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Ray Long & Richard R. Smith, Inc. 
New York 1932 

, November, 1932., by 
Cj.Aisrr> DXJKJE 


TT-nitecL States of X mcrtc**. By 
jr. j. XJTTUB: c rvnss coaa^pAisnr, X^TKTW ITOKJK: 


to whose stern advice and critical judgment 
I owe so much in this new life of mine 


The more I see of Democracy, the less I am in- 
clined to believe that its contribution to human 
progress contains anything startlingly new or makes 
the return of absolutism impossible. There is very 
little indeed in the practice of the modern republi- 
can rulers which could be considered an improve- 
ment on the system created by the Czars, the Kaisers 
and the Caesars of the Holy Roman Empire. Some- 
times, when I watch a Monsieur Chiappe disperse 
a parade of Parisian workers or a Mr. Mulrooney 
handle the May Day crowds in Union Square, I 
even begin to fear for the morals of the exiled 
royalty, lest on their return to the thrones they be 
tempted to try the methods of upholding "personal 
liberties" used in the United States and France. 

I dread to think of what the great American Press 
would have said, what meetings of protest and in- 
dignation would have been staged throughout the 
world, had the much maligned Cossacks dared to 
behave in the manner of New York's Finest. Not 
that I envy Democracy the efficiency of its watch- 



dogs. God forbid. In the words of Georges Clemen- 
ceau I would merely like to ask Monsieur Chiappe: 
"Brother Chiappe, what didst thou to Liberty?" 

I must likewise admit that it is rather puzzling 
for me to realize that, having seen at the age of six 
the jubilant procession of Garibaldi in Naples, I am 
witnessing today, sixty years later, the universal, 
overwhelming triumph of what my German pro- 
fessors used to call the Polizeistaat. Something must 
have no doubt happened to the Onward March of 
the Masses that sent them rolling all the way back 
with a speed that ominously warns of the proba- 
bility of many an imperial comeback. Always mind- 
ful of that roundtrip itinerary which reads Bour- 
bons-Robespierre-Napoleon-Bourbons, I consider 
that now is as good a time as any to retrace the lives 
and the careers of the contemporary Royalty-on- 
Leave, The percentage of resurrection of those 
buried by the editorial writers is amazingly high. 

Grand Duke of Russia 




Foreword vii 


BLEAU" 17 

BACK" 153 








































A a profession, royalty has always lacked 
professional education. Not unless an Heir 
Apparent came to the throne quite late 
in life as happened in the case of both King 
Edward VII and King George V did he know any- 
thing at all about the business of ruling. Brought up 
and educated by a coterie of pious bishops, iron- 
headed generals and grandiloquent professors, an 
average Crown Prince was obliged to discover for 
himself the all-important fact that a sovereign has no 
right to be human or honest. The ultimate success 
or failure of his reign depended on the degree of his 
niceness. The over-nice ones were invariably thrown 
down and, sometimes, shot; the moderately nice ones 
learned their lesson and stuck. And while the text- 
book on the Art of Pleasing the Masses is yet to be 
written, it is certain that no "sweet" man ever made 

[3 ] 


a successful Emperor. This is as it should be. A ruler, 
if he wants to be a ruler not in name only, must be 
ruthless. Not an ideal husband, not a loving father, 
not a fancier of flowers, not a modern edition of 
Marcus Aurelius, not a noble exponent of the 
principles of enlightened absolutism, but a cunning 
tactician capable of outsmarting the biggest cheats 
among his ministers and not ashamed to draw on the 
vast deposits of hatred and jingoism when no other 
course is open for quick and decisive action. But, 
above all, a ruler must eschew his "hidden talents." 
Many a kingdom collapsed just because its crowned 
head was put to sleep by the soothing melody of his 
"violon d'Ingres." I have the former Kaiser in mind. 
Now that he hibernates at Doom and does his frown- 
ing in the rotogravure sections of the Sunday papers, 
it has become quite fashionable to question his ad- 
ministrative abilities and consider him a chump. 
Nothing could be further from the truth. 

The Kaiser would still be reviewing his adoring 
troops in Potsdam had it not been for his sincerity 
and the wealth of his hidden talents. He was a great 
orator, a super-architect, a warrior extraordinary, 
but his speeches left Germany without a friend in 
the world, his artistic aspirations were responsible 
for the monstrosity of the Siegesallee, and his experi- 



ments in strategy, backed by those of his trusted 
friend von Kluck, immortalized "Papa" Joffre and 
saved Paris in the fall of the year 1914. 

