Lady of Ro
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The Lady of Ro

The Lady of Ro

The President of the Hellenic Republic visited the Aegean island of Ro, where its sole inhabitant Despina Achladioti raised the Greek flag for decades.


The President of the Hellenic Republic visited the tomb of the deceased Lady of Ro and praised her contribution in an emotional atmosphere.

To Greeks, the Lady of Ro was a Joan of Arc or Boadicea-like figure, whose weapon was just a fluttering Greek flag, not a sword. Born Despina Achladioti in Kastellorizo in 1893, when the island was a thriving seafaring community of 14,000, she sailed with her husband and aging mother to the then-nearby deserted island of Ro shortly before the start of World War II.

Eking out a living with a few goats, chickens and a vegetable garden, the Lady of Ro also took one other duty on herself. Each day, facing Turkey - which was within easy eyesight - she would raise the Greek flag and pull it down at sunset, whatever the weather. She did it until her death in 1982 aged 89.

"No one told her to do it. She never understood why all the fuss. It was just in her heart."

orthodox church in Santorini

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