George I of Greece

George I (24 December 1845 – 18 March 1913) was King of Greece from 1863 until his assassination in 1913.

Originally a Danish prince, George was born in Copenhagen, and seemed destined for a career in the Royal Danish Navy. He was only 17 years old when he was elected king by the Greek National Assembly, which had deposed the unpopular former king Otto. His nomination was both suggested and supported by the Great Powers: the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, the Second French Empire and the Russian Empire. He married the Russian grand duchess Olga Constantinovna of Russia, and became the first monarch of a new Greek dynasty. Two of his sisters, Alexandra and Dagmar, married into the British and Russian royal families. King Edward VII and Tsar Alexander III were his brothers-in-law and King George V and Tsar Nicholas II were his nephews.

George's reign of almost 50 years (the longest in modern Greek history) was characterized by territorial gains as Greece established its place in pre-World War I Europe. Britain ceded the Ionian Islands peacefully, while Thessaly was annexed from the Ottoman Empire after the Russo-Turkish War (1877–1878). Greece was not always successful in its territorial ambitions; it was defeated in the Greco-Turkish War (1897). During the First Balkan War, after Greek troops had captured much of Greek Macedonia, George was assassinated in Thessaloniki. Compared with his own long tenure, the reigns of his successors Constantine, Alexander, and George II proved short and insecure.

George I
King George of Hellenes
George I in the uniform of an Admiral of the Royal Hellenic Navy
King of the Hellenes
Reign30 March 1863 – 18 March 1913[1]
PredecessorOtto I
SuccessorConstantine I
Prime Ministers
BornPrince William of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg
24 December 1845
Copenhagen, Denmark
Died18 March 1913 (aged 67)[1]
Royal Cemetery, Tatoi Palace, Greece
IssueConstantine I of Greece
Prince George
Princess Alexandra
Prince Nicholas
Princess Maria
Princess Olga
Prince Andrew
Prince Christopher
FatherChristian IX of Denmark
MotherLouise of Hesse
George I's signature

Family and early life

Prince Vilhelm of Denmark, later King of the Hellenes
Portrait by August Schiøtt, 1853

George was born at the Yellow Palace, an 18th-century town house at 18 Amaliegade, right next to the Amalienborg Palace complex in Copenhagen. He was the second son and third child of Prince Christian of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg and Princess Louise of Hesse-Kassel.[3] Until his accession in Greece, he was known as Prince William,[4] the namesake of his grandfathers William, Duke of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg, and Prince William of Hesse-Kassel.

Christian IX of Denmark and family 1862
George and his family, 1862: (back row left to right) Frederick, Christian IX, George; (front row left to right) Dagmar, Valdemar, Queen Louise, Thyra, Alexandra

Although he was of royal blood,[5] his family was relatively obscure and lived a comparatively normal life by royal standards. In 1853, however, George's father was designated the heir presumptive to the childless King Frederick VII of Denmark, and the family became princes and princesses of Denmark. George's siblings were Frederick (who succeeded their father as King of Denmark), Alexandra (who became wife of King Edward VII of the United Kingdom and the mother of King George V), Dagmar (who, as Empress Maria Feodorovna, was consort of Emperor Alexander III of Russia and the mother of Emperor Nicholas II), Thyra (who married Ernest Augustus, Crown Prince of Hanover) and Valdemar.[3]

George's mother tongue was Danish, with English as a second language. He was also taught French and German.[6] He embarked on a career in the Royal Danish Navy, and enrolled as a naval cadet along with his elder brother Frederick. While Frederick was described as "quiet and extremely well-behaved", George was "lively and full of pranks".[7]

King of the Hellenes

Following the overthrow of the Bavarian-born King Otto of Greece in October 1862,[8] the Greek people had rejected Otto's brother and designated successor Luitpold, although they still favored a monarchy rather than a republic. Many Greeks, seeking closer ties to the pre-eminent world power, Great Britain, rallied around Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh, second son of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert.[9] British prime minister Lord Palmerston believed that the Greeks were "panting for increase in territory",[10] hoping for a gift of the Ionian Islands, which were then a British protectorate. The London Conference of 1832, however, prohibited any of the Great Powers' ruling families from accepting the crown, and in any event, Queen Victoria was adamantly opposed to the idea. The Greeks nevertheless insisted on holding a plebiscite in which Prince Alfred received over 95% of the 240,000 votes.[11] There were 93 votes for a Republic and 6 for a Greek.[12] King Otto received one vote.[13]

With Prince Alfred's exclusion, the search began for an alternative candidate. The French favored Henri d'Orléans, duc d'Aumale, while the British proposed Queen Victoria's brother-in-law Ernest II, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, her nephew Prince Leiningen, and Archduke Maximilian of Austria, among others. Eventually, the Greeks and Great Powers winnowed their choice to Prince William of Denmark, who had received 6 votes in the plebiscite.[14] Aged only 17, he was elected King of the Hellenes on 30 March [O.S. 18 March] 1863 by the Greek National Assembly under the regnal name of George I. Paradoxically, he ascended a royal throne before his father,[15] who became King of Denmark on 15 November the same year. There were two significant differences between George's elevation and that of his predecessor, Otto. First, he was acclaimed unanimously by the Greek Assembly, rather than imposed on the people by foreign powers. Second, he was proclaimed "King of the Hellenes" instead of "King of Greece", which had been Otto's style.[16]

His ceremonial enthronement in Copenhagen on 6 June was attended by a delegation of Greeks led by First Admiral and Prime Minister Constantine Kanaris. Frederick VII awarded George the Order of the Elephant,[17] and it was announced that the British government would cede the Ionian Islands to Greece in honor of the new monarch.[18]

