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FAQ

 

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Visitors Questions

1. Who is the representative of the Greek Royal Family in Greece?

2. Why are titles attributed to the former King of the Hellenes and to members of his family?

3. Why doesn't King Constantine respond to criticism?

4. How does the former King respond to the 'non-recognition' (as per the 1994 Law) of his nationality? Why does he not comply and adopt a surname?

Legal Issues

1. The chronicle of the confiscation of the Greek Royal Family property

2. Does the Greek Royal Family owe any taxes?

3. The 1994 'Venizelos' Law – Annulment of Nationality

Personal Activities

1. The Round Square schools

2. Philosophy and origins of the Round Square

3. Is King Constantine still involved in sailing?

4. What is the King's role within the International Olympic Commission?

 

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Visitors Questions

1. Who is the representative of the Greek Royal Family in Greece?

King Constantine and the members of his family are not represented by any person, group or organisation in Greece or abroad, other than the Royal Family's personal offices in Athens and London.

The Greek Royal Family does not support the various Greek royalist clubs. These operate on the initiative of their members. Lastly, it does not support political parties, on a financial, ideological or other basis.

Official and exact information is presented on this web site and via the aforementioned offices. untitled

2. Why are titles attributed to the former King of the Hellenes and to members of his family?

The correct form of address is: King Constantine, former King of the Hellenes and so on for the family members. This ensues from the Treaty of Vienna, 1815, whereby titles are maintained for life, even when the status ceases to be active.

The Council of the State (no. 4575/1996), decreed that the title is definitive of the person and not a title of nobility.untitled

3. Why doesn't King Constantine respond to criticism?

In the history of the Greek Royal Family, the media has never been used as a platform for solving arguments. His Majesty King Constantine was brought up, instilled with a sense of devotion to his country and his duties, and always upholds his forefathers commitment to serve the Greek People.

Over the years, the Greek People have, both deliberately and unintentionally, been misinformed. It is His Majesty's policy never to answer denigrating fallacies, even when they are harmful to his family's image. Moreover, he maintains that a Head of State, -and especially a King-, should not respond to criticism when it encourages further debate.untitled

4. How does the former King respond to the 'non-recognition' (as per the 1994 Law) of his nationality? Why does he not comply and adopt a surname?

King Constantine was born in Greece, had Greek parents, was raised in Greece, attended the three military academies and had a Greek passport until 1994. He won the first Olympic Gold Medal for Greece in 50 years. Four generations of his family had served Greece, fought in all the wars, and during their reign, Greece doubled in size.

It is a proven fact, that the Danish Dynasty, -and thus the Greek Dynasty-, have never had a surname.untitled

 

Legal Issues

1. The chronicle of the confiscation of the Greek Royal Family property

1974-1992

  • In 1974, Konstantinos Karamanlis passed a law, by which the Greek Royal Family would be taxed on their immovable property and income.
  • When the Papandreou Government was re-elected in 1981, the ΦΑΠ (property tax) was introduced. Negotiations were initiated between the Greek Government and King Constantine due to the size of the taxable estate.
  • An agreement was reached and was about to be signed when Andreas Papandreou was hospitalized in London. It was further postponed as elections came up; the new Government resumed negotiations, which led to the 1992 agreement. 

The 1992 agreement

In 1992, King Constantine and the Greek Government made an agreement which was later ratified by Law. According to this law:

  • The former King was to retain a piece of Tatoi(containing the house and the graves), Polydendri and Mon Repos.
  • King Constantine established a Foundation to which he donated 37,000 stremmas (1 stremma = 1,000 sq m) of the Tatoi land for public use.
  • The Latsis foundation was given 401 stremmas for the purpose of building the finest children's hospital in Europe. Latsis decided not to continue with the project after certain reactions in the Greek press.
  • The Greek State was given 200,000 sq m, which the Papandreou Government leased to the US for their antenna installations. The 25-year lease exceeded the total amount of taxes owed by the Greek Royal Family at that time.
  • Furthermore, King Constantine personally paid $1,850m for past taxes and for penalties on these taxes.

The 1994 'Venizelos' Law

In 1994 the Greek Government passed a law which stated the following:

  • The 1992 law concerning the former King's property was annulled.
  • His immovable property was confiscated.
  • The contents of his houses were confiscated.
  • His Greek citizenship was revoked and his right to hold a Greek passport was denied, unless,
  • ..he registered at a local Town Hall, swore allegiance to the Greek Constitution and confirmed that he and his heirs have no further claim to the monarchy.
  • His right of audience in a Greek Court was denied under the name 'King Constantine' (see below)

Right to property

The Human Rights Convention states that there is no discrimination and that everybody has the right of access to the Court.

