An impressive assemblage of royals gathered in Athens earlier this month to celebrate the life of the last King of Greece. Today, we’ve got a look at the royal jewels worn for the funeral of King Constantine II.
On Monday, January 16, members of the former royal family of Greece gathered in Athens with royal family and friends to bid farewell to Constantine II, the former King of the Hellenes. King Constantine died in Athens on January 10, 2023, after suffering a stroke. The former monarch reigned from the death of his father, King Paul, in 1964, until a pair of referendums ended the monarchy in 1973-74. King Constantine and his wife, Queen Anne-Marie, lived in exile from 1967 until 2013, when the couple moved back to Athens full time. Their return was not a restoration of the monarchy, however. They accepted the results of the 1974 referendum and recognized the republic, even as they sought to reclaim some of the property they believed had been illegally seized from the former royal family.
The Greek government decided not to give King Constantine a state funeral, but a grand service was nevertheless held in the Metropolitan Cathedral in Athens on January 16. The former Greek royal family was in attendance, as were royal cousins and friends from numerous other countries. The funeral at the cathedral was a full-circle moment for the former monarch. He was baptized at the cathedral in 1940, and in September 1964, he married Princess Anne-Marie of Denmark in the same building.
It may not have been an official state funeral, but the celebration of the late king’s life contained many familiar elements, including numerous floral tributes. This one was placed on behalf of his widow, Queen Anne-Marie. The wreath was made of lily of the valley, the same flower used in her wedding bouquet more than half a century ago. The blue ribbon on the wreath read simply, “Your beloved Anna-Maria.”
Constantine and Anne-Marie’s three sons, Crown Prince Pavlos, Prince Nikolaos, and Prince Philippos, arranged their father’s medals and decorations ahead of the funeral service.
Here’s a look at some of the decorations on display. Clockwise from the top left, we’ve got Spain’s Order of the Golden Fleece; Denmark’s Order of the Elephant and Order of the Dannebrog; and Greece’s Order of the Redeemer, Royal Family Order of Saints George and Constantine, and the Commemorative Badge of the Centenary of the Royal House of Greece.
And here’s a closer view of the miniature badges and medals worn by Constantine. From left to right: the Order of the Redeemer, the Royal Family Order of Saints George and Constantine, the Royal Order of George I, the Royal Order of the Phoenix, the Medal of Military Merit, and the Order of the Dannebrog.
The gold medal that Constantine won at the Summer Olympic Games in Rome in 1960 was also on display. Constantine, then the crown prince, was the flag bearer for the Greek Olympic team during the games, and he won a gold medal in the sailing (dragon class) competition alongside Odysseas Eskitzoglou and Georgios Zaimis.
Following the funeral service at the Metropolitan Cathedral in Athens, the former king was buried beside his parents, King Paul and Queen Friederike, in the ceremony at Tatoi.
All of the late king’s children and grandchildren were present for the funeral service. The family party was led by his widow, Queen Anne-Marie, and his eldest son, Crown Prince Pavlos.
As is so often the case for occasions of mourning and remembrance, the jewels worn for the funeral in Athens were largely set with diamonds and pearls. Queen Anne-Marie wore pearl and diamond earrings and a pearl necklace with a very important diamond cross pendant.
The cross pendant is the same one worn by Queen Anne-Marie on her wedding day in 1964. The piece was a wedding gift from her parents, King Frederik IX and Queen Ingrid of Denmark. Lots of media outlets have confusingly called the pendant a “crucifix,” but it’s not—crucifixes include the image of Christ’s body (or corpus). This one’s just a simple (but glittering) cross.
Queen Anne-Marie has worn the cross pendant for various occasions over the years, including appearances at the weddings of her children. We saw her most recently wear the diamond cross at the Metropolitan Cathedral in Athens for the wedding of Prince Philippos and Princess Nina in October 2021. She also wore it in September 2022 for the state funeral of Queen Elizabeth II in London.
Crown Princess Marie-Chantal wore a diamond cross pendant for the funeral as well. Hers was suspended from a sautoir-length station chain. She also wore pearl drop earrings.
Pavlos and Marie-Chantal’s five children were also in attendance at their grandfather’s funeral.
Princess Alexia, Constantine and Anne-Marie’s elder daughter, was there in pearl drop earrings, a sapphire and diamond cross necklace, and a small brooch.
She was joined by her husband, Carlos Morales Quintana, and their four children.
Princess Theodora, Constantine and Anne-Marie’s younger daughter, was accompanied by her fiancé, Matthew Kumar. She wore diamond drop earrings and a small brooch.
Prince Nikolaos and Prince Philippos were accompanied by their wives, Princess Tatiana and Princess Nina. Both wore jewels set with pearls and diamonds, including small brooches.
