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  #21  
Old 02-11-2010, 02:10 AM
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I am doing a report from my History class about the policies of Great Britain in eastern Meditteranean sea during WWI and WWII and the Greek royals just keep coming up . These days the University is on a strike so I have plenty of time to work on in and by the way I am finding ineteresting stuff to post here. Among the others, I am using for my report a book about Greek royal which is quite antimonarchical but has a lot of first hand documents in it so it is quite useful. I can't remember its title now , but when the university opens again in about a week I ll post it here.
There onecan find the main proof of Sophie's involvement in Alexander's death ( according to Greek politicians). After his funeral, Olga asked the staff workig in Tatoi to pack Alexander's personal belongings in order to take them to Swizerland. The guards read every tiny paper in his office because they didn't want the Queen to take with her any state paper and they came across a letter. Sophie had sent him to Alexander right after his marriage ( she didn't know yet he was married , it was still a secret) :

" my dear son, I am hearing here in exile that your childhood friendship and attraction to Petros Manos' daughter has developped into a serious romantic liaison. There are even rumors about a forthcoming marriage. I am imploring you , stop the liaison now , because behind the innocent love you and Aspasia have for each other there is a plot. Can't you see what will happen next? The policitians will force your father to abdicate in order to make you King. There is nothing more pleasing to that man Venizelos than to make her Queen in my place and take away your brother's birthright. You must never forgt that you are only a King in your father's place and it is your duty to your family to act for the sake of the dynasty. Oh these filthy Greek politicians! If I didn't know better, I would think that you falling for her is their plot and that she is a spy. I promise you when the happy days come again , we wll discuss if a marriage is possible. But right know, you must know that we are willing to use every possible help, legal or not to declare this marriage illegal"

Apparently , the politicians used this letter as a prof to spread the rumour that Sophie was the one who had provoked Alexander's death , acting behind the scenes. Yeah, right.
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  #22  
Old 02-12-2010, 11:11 PM
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Wow, fascinating stuff, snowflower. Thanks so much for providing it to this forum.
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  #23  
Old 02-13-2010, 05:49 AM
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What strikes me is that the family was aware that he was attracted to Aspasia for a long time and they did nothing about it. So I wonder if Sophie said that when they came back they would discuss the possibility of a marriage because she meant it or just to cool him off . After all Aspasia was always a decent person and with all these fanariots and Wallachia rulers in her ancenstry she was a noble as far as a Greek could could be.
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  #24  
Old 02-13-2010, 12:11 PM
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And yet, Alexander's uncle George was arranged to marry a Bonaparte (half royals by traditional standards) and Christopher married a divorced and widowed American commoner. Was it because both women brought enormous wealth to the family? It seemed if these women were allowed to contract dynastic marriages, why wasn't Aspasia? More recently, Prince Michael's marriage to Marina Karella was morganatic (although recognized by Constantine II), but Pavlos's to Marie-Chantal wasn't? I don't know what the specifics are, but it seems that marriages to Greek women were considered non-dynastic but marriages to extremely wealthy foreigners were. Odd.
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  #25  
Old 02-13-2010, 06:49 PM
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It does seem odd why some marriages were viewed with favor, or at least little opposition, whereas others were not recognized and ended up hurting the royal's chance at succession for him and his children.
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  #26  
Old 02-14-2010, 02:25 PM
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Originally Posted by EmpressRouge View Post
And yet, Alexander's uncle George was arranged to marry a Bonaparte (half royals by traditional standards) and Christopher married a divorced and widowed American commoner. Was it because both women brought enormous wealth to the family?
Absolutely, yes! In all fairness, though, Marie Bonaparte was a highly educated and sophisticated woman. Thus, money could/would not be the only reason a man would want to marry her.
It is true though that most Greek princes back then, particularly prince Andrew and prince Christopher, were literally penniless and living on the charity of relatives or at the expense of wealthy wives.

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It seemed if these women were allowed to contract dynastic marriages, why wasn't Aspasia?
One may argue here that she was marrying a king or, at least, a king in a king's place.

