The funeral of Constantine, the last king of Greece and brother of Sofía, Spain's queen emeritus, brought together almost the entire Spanish royal family this Monday, although it did not allow another opportunity for a photograph of Felipe VI and Juan Carlos I together, a controversial encounter that did take place at the funeral of Elizabeth II, due to the unexpected seating arrangement. In Athens, Juan Carlos and Sofía sat in the second row, behind the children of the late Constantine, and next to Sofía's sister, princess Irene, while Felipe and Letizia were placed on the other side of the coffin, along with the rest of the representatives of the European royal houses. Although Constantine ceased to be king almost half a century ago - just before Greek definitively proclaimed itself a republic in 1974 and the monarch went into exile - he maintained good relations with the rest of the continent's monarchies, who attended this funeral. However, it was not a state ceremony, but a private event, as decided by the Greek government. Thus, Felipe and Letizia avoided repeating the image that photographers captured at the funeral of Elizabeth II, when all four of the Spanish monarchs - reigning and emeritus - sat together, an image that had not been seen for years, and that caused gestures of discomfort from the current Spanish queen throughout the event.
Juan Carlos arrived accompanied by his wife, Sofía of Greece, who was one of the most applauded attendees arriving at the late king's funeral, by the Greek public who gathered outside the Metropolitan Church of Athens. Her compatriots chanted her name as she, her sister Irene and the entire Bourbon and Greek families, except for Felipe VI and Letizia, arrived at the funeral. Juan Carlos I was accompanied at all times by an assistant who also helped him on Sunday at the dinner held on the occasion of the funeral. The two sisters of the current Spanish king, the Infantas Elena and Cristina arrived at the funeral accompanied by their children: the controversial Felipe Froilán is presumed to have arrived in Greece with his grandfather from the United Arab Emirates. Thus, the family meeting was almost complete, with only the daughters of Felipe and Letizia missing: the heiress Leonor is studying at a boarding school in Wales and her sister Sofía is believed to have stayed in Madrid, while their cousins did come to farewell their grandmother's brother, with whom they had a close relationship. The Spanish Bourbons had the largest representation of all the European crowns, due to their close family ties.
The other crowned heads of Europe
If the "heir" of Constantine, his son Pavlos received most of the guests inside the church, when the European monarchs began to arrive, he went out to the entrance to greet them. Pavlos was also very attentive at all times with his aunt Sofía and uncle Juan Carlos, who sat right behind him in the service. The first monarchs to arrive were those of the Netherlands, accompanied by princess Beatrix. Minutes later, prince Albert of Monaco arrived, alone, the monarchs Albert and Mathilde of Belgium and finally, Felipe and Letizia, who were also received with applause. Once inside, the images did not allow us to see if the current Spanish monarchs greeted the emeritus couple or the infantas Elena and Cristina, but they did give a wave to all their nephews, sitting a few rows back.
After Felipe and Letizia arrived, the kings of Sweden, the princes of Luxembourg and the heirs of Norway, Haakon and Mette-Marit. The current monarch, king Harald, has been hospitalized over recent weeks and was unable to attend. Although prince William of Wales, godson of the deceased, was expected to represent the British royal family, it was princess Anne, sister of Charles III, who finally did so. The last of the crowned heads to arrive was Margrethe of Denmark, sister of his widow Anne Marie. She was acclaimed on arrival at the Metropolitan Church at 11:20am on Monday morning. Another difference with Elizabeth II's funeral was the schedule: if the Westminster Abbey farewell was marked by British punctuality, this one started almost half an hour late.