The long-planned grand reopening of the National Hellenic Museum, scheduled for Friday evening, will observe a moment of silence for Queen Elizabeth II at the request of the gala’s guest of honor, Prince Nikolaos of Greece and Denmark, to whom the late monarch was simply “Aunt Lilibet.”
“It’s a very sad moment. We were all taken by surprise,” the prince told WTTW News in an interview.
Prince Nikolaos received word of the British queen’s death while in Chicago, where his first North American art exhibit, “Resilence,” will be on display as the National Hellenic Museum, 333 S. Halsted St., reopens its doors to the public.
“This is a remarkable woman, who lived a remarkable life of absolute duty and selflessness,” the prince said. “It’s very rare nowadays to come across somebody like that.”
The Greek and British royal families are closely bound through Queen Elizabeth’s husband, Prince Philip, who was born Prince Philippos of Greece and Denmark. Prince Nikolaos’ younger brother, Philippos, was named for the late Duke of Edinburgh.
The new King Charles III is Prince Nikolaos’ godfather (a favor the prince’s father, the deposed King Constantine, returned when Charles’ son Prince William was christened).
“I have an enormous amount of respect for him and everything he does,” Prince Nikolaos said of his godfather. “He’s a very sensitive individual and another person who has also selflessly given himself to the duty of the country. I think he’ll do a marvelous job.”
Marc Vitali contributed to this report.