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More recently, Prince Michael's marriage to Marina Karella was morganatic (although recognized by Constantine II)
This marriage was dynastically irrelevant. Actually, the marriage was morganatic as you state, prince Michael had to resign his rights to the Throne and Madame Marina Karella remained Marina Karella. King Constantine approved of the marriage in a social, non-dynastic, sense. While the monarchy was in effect in Greece, Constantine had no constitutional right to elevate Mme Karella to princess except through introduction of new law. But even again, the Greek constitution of 1953 (the latest in effect before the fall of the monarchy) was not allowing the granting of titles to Greek citizens. Technically, therefore, Mme Karella would have to shed her Greek citizenship, become a citizen of somewhere, then become a prince's foreign bride and lastly become elevated to princess by law. But who would dare do all that and for a personage that was dynastically irrelevant, and, more importantly, at a time, that political changes in Greece were torrential.

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..... but Pavlos's to Marie-Chantal wasn't?
This case is entirely different. After the divorce, so to speak, between Greece and king Constantine, the latter can do whatever he chooses. And, as long as he is not a citizen of Greece, he may even disregard the Constitution of Greece, but he may not offend the Hellenic Republic. So, it was entirely up to him to raise her to Crown Princess Paul or even to a suo jure princess, that is, Crown Princess Marie-Chantal without the of Greece. Finally, if she had married Crown Prince Paul while the monarchy was still in effect, she could/would now be called former Crown Princess Paul of Greece (assuming/hypothesizing that such a marriage would have been allowed by the government). As matters evolved, nonetheless, she is not/cannot be Crown Princess Paul of Greece or Crown Princess Marie-Chantal of Greece, but she is Crown Princess Paul or Crown Princess Marie-Chantal - whichever her father-in-law has chosen.

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I don't know what the specifics are, but it seems that marriages to Greek women were considered non-dynastic but marriages to extremely wealthy foreigners were. Odd.
I hope my explanation regarding the case of Marina Karella answered also your last concern.
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  #27  
Old 02-14-2010, 06:54 PM
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Here is article I ve found on the net by Lambrini Thoma and it was written at the 90th anniversary of Alexander’s ascension to the Greek Throne. ( translated by me )

Born the 20th July 1893 Prince Alexander the second son of King Constantine and Queen Sophia didn’t have many chances of assuming the throne. Diadoch George was in front of him in the line of succession and was after all prepared for this task. That’s why Alexander’s life was much more normal. No one reacted when he graduated with not so high grades from Euelpides ‘s School and no one thought he would resume a higher place than that of the aide de camp at his father side during a war.

But when in 1917 the Andante made the Germanphile King Constantine and Diadoch George to abandon the country and the throne so that Greece , leaded by Venizelos, could take their side , Alexander was thought to be the only viable solution. It appears he was the only member of the family who maintained a sufficiently good relationship with Venizelos, the real chief to the Greek politics at that time.

He ascended at the throne on 12 July 1917 ( 30 May O.C) , believing that one day he would hand the power back to his father. Alexander had never been an ambitious person and he understood that during these turbulent times, he should have a role purely unifying.

The calmnes he offered to Venizelos in the internals fights and the presence of Alexander at the throne lead to many positive results. Greece of that time is the one who manages to gain lands of strategic importance thanks to the treaties of Neilly ( 1919) and Sevres (1920), Smyrna and Western and Eastern Thrace with the exceptions of Istanbul become Greek territory – their political and geographical significance is obvious. These circumstances as well as the mild and gentle personality of Alexander ( who was greatly loved by Greeks) turned him into a king of diplomatic successes whose name became identical with the dream of a Greater Greece.
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  #28  
Old 02-14-2010, 07:13 PM
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Optimism was the main felling in the up until then turbulent Greek politicall ife. However the next turbulence would not be political but social. Alexander was greatly in love with the beautiful Aspasia Manos , a commoner, daughter of a Police’s officer. He decided to marry her although Venizelos was asking him to make a political royal marriage, with a British princess if possible. Alexander was determined to live with his sweetheart. Their morganatic marriage was secretly performed but it was not kept a secret for long. He seeked and managed to gain Venizalos’ promise that the wedding would be viewed as valid and that it would not pose a threat to the dynasty.


While everything seemed to be just fine, Alexander unexpectedly died at 25 October 1920 from blood poisoning after a monkey’s bite. He was at Tatoi when he was attacted by one of the two monkeys the Greek Royals kept at the estate. From time to time there were theories that didn’t accept the version of a death caused by a monkey and saw an assassination of the dangerous( because of his popularity and cooperation with Venizelos )young king.
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  #29  
Old 02-14-2010, 07:31 PM
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His death was a great shock to the Greek society. He has been the most favourite by the people among the Greek Monarchs, not only because it was during his reign that the country managed to accomplish a lot due to theconcord that he has guaranteed but also because his romantic love story and his marriage to a Greek girl won the hearts of the people. This love ( of the Greek people) led many to believe that if Alexander had lived Greece would have faced the humiliation of the Asia Minor disaster. Only that history cannot be written with ifs.

