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King Constantine II laid to rest in Tatoi

King Constantine II laid to rest in Tatoi

Athens: Greece´s last king, Constantine II, was laid to rest on Monday at the royal cemetery of Tatoi near Athens, after a private funeral service that drew dozens of European royals and a crowd of several hundreds.

Constantine, who died last week aged 82, was a divisive figure in the country´s history, and the government drew criticism from conservatives after deciding not to grant him the honour of a state funeral.

Former prime minister Antonis Samaras was among those who said Constantine, a former Olympic gold medallist for Greece, deserved to be buried as a former head of state.

In his eulogy, Constantine´s eldest son Paul said his father ascended to the throne during a “difficult period” and had left the country to avoid causing “fresh bloodshed”.

“This is not the end, father. You will live forever in our thoughts and hearts,” he said, adding that the former monarch had helped Athens secure the 2004 Olympics.

At least 2,000 people had queued outside the Athens Metropolitan Cathedral from dawn on Monday to pay their respects, according to state television ERT.

Police declined to give an estimate of the numbers.

Some gatherers clutched flags of the royal era, flowers and portraits of the ex-king and his wife, the Danish princess Anne-Marie.

Many bowed and kissed the coffin, which was covered with the Greek flag. (AFP)

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