Whether he was "nice" or not, depends on one's 
conception of niceness, but human he was, alto- 
gether too human. He raved like an unrecognized 
genius. He threw scenes like an aging primadonna. 
He paraded his various idiosyncrasies as only an 
exhibitionist poet would. His was the charm of utter 
eccentricity, and when one saw him at seven o'clock 
of a spring morning, jumping out of his shining vic- 
toria in front of the Hotel Adlon and testing the 
cleanliness of the sidewalk with a white-gloved 
finger, one felt genuinely touched and wished this 
overgrown boy would definitely choose between the 
job of Sanitary Inspector of Berlin and that of Em- 
peror of Germany. Like all persons of overwhelming 
sincerity, he indulged in emotional luxuries which 
no sovereign can afford. His animosity against Eng- 
land, his .perennial desire to grab the British by the 
throat were fed not by his envy of the power of their 
Overseas Empire but by a purely personal hatred for 
his London Uncle. It is terrifying to think that 
the World War could have been postponed for at 
least another generation and millions of lives saved 
had the Kaiser been willing in his dealings with 



Great Britain to overlook his memories of King 
Edward VII! 

He hated all that pertained to Uncle Bertie. 
His jovial face ("what is he grinning about?") 
His massive shaking shoulders ("Just like an old 
woman . . .") . His mistress and his friend Sir 
Thomas Lipton ("A King, a paramour and a grocer! 
What a trio!"). His popularity with the Parisians 
("Shaking hands with those republican swine!") 
His fondness for beautiful women ("Somebody 
ought to tell him he is a grandfather") .... He 
hated, passionately and unreservedly, even the side- 
crease of his uncle's trousers ("It would be still more 
original if he walked around in drawers") . Anyone 
else of lesser sincerity placed in the Kaiser's position 
would have managed to draw a line between the two 
hundred pounds of King Edward and the four hun- 
dred and fifty million subjects of the British Empire, 
but drawing lines was not the gift of the Orator of 

Nothing is more human than hatred, and the 
Kaiser persisted in his determination to remain 
human until the very end. His quarrel with King 
Edward, his dismissal of Bismarck and his declara- 
tion of the submarine war these are the three fatal 
mistakes of his reign and these are precisely the 



three things in his life he enjoyed most. A ward- 
politician would have known better, but then roy- 
alty are people. 

NEXT to Hatred, Love is responsible for the 
heaviest casualties among royalty. Love for their 
wives much more than love for their mistresses. The 
latter demanded money and jewelry, the former 
helped to destroy the thrones* 

A Pompadour bled her royal lover white, but a 
Marie-Antoinette led her husband to the scaffold. A 
Gaby Deslys did her intriguing against courtiers and 
playwrights, but an Empress Eugenie went after 
Emperors and Kings. No major country has ever 
gone bankrupt because of its philandering sovereign, 
but the most appalling debacle of the twentieth cen- 
tury was brought about by the love and devotion of 
an Emperor for his consort. The Russia of 1894- 
1917 could have easily footed the bill of an extrava- 
gant imperial paramour, but it happened that the 
last Czar was an ideal husband. . . . 

Flippant as the assertion may sound, it is true that 
all really great sovereigns of Europe merely tolerated 
their wives. They knew they had to marry, they 

[ 7 ] 


realized they had to assure the continuation of their 
dynasty, but they never discussed affairs of state with 
the mothers of their children nor permitted their 
consorts to interfere with their decisions. Peter the 
Great imprisoned his first wife in a convent just 
because she attempted to organize her own "party," 
and Catherine the Great disclosed her extreme cun- 
ning in the way she dismissed a particular lover the 
moment he tried to tell her how she should deal 
with this or that problem of importance. 

I am not talking from hearsay. I have spent many 
an hour in the archives of our family reading the 
secret diaries of both Peter the Great and Catherine 
the Great, and at the luncheon-table of my late 
father-in-law Emperor Alexander III I had many an 
occasion to see for myself how even the shrewdest of 
rulers fell a victim to the influence exercised by his 
loving and beloved wife. A Danish Princess, Empress 
Marie, could never forgive Wilhelm I and Bismarck 
the humiliation caused her native country in the 
war of 1866. 

