November 2008 Newsletter: Risky Business

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Lady Jennifer

Moderator Emeritus
Apr 7, 2005
DMV Region
United States

This month's newsletter focuses on plots to kill royals. Throughout the course of time many royals have been the targets of successful and unsuccessful assassination attempts. We hope that you enjoy the articles below that will profile a few of the successful assassination attempts that have been made on royals of various households throughout the ages.

Lady Jennifer, Zonk and Mandy

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Since the October newsletter, there have been some changes with the moderation team at The Royal Forums:

  • We would like to welcome LadyLeana & Paty to the moderating team. LadyLenana will be moderating the Belgian & Luxembourg forums, while Paty will be moderating the Spanish forum.
  • It is with great sadness that we say goodbye to Anna_R who has left the moderating team due to real life responsibilities. We wish Anna_R the best & hope that, when a break is needed from real life, we will see her around the forums.
The list of current moderators, supermoderators and administrators can be found here.

We've added subforums for royal residences in several of the forums. These subforums are for threads about current and historical royal residences (including royal yachts, churches and cathedrals, parks and gardens, and other locations with royal associations as well as castles, palaces, and houses).​

We also have a new subforum for the Gulf States in Other Reigning Houses and one for official royal jewels in the Royal Jewels forum.​

Please don’t hesitate to contact us if there are any questions and/or concerns.

Questions about The Royal Forums?

We have a thread in the Support and Feedback forum that contains all sorts of information about TRF and also contains a copy of the Member FAQs for easy reference.​

Picture of the Month

Don't forget to vote for October's Picture of the Month. This time around there are two polls: Royal Photo Montages (October 2008 Informal Poll) & October 2008 Official Picture of the Month Poll

The Royal Articles

If you haven't had the opportunity, to check out The Royal Articles.​

Since we are unable to use professional photos to illustrate the articles, the editors are very interested in hearing from any members who have taken photos of royals and would be willing to have their photos used in the articles. Also, anyone who would like to try their hand at writing an article should contact one of the editors. The editors are Elspeth, Mandy, Marengo, and TheTruth.​

The Royal Book Club

Owing to the small number of members who have been participating in the book club discussions, November & December's book discussions have been suspended.​
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October 1 - Crown Prince Himani of Nepal
October 1 - Prince Nicholaos of Greece
October 4 - Prince Emmanuel of Belgium
October 5 - Archduchess Walburga of Austria
October 5 - Princess Noor of Jordan
October 7 - Queen Saleha of Brunei
October 8 - Laure Clementine Napoleon
October 9 - Prince Edward, The Duke of Kent
October 11 - Prince Faisal of Jordan
October 11 - Grand Duchess Joséphine-Charlotte of Luxembourg
October 11 - Princess Luisa Maria of Belgium, Archduchess of Austria-Este
October 11 - Prince Constantijn of the Netherlands
October 12 - Prince Boris of Bulgaria
October 13 - Jaime (Jacques) de Bourbon-Parma, Count of Bardi
October 13 - Archduchess Gabriella of Austria
October 13 - Margarita de Bourbon-Parma, Countess of Colorno
October 14 - Empress Farah Pahlavi
October 15 - HRH Prince Christian of Denmark
October 15 - Sarah, Duchess of York
October 16 - Princess Kritika of Nepal
October 17 - Princess Marie Caroline of Liechtenstein
October 18 - Princess Aimée of Orange-Nassau, van Vollenhoven
October 19 - Prince Charles Napoleon and Princess Catherine Napoleon
October 19 - Prince Laurent of Belgium
October 20 - Empress Michiko of Japan
October 21 - Shaikh Salman bin Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa
October 23 - Princess Mako of Japan
October 24 - Prince Nikolaus Ferdinand Maria Josef Raphael of Liechtenstein
October 24 - Princess Caroline Napoleon
October 25 - Princess Yoko of Mikasa
October 25 - King Michael of Romania
October 25 - Princess Elisabeth of Belgium
October 26 - Lucas van Lippe-Biesterfeld van Vollenhoven
October 26 - Ashraf Pahlavi
October 27 - Princess Shahnaz Pahlavi
October 27 - Princess Anita of Orange-Nassau, van Vollenhoven
October 28 - Hereditary Princess Sophie Elisabeth Marie Gabrielle of Liechenstein
October 28 - Prince Omar of Jordan
October 29 - Tessy de Nassau
October 29 - Prince Konstantinos-Alexios
October 29 - Prince Richard zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg
October 31 - Princess Nora of Liechtenstein
October 31 - Princess Margaretha, Mrs Ambler
October 31 - Count Carl Johan Bernadotte of Wisborg
October 31 - Crown Prince Reza Pahlavi
October 31 - Infanta Leonor of Spain

