Tuesday, 19 March 2013

100 years ago: Greek King George I assassinated

King George I (Γεώργιος Αʹ, Βασιλεύς των Ελλήνων, Geórgios Αʹ, Vasiléfs ton Ellínon; *24th December 1845) was elected King of the Hellenes by the Greek National Assembly on 30th March 1863.

Just as he did in Athens, the King went about Thessaloniki without any protection. While out on an afternoon walk near the White Tower on 18th March 1913, he was shot at close range in the back by Alexandros Schinas, who was said to belong to a Socialist organization and declared when arrested that he had killed the King because he refused to give him money. The King died instantly, the bullet having penetrated his heart.

The King's body was taken to Athens on the Amphitrite, escorted by a flotilla of naval vessels. The first King of the Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg dynasty was buried at Tatoi, a royal resort at the foot of Mount Parnitha outside Athens, which King George had bought with his own private money.

The tombs of the Greek Royal Family, lying in a pine wood by a disused chapel, have been vandalised. They include the graves of the Duke of Edinburgh's parents. In 1994 a decree by the viciously anti-royal Socialist Government of the time stripped King Constantine II of Tatoi, its contents, and his Greek citizenship. In November 2002 the European Court of Human Rights at Strasbourg ruled that the confiscation of the Greek Royal Family's property in their homecountry was an illegal act.

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