"Germany must be punished! Russia must make 
an alliance with France! . . ." Coming from that 
diminutive woman of self-effacing sweetness, this 
sounded like a prayer. Her husband blinked and 
sighed. It would have been a real waste of time to 




try to explain to the Empress that her subjects liked 
the Germans and distrusted the French and that not 
one in a million o Russian peasants cared a rap 
about Denmark or the injustice suffered by that 
country in 1866. 

"Germany must be punished." She never stopped 
repeating it. She said it at the rate of three times 
a week, for twenty-two consecutive years. She was 
boring her husband from within, using every con- 
ceivable means to make him see her "point" and 
understand that his German cousin was a traitor and 
a brute. I confess that I admired her courage. The 
Emperor stood six feet two in his stockinged feet and 
was never known for the mildness of his temper. 
Had anyone else dared to tell him what to do, he 
would have probably committed manslaughter. 

Each time I heard my mother-in-law broach that 
fatal German subject, I was prepared to witness a 
formidable scene. On a few occasions the Emperor 
did get up from the table; once he even seized a 
huge silver fork and bent it into a knot, but that 
was all. Unfortunately for him, for Russia and for 
the world, he was deeply in love with his wife, and 
his desire to make her happy must have obscured his 
view and interfered with the workings of his mind. I 
know of no other reason why a man as f arsighted and 

[ 9] 


as practical as my father-in-law should have sanc- 
tioned our treaty of alliance with France, a senti- 
mental nonsense in the i88o's, a bloody nightmare 
in 1914. 

Not much need be said about the fatal part played 
by another Russian Empress, the last Czarina, in 
the debacle of 1917. It is a simple matter of record 
that in the crucial days of his life, facing the cer- 
tainty of a revolution in the rear of his armies and 
the danger of a defeat at the front, Czar Nicholas II 
chose to ignore the warnings of his advisers and 
followed the hysterical promptings of his wife until 
the very end. In my book Once a Grand Duke I have 
given a detailed description of that unfortunate 
manage. Hers was a case for a Siegmund Freud, and 
while no one has the right to throw stones at a 
woman who had lost her mind because of the illness 
of her son, historians will deal harshly with my 
late brother-in-law. They will never forgive him for 
the underlying reasons of his abdication, for the de- 
sire to spend one's life "just with wife and children" 
is middle-class at best, a virtue laudable in a grocer 
but utterly ridiculous in a ruler. What will there be 
left of the whole idea of monarchism if the fulfil- 
ment of a sovereign's oath to uphold the Throne of 



his ancestors is made contingent on his love for wife 
and children? 


THEN there is that inclination to overestimate the 
intelligence o the masses a fatal trait that makes all 
royalty so hopelessly ineffective in their dealings 
with the brewing revolutions. So often does a mon- 
arch refer in his public pronouncements to the 
"clear heads/' the "golden hearts" and the general 
"greatness" of his people that, unless he is the pos- 
sessor of the cynical mind of a Henri de Navarre, he 
usually falls a victim to his own phraseology. 

"Let the Nation judge my actions," he exclaims at 
the moment of a dangerous crisis, and incredible as 
it may seem, he actually believes that the Nation is 
capable of judging actions and reaching sensible de- 
cisions. Poor chap! What does he know about the 
mentality of that cowardly monster which he calls 
the Nation? His teachers, sycophants and bunk- 
purveyors, have filled his mind with the giddy tales 
of his country's history, and, taking them at their 
word, he imagines that the bearded peasants who 
were slaughtered during the war with Napoleon 
really did like to die for the "noble cause" of liber- 


ating Europe. It never dawns upon him that the very 
word "Europe" was unknown to the vast majority o 
the hard-bitten heroes of 1812 and that they hated/ 
their own generals much more than they did the 

No nation knows enough to admire statesmanship 
no nation can resist a good show. Individuals may 
vary in their characteristics, but the masses are every- 
where the same lazy, treacherous, fantastically cruel 
masses. Be it in Russia or in the United States, in 
England or in Abyssinia, the masses care for nothing 
except their three meals a day. A dictator often suc- 
ceeds where a sovereign fails not because his pro- 
gram is better or his methods more efficient but 
because, a product of the masses, he knows their 
deep-rooted ignorance and his stock of "tricks of the 
trade" is built on realities, not on illusions. It is 
quite instructive to note that in organizing their 
present Ideal State the bolsheviks have entrusted its 
protection to the hands of the former members of 
the Imperial Secret Police. They recognized the 
dependable qualities of that venerable apparatus, 
provided it were given full freedom of action, un- 
hindered by the liberal press and spared the trouble 
of bothering with the attorneys-for-the-defense. 

