King Charles III and Prince William were absent from King Constantine II’s funeral, but they didn’t let the sad occasion go by without remembering the late royal.
On Monday, a funeral service for the former King of Greece was held in Athens, with several notable figures from royal families across Europe gathered in person to wish the 82-year-old farewell.
Constantine passed away last Tuesday at 82 years old. According to Reuters, he suffered from chronic heart and mobility problems. He died of a stroke after he was admitted to the private Hygeia Hospital in Athens. He had been struggling with breathing problems, according to Greek media outlets via The Guardian.
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The King — who was also an accomplished athlete who won an Olympic gold medal in sailing in 1960 — reigned for about a decade from 1964 to 1973, though his time in leadership was clouded with many issues.
His public support quickly faded after he tried to influence Greek politics. Just three years into his reign, a coup led to his forced exile and resulted in seven years of a brutal dictatorship, for which he is often blamed. He spent the majority of his time exiled in Rome before the monarchy was officially abolished in ’74, making him the last King of Greece. After many years away, he returned to Greece permanently in 2013, though he was rarely seen in public, according to the New York Times.
Thousands gathered on Monday to pay tribute to the complicated figure. Not among the masses? British royals Charles or William — which some found surprising. If you didn’t know, aside from their connection as royals, Constantine was actually Prince Philip’s first cousin. During his exile, Constantine spent most of his time in London, where he formed a close relationship with Charles. This led him to be named William’s godfather, as well! So, this is a very personal loss for the family.
However, the former and current Princes of Wales each sent other family members in their place. It is customary for senior royals in Britain to send relatives, close friends, or even aides to take their place at funerals. In fact, it’s something Queen Elizabeth did frequently, so her son is clearly trying to follow in her footsteps.
William had his relative Lady Gabriella Windsor represent him at the funeral. This was a noteworthy choice considering she is the daughter of Prince Michael of Kent, a first cousin to the late Queen Elizabeth II, who was a close friend of Constantine’s. Constantine was her godfather as well.
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Meanwhile, Charles III had his sister Princess Anne stand in for him at the ceremony. She was seen attending the service alongside her husband Sir Tim Laurence. They were greeted on the steps of the Metropolitan Cathedral in Athens by Constantine’s oldest son, Prince Pavlos. Lady Gabriella Windsor was seen just a few steps behind them while entering the ceremony.
Constantine leaves behind his wife, Princess Anne-Marie of Denmark, and their children Prince Pavlos, Prince Nikolaos, Prince Philippos, Princess Alexia, and Princess Theodora. Several other famous mourners were in attendance, including Prince Albert of Monaco, King Felipe and his wife Queen Letizia, Queen Margrethe II of Denmark (the King’s sister-in-law), and many more. Take a look at some moments from the funeral (below).