George I of Greece

George I
King George of Hellenes.jpg
George I in the uniform of an Admiral of the Royal Hellenic Navy
King of the Hellenes
Reign30 March 1863 – 18 March 1913[1]
PredecessorOtto I
SuccessorConstantine I
Prime Ministers
BornPrince William of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg
(1845-12-24)24 December 1845
Copenhagen, Denmark
Died18 March 1913(1913-03-18) (aged 67)
Thessaloniki[2]
BurialRoyal Cemetery, Tatoi Palace, Greece
Spouse
IssueConstantine I of Greece
Prince George
Princess Alexandra
Prince Nicholas
Princess Maria
Princess Olga
Prince Andrew
Prince Christopher
HouseGlücksburg
FatherChristian IX of Denmark
MotherLouise of Hesse
SignatureGeorge I's signature

George I (Greek: Γεώργιος Αʹ, Geórgios I; born Prince William of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg; Danish: Prins Vilhelm; 24 December 1845 – 18 March 1913[1]) was King of Greece from 1863 until his assassination in 1913.

Originally a Danish prince, George was born in Copenhagen, and seemed destined for a career in the Royal Danish Navy. He was only 17 years old when he was elected king by the Greek National Assembly, which had deposed the unpopular former king Otto. His nomination was both suggested and supported by the Great Powers: the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, the Second French Empire and the Russian Empire. He married the Russian grand duchess Olga Constantinovna of Russia, and became the first monarch of a new Greek dynasty. Two of his sisters, Alexandra and Dagmar, married into the British and Russian royal families. King Edward VII and Tsar Alexander III were his brothers-in-law and King George V and Tsar Nicholas II were his nephews.

George's reign of almost 50 years (the longest in modern Greek history) was characterized by territorial gains as Greece established its place in pre-World War I Europe. Britain ceded the Ionian Islands peacefully, while Thessaly was annexed from the Ottoman Empire after the Russo-Turkish War (1877–1878). Greece was not always successful in its territorial ambitions; it was defeated in the Greco-Turkish War (1897). During the First Balkan War, after Greek troops had captured much of Greek Macedonia, George was assassinated in Thessaloniki. Compared to his own long tenure, the reigns of his successors Constantine, Alexander, and George II proved short and insecure.

Family and early life

Portrait by August Schiøtt, 1853

George was born at the Yellow Palace, an 18th-century town house at 18 Amaliegade, right next to the Amalienborg Palace complex in Copenhagen. He was the second son of Prince Christian of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg and Princess Louise of Hesse-Kassel.[3] Until his accession in Greece, he was known as Prince William,[4] the namesake of his grandfathers William, Duke of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg, and Prince William of Hesse-Kassel.

George and his family, 1862: (back row left to right) Frederick, Christian IX, George; (front row left to right) Dagmar, Valdemar, Queen Louise, Thyra, Alexandra

Although he was of royal blood,[5] his family was relatively obscure and lived a comparatively normal life by royal standards. In 1853, however, George's father was designated the heir presumptive to the childless King Frederick VII of Denmark, and the family became princes and princesses of Denmark. George's siblings were Frederick (who succeeded their father as King of Denmark), Alexandra (who became wife of King Edward VII of the United Kingdom and the mother of King George V), Dagmar (who, as Empress Maria Feodorovna, was consort of Emperor Alexander III of Russia and the mother of Emperor Nicholas II), Thyra (who married Ernest Augustus, Crown Prince of Hanover) and Valdemar.[3]

George's mother tongue was Danish, with English as a second language. He was also taught French and German.[6] He embarked on a career in the Royal Danish Navy, and enrolled as a naval cadet along with his elder brother Frederick. While Frederick was described as "quiet and extremely well-behaved", George was "lively and full of pranks".[7]

Other Languages
български: Георгиос I
Bahasa Indonesia: George I dari Yunani
ქართული: გეორგიოს I
Bahasa Melayu: Georgios I dari Yunani
norsk nynorsk: Georg I av Hellas
português: Jorge I da Grécia
Simple English: George I of Greece
slovenčina: Juraj I. (Grécko)
српски / srpski: Ђорђе I Грчки
Türkçe: I. Georgios