Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Constantine & Sophie's Silver wedding celebrations put on hold

November 18, 1914

Due to the "widespread crisis in connection with the present international conflagration,"  all of the festivities organized to celebrate the silver wedding anniversary of King Constantine and Queen Sophie of the Hellenes, were called off, reports the Marquise de Fontenoy.

The anniversary was "quietly observed" in Athens last month, but none of the "foreign sovereigns and royal personages" were present.  Greece is "on the eve of the war," and is siding with the allies.

Kaiser Wilhelm II has been aware of Greece's leanings, and this is most evident in his decision to sell his palace of Achilleion at Corfu to a "Swiss syndicate" for use as a hotel or sanitarium, or even a gambling establishment.  The estate was once the home of the late Empress Elisabeth of Austria.   Wilhelm realizes that if Greece does enter the war on the side of the allies, one of the first things it will do is to seize Achilleion "as property belong to the enemy."

It does not matter that the Kaiser is the elder brother of Queen Sophie. All communication between the two was broken off in early August, when the Queen, returning from England to Greece, via Germany, "declined" Wilhelm's request to "take charge of letters from him" to her husband, King Constantine and for the German ambassador in Athens.

Queen Sophie and the Kaiser first argued in 1891 when she abandoned her Lutheran faith and joined the Greek Orthodox church.  Wilhelm was furious with her because she did not seek his approval for this action.  For the next few years,  there was no real communication between the siblings, and, although a reconciliation was eventually arranged, neither Sophie nor her husband ever forgot their treatment by her brother.

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