"I am leaving these people just as poor as I found 


them, and yet they cheer me. . . ." This valedictory 
of Napoleon has lost none of its piquancy in the 
1930*8. It travels a long way toward explaining the 
durability of the Stalins and the Mussolinis and it 
could be profitably used by the remaining royalty of 
tiie world. A little more showmanship, a little more 
ruthlessness and a little less admiration for the 
underlying common sense of the masses!" The 
recipe is simple, perhaps too simple to suit the Ham- 
letian minds of royalty. They like to "wonder" all 
of them. Even the cleverest of them, the late Em- 
peror Alexander III of Russia, did his share of pain- 
ful wondering. 

"I often wonder," he said to me as we were travel- 
ing aboard his train in the South of Russia shortly 
before his death, "to what extent the average 
Russian peasant realizes the responsibilities of his 

I wondered too and suggested that my father-in- 
law put this timely question to one of his supposedly 
"adoring" subjects. He laughed. The idea appealed 
to him. At the next station while acknowledging the 
vociferous hurrahs of the crowd he motioned to a 
husky fellow in the front row and told him to come 
close to the platform where we stood. 



"Would you like to be the Czar?" he asked him in 
all seriousness. 

The peasant gasped and looked bewildered. 

"Answer 'yes* or 'no/ " ordered the Czar. 

"Y-y-yes. . * , Your Majesty/' came in stuttering 

"Now then/' said the Czar, "what would you do 
first of all if you were put in my place?" 

The answer was not slow in coming. 

"I would grab five hundred rubles and beat it/' 
said the peasant. The crowd roared but the Czar 
motioned for silence, 

"Is that all?" he asked trying to keep a straight 
face. "Don't you know that there's much more than 
five hundred rubles in the job?" 

"That may be so/' said the peasant ominously, 
casting a look in the direction of the crowd, "but I 
know what these mugs can do to a Czar. . . . I'd 
rather boss a pack of hungry wolves." 

SAY the traffickers in platitudes: "A modern sov- 
ereign must be thoroughly democratic. It appeals to 
the people. Look at the Prince of Wales." 

I doubt the soundness of this advice and I have 


looked at the Prince of Wales, more than once in my 
life. I have seen the three of them: the present one, 
his father and his grandfather. And I still maintain 
that no sovereign, for that matter no real gentleman, 
could or ever did become "democratic" in the sense 
that a candidate for political office is. A transforma- 
tion of this kind is not to be achieved by anyone 
brought up in an environment of a certain respecta- 
bility of thought and honesty of feeling. Cheapness 
of mental reactions and vulgarity of spirit cannot be 
imitated. Hackneyed phrases and five-and-ten slo- 
gans come to one either naturally or not at all. That 
most exclusive club in the world the guild of the 
former monarchs of Europe counts among its mem- 
bers several who attempted to put on a "democratic" 
make-up while still in their prime. The results were 
disastrous, the remorse profound. Looking at the list 
of them, I come across the name of King Alfonso of 
Spain, a pioneer of the democratization of royalty, 
although a fine gentleman with a sharp sense of 
humor. His life, as he relates it, sounds like one long 
sustained object lesson. His efforts were honest, his 
sincerity beyond doubt, and yet he failed. The 
word "yet" is used by me in a purely ironical 
sense; "therefore" would have been much more 


I am presenting the story of King Alfonso's reign 
in the pages that follow, not in the manner of an 
omniscient historian but as a friendly interviewer 
would. My bias is obvious but the facts speak for 




I WAS to have a luncheon engagement with my 
own past. I was going to be the guest of His 
Catholic Majesty King Alfonso XIII of Spain, 
who had just started upon the road so familiar to us, 
the few survivors of the House of Romanoff. On my 
way from Paris to Fontainebleau, while driving 
through the majestic forest, unaffected by centuries 
of human bondage, I marveled at the pranks of fate 
and bowed to its superb irony. 

