Old Greece The death of King Constantine II brought with it the question whether a history page that was thought to be forgotten for years could actually have reflections in today’s political world.
Thousands of people waiting for hours in the early hours of the morning to bid farewell to the former King, who died last week, drew attention with the Greek flags with the royal symbol in their hands.
The occasional slogans of “Long live the King” and “Pavlos” for the son of the former King, demonstrations of affection for members of the former royal family, enthusiastic applause, revealed a decades-long silence in Greek daily life and politics.
Among the crowd, there were those who said, “Let the king come back, let the old King’s son Pavlos continue the tradition,” as well as those who said, “The kingdom is a thing of the past, but we are here out of respect for the old King as a former head of state.”
ATTENTION TO THE KING AND HIS FAMILY SHOWN AT THE FUNGER
Journalist and writer Dimitris Psaras, speaking to AA correspondent, stated that this interest does not have a counterpart in Greek society in general, but that its political consequences are inevitable within the ruling party, New Democracy.
Describing the funeral of the deposed King as a political event, Psaras said, “I think the important thing was not the crowd of 3-5 thousand people gathered in front of the Athens Metropolitan Cathedral. This is a situation we encountered at the funeral of many famous people. More people had gathered to bid him farewell on his journey.” he said.
Stating that there may be a small royalist group among those who waited for hours to bury the old King’s funeral, Psaras said, “This rate is higher than the 29 percent of the royalists’ votes in the 1974 referendum, when this (royal) institution was finally abolished and the democratic presidential system was introduced in Greece. small.” said.
After the death of Queen Elizabeth of England, special news about the members of the dynasty in Europe appeared frequently in the Greek press as well as in the world press, and with the death of Constantine the Second, Greece also remembered its “royal story”.
Among the crowd, there were also those who wanted to see both the relatives of the former King Constantine and the princes, princesses, queens and kings who came from 11 countries to attend his funeral.
Psaras commented that all television channels made special news about the royal history before the funeral, and that there were many live broadcasts from the Cathedral and the Tatoi Palace, where the former King was buried, as one of the reasons for the interest shown.
THE ROYAL AND THE ROYAL FAMILY IN TODAY’S POLITICS
Believing that the slogans chanted for the former King and his son Pavlos and the flags with royal symbols do not have a serious reflection in the Greek society, Psaras evaluated the news in the country press that the former King’s son Pavlos, who lived abroad, decided to settle in Greece as follows:
“There is no basis for the formation of a new royalist party. The scenarios of Paul returning to Greece for such an initiative are also not valid. Also, this family left the country decades ago and no one can change that.”
DIFFERENT “SUBSETS” IN THE POWER PARTY
With the news of the old King’s death, funeral discussions started in the country. Those who claimed that Constantine II deserved an official funeral as a former head of state, opposed those who argued that the King’s crown and Greek citizenship were taken away, and therefore an official ceremony would not be possible.
In an effort to find a “middle ground”, the government decided that Constantine II would be buried with a “civilian” ceremony, with the Minister of Culture and Sports Lina Mendoni and Deputy Prime Minister Panayotis Pikrammenos representing the government.
While the crowd protesting the lack of an official ceremony at the funeral, protested Mendoni and Pikrammenos, Interior Minister Makis Voridis and former New Democracy Prime Minister Andonis Samaras, who came to bid farewell to the former King, were greeted with applause by the royalists.
In this context, Psaras made the following comment about the funeral and the crowd at the ceremony:
“The political implications of these events cannot be ignored, but they relate to the internal issues of the New Democracy party.”
Stating that today there are three different tendencies within the party according to its relationship with the royal institution, Psaras stated that Prime Minister Kiryakos Mitsotakis is the son of Konstantinos Mitsotakis, who had a good relationship with Constantine the Second even in the post-royal period.
Psaras reminded that there are ultra-right wing ministers from the LAOS Party who are sympathetic to the monarchy in the government, and Voridis is one of them.
Expressing that Samaras had made it clear that he was in favor of the official ceremony from the very beginning, Psaras attributed the applause of the royalists to Voridis and Samaras to these reasons.
Psaras argued that the “Karamanlis”, another group within New Democracy, were followers of the party’s founder, Konstantinos Karamanlis, who saw the King as his main political rival.
Under these circumstances, Psaras stated that if Pavlos or any member of the royal family decides to enter politics, they will not have a chance unless they join the New Democracy, and that the “Karamanlisists” in the party will not take kindly to it.
Pointing to the upcoming general elections and far-right political formations in Greece, Psaras said, “It is natural that today’s far-rightists, few royalists aspire to vote. In these efforts, they come into conflict with the extreme right-wing current of New Democracy.” said.
KINGDOM IN GREECE
The Kingdom of Greece was established in 1932, after the breakup from the Ottoman Empire, with the support of the great powers of the period such as Britain, France and the Russian Empire.
The first King was Otto, son of King Ludwig I of Bavaria, and the last was Constantine the Second, who died on January 10 at the age of 82.
Sitting on the throne in 1964, Second Konstantinos went abroad in December 1967, after the unsuccessful action of the Colonels’ junta against the dictator’s regime in the country.
In Greece, the Kingdom regime came to an end with a referendum in 1974.
The government also stripped the former King of Greek citizenship in 1994.
Continuing his life in Italy and England, Konstantinos the Second preferred to live in Greece in his last years.
In 2003, the Greek state paid over 13 million euros in compensation to the former King, who claimed compensation for the expropriation of royal property.
*The visuals of the news were served by the Associated Press.