Accession of King Constantine I of Greece, 1913

King Constantine I of Greece (wearing the Order of the Redeemer) was joined by Queen Sophia as he took the constitutional Oath of Office in front of the Greek Parliament at the Old Royal Palace in Athens on this day in 1913, three days after the assassination of his father, King George I. 

The extended Greek Royal Family were in attendance, including the future King George II of Greece, the future King Alexander of Greece, and the future Queen Helen of Romania as well as Prince George of Greece, Prince Nicholas of Greece and Grand Duchess Elena Vladimirovna, and Prince Andrew of Greece. 

King Constantine reigned for only four years until he was forced to abdicate in favour of his second son, King Alexander, during the First World War, returning three years later to reign for two more years until abdicating in favour of his elder son, King George II, passing away only a few months later, exactly 100 years before his namesake grandson, King Constantine II of Greece.

From Greek Royal Chronicles:

Early in the morning many people in the streets wearing their ″goodies″ rushed in one direction, in the Parliament, on Stadiou Street, to get a seat as close as possible to see the new King Constantine arriving for the inauguration.

The distance from the crown prince’s palaces to the Parliament was long enough, but it was not sufficient to accommodate the multitude of people who were constantly arriving from all over Attica. The sidewalks could not accommodate the thousands of citizens, and the deployed army could barely contain the people behind the security lines. Outside the parliament, the crowding was indescribable. Everyone was trying to get close to the building to hear King Constantine take the oath.

At 09:30, upon hearing the first cannon fire, the royal procession from the palaces to the Parliament begins. This route will last almost an hour. The first to arrive are the carriages with the official guests, the prime minister, ministers and foreign diplomats. The people greet and applaud them, eagerly awaiting the king. After a while, the trampling of the horses leading the golden royal carriage was heard, there was silence, and everyone turned their gaze towards Stadiou Street to see the majestic procession that was approaching shortly.

After about 40 minutes, the royal carriage arrives outside the forecourt of the Parliament and the new king, in a large general’s uniform, and the new queen in a black dress and black veil disembark.

The mourning of the royal family was great. The royal couple with grief evident on their faces, headed towards the building greeting the gathered crowd who cheered them on and on.

The swearing-in of King Constantine I took place at 10:30 in a heavy atmosphere. Only three twenty-four hours had passed since that terrible day of the assassination of King George I. Then, the new king moved from Athens to Chalkida. There he boarded the yacht “Amfitritis”, to go to Thessaloniki and receive his father’s body.


Greek Royal Chronicles

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