Early reign

King George I of Greece Southwell Bros
Photograph by Southwell Bros., 1863

The new 17-year-old king toured Saint Petersburg, London and Paris before departing for Greece from the French port of Toulon on 22 October aboard the Greek flagship Hellas. He arrived in Athens on 30 October [O.S. 18 October] 1863,[19] after docking at Piraeus the previous day.[20] He was determined not to make the mistakes of his predecessor, so he quickly learned Greek.[21] The new king was seen frequently and informally in the streets of Athens, where his predecessor had only appeared in pomp.[22] King George found the palace in a state of disarray, after the hasty departure of King Otto, and took to putting it right by mending and updating the 40-year-old building.[23] He also sought to ensure that he was not seen as too influenced by his Danish advisers, ultimately sending his uncle, Prince Julius, back to Denmark with the words, "I will not allow any interference with the conduct of my government".[24] Another adviser, Count Wilhelm Sponneck, became unpopular for advocating a policy of disarmament and tactlessly questioning the descent of modern Greeks from classical antecedents. Like Julius, he was dispatched back to Denmark.[25]

From May 1864, George undertook a tour of the Peloponnese, through Corinth, Argos, Tripolitsa, Sparta, and Kalamata, where he embarked on the frigate Hellas. Proceeding northwards along the coast accompanied by British, French and Russian naval vessels, the Hellas reached Corfu on 6 June, for the ceremonial handover of the Ionian Islands by the British High Commissioner, Sir Henry Storks.[26]

Politically, the new king took steps to conclude the protracted constitutional deliberations of the Assembly. On 19 October 1864, he sent the Assembly a demand, countersigned by Constantine Kanaris, explaining that he had accepted the crown on the understanding that a new constitution would be finalized, and that if it was not he would feel himself at "perfect liberty to adopt such measures as the disappointment of my hopes may suggest".[27] It was unclear from the wording whether he meant to return to Denmark or impose a constitution, but as either event was undesirable the Assembly soon came to an agreement.

On 28 November 1864, he took the oath to defend the new constitution, which created a unicameral assembly (Vouli) with representatives elected by direct, secret, universal male suffrage, a first in modern Europe. A constitutional monarchy was set up with George deferring to the legitimate authority of the elected officials, although he was aware of the corruption present in elections and the difficulty of ruling a mostly illiterate population.[28] Between 1864 and 1910, there were 21 general elections and 70 different governments.[29]

Internationally, George maintained a strong relationship with his brother-in-law, the Prince of Wales (eventually King Edward VII of the United Kingdom), and sought his help in defusing the recurring and contentious issue of Crete, an overwhelmingly Greek island that remained under Ottoman Turk control. Since the reign of Otto, the Greek desire to unite Greek lands in one nation had been a sore spot with the United Kingdom and France, which had embarrassed Otto by occupying the main Greek port Piraeus to dissuade Greek irredentism during the Crimean War.[30] During the Cretan Revolt (1866–1869), the Prince of Wales sought the support of British Foreign Secretary Lord Derby to intervene in Crete on behalf of Greece.[31] Ultimately, the Great Powers did not intervene and the Ottomans put down the rebellion.[32]

Marriage and children

George first met Grand Duchess Olga Constantinovna of Russia in 1863, when she was 12 years old, on a visit to the court of Tsar Alexander II between his election to the Greek throne and his arrival in Athens. They met for a second time in April 1867, when George went to the Russian Empire to visit his sister Dagmar, who had married into the Russian imperial family. While George was privately a Lutheran,[33] the Romanovs were Orthodox Christians like the majority of Greeks, and George thought a marriage with a Russian grand duchess would re-assure his subjects on the question of his future children's religion.[34] Olga was just 16 years old when she married George at the Winter Palace in Saint Petersburg on 27 October 1867. After a honeymoon at Tsarskoye Selo, the couple left Russia for Greece on 9 November.[35] Over the next twenty years, they had eight children:

As a marriage gift, the Tsar gave George a group of islands in the Petalioi Gulf, which the family visited on the royal yacht Amphitrite. George later purchased a country estate, Tatoi, north of Athens, and on Corfu he built a summer villa called Mon Repos.[36] George developed Tatoi, building roads and planting grapes for making his own wine, Chateau Décélie.[37] Intent on not letting his subjects know that he missed Denmark, he discreetly maintained a dairy at his palace at Tatoi, which was managed by native Danes and served as a bucolic reminder of his homeland.[38] Queen Olga was far less careful in hiding her nostalgia for her native Russia, often visiting Russian ships at Piraeus two or three times before they weighed anchor.[39] When alone with his wife, George usually conversed in German. Their children were taught English by their nannies, and when talking with his children he therefore spoke mainly English.[40]

The King was related by marriage to the rulers of Great Britain, Russia and Prussia, maintaining a particularly strong attachment to the Prince and Princess of Wales, who visited Athens in 1869. Their visit occurred despite continued lawlessness which culminated in the kidnap of a party of British and Italian tourists, including Lord and Lady Muncaster. Two female hostages, a child and Lord Muncaster were released, but four of the others were murdered: British diplomat E. H. C. Herbert (the first cousin of Lord Carnarvon), Frederick Vyner (the brother-in-law of Lord Ripon, Lord President of the Council), Italian diplomat Count Boyl di Putifigari, and Mr. Lloyd (an engineer).[41][42] George's relationships with other ruling houses assisted him and his small country but also often put them at the center of national political struggles in Europe.[43]

From 1864 to 1874, Greece had 21 governments, the longest of which lasted a year and a half.[44] In July 1874, Charilaos Trikoupis, a member of the Greek Parliament, wrote an anonymous article in the newspaper Kairoi blaming King George and his advisors for the continuing political crisis caused by the lack of stable governments. In the article, he accused the King of acting like an absolute monarch by imposing minority governments on the people. If the King insisted, he argued, that only a politician commanding a majority in the Vouli could be appointed prime minister, then politicians would be forced to work together more harmoniously in order to construct a coalition government. Such a plan, he wrote, would end the political instability and reduce the large number of smaller parties. Trikoupis admitted to writing the article after a man supposed by the authorities to be the author was arrested, whereupon he was taken into custody himself. After a public outcry, he was released and subsequently acquitted of the charge of "undermining the constitutional order". The following year, the King asked Trikoupis to form a government (without a majority) and then read a speech from the throne declaring that in future the leader of the majority party in parliament would be appointed prime minister.[45]

Territorial expansion

Territorial Expansion of Greece from 1832–1947
Expansion of the Greek kingdom from 1832 to 1947. Thessaly transferred from Ottoman to Greek sovereignty in 1881.

