Modern Greek History

Get to Know Prince Alfred Ernest Albert

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Alfred Ernest Albert was born into a ruling family and was noted for continuing that tradition through his life. His reign has an interesting story when he later in life was voted to be the King of Greece. It was from his past that propelled him to his fame as a ruler and what made him a popular option among the Greeks at the time.

Early Life of the Prince

Alfred was the second son of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. At a young age he joined the Royal Navy and quickly made a name for himself among the crew and locals of the areas they visited. Alfred was soon was named the Duke of Edinburgh in 1866 and was able to spread his travels worldwide. He was the first member of the British royal family to visit China and was welcomed by local royalty wherever he visited.

Voted to Become King of Greece

It was thanks to his popularity from his travels that Alfred was voted by the residents to be the King of Greece in 1862. After a revolt against their former leader, Otto of Bavaria, there was a vote by the leaders of the area to adopt Alfred of Edinburgh as their king. Greeks at the time felt that having a foreign ruler from a major power would increase their territory.

It was the first time a vote such as this had occurred in Greece and the it received an overwhelming response. This vote from from 240,000 people received approval for Alfred of 95%. Even though he won with a large majority of the vote, leaders of Britain, Russia and France refused to have members of their royal families accept the position. Alfred refused the position as he had other obligations to attend and the Greeks went forth looking for another leader.

Aftermath of His Refusal

The former leader, Otto, received only one vote and many of the other top leaders were a part of the Great Powers that could not accept the position. They did work with the Greek council to find a suitable king and eventually fell on Prince William from Denmark. He took over the position as King of Greece, named George I of Hellenes, and would go on to hold it for the next 50 years. At George’s inauguration, Britain decided to give ownership of the Ionian Islands to Greece as a gesture of good faith. This was the goal they had when they moved forward with a new rule initially.

Alfred was named Duke of Edinburgh by his mother soon after the vote and would go on to be named the Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha after the passing of his uncle. Alfred passed in the year 1900 from throat cancer. His legacy has lived on from his worldly travels and by using his namesake. Even today, there are hospitals, hotels, parks and streets named after Prince Alfred found throughout Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.



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This post was written by Greek Boston

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