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Athens, Greece – Constantine, the former and last monarch of Greece, who won an Olympic gold medal before becoming embroiled in his country’s volatile politics in the 1960s and spending decades in exile, has died. He was 82 years old.

Doctors at the private Hygeia Hospital in Athens confirmed to The Associated Press that Constantine died late Tuesday after being treated in the intensive care unit, but further details are pending official release.

When he ascended the throne as Constantine II in 1964 at the age of 23, the young king, who had already achieved glory as an Olympic gold medalist in rowing, was very popular. In the following year, he squandered much of this support with his active participation in conspiracies that overthrew the Prime Minister’s elected Central Union government. George Papandreou.

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The episode involving the defection of several lawmakers from the ruling party, still widely known in Greece as “defection”, destabilized the constitutional order and led to a military coup in 1967. Constantine eventually clashed with the military rulers and was forced into exile.

A dictatorship abolished the monarchy in 1973, while a referendum after the restoration of democracy in 1974 ended any hope Constantine had of reigning again.

Reduced in the following decades to fleeting trips to Greece, which each time provoked a political and media storm, in his declining years, when opposition to his presence no longer had currency as a sign of vigilant republicanism, he was able to live in his own country again. to be Constantine became a relatively uncontroversial figure, with minimal nostalgia for reigning in Greece.

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Constantine was born on June 2, 1940 in Athens Prince Paulyounger brother to King George II And the possible heir to the throne and the princess Frederica of Hanover. His older sister Sofia ex-wife King Juan Carlos I From Spain of Greek origin Prince Philipthe late Duke of Edinburgh and her late husband Queen Elizabeth IIHe was an uncle.

Constantine attended a boarding school and then attended three military academies as well as classes at the Athenian Law School to prepare for his future role. He also participated in various sports, including rowing and karate, in which he held a black belt.

In 1960, at the age of 20, he and two other Greek sailors won the gold medal in the Dragon class – now no longer an Olympic class – at the Rome Olympics. While still a prince, Constantine was elected to the International Olympic Committee and was made an honorary life member in 1974.

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According to, Constantine “came only 10th in the first race, but then went no worse than fourth in any of the last six races to win the gold medal by more than 1,000 points over the Argentine tango crew.” [Constantine] He received the traditional dive in honor of his victory, as he was pushed into the water by his mother. Queen Frederica

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