Wedding Anniversaries

October 4 - Infanta Cristina of Spain & Iñaki Urdangarin / October 4, 1997
October 5 - Bruno Gómez-Acebo y de Borbón & Bárbara Cano de la Plaza 2002
October 6 - Prince Philipp von Hessen and Laetitia Bechtolf: 10-6-2006
October 8 - David, Viscount Linley & Serena Stanhope 1993
October 12 - Wedding Anniversary of Infanta Margarita and Don Carlos Zurita
October 13 - Princess Ines de Borbon dos Sicilias and Michele Carrelli 2001
October 18 - Wedding Anniversary of Archduke Paul Georg von Habsburg & Erika von Oldenburg
October 22 - Prince Floris & Aimée Söhngen: October 20 & 22 2005
October 26 - Princess Kalina of Bulgaria and Kitin Muñoz 2002
October 27 - Princess Marie Therese von Hohenburg and Anthony Bailey: October 27, 2007
October 31 - Prince Charles de Bourbon-Siciles & Camilla Crociani 1998

Death Anniversaries

October 3, 1990 - Death Anniversary of Stefano Casiraghi​
October 6, 2003 - Death of Prince Claus of the Netherlands
October 26, 2001 - Death Anniversary of Queen Soraya Esfandiary

Special Events

State Visit to Slovenia and Slovakia: 21-24 October 2008 Visit from Ireland , October 2008
Crown Princess Mary's visit to Uganda 28th September - 4th October 2008
Haakon & Mette-Marit Visit to Telemark 7-9 October
Philippes Economic Mission to Argentina and Uruguay; 4-10 Oct. 2008
King Abdullah and Queen Rania official visit October 18-19
MM's Visit to Ukrain for UNAIDS - October 2008
Crown Princess Victoria's Visit to India (October 14th to 26th 2008)
Spanish National Day - 2008
Official Visit to Mexico. Sep. 28 to Oct. 2, 2008.
Maxima's visit to Paraguay, 8-10 October 2008
Visit to Japan, Brunei, and Indonesia: 27 October-4 November 2008
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November 2nd - Queen Sofia of Spain​
November 2nd - David Armstrong Jones, Viscount Linley
November 5th - Fawzia Shirin
November 5th - Prince Kubrat, Prince of Panagiurishte
November 6th - Infante Henrique, Duke of Coimbra
November 8th - Lady Louise Mountbatten-Windsor
November 11th - Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume of Luxembourg
November 12th - Alexander Ogilvy
November 14th - The Prince of Wales
November 15th - Princess Elene of Romania
November 15th - Abdel of Jordan
November 15th - Peter Phillips
November 16th - Princess Sana of Jordan
November 18th - Lady Davina Lewis
November 19th - Princess Theodora of Liechtenstein
November 19th - Prince Umberto of Bulgaria
November 19th - Princess Sofia of Bulgaria
November 20th - Crown Prince Otto von Habsburg
November 20th - Alexandra Princess zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg
November 20th - Maria Teresa Sartorius y de Liechtenstein
November 24th - Princess Isabelle of Liechtenstein
November 25th - Infante Dinis, Duke of Porto
November 26th - Louis Robert Paul Ducruet
November 27th - Princess Désirée of Hohenzollern
November 28th - Emma Francisca of Orange-Nassau, van Vollenhoven
November 28th - Prince Hitachi of Japan
November 28th - Princess Lillian of Sweden
November 30th - Prince Akishino of Japan

Wedding Anniversaries

November 4 -
November 4 -
November 6 -
November 6 -
November 14 -
November 15 -
November 18 -
November 20 -
November 26 -

