Greek State Banquet at the Royal Palace of Madrid, 1984

President Konstantínos Karamanlís of Greece was hosted by King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia of Spain on the first Greek State Visit to Spain on this day in 1984, which started with an official welcome at Barajas airport at midday, followed by a private lunch at the Zarzuela Palace.

The highlight of the Visit was a State Banquet held at the Royal Palace of Madrid hosted by King Juan Carlos (in the Order of the Golden Fleece and the Order of the Redeemer) and Queen Sofia (wearing the Fleur-de-Lys Tiara, the Diamond Earrings  from the Joyas de Pasar, a Diamond Bow Brooch, two Diamond Bracelets, the Order of Saints Olga and Sophia and the Commemorative Badge of the Centenary of the Royal House of Greece) for President Karamanlís (in the Order of Charles III).

This visit was somewhat bitter for Queen Sofia, as Karamanlís was one of those who contributed to the end of the monarchy in Greece and to the fact that her brother, King Constantine II, lost his throne. In Queen Sofia’s own words, “he deceived the King, betraying his trust and usurping the role that belonged to the sovereign”. Karamanlís was the person who called for a referendum to decide whether Greece should remain a monarchy or install a republican regime, not allowing King Constantine to return home for the campaign, nor giving interviews on Greek media. On that night at the Royal Palace, Queen Sofia decided to wear the monarchical Order of Saints Olga and Sophia, granted to her by her father, King Paul, instead of the Order of the Redeemer bestowed to her by President Karamanlís, as well as her Commemorative Badge of the Centenary of the Royal House of Greece. It was also one of only two times that the Queen wore the Fleur-de-Lys Tiara, Spain’s best tiara reserved for the most high-profile events, for a State Visit of a republican state.

During the dinner, when the Greek president asked the Queen how her brother was, she looked the other way round, ignoring him. Minutes later, he tried to justify what he did during the Greek transition, to which the Queen replied:

Mr. President, I am the Queen of Spain, not a Princess of Greece. Do not talk to me about your internal problems in Greece, that do not concern the Queen of Spain.”

On the second evening there as a Reception at El Pardo Palace offered by the President for King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia (wearing her Diamond Baguette Necklace, her Pearl Earrings and Pearl Brooch).

This article was written by assistant editor, David Rato, who runs the Spanish Royal Jewels account on Instagram!

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