Sunday, October 7, 2012

Greek Government to Sell Off Former Royal Estate



It appears that Tatoi Palace, the private home of the Greek royal family, is the latest casualty in Greece's ongoing financial crisis.

Situated approximately 20 km from Athens, the childhood home of the last Greek monarch, King Constantine II, and his sister, Queen Sofia of Spain, has been put up for sale by the Greek government along with other government-funded buildings, such as the former home of the London consulate, and even some islands, airports, and harbors in an effort to shore up extra funds for the debt-ridden country.

No official comment has been issued by King Constantine II, who was stripped of his ownership of Tatoi in 1994 by the government of Andreas Papandreou. The king was later compensated for a small portion of its value after successfully suing the Greek government through the European Court of Human Rights.

Tatoi was purchased in the 1870s by King George I of Greece and used as the main private residence of the royal family until the abolition of the monarchy in 1973. The 1994 confiscation of Tatoi was justified by the Greek government on the grounds that it belonged to the state, while Constantine II maintained that his great-grandfather, George I, purchased the property with private funds from his inheritance as a prince of the Danish royal family. Tax records also showed that Constantine paid taxes on the estate while living in exile.  

Tatoi consists of the main Victorian-styled house, several outbuildings including stables and quarters for servants and estate workers, a defunct swimming pool, and a helipad. It also includes a cemetery where most members of the deposed dynasty are buried. All five of the previous kings of Greece are buried there with their consorts (save for George II, who divorced his wife Elisabeth of Romania). Also buried there is Prince Andrew of Greece, father of Prince Philip and grandfather of Prince Charles.


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