Death Anniversaries

November 7th - Queen Ingrid of Denmark
November 28th - Queen Wilhemina of the Netherlands
November 28th - Princess Syblla of Sweden

Special Events

Visit to Japan, Brunei, and Indonesia: 27 October - 4 November 2008
State Visit to Tanzania November 3-6 2008

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Assassination of Prince William I of Orange

When the Dutch revolt against Spanish rule escalated as a result of the appointment of the Duke of Alva in 1567, Prince William I of Orange, stadholder of Holland and Zeeland, quickly became the natural leader of the revolt. He converted to Protestantism and since 1572 King Philip II of Spain was involved in, or was informed about various plots to kill his enemy. On March 18 of 1582, the Spaniard Juan de Jáuregui attempted to assassinate William in Antwerp. William survived this plot thanks to the dedicated care given to him by his sister Maria and his third wife, Charlotte de Bourbon. Although William recovered, the stress had taken its toll of Charlotte, and she died on 5 May.

A year later William married for the fourth time; his bride was Louise de Coligny, daughter of Admiral Gaspard de Coligny, the leader of the French Calvinist Hugenots. In the meantime, the luck of the Dutch revolt changed for the worse, with several cities returning to Spanish rule; on 22 June 1583 William had to leave Antwerp and settled in Delft.

It was on 10 July 1584 that William of Orange would be murdered in Delft by the Catholic Frenchman Balthasar Gérard. In 1581 Gérard found out that King Philip II had declared William an outlaw and promised a reward of 25,000 crowns for his assassination, so he decided to travel to The Netherlands and kill the prince. He served in the army of the Governor of Luxembourg in the hope that his path and William's would cross. When this ploy was unsuccessful, he left the army and went to Brussels, where he explained his plans to the Governor of the Netherlands, Alessandro Farnese, the Duke of Parma; the Duke, however, was unimpressed. In May 1584, Gérard introduced himself to William as a French nobleman who would like to work for the Dutch cause. He was sent on a mission to France to confer with William's French allies. With the money he made during the trip, he bought two pistols. On his return to Delft in July, he went to the Prinsenhof, where William resided. Louise de Coligny expressed her doubts about Gérard but William agreed to speak with him after his lunch with Rombertus Uylenburgh, the Mayor of Leeuwarden (and the father of Rembrant's wife Saskia). When William left the dining room and started to go downstairs, Gérard was waiting for him on the stairs and shot him in the chest. The prince - the first head of state to be killed by a handgun - fell to the floor, uttering his last words: ‘Mon Dieu, ayez pitié de mon âme; mon Dieu, ayez pitié de ce pauvre peuple.’ (My God, have pity on my soul; my God, have pity on this poor people).

Gérard in the meantime had fled from the scene of the murder. He ran towards the city walls in an attempt to escape from the city. When he tried to climb the wall, he was caught by the soldiers and servants of the Prince of Orange and imprisoned. Much to his frustration, he was not told whether the assassination had been successful. The city magistrates conducted a preliminary hearing and quickly decided that he should be tortured in order to divulge information. The first night he was beaten with birch rods, his wounds were covered with honey, and a goat was brought in to lick the honey and tear it away with its rough tongue, in the process also pulling the skin from Gérard's body. Luckily for Gérard, the goat did not touch him. For the rest of the night Gérard was left hanging on the wall with 150-lb stones tied to his big toes. He still did not say enough, so the next day he was given shoes that were too small and made of wet dog leather; he was left in front of a fire so the shoes would shrink and burn his feet. His torturers put some torches under his armpits and inserted needles and nails under his fingernails. In the end they sent for the executioner from Utrecht, Jacob Michielsz, who finally got Gérard to confess that Alessandro Farnese was involved in the plot.

On 13 July Gérard was tried and convicted. The court decided that he had to be made an example and undergo an extremely horrible execution. First his right hand, with which he had pulled the trigger, was burned off with red-hot iron pincers. Then the flesh on various parts of his body was torn off with the same pincers. After that he was quartered alive, and his heart was cut out of his body and thrown in his face. Finally, he was beheaded. The four parts of his body were put on display at the four city gates. His head was put on a pike and placed near the house of the dead prince.