His name was given to the city Degeats, now Alexandroupolis, because he was the First Greek official who visited it.
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  #30  
Old 02-14-2010, 10:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Vlaha Karatsokaros View Post
I hope my explanation regarding the case of Marina Karella answered also your last concern.
Thanks. I figured it wasn't just a matter Greek vs. non-Greek or wealth. But it definitely seems oddly unfair that rich foreign brides, because of timing and whom they married got to share their husbands' titles and the Greek women didn't.
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  #31  
Old 02-16-2010, 06:22 PM
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I think that King Alexander was a king of transition, this is,Greek politicians wanted a republic, but it was wartime, and this could lead to division of the army, they had to maintain this unity could not form the republic, they opted for a King of transition, he had to be easy to manipulate. .Prince George was not the King desired, he was not easy of manipulate by politicians but Alexander ... when he married with Aspasia Manos...he became to be a problem, he disobeyed the politicians.
I do not think Queen Sofia was behind the death of her son, Alexander had enemies in Greece, Queen Sofia requested to travel to Greece to see her son but the authorities denied this, Queen Olga was the only authorized but when she arrived to Greece her grandson had died ...
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  #32  
Old 02-16-2010, 07:17 PM
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I don't think that he was a king in transition . Although many people even prior to WWI wanted a republic, neither Venizelos nor the main opposition wished it. The opposition viewed the king as a symbol of the nation and Venizelos had stated many times that he believed the Greeks were politically immature to have a presidential democracy. in fact his last document which was published the day after his death was a letter writeen on 9 March 1936 declaring his support towards George II . That was the last political act of him. Not to mention how closely he collaborated with George I . So , no one of the dominants figures in Greek poltics ( that is the bourgeois parties) wanted to get rid of the monarchy. Some of them just wanted to get rid of Konstantine.
Alexander's marriage with Aspasia wasn't a big problem at the end. Sure , at first it made the politician feel disturbed , especially since there was no option after that for a profitable politically royal marriage, but after a while, people were enchanted by this modern fairytale of the young handsome blond king and the beautiful Greek girl who, although was ordinary and unimportant , managed to get married to a King. That kind of fairytale made the masses largely sympathetic towards Alexander. So at the end the marriage did not have a catastrophic impact.
His Support of Venizelos did make him dangerous for a large part of the political world but I highly doubt they would actually consider killing him, because then Constantine would have to return and I am pretty sure he wouldn't spare his son's assanins. On the other hand, it seems likely that even though prominent politicians would not consider an actual murder , tehre were plently other angry , thick headed and not exactly calm people who considered that Alexander was made a pawn and That he had , for the sake of the country, to be eliminated.
At the end , the accident that occured to Alexander was not intended ( unless if someone had managed to train one of the monkeys to specificaly attcak his dog, so when Alexander would try to save the dog , the other would attack him). Of course, some of the doctors might purposely mistreated him. But would such a doctor had access near him?
I also don't believe Queen Sofia had anything to do with his death. She was his mother, for heaven's sake.After all, I don't think she could be that hupocritical to kill him and then spend the rest of her life mourning for him.......
By the way, the biggest irony is that Queen Olga was actually called in time back in Greece. But then ,while she was travelling, the weather unexpectedely worsened and her ship was confined in the middle of nowhere for almost two days. That's why she didn't arrive on time. I f you think it a little bit , he was lucky to be married. At least , he had a dear person near him during his last hours.
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  #33  
Old 02-16-2010, 07:50 PM
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I also don't believe Queen Sofia had anything to do with his death. She was his mother, for heaven's sake.After all, I don't think she could be that hupocritical to kill him and then spend the rest of her life mourning for him.......
By the way, the biggest irony is that Queen Olga was actually called in time back in Greece. But then ,while she was travelling, the weather unexpectedely worsened and her ship was confined in the middle of nowhere for almost two days. That's why she didn't arrive on time. I f you think it a little bit , he was lucky to be married. At least , he had a dear person near him during his last hours.
Alexander was Sophie's favorite son, so it is impossible that she had anything to do with his death. Moreover, she was instrumental in lobbying Constantine to recognize their son's marriage retroactively. Aspasia and Alexandra were her only connection to her dead son, and wanted them to be HRH Princesses of Greece.
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  #34  
Old 02-18-2010, 06:45 PM
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To me he was a King of transition by these reasons:
First he had no function,
Second, he was not the heir, he was placed by politicians, violating all norms of monarchical succession.
Third, the monarchy was not dear, most beloved symbol of the Greek monarchy was Queen Olga or former queen and yet she was expelled from Greece by politicians, when there was the Bolshevik movement in Russia, she was there, she had to seek diplomatic protection in Denmark,
the politicians wanted him because they needed that the army was not divided, if the army was divided between republicans and monarchists Greece was in danger, they needed the union, politicians did not wanted to King Constantine, to Queen Sofia, Crown Prince George, the Queen Mother Olga ... obviously did not wanted a monarchy, they wanted a person to maintain the unity and the feeling that in the form of state had not changed, were wartime
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  #35  
Old 02-18-2010, 08:04 PM
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I see your point and I believe you are right when you say that a king was essential during that time because no one could afford during a wartime a civil fight . But I don't think that the majority of Greek politicians wanted to abolish the monarchy. During those years, at the Greek parliament were these parties:
1) the Liberals' party (" Komma twn Fileleftherwn") whose leader was Venizelos
2) the National Party (" Ethnikon Komma" ) whose leader was K. Mauromichalis
3) G Theotokis' party
4) D.Rallis' party
5) laikon party (" laikos"means "about the people"and I can't make a decent translation into English , so I am leaving it this way) whose leader was A. Papanastasiou ( who by the way is also named "the father of Greek democracy" because he was the first president of the First Hellenic Democracy)