King Constantine referred the case to the Commission of the European Court of Human Rights with the contention that the three Applicants' (King Constantine, Princess Irene and the late Princess Aikaterini) rights to property had been violated through confiscation, as directed by the 1994 law. The Commission was asked to decide whether this violation had taken place.

In a unanimous decision of the 30 judges, -including the Greek one-, the Commission ruled that the human rights of the Applicants had been violated and referred the case of the confiscation of the property to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).

The Commission maintained that on the issue of name, King Constantine had not be wronged by the Greek Government, as his full title had been used in the previous court procedures which had taken place in Greece, -and had therefore been accepted by the Supreme Court (Άρειος Πάγος), the Supreme Special Court (Ανώτατο Ειδικό Δικαστήριο) and the Council of State (Συμβούλιο της Επικρατείας).

The ruling

On 22nd November 2000, the European Court of Human Rights delivered its Judgment by a majority of 15 to 2. It ruled that the human rights of the Applicants had been violated, as their property had been confiscated.

In its deliberations, the ECHR had to examine the cases of ownership for each of the relevant properties and determined that they belong to the Applicants and in particular, Tatoi to King Constantine, Mon Repos to King Constantine and Polidendri to King Constantine, Princess Irene and the late Princess Katherine.

A chance to compromise

Following the ruling, the Court suggested that the two parties coordinate a settlement within a six-month period. Unfortunately, the Government refused to settle out of court, so the two parties tendered their observations in May 2001. Following these papers the Court requested that further observations were put in by December 2001. This is normal procedure in a case of this size.

The ECHR has always encouraged a friendly settlement, and indeed the former King has taken every opportunity both through the Court and in his paperwork to suggest that the parties should reach a friendly agreement and thus avoid a heavy tax burden on the Greek people.

How did the issue of monetary compensation come about?

When the ruling of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) was delivered in November 2000, the options were twofold: a) return of the properties to the Applicants (past activities have illustrated the former King's willingness to negotiate the terms; his intentions have since been reaffirmed verbally and in writing), or b) compensation for these properties (the amount would be decided by the Court). The Government opted not to return the properties to the Applicants and not to negotiate.

The ECHR had asked both the Government and King Constantine to present estimations of the market value of the properties in question. The report prepared by a prestigious independent company on behalf of the Greek Government put the figure higher than the Dr161b presented by King Constantine, to Dr187b.

King Constantine most certainly did not want the Greek Government to pay money to him when a very simple alternative, i.e. the return of his properties, was always possible.

What did former King Constantine "ask for"?

King Constantine had repeatedly stated that he wanted his family's homes, the graves of his ancestors and the property that had been bought by and had belonged to his family for generations, returned to him. He found no reason for which the Government insisted that the taxpayers bear the burden of such an unjust act.

The valuations of the property...

At the Court's request, both parties presented their evaluation of the three properties in June 2000. The figures of Dr161b and Dr187b were submitted respectively by King Constantine and the Greek Government.

Strangely enough, in November 1999, the fictitious figure of Dr625b had appeared in the Greek press. This was long before any estimates had even been asked to be prepared. King Constantine has repeatedly denounced this figure and in the press conference of November 2000, asked members of the Greek press to determine how this fabricated amount emerged (link).

The two parties received each other's reports after the ruling and were asked to submit observations on these, if an agreement had not been reached within a six-month period. Further supporting evidence was submitted in the reports of December 2001 and will be contained in the final papers now due on April 16th 2002.

The Government's argument

The Government asked an eminent firm to prepare an estimate of what taxes would have been due had the Greek Royal Family been liable to tax over the period of more than a century.

However, the Greek Royal Family was exempt from taxes by Law until 1974. It is important to note, that in return for non payment of tax, the King was personally liable for all incurring expenses, including running of the palaces and maintenance, personnel, transportation, entertaining foreign dignitaries and state visits. All of the above are today paid by the Greek taxpayer for the President of the Republic.

Furthermore, Greek Law and the Greek Constitution prohibit the retrospective imposition of taxes, so the exercise of calculating fictitious taxes by the Greek Government was a completely futile one. No taxes were or are owed by the former King.

Why did the Greek Royal family asked for non-pecuniary damages?

