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Constantine II, the king who recognized a military coup in Greece and ended up in exile in London

Constantine II, the younger brother of Queen Sofia and the last king of Greece, died on Tuesday at the age of 82 in a private clinic in Athens, nearly a decade after returning to his native country after 46 years in exile. Felipe VI and Letizia will attend the funeral, which will take place on Monday in Athens and which will also be attended by Queen Sofia, the deceased’s sister and believed to be Juan Carlos.

Constantine II and his wife Anna Maria were exiled from the country in 1974 after the fall of the Junta de los Coronelles, ending a brief seven-year reign, and did not return to Greece until 2013.

The controversial initiatives he took during his reign contributed decisively to the public rejection that led to the proclamation of the Republic a few months after the fall of the dictatorship of the colonels. In 1974, a referendum was held in which 69.2% of the population chose the republic.

In the summer of 1965, thousands of citizens took to the streets across the country to protest against the monarchy due to the ouster of centrist Prime Minister Iorios Papandreou.

A year earlier, Papandreou had won a landslide victory in the general election, promising to end human rights abuses and transform Greece – 15 years after the end of civil war – into a modern democracy.

The political instability lasted for almost two years and culminated in the coup d’état of the colonels on April 21, 1967. Constantino’s incoherent response to the coup leaders fueled popular anger.

For the first time, he recognized the government of the perpetrators of the coup After eight months, try to overthrow them with little preparation, and then refrain from any criticism of them until the fall of the dictatorship. He later claimed he had no choice because the palace was surrounded by tanks. Many Greeks They never forgave the king for getting hit.

After his attempt to end the junta failed, he settled in Rome with Anna Maria and her two older children. Later, the royal family settled in London, where their three youngest children were born.

Constantine never knew the outcome of the referendum that declared the Third Republic of Greece in 1974, a condition imposed on him by the Greek state in order to return to his native country.

In addition, in 1994, the socialist government of Andreas Papandreou removed the Greek nationality from the royal family and expropriated their assets. In 2002, the European Court of Human Rights ordered the Greek state to pay €12 million in compensation for confiscated assets.

Until 2010, the dethroned king visited Greece sporadically, always as a guest on private yachts owned by Greek shipowners, without appearing in public.

His return to Greece, at a time when society was going through the worst of the economic crisis, went almost unnoticed.

Source: El Diario





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