King Constantine II, former King of the Hellenes, died today at a private hospital in Athens at the age of 82.
He was born on June 2,1940 in Athens to Princess Frederica of Hanover and Crown Prince Paul of Greece. After winning a gold medal in sailing at the 1960 Rome Olympics and serving in all three branches of the Hellenic Armed Forces, the hugely popular prince acceded to the throne in 1964 at just 23 years of age. One of the youngest monarchs in recent memory, his nine-year reign coincided with one of the most turbulent periods in Greece’s political history. Forced into exile in 1967 following a military coup, the resulting dictatorship abolished the monarchy in 1973, thereby ending a dynasty begun by Constantine’s Danish-born great-grandfather George I in 1863.
King Constantine lived with his family in a north London suburb for most of his years in exile, returning to Greece for the first time in 1981 for his mother’s funeral. Visits continued and in 2013, he and Queen Anne-Marie returned there permanently. He has close ties to numerous royal houses- his elder sister is Queen Sofia of Spain; his sister-in-law is Queen Margrethe of Denmark; his uncle was Greek-born Prince Philip, the late Duke of Edinburgh; and his cousins included the late King Michael I of Romania, Crown Prince Alexander of Serbia and King Charles III, with whom he shared an especially close relationship. These strong familial ties saw King Constantine and his family often attend British and European royal family events.
King Constantine is survived by his wife, Queen Anne-Marie; five children, Alexia, Pavlos, Nikolaos, Theodora and Philippos; and nine grandchildren.
Images from Getty as indicated