Throughout the 1870s, Greece kept pressure on the Ottoman Empire, seeking territorial expansion into Epirus and Thessaly. The Russo-Turkish War of 1877–1878 provided the first potential alliance for the Greek kingdom. George's sister Dagmar was the daughter-in-law of Alexander II of Russia, and she sought to have Greece join the war. The French and British refused to countenance such an act, and Greece remained neutral. At the Congress of Berlin convened in 1878 to determine peace terms for the Russo-Turkish War, Greece staked a claim to Crete, Epirus and Thessaly.[46]

The borders were still not finalized in June 1880 when a proposal very favorable to Greece that included Mount Olympus and Ioannina was offered by the British and French. When the Ottoman Turks strenuously objected, Prime Minister Trikoupis made the mistake of threatening a mobilization of the Hellenic Army. A coincident change of government in France, the resignation of Charles de Freycinet and his replacement with Jules Ferry, led to disputes among the Great Powers and, despite British support for a more pro-Greek settlement, the Turks subsequently granted Greece all of Thessaly but only the part of Epirus around Arta. When the government of Trikoupis fell, the new prime minister, Alexandros Koumoundouros, reluctantly accepted the new boundaries.[47]

Neos Aristofanis2
Greek satirical cartoon of the 1880s. The legend reads "Greece at the peak of its progress and its greatness". The Greek royal princes play music to which the country dances, while Prime Minister Trikoupis applauds and King George I is shown in an olive tree, the symbol of Trikoupis's party.

While Trikoupis followed a policy of retrenchment within the established borders of the Greek state, having learned a valuable lesson about the vicissitudes of the Great Powers, his main opponents, the Nationalist Party led by Theodoros Deligiannis, sought to inflame the anti-Turkish feelings of the Greeks at every opportunity. The next opportunity arose in 1885 when Bulgarians rose in revolt in Eastern Rumelia and united the province with Bulgaria. Deligiannis rode to victory over Trikoupis in elections that year saying that if the Bulgarians could defy the Treaty of Berlin, so should the Greeks.[47]

Deligiannis mobilized the Hellenic Army, and the British Royal Navy blockaded Greece. The admiral in charge of the blockade was Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh, who had been the first choice of the Greeks to be their king in 1863,[47] and the First Lord of the Admiralty at the time was Lord Ripon, whose brother-in-law had been murdered in Greece 16 years before.[48] This was not the last time that King George discovered that his family ties were not always to his advantage. Deligiannis was forced to demobilize and Trikoupis regained the premiership. Between 1882 and 1897, Trikoupis and Deligiannis alternated the premiership as their fortunes rose and fell.[49]

National progress

King George 1st of Greece Journal
King George on the front page of French newspaper Le Petit Journal, 1895
Castaigne - Fencing before the king of Greece, 1896 Summer Olympics
Fencing before King George, during the 1896 Summer Olympics

George's silver jubilee in 1888 was celebrated throughout the Hellenic world, and Athens was decorated with garlands for the anniversary of his accession on 30 October.[50] Visitors included the Crown Prince of Denmark, the Prince and Princess of Wales, the Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh, Grand Dukes Sergei and Paul of Russia, and Djevad Pasha from the Ottoman Empire, who presented the King with two Arabian horses as gifts.[51] Jubilee events in the week of 30 October included balls, galas, parades, a thanksgiving service at the Metropolitan Cathedral of Athens, and a lunch for 500 invited guests in a blue and white tent on the Acropolis.[52]

Greece in the last decades of the 19th century was increasingly prosperous and was developing a sense of its role on the European stage. In 1893, the Corinth Canal was built by a French company cutting the sea journey from the Adriatic Sea to Piraeus by 150 miles (241 km). In 1896, the Olympic Games were revived in Athens, and the Opening Ceremony of the 1896 Summer Olympics was presided over by the King. When Spiridon Louis, a shepherd from just outside Athens, ran into the Panathinaiko Stadium to win the Marathon event, the Crown Prince ran down onto the field to run the last thousand yards beside the Greek gold medalist, while the King stood and applauded.[53]

The popular desire to unite all Greeks within a single territory (Megali Idea) was never far below the surface and another revolt against Turkish rule erupted in Crete. In February 1897, King George sent his son, Prince George, to take possession of the island.[54][55] The Greeks refused an Ottoman offer of an autonomous administration, and Deligiannis mobilized for war.[56] The Great Powers refused to allow the expansion of Greece, and on 25 February 1897 announced that Crete would be under an autonomous administration and ordered the Greek and Ottoman Turk militias to withdraw.[57]

The Turks agreed, but Prime Minister Deligiannis refused and dispatched 1400 troops to Crete under the command of Colonel Timoleon Vassos. While the Great Powers announced a blockade, Greek troops crossed the Macedonian border and Abdul Hamid II declared war. The announcement that Greece was finally at war with the Turks was greeted by delirious displays of patriotism and spontaneous parades in honor of the King in Athens. Volunteers by the thousands streamed north to join the forces under the command of Crown Prince Constantine.[58]

The war went badly for the ill-prepared Greeks; the only saving grace was the swiftness with which the Hellenic Army was overrun. By the end of April 1897, the war was lost. The worst consequences of defeat for the Greeks were mitigated by the intervention of the King's relations in Britain and Russia; nevertheless, the Greeks were forced to give up Crete to international administration, and agree to minor territorial concessions in favor of the Turks and an indemnity of 4 million Turkish pounds.[59]

