King Charles III draws attention by wearing a Greek flag tie after London-Athens diplomatic spat

LONDON (AP) — King Charles III caused some raised eyebrows Friday when he wore a tie adorned with a pattern of Greek flags to the COP28 climate summit days after a diplomatic spat between the U.K. government and Greece over the Parthenon Marbles.

The British monarch is meant to be above politics, but many in Greece interpreted the tie as a gesture of solidarity with their cause. Charles wore it as he met British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and made a speech at the U.N. summit in Dubai.

The king’s late father, Prince Philip, was born into the Greek royal family, and Charles has deep ties to the country.

Buckingham Palace declined to comment on the king’s neckwear, which was complemented by a matching blue-and-white pocket handkerchief. But officials pointed out that Charles has worn the tie before, as recently as last week.

That was before Sunak surprised and annoyed the Athens government by canceling a planned Tuesday meeting with Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis hours before it was due to start. Sunak accused the Greek leader of seeking to “grandstand” and breaking a promise not to publicly campaign for the return of the ancient sculptures, which were taken from the Parthenon in Athens two centuries ago and now reside in the British Museum.

The Greek government denies Mitsotakis agreed not to lobby for the return of the marbles during the visit.

The British Museum is banned by law from giving the sculptures back to Greece, but its leaders have held talks with Greek officials about a compromise, such as a long-term loan.

The chair of the museum's Board of Trustees, George Osborne, accused Sunak of throwing a “hissy fit” over the antiquities and said those negotiations would continue.

Sunak brushed off the remark and said the marbles could not be loaned unless Greece acknowledged Britain’s “lawful ownership," something the government in Athens is reluctant to do.

 

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