Former King Constantine II’s Longtime London Home Sells for £6M – Mansion Global
The understated English mansion where former Greek King Constantine II lived for 40-some years, quietly entertaining fellow royalty, including Princess Diana, has traded hands for more than £6 million (US$7.45 million).
The 9,500-square-foot house in Hampstead Garden Suburb, a leafy enclave in north London just west of The Bishops Avenue, also known as London’s Billionaires’ Row, sold earlier this month after several years on and off the market, according to estate agency Glentree International, which handled the final sale.
Constantine II, 80, became the last king of Greece when a referendum abolished the country’s monarchy in 1973. It was around that time the former royal purchased the Arts & Crafts mansion, which enjoys a bucolic setting hemmed in on one side by a 75-acre park, known as the Hampstead Heath Extension, said Trevor Abrahmsohn, managing director of Glentree.
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The former royal is the second cousin of Britain’s Prince Charles and a godparent of Prince William. As a result, the quiet neighborhood over the decades witnessed a regular parade of limousines shepherding high-profile guests to be entertained by Constantine II and his wife, Princess Anne-Marie of Denmark, Mr. Abrahmsohn said.
“I lived around the corner from this house, and saw Princess Di going to the house in her Audi with two princes in the backseat sitting with the open top,” Mr. Abrahmsohn said.
“He entertained all manner of English royalty in this house,” Mr. Abrahmsohn added. “I used to watch all the dignitaries come in their limousines down this lane.”
Some may have been surprised by the relative modesty of the former king’s house, he mused. Indeed, images from the early 2000s show Constantine II furnished the house with a mix of unassuming decor and royal heirlooms, including a portrait of his great grandmother Queen Olga Constantinova of Russia, who is also the grandmother of Prince Philip.
King Constantine of Greece with wife Queen Anne-Marie at their home in north London in 2000.
PA Images via Getty Images
While modest by royal standards, the house certainly qualifies as a mansion, with 13 bedrooms, a pool and nearly an acre of manicured gardens. The early 20th century home is in the style of great British architect Edwin Lutyens and includes a library and an en-suite master bedroom with a balcony.
Constantine II sold the home in 2013 for £9.8 million, according to property records, ahead of his return to Greece, where the ex-monarch reportedly lives as a private citizen.
London home prices have since declined as much as 40%, while this particular house suffered severe flood damage—both of which explain how the home has come to sell for some £3 million less than it did seven years ago.
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Staunch building rules—which Mr. Abrahmsohn characterized as bordering on the pathological—in Hampstead Garden Suburb make it very difficult to alter homes in the area. (As he put it: “You can’t put a nail in a tree without being harangued.”) Nevertheless, local authorities have already granted permission for work to rejuvenate the property, including the possibility to expand it to 18,000 square feet.
Prior estate agents on the property had heralded that planning consent as a chief selling point for the property, but ultimately Mr. Abrahmsohn said he expected the new owner to take up restoration rather than expansion.
“The house is probably big enough as it is,” he said, describing the buyer as a private individual. “It’s not really necessary to extend it mindlessly.”