Fontainebleau! To think that of all places on 
earth I was to meet the King in that beautiful spot 
of France where, on April nth, 1814, Napoleon was 
forced to abdicate by Emperor Alexander I in favor 
of King Louis XVIII. I felt as though I were 
perusing the pages of an old-fashioned" play: "The 
curtain falls to denote the passing of one hundred 


and seventeen years; when it goes up again, Emperor 
Alexanders grandnephew, Grand Duke Alexander 
of Russia, is seen alighting at the Hotel Savoy, which 
hoitses King Louis 3 collateral descendant. King 
Alfonso XIII of Spain." 

A glance at the grounds the Savoy is situated in 
the midst of a centennial park and I enter the 
lobby, a typical French "foyer," with the room-clerk 
reading his morning paper, and the gold-braided 
porter busily engaged in preparing the account of 
the "incidental expenses." 

Another ghost of the past! The gentleman who 
awaits me in the lobby happens to be the Duke de 
Miranda, a lifelong friend of King Alfonso, who 
served his diplomatic apprenticeship forty years ago 
in the Spanish Embassy at St. Petersburg. 

I am delighted to see this charming man and to 
be able to learn from him that the Marquis de 
Torres de Mendoza, another old friend of the King, 
is likewise staying in Fontainebleau. Not every sov- 
ereign has carried that much of his former life into 

We chat of this and that; mostly of the past. The 
sunsets were beautiful in the early iSgo's in St. 
Petersburg and so were the rubies and the emeralds 
in the show windows along the Nevsky Prospect. 



He sighs and so do I. He fears we shall never see St. 
Petersburg again. "Let us hope not," I reply. He is 
puzzled but then he is too young an exile to under- 
stand a veteran like myself. 

We go upstairs to the rooms of Her Majesty. I 
search my mind for appropriate words to express 
what would not sound like too idiotic cheerfulness, 
but there are none to be found, so I bow in silence. 
She smiles, kindly but rather faintly. The tragic 
events she has lived through during the past months 
have added a certain spiritual halo to her striking 
blonde handsomeness. Otherwise she is just as 
friendly and refreshing in the simplicity of her 
manner as in the old London days, when she was 
still the very youthful Princess Ena of Battenberg. 
I look at her and think: "The eternal British. . . . 
Tenacity and loyalty. . . . That's what helps her 
keep her head up. ... It takes an English woman 
to make a proud Queen. 

WE sit down and talk. In a way we are related to 
each other, one of her cousins having married my 
niece, known today as Lady Milford-Haven. Some- 
thing much stronger, however, than that incidental 
relationship is responsible for the cordiality of our 



conversation. Although she does not say it, I can 
read in her clear eyes the inevitable question: 

"You who have had fourteen years of it, tell me 
what is going to happen to us." 

Her salon is a small room. "A single room for 
one," in the parlance of the porter of the Hotel 
Savoy. Here and there I notice a few attractive bits 
and pieces of furniture and bric-a-brac, things of 
exquisite taste. "They are mine," she says with a 
half-smile, "all that is left to me." 

All that is left to her! These words sound famil- 
iar. I must have heard them not less than a thousand 
times from my own wife and from my mother-in- 
law, the late Dowager-Empress Marie of Russia. 

"You see," she explains, "we were naturally 
obliged to leave most of our belongings in Madrid; 
but the Republican Government is going to ship 
everything over to us." 

"I DOUBT it!" I exclaim almost automatically. 

Next moment I regret having made this cynical 
remark, and wish I were not so much of an expert 
on all matters revolutionary. 

She talks in a strained voice. Two small pink spots 
appear on her cheeks. The emotion is breaking up 
her sentences. 


"I have read and heard many heartbreaking 
stories about the Russian Revolution, but really, I 
can not believe it could have been any worse in St. 
Petersburg. It came so suddenly, so unexpectedly. It 
seems I returned from London only a day before, 
not wishing to be absent from Madrid during the 
political crisis. And the crowds at the station in 
Madrid that met my train! Oh, Alexander, if you 
could only have seen those people! Cheering, de- 
lighted, throwing flowers at me! I thought I was the 
most popular human being in Spain! And then! 
... It is unbelievable. . . . How could a nation 
change its sympathies so abruptly?" 

At this moment the door of her salon opens. His 
Majesty the King! A bit thinner, and a gay smile on 
his lips, perhaps too gay a smile. 

