Taki Taki

Why is an Athens paper going after my old friend King Constantine?

King Constantine and Queen Anne-Marie at the Acropolis in 1963. Credit: Keystone/Getty Images

 Gstaad

It seems to be open season on the royals, starting with Prince Andrew and the charges against him by Virginia Roberts Giuffre. I’ve met Andrew a couple of times, but he wouldn’t know me from Adam. I’ve never met anyone who has had anything to do with Jeffrey Epstein except for Ghislaine Maxwell, who has problems of her own just now. Like everyone else, however, I have my opinions about this motley crew. Lawyers have already killed some of my columns on this subject these past three years alone, so I better lay off the subject. What I am certain of I cannot publish, so I will write only that in my view the prince is a fool but no rapist.

Greek politics are a very rough and tumble business, and the press has at times not been known for its courage

Then there is the story of King Constantine of Greece, a friend of mine. An otherwise serious Athens daily recently produced an extraordinary article asserting that the ex-king plotted to assassinate the then Greek prime minister Constantine Karamanlis. The year was 1976.

Let’s take it from the top. On 21 April 1967, a coup organised by three army officers overthrew the government and established a de facto dictatorship. The young king swore in the plotters after extracting certain assurances that the takeover would be brief and there would be no bloodshed. The king insisted that a civilian judge would head the government. On 13 December of the same year, the young king attempted a countercoup once he realised the colonels had no intention of reverting to democratic government. The countercoup was unsuccessful and he left Greece with his pregnant young wife and two children.

In July 1974 the colonels’ regime collapsed after meddling in Cyprus.

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