Constantine II of Greece

Constantine II
King Constantine.jpg
Constantine II in 1987
King of the Hellenes
Reign6 March 1964 – 1 June 1973
PredecessorPaul
SuccessorMonarchy abolished
Prime Ministers
Born (1940-06-02) 2 June 1940 (age 79)
Psychiko Palace, Athens, Greece
Spouse
IssuePrincess Alexia
Pavlos, Crown Prince of Greece
Prince Nikolaos
Princess Theodora
Prince Philippos
HouseGlücksburg
FatherPaul of Greece
MotherFrederica of Hanover
ReligionGreek Orthodox

Constantine II (Greek: Κωνσταντίνος Βʹ, Konstantínos II, pronounced [ˌkonstanˈdinos]; born 2 June 1940) reigned as the King of Greece, from 1964 until the abolition of the monarchy in 1973.

He acceded as king following the death of his father King Paul in March 1964. Later that year he married Princess Anne-Marie of Denmark with whom he eventually had five children. Although the accession of the young monarch was initially regarded auspiciously, his reign soon became controversial: Constantine's involvement in the Apostasia of July 1965 created unrest among sections of the population and aggravated the ongoing political instability that culminated in the Colonels' Coup of 21 April 1967.[citation needed]

The coup was successful, leaving Constantine, as the head of state, little room to maneuver since he had no loyal military forces on which to rely. As a result, he reluctantly agreed to inaugurate the Greek military junta of 1967–1974 (the "putschist government") on the condition that it be made up largely of civilian ministers. On 13 December 1967, Constantine was forced to flee the country, following an unsuccessful countercoup against the junta. He remained (formally) the head of state in exile until the junta conducted the 1 June 1973 Greek republic referendum which abolished the monarchy.

This abolition was confirmed after the fall of the junta by the 1974 Greek republic referendum on 8 December, which established the Third Hellenic Republic. Constantine, who was not allowed to return to Greece to campaign,[1] accepted the results of the plebiscite.[2]

Constantine is also a former competitive sailor and Olympian, winning a gold medal in the 1960 Rome Olympics in the Dragon class, and later serving on the International Olympic Committee.[3]

Early life

Constantine II of Greece
Constantine II of Greece and Paul Elvstrøm 1960.jpg
Constantine (left) at the 1960 Olympics
Personal information
Height189 cm (6 ft 2 in)
Weight80 kg (176 lb)

Constantine was born at the Psychiko Palace in Psychiko, a suburb of Athens. He was the nephew of King George II, and also the second child and only son of the king's brother and heir presumptive, Crown Prince Paul. His mother was Princess Frederica of Hanover.[4] Constantine's older sister Queen Sofía of Spain is the wife of the retired King Juan Carlos I of Spain, while his younger sister, Princess Irene, has never been married.

Constantine was just one year old when Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany invaded Greece, and he spent the next four years in exile in Egypt and Cape Town, South Africa (where his sister Irene was born) with his family. He returned to Greece with his family in 1946. King George died in 1947, and Constantine's father became the new king, making Constantine the crown prince. He was educated at a preparatory school and later a boarding school .[4] A fellow student recalled him as "a good chap, a young man with all the right instincts. He was at his best on the playing fields."[4]

Constantine served in all three branches of the Hellenic Armed Forces, attending the requisite military academies. He also attended the NATO Air Force Special Weapons School in Germany, as well as the University of Athens, where he took courses in the school of law.[4]

Constantine was an able sportsman. In 1960, aged 20, he won an Olympic gold medal in sailing (dragon class), which was the first Greek gold medal in sailing since the Stockholm 1912 Summer Olympics.[5] He was also a strong swimmer and had a black belt in karate, with interests in squash, track events and riding.[4] In 1963 Constantine became a member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC). He resigned in 1974 because he was no longer a Greek resident, and was made an Honorary IOC Member.[6]

Other Languages
български: Константинос II
Bahasa Indonesia: Konstantinus II dari Yunani
Kreyòl ayisyen: Constantine II of Greece
Simple English: Constantine II of Greece
српски / srpski: Константин II Грчки