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From the Emperor’s Desk: for some reason I am unable to post with pictures. I am looking into it and hopefully pictures will be back soon!

First exile

Exiled in Romania since December 1923, the former Greek King and his wife settled in Bucharest, where King Ferdinand and Queen Marie of Romania put at their disposal a wing of the Cotroceni palace for some time. After several weeks, however, the couple moved and established their residence in a more modest villa on Victory Avenue.

Regular guests of the Romanian sovereigns, George and Elizabeth took part in the ceremonies which punctuated the life of the Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen family. Despite the kindness with which his mother-in-law treated him, the ex-King of the Hellenes felt idle in Bucharest and struggled to hide the boredom he felt from the splendors of the Romanian court.

Tried by the humiliations of exile, financial difficulties and the absence of descendants, relations between George and Elisabeth deteriorated. After having first assuaged her weariness in too rich food and gambling, the ex-queen of the Hellenes then carried on extra-marital affairs with various married men.

She took advantage of a visit to her sick sister, in Belgrade, to flirt with her own brother-in-law, Alexander, the King of Yugoslavia. Later, she began an affair with her husband’s banker, a Greek named Alexandros Scavani, whom she made her chamberlain to cover up the scandal.

In the United Kingdom

Restoration of monarchy and the Metaxas regime

After the abolition of the monarchy, in 1924, the anti-Venizelist leaders, except for Metaxas, refused to recognise the new regime. This “regime issue”, that arose just after the proclamation of the Republic, haunted Greek politics for more than a decade and eventually led to the restoration of monarchy.

Was the referendum to restore the Greek Monarchy in 1935 rigged?

In October 1935 General Georgios Kondylis, a former Venizelist who had suddenly decided to throw in his lot with the monarchist forces, overthrew the government and appointed himself prime minister. He then arranged a plebiscite both to approve his government and to bring an end to the republic.

In 1935, Prime Minister Georgios Kondylis, a former pro-Venizelos military officer, became the most powerful political figure in Greece. He compelled Panagis Tsaldaris to resign as Prime Minister and took over the government, suspending many constitutional provisions in the process. Kondylis, who had now joined the Conservatives, decided to hold a referendum in order to re-establish the monarchy, despite the fact that he used to be a supporter of the anti-monarchist wing of Greek politics.


Observers of the time expressed serious doubts about the vote’s legitimacy. Besides the implausibly high “yes” vote, the vote was held in far-from-secret circumstances. Voters dropped a blue piece of paper into the ballot box if they supported the king’s return, or a red paper to retain the republic. Anyone who cast a red ballot risked being beaten up.

On November 3, 1935, almost 98% of the reported votes supported restoration of the monarchy. The balloting was not secret, and participation was compulsory.

George, who had been living at Brown’s Hotel in London, returned to Greek soil on November 25. Almost immediately he and Kondylis disagreed over the terms of a general amnesty the King wanted to declare, and George appointed an interim prime minister, Konstantinos Demertzis.

New elections were held in January, which resulted in a hung parliament with the Communists (who were naturally anti-monarchist) holding the balance of power. A series of unexpected deaths amongst the better-known politicians (including Kondylis and Demertzis), as well as the uncertain political situation, led to the rise to power of politician and veteran army officer Ioannis Metaxas.