It is customary in court cases in which the applicant claims transgression, especially when this involves his/her human rights, to ask for non-pecuniary damages.

His Majesty had stated that all non-pecuniary compensation would be given to charitable institutions.

Compensation

The final observations were submitted on 1st March 2002 and on 16th April.

The Court delivered its ruling on the level of compensation, on 28th November 2002, after the time-frame provided to the Greek Government to annul the confiscation run out. The Greek People had to pay the Applicants 4,6b Dr. for their property, the larger part of which, King Constantine had offered to donate to the Greek State 8 years earlier.untitled

2. Does the Greek Royal Family owe any taxes?

Every year, the relevant tax authorities issue certificates for King Constantine confirming that no taxes are owed to the Greek State.untitled

3. The 1994 'Venizelos' Law – Annulment of Nationality

We hereby cite some of the legal and historical arguments, which render the annulment of the former King of Greece's nationality, unacceptable:

  • We hereby cite some of the legal and historical arguments, which render the annulment of the former King of Greece's nationality, unacceptable.
  • 'The offspring of a Greek obtains the Greek nationality at birth' (Jus Sanguinis – Greek Code of Nationality).
  • 'One obtains the Greek nationality at birth if born on Greek soil, provided that one does not obtain by birth another nationality' (Jus Soli – Greek Code of Nationality).
  • The Greek nationality can be retracted only in the case that one '... voluntarily obtains a different nationality, or assumes a point of service in a foreign country, which is against Greek interests'. (Article 4 – Greek Constitution)
  • Article 15 of the International Declaration of Human Rights (1948) provides that 'Every person is entitled to a nationality. It is not acceptable to arbitrarily retract one's nationality, or his / her right to change it'.
  • Even when in 1924, the Greek Dynasty was deposed, and its members were forbidden to live in Greece, their nationality was not revoked.

Moreover, during the political changeover, Prime Minister Karamanlis granted the royal family Greek passports.untitled

 

Personal Activities

1. The Round Square schools

Round Square embraces an international group of schools, which share a commitment to the educational principles of Dr Kurt Hahn.

The renowned educationalist believed that the schooling process should, above all, prepare students to tackle life by giving them the autonomy to develop both as individuals and as active members of their community. Principles should be substantiated by deeds, and both should uphold the ethics of democratic life.

Over the years, Round Square has strived to put Dr Hahn's ideals to practice, primarily by participating in numerous voluntary projects both within and beyond their communities.

The collective, altruistic spirit of Round Square is strengthened by annual international meetings, during which, students, teachers, headmasters and trustees are actively involved and through continuous efforts to help communities in need with local and international projects.untitled

2. Philosophy and origins of the Round Square

The educational philosophy prevailing in the Round Square schools was developed by Dr Kurt Hahn. The catastrophe of WWI moved Hahn to form a novel formative approach, based on providing children with the stimuli, responsibility and ethics to proudly and effectively support their community, while developing individual strengths.

This was materialized through an all-encompassing curriculum, additional responsibilities for students, and the opportunity to encounter realistic situations from a young age.

King Constantine worked hard with Jocelin Winthrop Young to continue Dr Hahn's legacy. In 1966, they decided to form an association of schools which would become Round Square. A year later, His Majesty chaired the first meeting, which comprised of seven schools. Today, Round Square embraces over 80 schools worldwide, and has been involved in hundreds of charity and community projects. His Majesty is Patron and Chairman of the association. Other Patrons include HRH the Duke of York, Nelson Mandela, Mrs Sonia Gandhi, and Kevan Gosper, a Vice-President of the International Olympic Committee.untitled

3. Is King Constantine still involved in sailing?

His Majesty has always been actively involved in sports, and his personal interest in sailing has, over the years, developed into dedicated contribution to several committees worldwide.

He is currently President of Honour of the International Sailing Federation, to whom he has offered over 50 years of commitment and service.

In the past few years, the Olympic Gold medal crew, (King Constantine, George Zaimis and Odysseas Eskietzoglou), join on board the Afroessa, -a caique built in Greece as a gift from the former King to Queen Anne-Marie-, to take part in regional events.untitled

4. What is the King's role within the International Olympic Commission?

The Olympic Movement, the ideals and history of the Olympic Games, are very close to His Majesty's heart. His involvement with the Olympic Committee started in 1963 when he was voted a full member at the age of 23, the youngest in the history of the IOC to this day. A few years later, he was made Honourary Member, a position he holds with fervour and pride.untitled