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Alexander Obrenovic

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King Alexander Obrenovich

Alexander Obrenovich (Aleksandar Obrenović (Roman), Александар Обреновић Serbian (Cyrillic)) (August 14, 1876 - June 11, 1903), was king of Serbia. In 1889 his father, King Milan, abdicated and proclaimed him king of Serbia under a regency until he should attain his majority at eighteen years of age.

In 1893, King Alexander, being then in his seventeenth year, made his notable first coup d'Útat, proclaimed himself of full age, dismissed the regents and their government, and took the royal authority into his own hands. His action was popular, and was rendered still more so by his appointment of a radical ministry.

In May 1894 King Alexander, by another coup d'Útat, abolished the liberal constitution of 1889 and restored the conservative one of 1869. His attitude during the Turco-Greek war of 1897 was one of strict neutrality. In 1898 he appointed his father commander-in-chief of the Serbian army, and from that time, or rather from his return to Serbia in 1894 until 1900, ex-king Milan was regarded as the de facto ruler of the country.

During the summer of 1900, Milan was away from Serbia taking waters in Carlsbad and making arrangements to secure the hand of a German princess for his son, and while the premier, Dr Vladan Dyorevich, was visiting the Paris Universal Exhibition, King Alexander suddenly announced to the people of Serbia his engagement to Mme Draga Masin, a widow, formerly a lady-in-waiting to Queen Natalie. The projected union aroused great opposition at first. Ex-King Milan resigned his post; so did the government; and King Alexander had great difficulty in forming a new cabinet. But the opposition subsided somewhat on the publication of Tsar Nicholas's congratulations to the king on his engagement and of his acceptance to act as the principal witness at the wedding. The marriage was then duly celebrated in August 1900. Still this union was unpopular and weakened the position of King Alexander in the army and the country.

King Alexander tried to reconcile political parties by granting from his own initiative a liberal constitution, introducing for the first time in the constitutional history of Serbia the system of two chambers (skupshtina and senate). This reconciled the political parties but did not reconcile the army which, already dissatisfied with the king's marriage, became still more so at the rumours that one of the two unpopular brothers of Queen Draga, Lieutenant Nicodiye, was to be proclaimed heir-apparent to the throne.

Meanwhile the independence of the senate and of the council of state caused growing irritation to King Alexander, which led him to another coup d'Útat. He suspended (March 1903) the constitution for half an hour, time enough to publish the decrees by which the old senators and councillors of state were dismissed and replaced by new ones. This arbitrary act naturally increased the dissatisfaction in the country. The general impression was that inasmuch as the senate was packed with men devoted to the royal couple, and inasmuch as the government obtained a large majority at the general elections, King Alexander would not hesitate any longer to proclaim Queen Draga's brother as the heir to the throne.

Apparently to prevent this, but in reality to replace Alexander Obrenovich by Peter Karageorgevich, a military conspiracy by Black Hand was organized. Their Palace was invaded and the Royal couple hid in a cupboard in the Queen's bedroom. The conspirators searched the palace and eventually discovered the royal couple and savagely murdered them in the early morning of June 11, 1903. King Alexander and Queen Draga were shot and their bodies mutilated and thrown from a window in the Palace.

References

nl:Alexander Obrenovic

Preceded by: Milan Obrenovic IV
King of Serbia
(1893-1903)
Succeeded by:
Peter Karageorgevich
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