Greece’s former royal palace, Tatoi, located 27 kilometres outside Athens’ city centre is set to become a public museum by 2025.
The news came in an announcement from Lina Mendoni, Greece’s minister of culture and sports, just one day after the burial of former King Constantine II at the former estate.
In an interview with private broadcaster Real FM radio, Mendoni said, “Citizens will have access to the old palaces by 2025”.
“The complete restoration of the estate will not have been done, but some works, such as the conversion of the palace into a museum, will have,” she said.
Tatoi became a possession of the Hellenic monarchy when it was purchased by King George I with private funds he’d brought from Denmark, his country of birth.
The Second Hellenic Republic confiscated the estate in the 1920’s but following the short-lived republics dissolution in 1935, it returned to the house of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg under George II.
Owing to the hardships of the Second World War, while the King was in exile the forests of the estate were felled to be used as fuel and the bodies of those slaughtered in the German occupation, buried on its grounds.
It languished in disrepair in the years following Constantine II’s exile, the former king fighting a number of legal battles with the Hellenic Republic through the European Court of Human Rights to recoup the property in the decades that followed the dissolution of the Junta.
While the Government couldn’t be compelled to return the estates, it was forced to pay the former monarch 12 million euros and it did so, in keeping with the often-fraught relations between the former and current rulers of the country, from the state natural disasters fund.
Since 2007 the Greek Government has stated its intention to turn the former palace into a museum, while in the meantime it remained in a state of dereliction.
In 2019 plans for its restoration made headway, when the broad strokes of its current vision were finalised, alas in Greece’s 2021 forest fires much of the estate suffered terribly, with fire even breaking out in the palace proper.
It was left blackened and derelict up until the king’s death when frantic efforts were undertaken to restore the site that was once glamorous royal territory for his funeral.