A firm handshake, the handshake of a sportsman. 
And then, with his expressive eyes shining bril- 
liantly and a hearty outburst of laughter: 

"Eh bien f Alexandre, nous voila dans la meme 

I have to join in his laughter. What else can I do? 
He is not one of those who believe in sour faces 
as a cure for misfortune. His remark, taken in itself, 
may not have been so excessively humorous; but the 
way he said it each muscle in his face alive, and his 


trim athletic figure shaking made it contagiously 

He tells me that I am "just the man" he has 
wanted to see for the past three months, 

"We are about to enter the preparatory class of 
that very severe school which is obligatory for all 
exiles of our caliber, and we are looking for a good 
experienced tutor. Will you help us?" 

We are conversing in French. The King in 
addressing me uses the singular of the second per- 
son, which corresponds to the English thou, and 
which is customary among the members of the royal 
families of Europe who consider themselves rela- 
tives. This familiarity puts me at ease. My initial 
nervousness at seeing him in an atmosphere so 
different from that of our former meetings gradu- 
ally disappears. We chat, not as a king with a grand 
duke, but as two men who have both had their fill 
of the bitter bread of exile. 

"Your surroundings are restful and pleasing/' I 
observe with a gesture toward Fontainebleau, which 
is lying around this provincial hotel in all its green- 
and-marble glory. 

THE King gpes to the window and remains silent 
for a while. 




I I 














"Very beautiful, indeed/' he admits with a sigh, 
"beautiful but sad, extremely sad. Don't you see, 
Alexander, there are moments in one's life when it 
becomes difficult to breathe an air which is over- 
charged with history? You commence to wish the 
great ghosts of the past would recede and leave you 
alone! Whenever I walk past that gorgeous palace, 
I can not help thinking of Napoleon, his last morn- 
ing as Emperor, his farewell speech to the Old 
Guard, his pathetic desire to enthrone his beloved 
son, his eaglet, his poor Roi de Rome! And then I 
see the others. Your granduncle resplendent in his 
victory. The scheming Metternich. The merciless 
Castlereagh. They are all gone, and yet something 
remains in these shaded avenues, even in the air of 
Fontainebleau itself, that talks to me constantly of 
their joys and sorrows. Mostly of sorrows. I do not 
know much of the average longevity of the carp, 
but I am told that there are several of them in the 
lake of Fontainebleau that remember the days of 
Louis XV and are still displaying golden rings in 
their mouths which were placed there nearly one 
hundred and seventy years ago. What must it be 
like to swim in a lake for all that length of time!" 

While he talks, I watch the heavy furrows lining 
his forehead. He must be in his middle forties. His 


figure is quite youthful, which is not surprising con- 
sidering his passion for polo, golf, tennis and all 
other kinds of outdoor recreations. But his eyes- 
the same eyes that participate so whole-heartedly 
in his laughter tell the story of his thirty years on 
the throne of Spain. Next to Nicholas II, he holds 
the record among the world's sovereigns for having 
escaped the greatest number of revolutionary 
attempts on his life. The late Russian Czar always 
sympathized with His Catholic Majesty of Spain and 
admired his pluck and courage. How often did I 
hear him remark: 

"I wish I could meet the King of Spain. I think 
we have many things in common." 

Alas! Such a meeting would have given too much 
worry to the secret police of the two countries, both 
sovereigns being the favorite targets for the inter- 
national terrorists, and it never took place. They 
had to be satisfied to remain "long distance friends," 
exchanging written and verbal greetings with the 
aid of their ambassadors. When the Russian Empire 
was no more, the Czar's relatives found a great deal 
of comfort in the encouragement and moral support 
given to them by the King of Spain. Nor could I 
forget the beautiful way in which he treated the 
destitute Empress Zita of Austria. He was the first 


one to come forward with his offer to house her 
and to educate her large family of fatherless chil- 
dren. He refused to be frightened by the frowns of 
the Allied diplomats, who attempted to square their 
score with the Hapsburgs by persecuting a helpless 
woman and her innocent babies. 

HE was always a man a real, hundred-per-cent 
man. They call him "the Gentleman King" 
throughout Europe and America, but I hate that 
greatly abused word gentleman. It tends to say too 
much, and it means nothing. Very often it reminds 
me of that venomous American journalist who 
claimed that a "gentleman" signifies an individual 
who "bathes every day and has never been in jail." 
If King Alfonso XIII of Spain needs any sobriquet 
at all, he should be known as the Manly Sovereign 
of Europe. 

We go downstairs and pass through a large hall. 