Leaving aside their other political differences ( which are not a matter to discuss on this forum), each of these parties had a solid opinion about monarchy. Laikon party ( which had the less politicians in the parliament) was based on socialist ideology and was in favour of parliamentary democracy. The National party, Theotokis' party and Rallis' party ( these parties formed the main opposition because even though they didn't always agree, they had formed an alliance) all agreed together about the monarchy : they viewed the King as a symbol of national unity which went beyond the borders of the State. The Liberals' party ( the leading party)was also a supporter of the monarchy. When I say supporter, I mean that that was the party's official line. Altough many members of the party were in fact in favour of a parliamentary democracy , the party was almost totally( and when I say almost totally I actually mean it, like 99% ) controled by Venizelos. And Venizelos was a supporter of the palace, because he though that the absence of a King would bring chaos to the country, since ( according to him) Greeks were politically immature . He indeed had fought hard against Constantine, even to the point of exiling him, but the fact is that during his whole political career, he personally never posed a question to the parliament about whether a change was neccessary or whether the monarchy should be abolished, although many of his supporters pressured him to do so.
So at that point , the majority of the political leaders wished to keep the monarchy in Greece, although I admit I don't know was would have been the course of the things in Greece, if the political scene was stabler.

By the way, we are all talking about the possibility or not of abolishing the monarchy in Greece, but the truth is that, officially, the monarchy in Greece was abolished in 1864. When the National Assembly of 1962/64 voted for a new constitution , the form of goverment of the Helllenic State that was decided was " Vasileuomeni Dimokratia" which in English is best translated as "Crowned Democracy" . So , in name, Greece has been a democracy for 146 years, since constitutional monarchy was abolished along with King Otto's exile. By the 1974 referenfum what was abolished was "vasileia" ( the existence of the king) but since there is only one word in English( monarchy) we use it for both Greek words (" monarchia" and "vasileia")
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  #36  
Old 02-18-2010, 08:24 PM
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Indeed Venizelos is quoted as having said, Greece is not mature enough to do without the monarchy. In essence, Venizelos clashed with Constantine I (the person) but he did want the monarchy to go on. It is also true that all other parties at the time consisted of either devout royalist or at least not antimonatchists. The only personage from those quoted above that was favoring the Republic was Alexandros Papanastasiou.
To conclude Venizelos never raised a question royale.
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  #37  
Old 02-20-2010, 11:31 AM
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One thing I never liked was the fact that Aspasia was not buried next to Alexander. When the remains of Queen Olga , Queen Sophie and King Constantine were transferred from Italy in the 30's , Olga was buried next to George, and a joint grave was made for Constantine, Sophie and Alexander. So it was from then impossible for Aspasia to be buried next to him. Why did they do that? All the other married couples in the cemetery are buried either in a joint grace or side by side ( except for Andrew and Alice, she is buried in Jerusalem next to her aunt Elisabeth). So,why keeping them apart? She is buried next to her daughter Alexandra .Royal or not, Aspasia was Alexander's legal wife and the only one he ever had.
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Old 02-20-2010, 06:56 PM
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Dear Snowflower, because you are so scholarly, I would like to ask you to investigate the following if you can:
1. Was it written in the Constitution (in effect in the 1910s when Alexander married Aspasia) that a member of the royal family could not marry a commoner or specifically a Greek commoner?
2. Why the rsolution of the issue of the title and style of Aspasia took so long (until 1936), what protracted it and what was the additional issue that had to be resolved, some 14 years after king Constantine I had retroactively recognized the marriage and subsequently elevated her to HRH? Did the case go the the Courts and what for?
