King Aleksandar Obrenovic

King Aleksandar Obrenovic
King Aleksandar Obrenovic

He was born on 2nd/14th August 1876 in Belgrade in a maternity hospital which was personally funded by King Milan Obrenovic. He was brought up in Serbia, and as governors he had Dr Lazar Djokic and General Jovan Miskovic. All the care of the young Crown Prince were taken over by King Milan himself. Also, on the expense of his father, the young prince was sent to school in Paris. He returned to Belgrade in the age of less than eleven years in 1887.

By abdication on February 21st / 6th of March 1889, King Milan Obrenovic handed over the throne to his son Aleksandar, and from that point on, due to his minor age at the head of Serbia acted as regents: Jovan Ristic and generals Jovan Belimarkovic and Kosta Protic.

Four years after Aleksandar entered the throne and took over the power from the regents, assisted by his father Milan.

At the time the King Alexander made a palace revolution, and took over the power, there were several senior officers around him, including equestrian Colonel Lazar Petrovic, who later would become his personal adjutant, and would be advanced to the rank of a general by the king. Minister’s protests were left without results, while the king reiterated that it was better so for everyone. The new government was composed by the former ex-teacher, Dr. Lazar Dokić, with several prominent radicals.

At the celebration of the 500th anniversary of the Battle of Kosovo in 1889, held in the monastery of Zica, the Metropolitan Michael conceived King Aleksandar in the presence of the royal governor, the ministers of the Serbian government and the Russian Minister Alexander (Constantine) Persiani. The act of anointment was extremely solemn. On this occasion the King donated the Order of Saint Prince Lazar, an Order which could be carried only by the King and his Heir of the Royal House of Obrenovic. Previously, the young king attended a bardie in Lazarus church in Krusevac, laid the foundation for a monument to the Kosovo Heroes, and on his way to Zica, he stopped at the Ljubostinja Monastery, where a special significance was placed on the tomb of Empress Milica.
A special law had been drafted for the Society for the Raising of the Temple of St. Sava in Vracar, which received the exemption from all tax duties.

Due to the very difficult situation of the Serbian population within the borders of the Turkish Empire, King Alexander visited Constantinople in the summer of 1894, to obtain some political privileges of the Serbian people in Turkey. Faced with good relations with Greece, King Aleksandar visited the Greek Court in spring, returning from Constantinople. On his way, after several centuries, he visited the Holy Mountain and Hilandar, which had been threatened by the Bulgarians. On this occasion, the Hilandarian Brotherhood handed over to the King the Miroslav Gospel, Nemanja’s original Charter of the monastery and several other manuscripts.

With this royal visit and his great monetary contributions, Hilandar remained a Serbian monastery.

In the summer of 1900, when King Milan and Prime Minister Vladan Djordjevic were out of Belgrade, King Aleksandar suddenly announced his engagement with Drago Lunjevica. Many were opposed to this marriage, and Djordjevic’s ministry resigned. After some concerns with senior officers, King Alexander gathered them in the Cathedral Church on 10th July 1900, at the memorial service for the victims of the wars for the liberation of Serbia, and gave a speech to them:

I am the Head of the House of Obrenovic and I first have a right and duty to take care of the fate and future of the Dynasty. Accordingly, the opinion of my father in the part of my marriage is a minor matter and is of little importance. It is the main, what I think, and not my father. My father did not respond to my wishes and, being the supreme commander, I dismissed him as the commander of the active army.

After the publication, the royal wedding took place on July 23rd 1900 in the Cathedral Church in Belgrade. In foreign policy , the king turned to Russia immediately, releasing previously Radicals from the jail accused for the Ivandan assassination.

Due to such events Count Goluhovski, an Austro-Hungarian deputy in Belgrade, sent a sharp protest. Especially great problems for King Aleksandar arose due to the non-existent pregnancy of Queen Draga. The first reaction came from the Imperial Palace in St. Petersburg and where they did not want to receive the king and the queen in a promised visit.

Due to the increasing repulsiveness of the Russian Court, King Aleksandar tried to get close again to Austria from autumn of 1902, and he took some steps earlier. Already in January 1902, King Alexander sent his personal secretary Miloš Petronijević to Vienna with the promise that he would solve the issue of his successor in an agreement with the neighboring monarchy, and this, by its very nature, should be one of the descendants of the female line Obrenović, who lived in Austria-Hungary.

The Russian Foreign Minister Count Alexander Lamzdorf strongly opposed to this, when he visited King Alexander at the end of 1902 in Nis.

On the night of May 29th/11th of June 1903, a group of conspirators, under the leadership of Captain Dragutin Dimitrijevic Apis, carried out a coup. King Aleksandar Obrenovic and Queen Draga were murdered in the bedroom, their bodies thrown out of the window. In this bloody and dramatic nights also were killed: Prime Minister Dimitrije Cincar-Markovic, War Minister Milovan Pavlovic, Nicodije and Nikola Lunjevic, both brothers of the queen. The Palace Gate was opened by the officer Petar Živković.