BBC World News and Channel 4 News have been scrutinised for referring to a member of the now defunct Greek royal family as a Greek ‘crown prince’ despite the country voting in a referendum to abolish its monarchy in 1974.
On Sunday, ahead of the coverage of Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral, the British media interviewed the son of the country’s deposed former king, Pavlos, using his now-defunct titles.
Pavlos is the late monarch’s third cousin twice removed, and his royal titles are legally meaningless in the Hellenic Republic, which deposed its last king, Pavlos’ father, Constantine II, in a referendum in 1974.
In an interview with BBC World News, the broadcaster added the honorific title, “His Royal Highness’ before his name while Channel 4 referred to the former royal simply as the “crown prince.”
Speaking to the BBC, Pavlos described Queen Elizabeth II, who is also his third cousin, as “one of the most wonderful people ever” as he prepared to attend her funeral on Monday.
He said: “The Queen has always been a very kind person to my family. Always received with a smile. My parents were very well taken care of by her when we left Greece and lived in England for years after.”
Constantine II acted as a ‘confidant’ for the Queen
Pavlos added his father was a “confidant” for the Queen throughout their years in the UK, after he was forced to flee the country with his family following a coup.
Meanwhile, in an interview with Channel 4, Pavlos suggested that King Charless III would want to return the Parthenon Marbles to Greece.
He said: “I think that is a subject that a lot of the people in the country can talk about. If the people feel that the Elgin Marbles can come back to where they came from in Greece, then we will be very blessed that that will happen.
“I do think that His Majesty will keep quiet because it is not for him to make these decisions. However, I do know that being a person that likes culture and architecture and so forth, I’m sure he will feel that these could be in their rightful place.”
‘This is ridiculous’
Following the interviews, people, particularly from Greece, took to Twitter to remind the broadcasters that the monarchy was in fact, abolished in Greece at the constitutional referendum in 1974.
A tweeter, @marylin45277502 said: “The Greek people abolished monarchy via referendum half a century ago. Therefore, stop insulting Greece and spread fake news.”
Another user @ConteGione said: “This is ridiculous. Greece is a presidential parliamentary democracy. The Head of State is the President of the Republic.
“There are no kings, crowns and princes. The Greek Constitution prohibits all kinds of nobility titles. He is not a crown prince, he is a clown prince.”
A tweeter @neasan said: “Delete this and apologise on air.”
When was the Greece referendum to abolish the monarchy?
Voters approved the abolition of the monarchy and the foundation of parliamentary democracy in Greece by a vote of 69% to 31% on December 8, 1974.
Pavlos, the former Greek Crown Prince, is the eldest son and second child of Constantine II, the last King of Greece from 1964 to 1973, and his Danish wife Anne-Marie.
He was the heir apparent to the throne of Greece and its crown prince from birth until the dissolution of the monarchy, which occurred during his father’s tenure.
As a male-line descendant of Christian IX of Denmark, he is also a titular Danish prince. However, he is not in succession to the Danish throne, as his mother relinquished her claims to the kingdom upon her marriage to his father.
In response, a Channel 4 spokesperson told the National: “Prince Pavlos was interviewed as he is a direct relation of the Royal Family who has known the Queen all his life and would be attending her funeral.”
The BBC has been approached for comment.