The jubilation with which Greeks had hailed their king at the beginning of the war was reversed in defeat. For a time, he considered abdication. It was not until the King faced down an assassination attempt on 27 February 1898 with great bravery that his subjects again held their monarch in high esteem.[60] Returning from a trip to the beach at Phaleron in an open carriage, George and his daughter Maria were shot at by two riflemen. The King tried to shield his daughter; both were unhurt though the coachman and a horse were wounded. The gunmen (an Athens clerk called Karditzis and his assistant) fled into the Hymettus hills but they were spotted and arrested. Both were beheaded at Nauplia.[61]

Later that year, after continued unrest in Crete, which included the murder of the British vice-consul,[62] Prince George of Greece was made the Governor-General of Crete under the suzerainty of the Sultan, after the proposal was put forward by the Great Powers. Greece was effectively in day-to-day control of Crete for the first time in modern history.[54]

Later reign and assassination

King George's Portrait by Georgios Iakovidis
Posthumous portrait by Georgios Iakovides, 1914

The death of Britain's Queen Victoria on 22 January 1901 left King George as the second-longest-reigning monarch in Europe.[63] His always cordial relations with his brother-in-law, the new King Edward VII, continued to tie Greece to Britain. This was abundantly important in Britain's support of King George's son Prince George as Governor-General of Crete. Nevertheless, Prince George resigned in 1906 after a leader in the Cretan Assembly, Eleftherios Venizelos, campaigned to have him removed.[64]

As a response to the Young Turk Revolution of 1908, Venizelos's power base was further strengthened, and on 8 October 1908 the Cretan Assembly passed a resolution in favor of union despite both the reservations of the Athens government under Georgios Theotokis[65] and the objections of the Great Powers.[66] The muted reaction of the Athens Government to the news from Crete led to an unsettled state of affairs on the mainland.[67]

In August 1909, a group of army officers that had formed a military league, Stratiotikos Syndesmos, demanded, among other things, that the royal family be stripped of their military commissions. To save the King the embarrassment of removing his sons from their commissions, they resigned them.[68] The military league attempted a coup d'état, and the King insisted on supporting the duly elected Hellenic Parliament in response. Eventually, the military league joined forces with Venizelos in calling for a National Assembly to revise the constitution. King George gave way, and new elections to the revising assembly were held in August 1910. After some political maneuvering, Venizelos became prime minister of a minority government. Just a month later, Venizelos called new elections for 11 December [O.S. 28 November] 1910, at which he won an overwhelming majority after most of the opposition parties declined to take part.[69]

Venizelos and the King were united in their belief that the nation required a strong army to repair the damage of the humiliating defeat of 1897. Crown Prince Constantine was reinstated as Inspector-General of the Army,[70] and later Commander-in-Chief. Under his and Venizelos's close supervision the military was retrained and equipped with French and British help, and new ships were ordered for the Hellenic Navy. Meanwhile, through diplomatic means, Venizelos had united the Christian countries of the Balkans in opposition to the ailing Ottoman Empire.[71]

Assassination of George I of Greece, 1913
Assassination of George I by Alexandros Schinas as depicted in a contemporary lithograph
Funeral of George I of Greece
Funeral of King George I in Athens

When the Kingdom of Montenegro declared war on Turkey on 8 October 1912, it was joined quickly by Serbia, Bulgaria, and Greece in what is known as the First Balkan War. George was on vacation in Denmark, so he immediately returned to Greece via Vienna, arriving in Athens to be met by a large and enthusiastic crowd on the evening of 9 October.[72] The results of this campaign differed radically from the Greek experience at the hands of the Turks in 1897.[73] The well-trained Greek forces, 200,000 strong, won victory after victory.[74] On 9 November 1912, Greek forces commanded by Crown Prince Constantine rode into Thessaloniki, just a few hours ahead of a Bulgarian division. Three days later King George rode in triumph through the streets of Thessaloniki, the second-largest Greek city, accompanied by the Crown Prince and Venizelos.[75][76]

As he approached the fiftieth anniversary of his accession, the King made plans to abdicate in favor of his son Constantine immediately after the celebration of his golden jubilee in October 1913.[77] Just as he did in Athens, George went about Thessaloniki without any meaningful protection force. While out on an afternoon walk near the White Tower on 18 March 1913, he was shot at close range in the back by Alexandros Schinas, who was "said to belong to a Socialist organization" and "declared when arrested that he had killed the King because he refused to give him money".[78] George died instantly, the bullet having penetrated his heart.[79] The Greek government denied any political motive for the assassination, saying that Schinas was an alcoholic vagrant.[80] Schinas was tortured in prison[81] and six weeks later fell to his death from a police station window.[82]

The King's body was taken to Athens on the Amphitrite, escorted by a flotilla of naval vessels.[83] For three days the coffin of the King, draped in the Danish and Greek flags, lay in the Metropolitan Cathedral in Athens before his body was committed to a tomb at his palace in Tatoi.[84]

Titles, styles and arms

Greece Georg
Badge of the Order of George I: The order was instituted by Constantine I in 1915 in memory of his father.[85]

Titles from birth to death

  • 24 December 1845 – 31 July 1853: His Highness Prince William of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg
  • 31 July 1853 – 21 December 1858: His Highness Prince William of Denmark
  • 21 December 1858 – 30 March 1863: His Royal Highness Prince William of Denmark
  • 30 March 1863 – 18 March 1913: His Majesty The King of the Hellenes


Royal Coat of Arms of Greece (1863-1936)

The distinctive Greek flag of blue and white cross was first hoisted during the Greek War of Independence in March 1822.[86] This was later modified so that the shade of blue matched that of the Bavarian coat of arms of the first King of Greece, Otto.[87] The shield is emblazoned with the coat of arms of the Danish Royal Family, and the supporters on either side are also adapted from the Danish royal arms. Beneath the shield is the motto in Greek, Ἰσχύς μου ἡ αγάπη τοῦ λαοῦ ("The people's love is my strength"). Beneath the motto dangles the Grand Cross of the Order of the Redeemer, Greece's premier decoration of honor.[88]

