Saturday, 30 June 2012

The Belgian-Greek Royal Connection

In his latest posting The Exiled Belgian Royalist published a most interesting article on the Belgian-Greek Connection in the 1830s:
"The Greeks had claimed independence to break away from the Ottoman Empire of Turkey in 1830 and were in need of a monarch. A prince from a powerful royal family or with, at least, family ties to powerful countries, was preferred to help secure Greek independence as a policy of insurance against efforts by the Turks to retake Greece. Prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha was considered and was asked to come reign over the new Kingdom of Greece. The cause of the Greeks had been a popular one in Europe, seen by many as a great romantic adventure and there was much sympathy for the Greeks against the Turks. Prince Leopold was not unaffected by this and he considered seriously accepting the offer to become the first King of Greece or King of the Greeks.

"After reviewing the Greek situation, he did not have much confidence in their chances of success. The population seemed too divided, the situation was too unstable and there were not the resources to ensure to a reasonable degree the long-term success. Finally he decided to decline the offer ..."

Instead of Prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, in August 1832 the Greek National Assembly elected 17 year old Prince Otto, the second son of King Ludwig I of Bavaria as King of Greece. He arrived in his new Kingdom on 6th February 1833.

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