The Netherlands finally became independent of Spain in the mid-17th century, a year after the end of the reign of Frederick Henry, William's son by his fourth wife, Louise.​
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The Gunpowder Plot

Remember, remember the fifth of November
Gunpowder, treason and plot.
I see no reason why gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot.

In November 1605, James I had been on the English throne for two years. He was the chosen successor to Elizabeth I, who had consolidated the pre-eminent position of Protestant Christianity in England and wished her successor to continue the tradition. Not only did James consolidate the supremacy of Protestantism, but he suppressed Catholicism much more stringently than Elizabeth had done. As a result, many Catholics resented the new King and believed that they could restore Catholicism in England if they could get rid of James and replace him with a Catholic monarch, specifically James's nine-year-old daughter, Elizabeth.

A group of staunch Catholics headed by Robert Catesby (a descendant of William Catesby, one of the closest counsellors of Richard III in the late 15th century) devised a plot to kill the King and Queen, along with the Prince of Wales and the leading Protestant lords and Members of Parliament, by blowing up the Houses of Parliament during the State Opening on 5 November 1605. They would then kidnap James's daughter Elizabeth, who was not in London, and install her as Queen. A small group of five conspirators started to plan the assassination in May 1604; however, the State Opening was postponed until the following year, and by 1605 the group had grown to at least ten.

As well as Robert Catesby, the original plotters included Thomas Wintour (Catesby's brother in law), Jack Wright (a Yorkshireman who had been to school with Guy Fawkes), Sir Thomas Percy (a relative of the Earl of Northumberland and an aquaintance of Catesby's), and Guy Fawkes (a soldier from Yorkshire with considerable military experience and expertise in handling explosives). By the time they were ready to turn the plot into reality, they had been joined by Robert Keyes, Robert Wintour, John Grant, Christopher Wright, and Thomas Bates. Bates was a loyal servant of Robert Catesby; the others were relatives of some of the original plotters.

Thomas Percy leased a house close to the Houses of Parliament, and Guy Fawkes, under the alias John Johnson, occupied the house and posed as Percy's servant. The conspirators hoped to reach the foundations of the Houses of Parliament by digging a tunnel from the rented house. However, in the spring of 1605, the lease of a cellar under the House of Lords (the chamber where the State Opening takes place) became available, the conspirators took over the lease, and they started to move barrels of gunpowder into the cellar. By the time they had finished, there were 36 barrels, enough to destroy the building if ignited.

The conspiracy grew wider with the addition of Francis Tresham, Ambrose Rookwood, and Everard Digby, who agreed to provide money and supplies for the rebellion in the Midlands which was planned to follow the assassination. It is thought that Tresham inadvertently betrayed the plot to the Secretary of State by writing to Lord Monteagle, one of his relations who was to attend the State Opening, and begging him to stay away for his own safety. Monteagle passed the letter to the Secretary of State (Robert Cecil), who authorised a search of the cellars and other spaces under the Houses of Parliament. Guy Fawkes was discovered in the cellar with the gunpowder and tools for igniting it. He was taken into custody and interrogated while his co-conspirators were travelling to the Midlands in order to raise the rebellion. When they heard that the plot had failed, they tried to escape but were all eventually captured. Some (including Catesby) were killed while trying to defend themselves, but several were taken back to London to stand trial.

The trial took place in January 1606, and all eight of the prisoners were found guilty. Guy Fawkes, Everard Digby (the only one to plead guilty), Robert Wintour, Thomas Bates, John Grant, Thomas Wintour, Ambrose Rookwood, Robert Keyes were sentenced to the traitors' death by hanging, drawing, and quartering. The priest who had been the confessor of some of the conspirators was also tried and executed even though his knowledge of the plot had been gained through the confessional, which was traditionally confidential.

Far from ushering in a Catholic era, the plot led to an intensification of anti-Catholic feeling throughout Britain and to further restrictions on Catholics; they were denied the right to vote, a situation that lasted for over 200 years, and they were barred from serving as officers in the armed forces or from practising law.

The Gunpowder Plot is commemorated on 5 November in Britain by fireworks displays, as well as burning Guy Fawkes in effigy on bonfires. Even now, the Yeomen of the Guard inspect the cellars under the Houses of Parliament before the State Opening, although the inspection is commemorative and ceremonial rather than utilitarian.