"Alexander, have you ever taken your meals in a 
billiard-room?" asks the King quite seriously. 

In a billiard-room? Not that I could recall it, 
various as my experiences are. While visiting the 
Fiji Islands, I dug my fingers into a bowl placed 
in the center of a suspicious-looking hearth that was 
strangely reminiscent of cannibalistic housekeeping; 


but with all of it, I had never eaten my stew, as yet, 
with the aid o a billiard-cue. 

"Well, we won't go so far as depriving you of 
fork and knife, but you will have to eat in a billiard- 
room this time." 

The Queen explains: "You see, we asked the 
management of the Savoy to spare us the ordeal of 
taking our meals under the fire of a battery of 
curious eyes, so they arranged for us a private 
dining-salon in the former billiard-room." 

To be sure, the room we enter still preserves 
some of the features so dear to the hearts of the 
followers of that ancient though not so noble game. 
The billiard-tables have been removed, but the cue- 
stands are still in the corners, and a few marks are 
visible on the walls. The King nudges me, winks 
at the cues, and makes a gesture of a player prepar- 
ing to send his ball into the corner. 

The center of the room is occupied by a large 
table decorated with exquisite simplicity. We are 
fifteen. The King sits in the center, between the 
two ladies-in-waiting; the Queen is placed opposite 
him, with myself on her right, and the Heir Appar- 
ent, the Duke of Asturia, on her left. Two handsome 
boys are seated next to the two attractive daughters 
of Their Majesties. These four exchange glances 


and frequently whisper between themselves. There 
is something infinitely touching in their bright eyes 
and in the tenderness with which they address each 
other. I look questioningly at the Queen, and she 

-"Yes, you have guessed it right. We are going 
to have a double marriage in our family in the very 
near future/* 

The two boys are the sons of the Infanta Beatrice 
and grandsons of my cousin the Duchess of Edin- 
burgh, a daughter of Emperor Alexander II of 

MORE reminiscences are in order. I tell the two 
happy fiances of the childhood of their mother. I 
hate to appear so old, but I must admit having seen 
her for the first time forty-two years ago in London. 
She was the youngest one of the four beautiful 
daughters of the Duke and the Duchess of Edin- 
burgh, and was known as "Baby B." The judges of 
pulchritude would have had a hard time choosing 
between her and her three sisters, "Missy" (the 
present Dowager-Queen Marie of Rumania) , 
"Ducky** (the present wife of Grand Duke Cyril of 
Russia) and "Sandra*' (the present Princess of 
Hohenlohe-Langenburg) . 


The youngsters stare at me with awe. At their 
age it must seem almost unbelievable that anyone 
among the living can sit and talk of the days 
when the late King Edward VII of England was 
still an "enfant terrible" in the estimation of his 
august mother. They ask me to tell them of my 
meetings with Queen Victoria, their great-grand- 
mother; but I demur. In the first place, they would 
next expect me to go farther back, possibly to the 
days of King Solomon; in the second place, I would 
much rather let them do the talking instead of 
listening to the sound of my own voice. 

The King and the Queen laugh happily, and even 
the gloomy faces of the members of their court 
brighten up. Forty-two years ago! What a care-free 
life it must have been then! The King was scarcely 
four, the others, with the exception of the Duke de 
Miranda, were just born or even less than that. 

By the time the wild strawberries with the famous 
Fontainebleau cream have been served, we all feel 
much better. We drink a toast to the younger 
daughter Christina, in the honor of whose Saint's 
day this luncheon-party is given. 

I congratulate the royal parents on having raised 
such a lovely girl and on having found for her such 
an attractive fianc6. 



"I suppose you are right, and we should be proud 
of our daughters/' replies the Queen, "but there is 
one but that clouds their horizon. What does the 
future hold for them? Their fiances are about to be 
graduated from an engineering school in Switzer- 
land, and are perfectly willing to work hard to 
make a living; but will they be able to find 
positions, particularly in these days of world crisis? 
They want to go to the United States; and while we 
have no desire to interfere with their ambitious 
projects, I am really wondering whether it is a wise 
move or not. What do you think, Alexander? You 
know America so well." 

