Alexander I of Serbia

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  Not to be confused with Alexander I of Yugoslavia.

Alexander I or Aleksandar Obrenović (Cyrillic: Александар Обреновић; August 14, 1876 – June 11, 1903) was king of Serbia from 1889 to 1903 when he and his wife, Queen Draga were assassinated by a group of Army officers,[1] led by Colonel Dragutin Dimitrijević

Contents

Accession

In 1889, his father, King Milan, unexpectedly abdicated and withdrew to private life, proclaiming Alexander king of Serbia under a regency until he should attain his majority at eighteen years of age. His mother Natalija Obrenović became his regent.

In 1893, King Alexander, aged seventeen, in a first coup d'état 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, abolished the liberal constitution of 1889 and restored the conservative one of 1869. His attitude during the Greco-Turkish War (1897) was one of strict neutrality.

In the same year, the young King brought his father, Milan, back to Serbia and, in 1898, appointed him commander-in-chief of the Serbian army. During that time, Milan was regarded as the de facto ruler of the country.

Marriage

In the summer of 1900, King Alexander suddenly announced his engagement to the widowed Madame Draga Mašin, formerly a lady-in-waiting to his mother. The projected union initially aroused great opposition: he did not consult with his father, who had been on vacation in Karlovy Vary and making arrangements to secure the hand of a German princess for his son, or his prime minister Dr. Vladan Đorđević, who was visiting the Paris Universal Exhibition at the time of the announcement. Both immediately resigned from their respective offices and Alexander had difficulty in forming a new cabinet. Alexander's mother also opposed the marriage and was subsequently banished from the kingdom.

Opposition to the union seemed to subside somewhat for a time upon the publication of Tsar Nicholas II's congratulations to the king on his engagement and of his acceptance to act as the principal witness at the wedding. The marriage was duly celebrated in August 1900. Even so, the unpopularity of the union weakened the King's position in the eyes of the army and the country at large.

Political reconciliation

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