Ironically, Princess Elizabeth, who would have been a Catholic Queen had the plot succeeded, did end up being ancestress of the British royal family when the Stuart dynasty ended with the death of the childless Queen Anne in 1714. The succession passed from Anne to Elizabeth's grandson, who ascended the throne as the Protestant King George I.
The Assassination of King Carlos and Crown Prince Luís Filipe of Portugal

Carlos was born in Lisbon, the son of King Luis of the royal house of Braganza. He married Amelie Louise Helene, Duchesse de Orleans, daughter of the Comte de Paris (heir apparent to the throne of France) on 22 May 1886. He ascended to the throne on 18 October 1889.

The crises that plagued King Carlos’ reign almost defined his destiny.

Portugal was once one of the richest nations, but instead of investing its fortunes in public improvements, it wasted much of it on wars, natural disasters and the king’s hobbies. Indeed, King Luis with his penchant for the arts left his son, Carlos, a deficit upon his death. Carlos, in turn, relied on his ministers to devise schemes to support his lavish lifestyle. One scheme involved selling the king's current yacht and the queen's carriage house museum back to his kingdom which created a national scandal. Carlos’ interests in the arts, science, sailing, oceanographic researches were seen as extravagances at a time when many were without life’s necessities. Portugal declared bankruptcy twice (1892 & 1902), causing industrial turmoil, public unrest and republican antagonism.

Queen Amelie[1] was perceived as too close to the Church (She was encouraging the re-establishment of religious order in Portugal.) and interfering in political affairs with her constant demands on the Prime Ministers while public sentiment was turning against the church and the monarchy. To check the rising dissent, Carlos appointed the leader of the conservative Regenerative Party, João Franco (1906), as Prime Minister who established a dictatorial government. João Franco’s stringent measures infuriated the populace who felt that the king’s court was the main source of the corruption. Mounting criticism of the monarchy in the press also served to increase public unrest.

The people were adamantly opposed to the treaty signed in 1899 with Great Britain that ended the long-disputed borders between the Portuguese colony of Mozambique and British possessions in Africa as it was regarded as disadvantageous to the country.

During that period, the Carbonari (Carbonária), an organization founded in 1896 by Artur Augusto Duarte da Luz de Almeida to educate the people, was engaged in fomenting public discontent against the Monarchy and into antimonarchist plots and conspiracies.

On that fateful day of 1 February 1908, the Royal Family traveled from Vila Viçosa palace to Lisbon. Prince Manuel waited for his parents and brother at the Terreiro do Paço square in Lisbon. King Carlos, refusing to ride in a closed carriage and with only the few guards assigned by Franco, rode to the Necessidades Palace. (It was believed that João Franco afforded more protection for himself than for his majesty.) The road to the palace was crowded with onlookers and suspected Carbonaris with concealed weapons. As the carriage rounded onto Terreiro do Paço, shots were fired mortally wounding the king. Crown Prince Luís Filipe was wounded while attempting to shoot his father’s murderers. Queen Amelie struck one of the gunmen with her bouquet after he shot Prince Manuel in the arm, thereby saving his life. Two Carbonaris, Alfredo Costa and Manuel Buiça, were shot by the police and guards in the ensuing chaos. The carriage hastened to the medical department of the marine Arsenal where the King was pronounced dead on arrival and Prince Luís Filipe died minutes later.

[1] Queen Amelia of Portugal by Regina
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Assassination at Sarajevo

Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria-Hungary, the nephew and heir of Emperor Franz Joseph, had contracted a morganatic marriage with Countess Sophie Chotek, a lady in waiting to the Duchess of Teschen. The rigid protocol of the Austro-Hungarian Court meant that Sophie was unable to accompany her husband to most official events. However, these rules did not cover military events, so when Franz Ferdinand received an invitation for the couple to visit Sarajevo in Bosnia in June 1914 to inspect military manoeuvres, he accepted despite the known danger and political instability in the Balkans.

