Thursday, March 6, 2014

BULLETIN: King Paul is dead

Marlene A Eilers Koenig Collection

March 6, 1964

King Paul of the Hellenes died today from "post-operative complications," reports the New York Times.

His wife, Queen Frederika, was at his side when he died at 4:12 p.m., at Tatoi, the royal family's summer palace outside Athens.

King Paul was 62 years old.

Queen Frederika, "her eyes bloodshot from lack of sleep, wept bitterly" as she kissed her husband for the final time.

Three hours later, their only son, Crown Prince Constantine was "proclaimed king" at the palace in Athens.  It is not yet known how the 23-year-old monarch will be styled.  He could take the title Constantine XIII or Constantine II.  His grandfather, "styled himself as Constantine XII to symbolize Greek's link with the Byzantine Empire."

The new king said: "I swear in the name of the Holy Trinity to defend the established religion of the Greek peoples, to guard the Constitution and laws of the Greek nation, and to preserve and protect the national independence of the Greek state."

Marlene A Eilers Koenig Collection

King Paul had been ill "with blood cloths in the right-left and left lung" following an operation two weeks ago for "stomach ulcers."  He also suffered from kidney trouble.

The king's body will be removed from Tatoi and taken to the royal palace in Athens tomorrow.  The court staff will then have the opportunity to pay their last respects.  On Sunday, the body will be taken "in a solemn procession" to the Cathedral "to lie in state until the funeral.

King Constantine has "formally advised all heads of state of the news of his father's death."  Many are expected to attend the funeral, although the date has not been announced.

His younger sister, Princess Irene, 22, is now the heiress presumptive to the throne.  She is the first woman to be "next in line" to Greece's throne.  Her duties will include "deputizing for the King when he is abroad."  She will remain the Crown Princess until the King has an heir.

He is engaged to marry 17-year-old Princess Anne-Marie of Denmark.  The wedding is expected to take place next January. 

Prince Peter, a cousin of the late king, is second in line.   Constantine's elder sister, Sophia, 26, renounced her rights to the throne when she married in 1962 to Prince Juan Carlos of Spain.

In a broadcast tonight to the Greek people, King Constantine pledged to follow his father's teaching.  "I succeed my father to the throne with the firm determination to follow his loft example and to draw inspiration from his virtues while carrying out my Constitutional duties.
"I pledge to serve my country with wholehearted devotion and all my powers as a vigilant guardian of the free institutions of the democratic regime My only thoughts and cares will always be the true and supreme interest of our fatherland."

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