King Constantine was related by marriage to two other prominent royal families. His sister, Queen Sofia, is the wife of King Juan Carlos of Spain and the mother of King Felipe VI. She attended the service with her husband, her three children, and several of her grandchildren. She wore pearls, including an interesting floral brooch.
Her daughter-in-law, Queen Letizia of Spain, wore diamond drop earrings and an important pearl and diamond brooch. This is Queen Ena’s Gray Pearl Brooch, which is part of Spain’s joyas de pasar jewelry collection.
Constantine’s second sister, Princess Irene of Greece and Denmark, arrived with the Spanish royals. She’s pictured here walking with her niece, Infanta Cristina, who wore small diamond stud earrings for the funeral. Behind them is Cristina’s daughter, Irene Urdangarin, who is named for her great-aunt.
Sofia’s elder daughter, Infanta Elena, was part of the Spanish royal party as well. She wore an interesting gold and diamond brooch with a royal monogram for the occasion. I’ve been hunting for a clearer photograph, and I’ll update the article if I find one that I can license for publication.
Constantine was also the brother-in-law of Queen Margrethe II of Denmark, his wife’s eldest sister. Margrethe wore diamonds and pearls for the occasion, plus an important family heirloom brooch. The heart-shaped jewel, made of gold, diamonds, and enamels, was a memorial pin made in 1917 in memory of Margrethe’s maternal great-grandmother, Princess Louise, Duchess of Connaught.
Constantine’s second Danish sister-in-law, Princess Benedikte, attended the funeral with her daughter, Princess Alexandra of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg. Both wore pearls with brooches. Benedikte’s brooch, a diamond and pearl scroll with a pearl drop pendant, is a family heirloom. The antique jewel was given to Benedikte by her mother, Queen Ingrid, in 1969, to celebrate the birth of Benedikte’s son, Prince Gustav of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg.
Queen Silvia of Sweden wore pearls with a modern gold and diamond floral brooch.
Behind Queen Silvia here, you’ll glimpse her sister-in-law, Princess Christina, also wearing pearls. Christina is a first cousin of Queen Anne-Marie, and she served as one of the bridesmaids at Constantine and Anne-Marie’s wedding in 1964.
Queen Máxima of the Netherlands reached for pearl earrings and a pearl necklace for the occasion.
Her mother-in-law, Princess Beatrix of the Netherlands, wore black pearls for the funeral. The late King Constantine was the godfather and namesake of Beatrix’s youngest son, Prince Constantijn of the Netherlands.
Queen Mathilde of the Belgians wore her diamond and pearl drop wedding earrings for the funeral, as well as her diamond butterfly brooch. She’s worn the brooch on several occasions throughout the years, including a prominent state visit to Denmark and the recent state funeral of Queen Elizabeth II.
Queen Noor of Jordan wore pearls for the funeral…
…as did her sister-in-law, Princess Sarvath of Jordan.
Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit represented the Norwegian king and queen at the funeral. Mette-Marit wore diamond and pearl drop earrings and a pearl necklace.
They were accompanied by Haakon’s sister, Princess Märtha Louise, who wore a seed pearl necklace.
The Princess Royal represented her brother, King Charles III, at the funeral. They’re cousins of the late King Constantine through their father, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. Anne was a bridesmaid at King Constantine and Queen Anne-Marie’s wedding in 1964. She wore pearls and a diamond and pearl cluster brooch for the funeral.
Another Greek-British royal cousin was also present at the funeral: Lady Gabriella Kingston, daughter of Prince and Princess Michael of Kent (and granddaughter of Princess Marina of Greece and Denmark). She was also a goddaughter of King Constantine, and she was at the funeral in part to officially represent the Prince of Wales (another godchild of the late king).
Princess Margaretha of Liechtenstein, wearing diamond and pearl drop earrings and a pearl necklace, attended the funeral with her brother, Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg.
Several members of former foreign royal families were also in attendance at the funeral, many of them related to the Greek royals. Crown Prince Alexander, son of the last King of Yugoslavia, attended with his wife, Crown Princess Katherine (who wore a pair of button-style earrings). He’s a cousin of King Constantine through his mother, Princess Alexandra of Greece and Denmark. The family members shared numerous ties: Constantine was the godfather of Alexander’s twin sons, Philip and Alexander, and also served as best man at Alexander’s wedding to Katherine in 1985. Alexander, in turn, is the godfather of Constantine’s younger daughter, Princess Theodora.
Representatives from the former royal family of Hanover were also present at the funeral. Constantine’s mother, Queen Friederike, was born a Hanoverian princess. Here, Prince Christian arrives at the cathedral ahead of the funeral with his wife, Princess Alessandra, and his sister-in-law, Princess Ekaterina. Christian’s mother, Chantal Hochuli, was also present at the service.
The former Empress of Iran, Farah Pahlavi, was also in attendance at the funeral.
And so was Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna, one of the claimants to the headship of the House of Romanov. She wore elegant pearls for the service.