Bosnia-Herzegovina had been annexed by the Austro-Hungarian empire in the late 19th century, and the newly independent Serbia wished to free it from Austro-Hungarian rule and re-form the ancient Serbian empire. Success in conquering Macedonia in 1913 had made Serbia more determined than ever to liberate Bosnia, and small terrorist groups and individual assassins had been targeting Austro-Hungarian government figures and their representatives in Bosnia for some time. There had even been an attempt on the life of Emperor Franz Joseph. The Black Hand group was one of these organisations, and one of its members, Danilo Ilić, started to plan an assassination attempt on Franz Ferdinand and Sophie after hearing that they were due to visit Sarajevo. He was assisted in his plans by some high-ranking members of the Serbian military, who provided the bombs and weapons to be used by the assassins. He recruited several young men to carry out the assassination, including Nedjelko Čabrinović and Gavrilo Princip; these conspirators left Belgrade at the end of May and made their way to Sarajevo. They mingled with the crowds along the route to be taken by the car carrying the Archduke and his wife in the hope that one of them would be able to throw a bomb at the car as it went past.

Franz Ferdinand and Sophie were riding in an open car from the station to the City Hall along a route lined with police but also with several members of the Black Hand Group stationed at intervals ready to throw bombs at the motorcade. Nedjelko Čabrinović hurled his bomb as the car containing the Archduke went past, but it missed the car and exploded in the road, injuring the occupants of the following car as well as several onlookers. The Archduke's car drove the rest of the way to the City Hall at high speed, so that the other conspirators did not have a chance to throw their bombs. Čabrinović tried to kill himself by swallowing a suicide pill, but it was ineffective and he was arrested.

The Archduke heard about the people who had been injured in the explosion and asked to be taken to see them in the hospital. Despite the potential danger of further travel on streets that had harboured bomb-throwing terrorists, the Duchess insisted on accompanying her husband. On the way to the hospital, the driver of the Archduke's car, who had not been briefed about the route he was supposed to take, took a wrong turning and ended up in a street where one of the conspirators, Gavrilo Princip, had ended up after being thwarted in his earlier attempt to assassinate the royal couple. As the car came to a halt and started to reverse back down the street, Princip shot Franz Ferdinand and Sophie at close range. The Archduke, who was mortally wounded by a shot to the neck, was heard to tell his wife, who had been shot in the abdomen, "Sophie dear! Sophie dear! Don't die! Stay alive for our children!" The driver took the wounded couple to the Governor's residence, where they died.

Princip tried unsuccessfully to commit suicide after his attack on the royal couple, but was prevented from shooting himself. He was arrested, and during interrogation he and Čabrinović divulged the names of their co-conspirators. These men were also arrested and tried for the murder. Since most of them were too young to receive the death penalty, they were given prison terms ranging from three to twenty years.

The assassinations caused an escalation of the tensions already in existence between Austria-Hungary and Serbia. After ascertaining that their major allies would stand with them, the two countries engaged in increasingly severe acts of provocation which eventually led to war, a war that expanded in scope to become World War I and led to the end of both the Austria-Hungary and Serbian monarchies among many others. One of the greatest conflicts in the history of humanity had been triggered by an assassination in a country that had until then not figured prominently in recent European history. In the words of the British Queen Mary in July 1914, "God grant we may not have a European war thrust upon us, and for such a stupid reason, too - no, I don't mean stupid, but to have to go to war on account of tiresome Serbia beggars belief."
Assassination in France

Prince Aleksandar Karadjordjević, the second son of Peter I, became Crown Prince when his brother Prince George was forced to renounce his rights to the throne for killing one of his servants. Aleksandar excelled as a military commander leading his forces to victories in the 1912 and 1913 Balkan Wars. In 1914, the aging King Peter appointed him Prince Regent of Serbia. During World War I, although the Serbian forces suffered several defeats, Aleksandar, as commander in chief, succeeded in regrouping and refortifying his army in order to march victoriously into Serbia. With the downfall of the Central Powers, several South Slavic territories were amalgamated to form the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes of which he became Regent in December 1918 and King in 1921 upon the death of his father.

In 1928, after the murder of Stjepan Radić, the Croat Peasant party leader and four of his followers in the Skupština (Parliament) by a Montenegrin Serb deputy, the Croatian deputies withdrew from the Skupština. Aleksandar exploited this catastrophe to his advantage by dismissing Parliament, abolishing the constitution and the political parties, and declaring himself absolute ruler. He abolished the historical regions, redefined boundaries, and created new provinces and then renamed the country Yugoslavia. In 1931, he proclaimed a new Constitution that transferred executive power to the King; called for general elections by male suffrage; cancelled secret ballots; and encouraged the public to vote for the government party.

