Thursday, November 10, 2011

George II accepts throne



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November 11, 1935

King George II of Greece, after living for nearly twelve years in exile, agreed today to return to his throne "that he held for only fifteen uneasy months in 1922-23."

The New York Times reports that the king "announced his acceptance in the drawing room" of the Greek Legation in London.

George, wearing sombre morning dress,  "listened with mounting emotion as he was told that 90 per cent of the Greek people had voted for his return to the throne."   His face was "deathly white and eyes clouded with tears," when he spoke:

"Gentlemen, it is with the deepest emotion that I receive you -- representatives of the National Assembly, the government, and the armed forces of the country -- bringing to me the joyful message that by the unanimous will of the Hellenic people I am invited to assume once more the exercise of my royal duties.
"In obedience to the imperative call of my country, I will come home among you.  In so far as it concerns me I will in the full consciousness of my obligations loyally carry out my duty in drawing the curtain over the recent past and looking forward  only to the future..  But through you I appeal to all conscious of their own responsibilities to extend to me their unqualified support so we may together go forward in cooperation and concord.

"A soldier myself and the son of a soldier, I gladly accept the greetings of the armed forces of the nation as well as the assurance of their devotion to duty as the first auspicious beginning of this support which I particularly ask of all, so that with the help of God, we may see our Greece prosper."

Afterward, the king, accompanied by his brother, Paul, his sister, Katherine, and his cousins, Princess Paul of Yugoslavia and Prince Peter, went to the Greek Orthodox church to give thanks.

In the afternoon, King George II went to Buckingham Palace for lunch, where he expressed "his gratitude" to King George V and Queen Mary, "who befriended him in his darkest days."  It is beleived that the British sovereigns "have done more than one else to make his restoration possible."

Without the personal support that the King received from Buckingham Palace, "it would hardly have been possible for his restoration to have been finances by a London banker  -- as is commonly believed -- for the British government pulled wires in the Near East to return him to the throne."

From now one, there "will be a close tie between the royal houses of Greece and Britain," which may be "especially convenient for Britain some day in the event of naval trouble in the eastern Mediterranean."

King George II has said that he is a "quiet person who would like nothing better than to be a constitutional monarch," like his British cousin.   But no one knows how this will turn out due to Greece's "turbulent politics."  Will the king's dream come true or will this "new adventure in monarchy end in bloodshed and tragedy?"

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