Duke of Sparta
Duke of Sparta was a title instituted in 1868 to designate the Crown Prince of the Kingdom of Greece
Kingdom of Greece
The Kingdom of Greece was a state established in 1832 in the Convention of London by the Great Powers...

. Its legal status was exceptional, as the Greek constitution forbade the award or acceptance of titles of nobility for Greek citizens. Consequently, it was mostly used abroad, although also in unofficial use within Greece.

In 1868, when the Crown Prince Constantine
Constantine I of Greece
Constantine I was King of Greece from 1913 to 1917 and from 1920 to 1922. He was commander-in-chief of the Hellenic Army during the unsuccessful Greco-Turkish War of 1897 and led the Greek forces during the successful Balkan Wars of 1912–1913, in which Greece won Thessaloniki and doubled in...

 (later king as Constantine I) was born, King George I
George I of Greece
George I was King of Greece from 1863 to 1913. Originally a Danish prince, George was only 17 years old when he was elected king by the Greek National Assembly, which had deposed the former king Otto. His nomination was both suggested and supported by the Great Powers...

 issued a decree according to which Constantine, as well as any future heir to the Greek crown, would bear the title "Duke of Sparta". However, this decree was contrary to the Greek constitution, since nobility titles had never existed in Greece and the Greek constitution expressly outlawed them.

This led to a stormy debate in Parliament
Hellenic Parliament
The Hellenic Parliament , also the Parliament of the Hellenes, is the Parliament of Greece, located in the Parliament House , overlooking Syntagma Square in Athens, Greece....

, but the government of the day backed the King on an argument that the constitutional provision did not apply to members of the Royal Family (even though its text made no distinction).

The decree was finally approved by Parliament, but use of the title "Duke of Sparta" within Greece was later quietly dropped. However, Crown Prince Constantine was known as "HRH The Duke of Sparta" on the international scene from his birth until his accession in 1913 - for 45 years.

This again led to the misunderstanding of various, quite respectable publications that the title "Duke of Sparta" was synonymous with that of "Crown Prince of Greece", and the title has thus re-surfaced from time to time, but neither of the successive Crown Princes of Greece have ever been officially styled thus. The term Diadochos (literally, "heir"), which does not have any connotations of a nobility title, has been historically employed to denote the position of Crown Prince instead.
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