Tuesday, 11 March 2014

50 years ago: State funeral for King Paul I of the Hellenes

The Times published the following correspondent report from Athens in its issue of 12th March 1964:
Tomb of King Pavlos and Queen Frederika of the Hellenes (+6th February 1981)

King Paul of the Hellenes was laid to rest among his ancestors at the Tatoi royal estate today in the presence of his family and a number of 'Europe's reigning monarchs. King Paul himself had marked the place where he had wished to be buried under the pine trees near the tomb of his brother and predecessor, King George II.

Huge crows fare welled their King.
Almost every inhabitant of Athens and many more from country districts lined the two-mile procession route from the Metropolis Church. As the crowds grew weary of the hours of waiting there was some disorder. Many women fainted. Swaying masses forced a police cordon to yield half of the wide boulevard on which the procession was moving. Unfortunately the din and clamour did not die out even when the solemn cortege went by.

King Constantine II kissing the coffin.
Gun salutes boomed across the city as the funeral procession set off after the service at the Metropolis Church where the King's body lay in state for two days. The service was conducted by Archbishop Chrysostomos, the octogenarian Primate of the Orthodox Church of Greece. Before the eight white-kilted Evzones of the Royal Guard moved the black draped coffin from the catafalque on to a gun carriage outside. Queen Frederika knelt and kissed the side of the coffin. She had to be helped to rise, temporarily overcome by emotion. After her King Constantine, the King's son and successor, and his sister Crown Princess Irene kissed the coffin.

The dead king was flanked by a company of Evzones in pairs on both sides.
A company of sailors from the Greek Royal Navy drew the gun carriage bearing the King's body. They were flanked by a company of Evzones in pairs on both sides.

Behind the coffin came the King's personal servants and his white horse.
Behind the coffin came the King's personal servants and his white horse. The King's widow and her son, the new King, followed in the cortège. Behind them walked the Crown Princess, Princes Peter and Michael and Princess Sophia of Spain, nee Princess of Greece and Denmark and her husband, Don Juan Carlos of Spain.

King Constantine II of the Hellenes, his mother, Queen Frederika, behind them Princess Sofía of Spain and Prince Peter, second in line to the Greek throne in 1964.
right to left, German president Lübke, the Duke of Edinburgh, Mr. Lyndon Johnson, Prince Rainier III of Monaco,
The heads of foreign states or their personal representatives followed. They included the Kings of Sweden, Denmark. Norway. and Belgium, and Queen Juliana of the Netherlands, Archbishop Makarios of Cyprus. and President Lübke of West Germany, the Duke of Edinburgh, the Grand Duke of Luxembourg, the Prince of Monaco, Mrs. Lyndon Johnson, and the brother of the Shah of Iran. The former President Truman, who is 80, followed in a car, as did Mr. Papandreou, the Greek Prime Minister. It was an impressive procession, though the solemnity and poignancy of the occasion were marred by a mass turn-out such as Athens has never seen before.

The procession ended before the Hilton Hotel and the gun carriage with the coffin was linked to an army vehicle which took it to Tatoi eight miles north of Athens, followed by the cars of the heads of state or personal representatives, who attended the private interment later.

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