Aleksandar was the son of Milan Obrenović IV. He was born August 14, 1876. He was only about 13 when his father abdicated. After his father's suprise abdication, the young Alexander was proclaimed King and a regency established under his mother, Natalija Obrenovic. Alexand was not eligible to rule until his majority when he reached age 18. As he grew older, he began to take increasing issue with his mother and the ministers she appointed. He decided not to wait until he reached age 18. While only 17 he staged in essence a coup d'état against his nother (1893). He declared his majority, dismissed his mother, and the ministers she had appointed. He seized personal control of the government. He appointed radical ministers. The young King's actions were well received by the Serbian public. But the young king would meet a trrible fate.
Aleksandar was the son of Milan Obrenović IV. His fathe helped achieve Serbian independence from the Ottomans and was proclaimed Milan I, the first Serbian king since medieval times. His mother Natalija was the daughter of a Russian Army colonel. They became estranged and the Metropolitam disolved their marriage.
Aleksandar was born August 14, 1876. We have very little information about his choldhood. We have a few photographs with his father. The images suggest that they had a close relationship.
We have very little information about Aleksandar's clothing. The only information we have at this time is the information we can see in the available phogographic record. We note a portrait of him with his father wearing a kneepants sailor suit (figure 1). It has only a small "V" collar ad is worn with a floppy bow rather than a scarve. He wears the suit with long stockings. We also notice photograpghs of Aleksandar wearing a green army uniform.
Aleksandar was only about 13 when his father abdicated. After his father's suprise abdication, the young Alexander was proclaimed King and a regency established under his mother, Natalija Obrenovic. Alexand was not eligible to rule until his majority when he reached age 18. Ristitch played a major role in the regency. Aleksandar as he grew older, he began to take increasing issue with his mother and the ministers she appointed.
Aleksandar decided not to wait until he reached age 18. While only 16 he staged in essence a coup d'état against his nother (1893). He declared his majority, dismissed his mother, and the ministers she had appointed. He seized personal control of the government. He appointed radical ministers. The coup appears to have been a not carefully considered action by an impulsive young man. His actions were, however, basically well received by the Serbian public.
Aleksandar immediately recalled his father who was living in Paris. I am not sure if the two conferred before the coup. Milan quickly returned to Belgrade (January 21, 1894). He assumed control of the new government. The two in essence conducted a second coup d'état. King Aleksandar abolished the liberal constitution of 1889 implemented by the Radical Party and restored the conservative one of 1869 (May 1894). It was the 1889 Constitution that had prompted his abdication. He also had his son issues decrees which limited civil rights and restricted the suffrage. These were steps designed to limit the electoral success of te Radicals. Milan also assumed personal command of the Army (1898). This in essence made Milan the effective kibg of Sebia.
Aleksandar perhaps at his father's instiation remained neutral during the Turco-Greek war of 1897. Presumably the earlier experience with Bulgaria helped to restrain Serbian action.
Of course one of a monarch's primary responsibilities is to produce an heir. Milan was thus working on his son's marriage. He hoped to arrange a German marriage. He went to Carlsbad to finalize arrangements with a German princess (Summer 1900). At the same time Ppremier Dr. Vladan Dyorević was at the Paris Universal Exhibition. King Aleksandar rocked Serbia when he announced his engagement to the widow Madame Draga Mašin who had been a lady-in-waiting to his mother Queen Natalie.
The close cooperation between Aleksandar and his father was ended over this a obviously inappropriate choice. Some authors suggest that Aleksandar's choice reflects mental instability. Many saw his choice as a woman of low moral character. His father was outraged. He decided to leave Serbia again, this time for ever. He died in Vienna shortly after (1901). And it was not just his father who opposed the narriage. His ministers resigned and the King only managed to form a new government with considerable difficulty, His mother vehemently objected. Aleksandar responded by banishing her.
Tsar Nicholas sent his congratulations and eve offered to serve as the principal wedding witness.
This helped to divert the criticism for a while. Thetwo finally married (August 1900). The marriage significantly impaired the King's popularity as well as his stature within the all-important Army.
Aleksandar after his father's departure ruled depotically, ignoring the constitution.
Aleksandar forced approval of a new constitution (1901). This was an effort to recovervhis populrity. It was a liberal constitution and was in fact fairly well received by the political parties.
It included a two chamber parliament (skupshtina and senate).
It did not, however, improve his stamding in the Army. The King was troubled by his inability to control the senate and of the council of state. He again acted unconstitutionally, dismissing the old senators and councillors of state thus losing much of te gains he had made with his new constitution.
Aleksandar's choice of queen proved to be a dissaster. She scandalized the country when her claims of pregnacy proved to a fabrication. Even worse she began scheming to have a brother, Lieutenant Nikodem Lunjevitza, declared heir to the throne. Lunjevitza was thorougly despised throughout the Army. A military revolt occurred. The Army was concerned that the King's supporters might do well in an upcoming election. Colonel Mischitch and fellow plotters organized a coup. The coup was the work of the Black Hand which wanted to secure the thrne for Petar Karađorđević I. The plotters broke into the palace (June 10-11, 1903). The KIng and Queen attempted to hide in a cupboard in the Queen's bedroom. The plotters at first could not find them. Finally after a frustrating search they were found. They were quickly shot. They mutilated the bodies and threw them out a palace window. They also shot the queen's two brothers and three ministers.
The Army proclaimed Peter Karageorgevitch, son of the former Prince Alexander Karageorgevitch, king. The National Assembly restored the democratic Constitution of 1889 and then confirmed the Army's choice (June 15).
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