An ailing ex-King Constantine died suddenly in Palermo Sicily January 11, 1923. Any reporting beyond the mere fact was forbidden to be published in Greek newspapers. Nonetheless, Gilbert resumed writing articles for the Morning Post.
“The government refuses to accede to Queen Sophia’s request to allow ex-King Constantine’s body to be brought to Athens for burial in the royal estate at Tatoi. This decision was taken at a meeting of the Cabinet Council, because it was felt certain that a public funeral, with the royal honours which must necessarily be paid to the ex-King and father of the present monarch, would arouse bitter opposition among a large section of the community and possibly lead to a disturbance in public order.
The one hundred and twenty-five thousand refugees from Thrace and Asia Minor now crowded into Athens and the Piraeus, together with the strong Local Liberal party, plus the military element, would intensely resent such honours being paid to the man who was the cause of all their and the country’s disasters. Such an event would undo all the progress made during the last few months towards reconciliation and appeasement of the bitter party passions due to ex-King Constantine’s policy and personality.” Gilbert is here expressing the Greek Government’s view and policy.
A funeral with as many honours as possible under the circumstances took place in Naples January 13 and, for the time being, Constantine was buried in the Russian Orthodox Church in Florence.
Gilbert wrote on January 21: “The royalist party declares that it lives in a regime of terror, and certainly no one dares express openly any views opposed to the present Government. Although the late King’s personal popularity was still very great, his death will probably help the Royalist Party, who already declare him a martyr, and who will now openly declare its allegiance to King George II, who has been up to now disliked and suspected for not having opposed with sufficient vigour the executions [of the six politicians].
Many of the most prominent and intelligent members of the Venizelist Party have openly declared themselves in favour of the institution of a Greek Republic, with M. Venizelos or Admiral Condouriotis as President.
General Danglis, as an old soldier, remains favourable to the Monarchy, but it is doubtful whether he will be able to hold the party together.”
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