Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Serbian king seeks American bride

April 6, 1896

Former King Milan of Serbia announced today that he plans to "start for New York" in May with the "express purpose of finding an American woman with plenty of money" who would be willing to marry his son, the present sovereign, King Alexander, reports the Chicago Daily Tribune.

For the "exchange of shekels," the "fortunate or unfortunate American heiress" will be formally elevated to "to the nobility."  A marriage, in true royal style, will take place shortly afterward.   King Milan will want to make sure that King Alexander will obtain "absolute control" of his bride's money.

The one person who is not in favor of this plan is Alexander's mother, Queen Natalie,  but an American heiress should not be too intimidated by her future mother-in-law.   Alexander might be able to find an ambitious young American heiress who will overlook the fact that he is deeply in debt, and who will fall "heads over ears in love" with the right woman who will help him out of his financial problems.

Alexander has not had any success in trying to find a royal bride.  He has been rejected by Grand Duchess Xenia of Russia, Grand Duchess Helen of Russia,  Princess Sibylle of Hesse,  Princess Feodora of Schleswig-Holstein, the younger sister of Empress Augusta Viktoria of Germany, Mercedes, the Princess of Asturias, elder sister of the young King Alfonso XIII of Spain, and a number of other eligible princesses.

His advances have been treated with contempt, and "received almost as an insult, and to the dismay of his people," he has given up the idea of "consolidating his throne and his dynasty with a royal Princess."

Queen Natalie had been very keen on arranging a marriage between her son and Princess Anna of Montenegro, and the proposed marriage was confirmed by officials in St. Petersburg.   In order to pay for the wedding and provide for her son and his new wife,  Natalie sold her "vast estates" in the Crimea and Bessarabia.  But then came the news that Princess Anna had "jilted" her fiance.

An American bride will need to be "strong-mind," and able to "reform her husband," so that the marriage will be happy and successful.

One of the king's former attachés describes the King, known as Sasha,  as "one of the most offensive and displeasing youths that could be found anywhere from the Bosphorus to the banks of the Tagus.  His manners are coarse and brutal in the extreme, fully keeping with his beetling brows, low forehead, and almost bestial nose and jaw, while the opinions which he vouchsafes with regard to women in general are characterized by an affection of cynicism and disillusion that is revolting indeed."

Alexander's consort will also have to "satisfy the caprices" of her father-in-law, King Milan, who is an "incurable spendthrift."  His excesses led to his loss of his throne.   After a "long career of profligacy,"  Milan abandoned his country "in the most critical hour."

Alexander was born at Belgrade on August 14, 1876. He is the only son of former King Milan and Queen Natalie.  Their marriage was dissolved by divorce and 1890.   The young king was only 12-years-old when his father suddenly abdicated his throne.

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