The Croatian separatist movement protested the new constitution as they favoured regional autonomy. Many politicians were jailed or kept under surveillance by the secret police. Aleksandar was hated and feared by the separatist minorities, particularly the Croats and Macedonians, as well as the Serbian liberals. The Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization (IMRO), a terrorist organization, was also fighting to free Macedonia from Serbia. By 1934, thousands of Croatians had been sentenced to prison for imaginary crimes and many had died under suspicious circumstances.

In foreign policy, Aleksandar was loyal to the Little Entente, an alliance formed in 1920 and 1921 between Czechoslovakia, Romania and Yugoslavia to prevent Hungarian irredentism and a Habsburg restoration. France supported the alliance, having signed a treaty with each individual country. Aleksandar undertook a state visit to France on 9 October 1934 to maintain good relations between the two countries. French Foreign Minister Louis Barthou greeted the King as he disembarked in Marseilles. Aleksandar and Barthou rode in an open car passing the spectators who had gathered to witness the royal visit. Barely five minutes after the King had touched French soil, Vlado Chernozemski, a Macedonian terrorist from the IMRO, approached the King’s car and opened fire with a hidden gun, killing the King and Minister Barthou. Vlado was struck down by a mounted French policeman’s saber and beaten by the crowd. He died later that day.

Aleksandar was succeeded by his eleven year old son Peter II under a regency council headed by his cousin Prince Paul.
Lord Mountbatten

Lord Louis Mountbatten, a great-grandson of Queen Victoria, was close to the royal family through being an uncle of Prince Philip's and one of Prince Charles's most valued and loved mentors. He fought in both World Wars, served as Viceroy of India during that country's transition to independence, and became First Sea Lord in 1955, a position held from 1912 to 1914 by his father, Prince Louis of Battenberg, who had had to step down at the start of World War I.

Mountbatten was very ambitious for himself and his family. Having introduced his nephew Philip to Princess Elizabeth in 1939, he encouraged the romance between them. After Philip and Elizabeth had married and Elizabeth had succeeded to the throne, Mountbatten was heard boasting about how the royal house was now the House of Mountbatten. Although the House of Windsor was retained as the name of the royal house, the surname Mountbatten-Windsor was adopted for descendants of the Queen and Prince Philip who required a surname.

Not content with one marriage between his family and the heir to the British throne, in the mid-1970s Mountbatten began a campaign to arrange a marriage between his granddaughter Amanda Knatchbull and Charles, the Prince of Wales. His campaign was still under way in 1979 when he was the target of a terrorist attack by the Irish Republican Army, a group dedicated to uniting Northern Ireland with the Republic of Ireland under Republican rule. His family owned a home in County Sligo in the Republic of Ireland, in an area known to be popular with IRA members. There had been some questions about security as a result, but Mountbatten apparently felt that protection by the local police force was sufficient. This proved to be a fatal mistake.

Lord Mountbatten was sailing his boat, the Shadow V, with some of his family on 27 August 1979 when a bomb, which had been planted on the underside of the boat while it was in dock, was detonated remotely. Mountbatten was killed in the blast, as were his 14-year-old grandson Nicholas Knatchbull (brother of Amanda Knatchbull) and a local boy, Paul Maxwell. Mountbatten's daughter Patricia and her husband John Knatchbull, Baron Brabourne, were seriously injured, as was their son Timothy, Nicholas's twin brother; they all survived. Baron Brabourne's 83-year-old mother Doreen died of her injuries on the following day.

The IRA admitted responsibility for the attack, saying that it was an act of war and that Mountbatten, as a lifelong member of the armed services, was an appropriate target. IRA member Thomas McMahon was convicted of his part in the attack and was imprisoned; he was released in 1998 under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement. Prince Charles was devastated at the loss of his friend and mentor, and was visibly distressed at Mountbatten's funeral. His distress was noted by the teenage Diana Spencer, who later endeared herself to him by sympathising with his suffering during the funeral.
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