ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Thousands of people lined up since before dawn on Monday outside Athens’ cathedral to pay their final respects to Greece’s former and last king, Constantine, who died last week at the age of 82.
Greece’s monarchy was definitively abolished in a referendum in 1974, and Constantine spent decades in exile, living mainly in London, before returning to settle in his home country once more in his waning years.
The government announced after his death that Constantine would be buried as a private citizen, without honors reserved for former heads of state, in Tatoi, the former royal estate north of Athens, next to where his parents and ancestors are buried.
Royals from across Europe, including the Spanish and Danish royal families who were closely related to Constantine, were in Athens to attend the service and burial, while hundreds of police were deployed in the Greek capital.
Constantine’s wife, Anne-Marie, is the sister of Denmark’s Queen Margrethe II, while his sister Sophia is the wife of Spain’s former King Juan Carlos, and mother of Spain’s current monarch, King Felipe VI.
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A limited lying in state was allowed in a chapel next to the capital’s metropolitan cathedral, where the funeral service was to be held, with members of the public allowed to visit Constantine’s coffin from 6 a.m. to 11 a.m.
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