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Old 02-22-2010, 12:48 PM
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1. Was it written in the Constitution (in effect in the 1910s when Alexander married Aspasia) that a member of the royal family could not marry a commoner or specifically a Greek commoner?
Here are the articles that interest us, concerning the laws of succesion and regency according to the 1910 Constitution ( from The Greek Constitutions 1822 -1952:Greece's Constitutional History by Alexandros Svolos p.153 -154):

Article 45. The Greek Crown and its constitutional rights are succesive and are to be inherited by the direct, true and legal descentants of King George the First in order of birth seniority, with preference over the males.
Article 46. In case there is no heir fulfilling the above decided criteria, the King is to appoint one with the Consent of the Parliament, which is to be assembled for this purpose, given( the consent) by the vote of the 2/3 of the members of the parliament and through a non secret voting.
Article 47. Everyone who is possible heir to the Throne is demanded to be a member of the Eastern Orthodox Church of Jesus Christ.
Article 48. Never are the Crowns of Greece and any other State to be merged in one head.

It is not stated it the constitution that a Greek royal was not allowed to marry a Greek commoner .Concerning the King's consent, it is not stated among the King's powers in the constitution( articles 29 to 44) that he has the power to recognize or not the marriages of members of his family. So the Constitution didn't care if a marriage of a Greek royal was recognized as dynastic or not, the children resulting from this marriage were eligible to inherit the Throne , as long as their parents were legally married.
The Greek Family Law of that time stated that:
a) A marriage between to Greek citizens was legal only if religious. Civil weddings for Greek citizens were viewed as invalid and non existing.
b) In order to get married the person involed had to be of age and to have in free will agreed to the marriage, otherwise having reach a certain age prior to their marriage. In the second case , the consent of their parents was neccesary.
c) they had to be either widowed or bachelors.

So according to both Greek Family Law and the Constitution the marriage between Aspasia and Alexander was perfectly legal, since they were two bachelors Eastern Orthodox adults who in free will decided to get married in a religious ceremony. Alexandra was therefore a legitime offspring of Alexander and should in the line of succesion to the Greek Crown, as long as she wasn't a Crowned Queen of another country at the same time or change her religion. So even though she might not be a princess according to the Royal family, she had every right to be in the succesion among the other members of the family. And since at the time the succesion was viewed as semi salic ( although someone could question that) , she should be in the line of succesion right after Princess Catherine ( Constantine and Sophie's youngest daughters) .

I couldn't find any informations about Aspasia 's HRH status, but I made an interesting thought. At that time, it was stated by the Greek Family Law at after her marriage a woman was to carry her husband last name, and so were the children born during the marriage. So ,
since at the time the Greek Royal had no surname and they could only be indentified as Prince/Princess of Greece and Denmark
and since Aspasia and Alexandra were to have Alexander's surname
then Alexandra had to become Princess Alexandra of Greece and Denmark at the moment of her birth and Aspasia had to become Prinxess Alexander of Greece and Denmark at the moment of her marriage ( note that I am not adding the HRH style, just the title) in order to be indetified in the eyes to the Law as Alexander's daughter and wife respectively.
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Old 02-22-2010, 04:48 PM
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...... but the breach of the constitution is clear .The article 45"..... in order of birth seniority, with preference over the males....", King George is the biggest, the heir, King Alexander is the second son of King Constantine and Queen Sofia, so the breach of the Constitution is clear ...
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