Notes and sources

  1. ^ a b Throughout George's lifetime, Greece used the Old Style Julian calendar. Unless otherwise indicated, all dates in this article are in the New Style Gregorian calendar.
  2. ^ At the time of the King's assassination, Thessaloniki was in occupied Ottoman territory. The city was recognized as part of the Kingdom of Greece by the Treaty of Bucharest (1913) five months afterwards.
  3. ^ a b Van der Kiste, p. 6
  4. ^ Van der Kiste, pp. 6–8
  5. ^ His mother and father were both great-grandchildren of King Frederick V of Denmark and great-great-grandchildren of King George II of Great Britain.
  6. ^ Van der Kiste, p. 7; see also Christmas, pp. 22, 403
  7. ^ Christmas, p. 45
  8. ^ Lidderdale, H. A. (editor and translator) (1966). Makriyannis: The Memoirs of General Makriyannis 1797–1864. Oxford University Press. p. 212.
  9. ^ "Official web-site of the Hellenic Parliament". Archived from the original on 10 February 2007. Retrieved 12 February 2007.
  10. ^ Van der Kiste, p. 4
  11. ^ Clogg, p. 82
  12. ^ Forster, p. 17
  13. ^ Christmas, p. 37; Van der Kiste, p. 5
  14. ^ Christmas, pp. 39–41
  15. ^ Van der Kiste, pp. 6–11
  16. ^ Woodhouse, p. 170
  17. ^ Christmas, p. 54
  18. ^ The Times (London), 8 June 1863, p. 12, col. C
  19. ^ Forster, p. 18
  20. ^ Van der Kiste, pp. 14–15
  21. ^ Van der Kiste, p. 18
  22. ^ Van der Kiste, p. 16
  23. ^ Van der Kiste, pp. 16–17
  24. ^ The Times (London), 14 February 1865, p. 10, col. C
  25. ^ Christmas, pp. 73–74
  26. ^ Christmas, pp. 65–66
  27. ^ Royal Message to the National Assembly, 6 October 1864, quoted in The Times (London), 31 October 1864, p. 9, col. E
  28. ^ Campbell and Sherrard, p. 99
  29. ^ Woodhouse, p. 172
  30. ^ Woodhouse, p. 167
  31. ^ Van der Kiste, p. 23
  32. ^ Clogg, p. 87
  33. ^ Van der Kiste, pp. 10, 18
  34. ^ Van der Kiste, p. 24
  35. ^ Christmas, p. 83
  36. ^ Christmas, pp. 140–141
  37. ^ Christmas, p. 149
  38. ^ Van der Kiste, p. 37
  39. ^ Van der Kiste, p. 39
  40. ^ Forster, p. 74
  41. ^ Christmas, pp. 86–91
  42. ^ The King of the Hellenes to the Prince of Wales, April 1870. In: Letters of Queen Victoria 1870–1878 (1926) London: John Murray, vol. II, p. 16
  43. ^ Christmas, pp. 93–95
  44. ^ Ministry of Epameinondas Deligeorgis, 20 July 1872 – 21 February 1874
  45. ^ Clogg, p. 86
  46. ^ Clogg, p. 89
  47. ^ a b c Woodhouse, p. 181
  48. ^ Van der Kiste, p. 35
  49. ^ Clogg, pp. 90–92
  50. ^ Christmas, p. 119
  51. ^ Christmas, p. 120
  52. ^ Christmas, pp. 121–123
  53. ^ Van der Kiste, pp. 54–55
  54. ^ a b Woodhouse, p. 182
  55. ^ The Times (London), 12 February 1897, p. 9, col. E
  56. ^ Clogg, p. 93
  57. ^ The Times (London), 25 February 1897, p. 5, col. A
  58. ^ Mehmet Uğur Ekinci (2006). "The Origins of the 1897 Ottoman-Greek War: A Diplomatic History" (PDF). M.A. Thesis. Bilkent University, Ankara. Retrieved 12 February 2007.
  59. ^ Clogg, p. 94
  60. ^ The Times (London), 28 February 1898, p. 7, col. A
  61. ^ Christmas, pp. 269–270
  62. ^ Forster, p. 33
  63. ^ Van der Kiste, p. 63
  64. ^ Woodhouse, p. 186
  65. ^ Campbell and Sherrard, pp. 109–110
  66. ^ Forster, p. 44
  67. ^ Christmas, pp. 281–282
  68. ^ Van der Kiste, pp. 68–69
  69. ^ Clogg, pp. 97–99
  70. ^ Clogg, p. 100
  71. ^ Clogg, pp. 101–102
  72. ^ Christmas, pp. 348–349
  73. ^ Christmas, p. 328
  74. ^ Christmas, pp. 349–359
  75. ^ The Times (London), 26 November 1912, p. 11, col. C
  76. ^ Christmas, pp. 362–365
  77. ^ Christmas, p. 403
  78. ^ The Times (London), 19 March 1913, p. 6
  79. ^ Christmas, p. 408
  80. ^ The Times (London), 20 March 1913, p. 6
  81. ^ The New York Times, 20 March 1913, p. 3
  82. ^ The New York Times, 7 May 1913, p. 3
  83. ^ Christmas, p. 413
  84. ^ Van der Kiste, p. 77
  85. ^ "The Royal Order of King George I" (PDF). Official website of the Greek royal family. Retrieved 7 October 2012.
  86. ^ Smith, Whitney (1980). Flags and Arms Across the World. London: Cassell. p. 99.
  87. ^ Maclagan, Michael; Louda, Jiří (1999). Lines of Succession: Heraldry of the Royal Families of Europe. London: Little, Brown & Co. p. 281. ISBN 1-85605-469-1.
  88. ^ Maclagan and Louda, p. 285
  89. ^ a b c Maclagan and Louda, pp. 51, 53
  90. ^ a b c Maclagan and Louda, p. 53
  91. ^ a b Maclagan and Louda, pp. 51, 53, 120
  92. ^ a b c Maclagan and Louda, p. 51


  • Campbell, John; Sherrard, Philip (1968). Modern Greece. London: Ernest Benn.
  • Christmas, Walter (1914). King George of Greece. Translated by A. G. Chater. New York: McBride, Nast & Company.
  • Clogg, Richard (1979). A Short History of Modern Greece. Cambridge University Press.
  • Forster, Edward S. (1958). A Short History of Modern Greece 1821–1956 3rd edition. London: Methuen and Co.
  • Van der Kiste, John (1994). Kings of the Hellenes. Stroud, Gloucestershire: Sutton Publishing. ISBN 0-7509-0525-5.
  • Woodhouse, C. M. (1968). The Story of Modern Greece. London: Faber and Faber.

