Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Royal engagement: Yugoslavia-Romania

January 9, 1922

It's official.  After several years of rumors and denials, the engagement of King Alexander of Yugoslavia and Princess Marie of Romania, second daughter of King Ferdinand and Queen Marie, was announced today in Belgrade, reports the New York Times.

The first reports of a possible marriage were in September 1920,  when Alexander was Prince Regent, and his father, King Peter, "was suffering from his last illness" at the royal palace in Belgrade.

Alexander also had to face supporters of his older brother, Prince George, who had renounced his rights to the throne in March 1909, after he was "implicated in the death of a servant," and political groups from Croatia and Slovenia that "indulged in a propaganda circulated ruin" Alexander's "moral reputation.

The Bucharest court paid no attention to the rumors or the stories in the press linking Alexander's name "with this or that favorite of the night of Paris."  They knew that the young king was "rather studious" and a proud man who "loathed vulgarity."

When his father died on August 16,  Alexander was in Paris, where he was "slowly recovering" from a serious operation.   His enemies continued to concoct stories, "giving scandalous information" about his supposed private life. 

He remained in Paris, even after he had recovered from his surgery, because he had "become enamoured" with Princess Sophie of Orléans, second daughter of the Duke and Duchess of Vendome.

The new king continued to deny the scurrilous reports about his life and his health.  He also denied frequent reports that he planned to abdicate in favor of Prince George.  Alexander returned to Belgrade to take his oath and "support the new constitution," and make plans for his wedding to Princess Marie.

King Alexander took the oath to support the "monarchy of the Serbs, Croats and Slovenes" on November 5 in Belgrade.  A month later, he traveled to Bucharest, and then to Sinaia, where he spent Christmas with his fiancee and her family.

[Note:  I think the stories about Princess Sophie and King Alexander were made up by the press, as Sophie was mentally handicapped, and was unlikely to marry.]

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