest children, he, his wife and members of the expat Greek community in London founded a Greek school, The Hellenic College of London for students from age 4 to 18{Source}.

In 1981, he and his family returned briefly to Greece for his mother's funeral {Source}. His next visit wouldn't take place for another 12 years in 1993, where he spent two weeks privately{Source}. In 1994, his citizenship to Greece  and took over his properties-a move which was eventually vindicated by the family with the European Court of Human Rights in 2000{Source}. Although properties have been reembursted to the family monetarily, the case of their citizenship has yet to be decided by the courts{Source}.

The deposed king is a member of many committees, chairman of many boards, and fufills many philanthorpic activities. Some of his patronages include{Source} :

  1. The Ana Maria Foundation 
  2. Round Square (patron and chair)
  3. International Sailing Federation (co-honorary president)
  4. International Olympic Committee (Honorary member)


King Constantine is a devout member of the Orthodox Church, enjoys classical music (opera and ballet), spending time with his grandchildren and re-visiting favourite places in Greece with his family {Source}. 

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