External links

George I of Greece
Cadet branch of the House of Oldenburg
Born: 24 December 1845 Died: 18 March 1913
Regnal titles
Preceded by
as King of Greece
King of the Hellenes
30 March 1863 – 18 March 1913
Succeeded by
Constantine I
Alexandras Avenue

Alexandra's Avenue (Greek: Λεωφόρος Αλεξάνδρας Leoforos Alexandras) is a main east–west thoroughfare running from Patission Street/28 October Street and Kifissias Avenue in the northern part of the city of Athens, Greece. It is named after Princess Alexandra of Greece, later Grand Duchess Alexandra Georgievna of Russia (daughter of George I of Greece). The avenue has two regular traffic lanes plus one dedicated bus lane per direction. Its total length is approximately 3 km.

Alexandros Schinas

Alexandros Schinas (Greek: Αλέξανδρος Σχινάς, c. 1870 – May 6, 1913), also known as Aleko Schinas, assassinated King George I of Greece in 1913. Schinas has been variously portrayed as either an anarchist with political motivations (propaganda by deed), or a madman, but the historical record is inconclusive. The details of the assassination itself are known: on March 18, 1913, shortly after Thessaloniki's liberation from the Ottoman Empire during the First Balkan War, King George I was out for a late afternoon walk in the city, and, as was his custom, lightly guarded. Encountering George on the street near the White Tower, Schinas shot the king once in the back from close range with a revolver, killing him. Schinas was arrested and tortured. He claimed to have acted alone, blaming his actions on delirium brought on by tuberculosis. After several weeks in custody, Schinas died by falling out of a police station window, either by murder or by suicide.The details of Schinas's life before the assassination are unclear. He was a native Greek but his birthplace is disputed, likely either in the area of Volos or Serres. He may have been a medical student, teacher, unlicensed doctor, chemistry shop assistant, waiter, beggar or none of these. Several years before the assassination, Schinas may have left Greece for New York City, returning in February 1913. Some contemporary sources reported that he advocated anarchism or socialism, and ran an anarchist school that was shut down by the Greek government. Other sources claim he was mentally ill, a foreign agent, or held a grudge against the king. Since his death, his true motivations have been the subject of much dispute and may never be known.

Antonios Kriezis

Antonios Kriezis (Greek: Αντώνιος Κριεζής, 1796–1865) was a Greek captain of the Hellenic navy during the Greek War of Independence and a Prime Minister of Greece from 1849 to 1854. Kriezis was born in Troezen in 1796 to a Arvanite family. Literally translated from Albanian, his surname means "black head".

In July 1821, he took part to the Greek expedition to Samos and in 1822 to the naval battle of Spetses. In 1825, he and Konstantinos Kanaris took part to a failed attempt to destroy the Egyptian navy inside the port of Alexandria. In 1828, John Capodistria placed him in command of a navy squadron and in 1829, he captured Vonitsa from the Ottomans. Under King Otto in 1836, he became Minister of Naval Affairs and later served as Prime Minister of Greece from December 24, 1849 until May 28, 1854. He was succeeded by Konstantinos Kanaris. He died in Athens in 1865.

His eldest son Dimitrios Kriezis became a naval officer and served as the aide-de-camp to King George I of Greece and as Minister for Naval Affairs, while his younger son Epameinondas Kriezis also became a naval officer and politician.

Danish royal family

The Danish royal family is the dynastic family of the monarch. All members of the Danish royal family except Queen Margrethe II hold the title of Prince/Princess of Denmark. Dynastic children of the monarch and of the heir apparent are accorded the style of His/Her Royal Highness, while other members of the dynasty are addressed as His/Her Highness. The Queen is styled Her Majesty.

The Queen and her siblings belong to the House of Glücksburg, which is a branch of the Royal House of Oldenburg. The Queen's children and male-line descendants belong agnatically to the family de Laborde de Monpezat, and were given the concurrent title Count/Countess of Monpezat by royal decree on 30 April 2008.The Danish royal family enjoys remarkably high approval ratings in Denmark, ranging between 82% and 92%.

Georgiou I Square

Georgiou I Square (Greek: Πλατεία Γεωργίου Αʹ) is the central square of Patras, Greece. The square is named after King George I of Greece. It is crossed by Maizonos, Korinthou and Gerokostopoulou streets. The neoclassical Apollon Theatre is situated on the northeast side of the square.

Olga Constantinovna of Russia

Olga Constantinovna of Russia (3 September [O.S. 22 August] 1851 – 18 June 1926) was Queen consort of the Hellenes as the wife of King George I. She was briefly the regent of Greece in 1920.

A member of the Romanov dynasty, she was the daughter of Grand Duke Constantine Nikolaievich and his wife, Princess Alexandra of Saxe-Altenburg. She spent her childhood in Saint Petersburg, Poland and the Crimea, and married King George I of Greece in 1867 at the age of sixteen. At first, she felt ill at ease in the Kingdom of Greece, but she quickly became involved in social and charitable work. She founded hospitals and schools, but her attempt to promote a new, more accessible, Greek translation of the Gospels sparked riots by religious conservatives.

