Britain’s King Charles stirred conversation by wearing a tie adorned with the colours and symbols of the Greek national flag to a climate conference held on December 1, 2023, in Dubai.
This choice of attire came in the midst of a diplomatic spat between UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and his Greek counterpart Kyriakos Mitsotakis over the Parthenon Sculptures.
King Charles, who claims Greek lineage through his late father, Prince Philip, born on the Greek island of Corfu, donned the distinctive tie during his meeting with Sunak on the sidelines of COP28 and while delivering a speech at the event.
Sunak had intensified the diplomatic row by accusing Mitsotakis of “grandstanding” regarding the ownership of the Parthenon Sculptures, leading to the cancellation of a planned meeting.
A Buckingham Palace source mentioned that Charles had worn the same tie the previous week, before the dispute escalated. Notably, alongside the blue and white tie featuring the white cross design akin to the Greek flag, King Charles sported a blue and white handkerchief protruding from his jacket pocket.
Media outlets observed the tie choice, with ITV television’s Royal Editor Chris Ship commenting on social media, “In a week when Rishi Sunak cancelled a meeting with the Greek Prime Minister to make a ‘stand’ over the #ParthenonMarbles #ElginMarbles… King Charles appears to have chosen to wear a very interesting tie when he met Mr Sunak in Dubai today.”
The ongoing dispute revolves around Athens’ longstanding call for the British Museum to permanently return the 2,500-year-old Parthenon Sculptures, removed by British diplomat Lord Elgin in 1806. The British Museum has expressed willingness to consider a loan to Greece, contingent on Athens acknowledging the museum’s ownership of the sculptures.