King Charles sparks controversy with tie selection amidst UK-Greece tensions

Britain's King Charles attends the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28) in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, December 1, 2023. REUTERS/Amr Alfiky

King Charles of Britain attended a climate conference on Friday donning a tie embellished with the colors and symbols of the Greek national flag. This gesture follows the controversy, between Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis regarding the Parthenon Sculptures. During COP28 in the United Arab Emirates, Charles had the opportunity to meet Sunak and deliver a speech at the event. It’s worth noting that Charles has a Greek lineage through his father, Prince Philip who was born on the Greek island of Corfu.

The diplomatic disagreement escalated when Sunak accused Mitsotakis of grandstanding in relation to the Parthenon Sculptures resulting in the cancellation of a planned meeting. Charles, by wearing the Greek-themed tie, seems to make a symbolic statement amidst the heightened tensions. According to a source from Buckingham Palace, Prince Charles wore the same tie last week even before the dispute intensified. The tie itself features white colors with a white cross design reminiscent of the Greek flag. British media outlets were quick to notice this fashion choice by Charles and social media users speculated about its connection to Sunak’s canceled meeting concerning the Parthenon Marbles.

The ongoing dispute revolves around Athens persistent call for the British Museum to permanently return the 2,500-year-old Parthenon Sculptures of which British diplomat Lord Elgin removed from the Parthenon temple in 1806.

The British Museum is considering the option of lending the sculptures to Greece. However, they have stated that Athens must officially acknowledge the British Museums ownership of the sculptures for this loan to take place. This means that during the loan period the artifacts would still be considered under the museum’s ownership.

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