Greek royal family pays tribute to former King Constantine II of Greece at Orthodox ceremony in Athens marking 40 days since his death
European royals have gathered in Athens to pay tribute to former King Constantine II of Greece in a memorial service marking 40 days since his death.
Royals including former Crown Prince Pavlos, Constantine’s son, Anna-Maria, his widow, and former Queen Sofia of Spain, his sister, were pictured paying their respects as they knelt at the Metropolitan Cathedral of Athens.
In Greek Orthodox tradition, the 40th day after someone has passed away is a significant milestone and is often marked in some way, as it relates to Jesus Christ rising from the dead after 40 days.
The memorial service for the late former king follows a grand funeral last month which was attended by royal families from around the world, after he passed away at the age of 82 on 10 January.
Representing the UK royal family at the funeral, Princess Anne, who was the Greek King’s second cousin, – appeared stoic as she entered the cathedral in Athens with husband Vice Admiral Sir Timothy Laurence.
Members of the Greek Royal Family gathered at the Metropolitan Cathedral of Athens to pay respects to former King Constantine II at a memorial service marking 40 days since his death on 10 January. Queen Sofía of Spain (left) joined her nephew former Crown Prince Pavlos (second from right), his wife Marie-Chantal (second from left), and Constantine’s widow (right) to pay tribute
Members of the royal family looked solemn at the ceremony in memory of the late former king
The Cathedral was full of mourners as they marked the life of the former King who was exiled during the Second World War
Mourners gathered for the memorial service at the Cathedral to mark 40 days since the death of King Constantine II
The memorial ceremony is common in Greek Orthodox tradition, which places high importance on the 40th day after a person’s death
Crown Prince Pavlos, who is now head of the Greek Royal Family, was joined by family members outside the Cathedral including Anna-Maria and his brother, Prince Nikolaos (second from left)
Queen Sofia of Spain attended the memorial service with Princess Christina of Spain and Princess Irene of Spain
While no members of the UK royal family were present today, former Princess Sofia of Spain, the wife of former King Juan Carlos, made the journey to Athens to pay her respects.
The Greek-born royal is the sister of former King Constantine II. She abandoned the Greek Orthodox religion to convert to Catholicism ahead of her marriage to King Juan Carlos of Spain in 1962.
Today she stood with her head bowed in the Cathedral, with the late former monarch’s widow Anna-Maria cutting a similarly solemn figure.
According to the Orthodox tradition, it is common to observe a mourning period in the 40 days after a person’s death in which loved ones tend to avoid gatherings and observe black dress.
In between the grieving women, former Crown Prince Pavlos and his wife Marie- Chantal knelt with their heads bowed.
At the funeral for the late former monarch in January, European royals including Prince Albert of Monaco, King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima of The Netherlands, and King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia flocked to Athens to pay their respects.
Constantine’s coffin was draped in a Greek flag as members of the public were invited into the chapel to say their goodbyes to the former monarch.
Deputy Prime Minister Pangagiotis Pikrammenos and Culture and Sports Minister Lina Mendoni represented the Greek government at the service.
After the public funeral of the former Greek monarch, whose family was exiled from Greece during the Second World War, a private ceremony followed at Tatoi Palace.