On the assassination of her husband in 1913, Olga returned to Russia. When the First World War broke out, she set up a military hospital in Pavlovsk Palace, which belonged to her brother. She was trapped in the palace after the Russian Revolution of 1917, until the Danish embassy intervened, allowing her to escape to Switzerland. Olga could not return to Greece as her son, King Constantine I, had been deposed.

In October 1920, she returned to Athens on the fatal illness of her grandson, King Alexander. After his death, she was appointed regent until the restoration of Constantine I the following month. After the defeat of the Greeks in the Greco-Turkish War of 1919–22 the Greek royal family were again exiled and Olga spent the last years of her life in the United Kingdom, France and Italy.

Piraeus Railway Works

Early development of railway transport in Greece involved a number of different companies, which had created their own workshops for maintenance and constructions. The most important were Railway Works in Piraeus, originally operated by Athens-Piraeus Railways (SAP, which later transformed into Hellenic Electric Railways, EIS), and Piraeus, Athens and Peloponnese Railways (SPAP, forerunner of OSE), which, in addition to maintenance, repair and rebuilding, have entirely constructed a significant number of railroad cars, mostly between 1880 and 1960. Other noteworthy constructions included a small number of electric trams (clearly copies of a Dick Kerr model) built by EIS in 1939, and one of Greece’s first Diesel locomotives, designed and built by SPAP in 1961.

The "crown jewel" of the Piraeus Works was the royal wagon, built in 1888 as a present to King George I of Greece. The luxurious vehicle was so admired, that an entire engineering project was organized in order to transport and present it in the 1888 "Olympia Fair" held in Zappeion. It survives to date, exhibited in the Railway Museum of Athens.

Prince Andrew of Greece and Denmark

Prince Andrew of Greece and Denmark (Greek: Ανδρέας; 2 February [O.S. 20 January] 1882 – 3 December 1944) of the House of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg, was the seventh child and fourth son of King George I of Greece and Olga Constantinovna of Russia. He was a grandson of Christian IX of Denmark and father of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.

He began military training at an early age, and was commissioned as an officer in the Greek army. His command positions were substantive appointments rather than honorary, and he saw service in the Balkan Wars. In 1913, his father was assassinated and Andrew's elder brother, Constantine, became king. Dissatisfaction with his brother's neutrality policy during World War I led to his brother's abdication and most of the royal family, including Andrew, was exiled. On their return a few years later, Andrew saw service in the Greco-Turkish War (1919–1922), but the war went badly for Greece, and Andrew was blamed, in part, for the loss of Greek territory. He was exiled for a second time in 1922, and spent most of the rest of his life in France.

By 1930, he was estranged from his wife, Princess Alice of Battenberg. His only son, Prince Philip, served in the British navy during World War II, while all four of his daughters were married to Germans, three of whom had Nazi connections. Separated from his wife and son by the effects of the war, Andrew died in Monte Carlo in 1944. He had seen neither of them since 1939.

Prince Christopher of Greece and Denmark

Prince Christopher of Greece and Denmark (10 August 1888 – 21 January 1940) was the fifth and youngest son and youngest child of King George I of Greece, belonging to a dynasty which mounted and lost the throne of Greece several times during his lifetime. Much of his life was spent living abroad.

Prince George of Greece and Denmark

Prince George of Greece and Denmark (Greek: Πρίγκιπας Γεώργιος; 24 June 1869 – 25 November 1957) was the second son and child of George I of Greece and Olga Konstantinovna of Russia, and is remembered chiefly for having once saved the life of his cousin the future Emperor of Russia, Nicholas II in 1891 during their visit to Japan together. He served as high commissioner of the Cretan State during its transition towards independence from Ottoman rule and union with Greece.

Prince Nicholas of Greece and Denmark

Prince Nicholas of Greece and Denmark (Greek: Πρίγκιπας Νικόλαος της Ελλάδας και της Δανίας, 22 January 1872 – 8 February 1938), of the Glücksburg branch of the House of Oldenburg, was the fourth child and third son of King George I of Greece, and of Queen Olga. He was known as "Greek Nicky" in the family to distinguish him from his paternal first cousin Emperor Nicholas II of Russia. Prince Nicholas was a talented painter, often signing his works as "Nicolas Leprince."

Princess Alexandra of Greece and Denmark

Grand Duchess Alexandra Georgievna of Russia (Russian: Алекса́ндра Гео́ргиевна; née Princess Alexandra of Greece and Denmark (Greek: Πριγκίπισσα Αλεξάνδρα της Ελλάδας και της Δανίας); 30 August 1870 – 24 September 1891) was the third child and firstborn daughter of King George I and Queen Olga of Greece, who herself was a daughter of a Russian grand duke, and was also a grandchild of Denmark's King Christian IX and Queen Louise. She was a sister to Constantine I of Greece, and thus aunt of three kings and two queens, Constantine's three sons, who all became kings of Greece, and two of his daughters, who were queens, of Romania and (titularly) Croatia, respectively. She was also first cousin of Tsar Nicholas II of Russia, King George V of the United Kingdom, and both King Haakon VII and Queen Maud of Norway, as well as a paternal aunt of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.

Princess Anastasia of Greece and Denmark

Princess Anastasia of Greece and Denmark (née Nonie May Stewart; 20 January 1878 – 29 August 1923) was an American-born heiress and member of the Greek Royal Family. She was married to Prince Christopher of Greece and Denmark, the youngest child of King George I of Greece and his consort, Grand Duchess Olga Constantinovna of Russia, but was created a princess suo jure.

Princess Eugénie of Greece and Denmark

Princess Eugénie of Greece and Denmark (Greek: Πριγκίπισσα Ευγενία της Ελλάδας και Δανίας) (10 February 1910 – 13 February 1989) was the youngest child and only daughter of Prince George of Greece and Denmark and his wife, Princess Marie Bonaparte, daughter of Prince Roland Bonaparte, a great-nephew of Napoleon I. Her father was the second son of George I of Greece and Olga Constantinovna of Russia.As a cousin of the bridegroom, she was a leading guest at the 1947 wedding of Princess Elizabeth and Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.She authored Le Tsarevitch, Enfant Martyr, a biography of Aleksey Nikolaevich, Tsarevich of Russia, written in French, which was published in 1990.

Princess Maria of Greece and Denmark

Princess Maria of Greece and Denmark (Greek: Πριγκίπισσα Μαρία της Ελλάδας και Δανίας) (3 March 1876 – 14 December 1940) was the fifth child and second daughter of King George I of Greece and Olga Constantinovna of Russia, and thus a member of the House of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg. She was later the king's only surviving daughter after the death of her older sister Grand Duchess Alexandra Georgievna of Russia in 1891.

Princess Olga of Greece and Denmark

Princess Olga of Greece and Denmark (Greek: Πριγκίπισσα Όλγα της Ελλάδας και Δανίας, Serbian Cyrillic: Кнегиња Олга Карађорђевић; 11 June 1903 – 16 October 1997) was the granddaughter of King George I of Greece and wife of Prince Paul, Prince Regent of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia.

Princess Theodora of Greece and Denmark (1906–1969)

Princess Theodora of Greece and Denmark (Greek: Πριγκίπισσα Θεοδώρα της Ελλάδας και Δανίας; 30 May 1906 – 16 October 1969) was the second child and daughter of Prince Andrew of Greece and Denmark and Princess Alice of Battenberg, and the second eldest sister of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.

Princess Thyra of Denmark

Princess Thyra of Denmark, Danish pronunciation: [ˈtyːʁə], (29 September 1853 – 26 February 1933 in Gmunden) was the youngest daughter and fifth child of Christian IX of Denmark and Louise of Hesse-Kassel. In 1878, she married Ernest Augustus, the exiled heir to the Kingdom of Hanover. As the Kingdom of Hanover had been annexed by Prussia in 1866, she spent most of her life in exile with her husband in Austria.

Thyra was the younger sister of Frederik VIII of Denmark, Queen Alexandra of the United Kingdom, George I of Greece, Empress Maria Feodorovna of Russia and an elder sister of Prince Valdemar of Denmark.

Yellow Mansion, Copenhagen

The Yellow Palace (Danish: Det Gule Palæ), or Bergum's Mansion, is an 18th-century town mansion situated at Amaliegade 18, next to Amalienborg Palace, in the Frederiksstaden district of Copenhagen, Denmark. It is considered the first example of Neoclassical architecture in Copenhagen.

Originally built as a burgher's home, the mansion was acquired by the Danish Royal Family. Prince Christian of Glücksborg, later to become Christian IX of Denmark, took up residence there, and it became the birthplace of his children Frederick VIII of Denmark, Alexandra, Queen of the United Kingdom, George I of Greece and Maria Feodorovna, Empress of Russia.

Today the building is owned by the Danish Palaces and Properties Agency and houses the Lord Chamberlain's Office.

House of Oldenburg
(Glücksburg branch)
Royal Coat of Arms of Greece (1863-1936)
George I
Constantine I
Prince George
Grand Duchess Alexandra Georgievna of Russia
Prince Nicholas
Grand Duchess Maria Georgievna of Russia
Prince Andrew
Prince Christopher
Prince Peter
Princess Eugénie, Duchess of Castel Duino
Olga, Princess Paul of Yugoslavia
Princess Elizabeth, Countess of Toerring-Jettenbach
Princess Marina, Duchess of Kent
Margarita, Princess of Hohenlohe-Langenburg
Theodora, Margravine of Baden
Cecilie, Hereditary Grand Duchess of Hesse and by Rhine
Sophie, Princess George of Hanover
Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh
Prince Michael
Princess Alexandra, Mrs. Mirzayantz
Princess Olga, Duchess of Apulia
Ancestors of George I of Greece
16. Prince Charles Anthony of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Beck[89]
8. Frederick, Duke of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Beck
17. Countess Frederica of Dohna-Leistenau[89]
4. William, Duke of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg
18. Charles Leopold, Count of Schlieben[89]
9. Countess Friederike of Schlieben
19. Countess Mary of Lehndorff[90]
2. Christian IX of Denmark
20. Frederick II, Landgrave of Hesse-Kassel[90]
10. Prince Charles of Hesse-Kassel
21. Princess Mary of Great Britain[90]
5. Princess Louise of Hesse-Kassel
22. Frederick V of Denmark[91]
11. Princess Louise of Denmark
23. Princess Louise of Great Britain[91]
1. George I of Greece
24. Frederick II, Landgrave of Hesse-Kassel (= 20)
12. Prince Frederick of Hesse-Kassel
25. Princess Mary of Great Britain (= 21)
6. Prince William of Hesse-Kassel
26. Charles William, Prince of Nassau-Usingen
13. Princess Caroline of Nassau-Usingen
27. Countess Caroline Felizitas of Leiningen-Dagsburg
3. Louise of Hesse-Kassel
28. Frederick V of Denmark (= 22)[92]
14. Frederick, Hereditary Prince of Denmark
29. Juliana of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel[92]
7. Princess Charlotte of Denmark
30. Duke Louis of Mecklenburg-Schwerin[92]
15. Sophia of Mecklenburg-Schwerin
31. Princess Charlotte Sophie of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld
Notable PM
First Hellenic Republic (1827–1832)
Kingdom of Greece (Wittelsbach) (1832–1862)
Kingdom of Greece (Glücksburg) (1862–1924)
Second Hellenic Republic (1924–1935)
Kingdom of Greece (Glücksburg) (1935–1973)
Military Junta (1967–1974)
Third Hellenic Republic (1974–present)
1st generation
2nd generation
3rd generation
4th generation
5th generation
6th generation
7th generation
8th generation
9th generation
10th generation
11th generation
12th generation
13th generation
1st generation
2nd generation
3rd generation
4th generation
5th generation
6th generation
7th generation
8th generation
9th generation
10th generation
11th generation

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