IT is my turn to become pensive. I think of the 
efforts of my own sons directed toward finding em- 
ployment in America. It took them years years of 
heartbreaks, disappointments and exceptional per- 
severance. I do not want to misguide the Queen, 
and I tell her frankly of the difficulties facing her 
future sons-in-law. I quote the experiences of my 
sons Dimitri and Vassily, who fought for their jobs 
in New York, and of my son Rostislav, who is work- 
ing for a big drygoods firm in Chicago. 

My mentioning the word "Chicago" performs a 
veritable miracle at this table, where the troubles 


of the past, present and future were being gravely 
weighed but a second before. It is as though a "shot 
of iron" had been administered to all the parties 
present. Of all the questions, exclamations, curiosity 
and laughter! 

Do I know Chicago very well? 

Have I ever seen a "pineapple'' being thrown at 
a judge's house? Have I read Edgar Wallace's Chi- 
cago serial in the Daily Mail, and "Geo" London's 
Chicago serial in Le Journal? 

Do I personally know any one of the famous 

Is it true that an especially high premium has to 
be paid by all Chicago holders of life-insurance 

"Now, wait, wait!" the King interrupts the ex- 
cited youngsters. "Let me ask a question of Alex- 
ander: What is the latest news of that famous 
Chicagoan? Oh, you know whom I mean my name- 
sake; I believe they call him 'the King Alfonso of 
Chicago.' Is it true that he owns a gorgeous island 
in Florida? Have you ever seen him, or perhaps met 
him socially, while wintering at Palm Beach?" 

I sit nonplussed. It seems extraordinary that these 
people so engulfed in their sorrow and so centered 
on the efforts of building a future, could be inter- 



ested in the devious ramifications o Mr. Capone's 
career. But there they are, almost indignant at me 
for not knowing the exact nature of the relations 
existing between "Al" Capone and a gentleman they 
refer to as Mr. "Legs" Diamond. They consider it 
an unforgivable shortcoming for a man of my travel- 
ing experiences not to have been present at one of 
those "spectacular Chicago funerals." 

"Bux how, in heaven's name, do you find time to 
follow all these things?" I ask the King. "How do 
you know so much about Mr. Capone?" 

"Now, Alexander, how could you!" exclaims the 
King reproachfully. "Fancy a man living in this 
year of grace and not following the career of Al 
Capone! Good gracious me, I should hope I do 
know everything about him. I get the clippings." 

The youngsters shriek in complete delight. I 
think admiringly of this wonderful father, a man 
who is willing to do everything, even pretend a 
tremendous interest in Al Capone, in order to bring 
cheer into his daughter's birthday party. 

We spend the rest of the meal in "talking Chi- 
cago," and in comparing the gangster organizations 
of the United States with the ill-famed society of 
the Mafia, which caused considerable trouble to the 



Italian Government during the last twenty years 
of the Nineteenth Century. 

After the coffee in the absence of a "petit salon" 
we are taking it at the table the Queen sends 
Christina to bring some Russian cigarettes. I at- 
tempt to protest; I do not want to cause additional 
worries by my presence at their table; but Her 
Majesty insists. Nothing, not even exile, can change 
her ideas of hospitality: "Alexander must have his 
Russian cigarettes. We were not able to cook a Rus- 
sian meal for him, but at least he should enjoy 
his favorite tobacco." 

"One sees so much Russian in Paris nowadays/' 
remarks the King, "Russian shops, Russian theaters, 
Russian taxi-drivers, but particularly Russian res- 
taurants. It is strange and at the same time signifi- 
cant that of all the professions, the exiles should 
choose that of restaurant-keepers. Now, take for in- 
stance the French political emigrants during the 
years of the Revolution and Napoleon's reign. Some 
of them became teachers of French in the schools 
and private houses of England, Germany and Rus- 
sia; the majority, however, fancied the culinary pro- 
fession. How do you account for it? What makes the 
exiles believe that it is so much easier to work in a 
restaurant than do anything else?" 



ONCE more I exercise my prerogatives of expert 
extraordinary, to whom all revolutionary phe- 
nomena are simple and clear, and volunteer a com- 

"The exiles invariably remind me of that man 
who wanted to write a play just because he needed 
money, and because in his days of prosperity he 
used to patronize the theaters. Every one of the 
political emigrants, who was, is, or intends to be 
engaged in the profession of a restaurant-keeper, 
belongs to the class of former gourmets. All of them 
have spent fortunes in the hostelries of St. Peters- 
burg and Moscow, which leads them to believe that 
they have all the necessary qualifications of a 

The King follows my improvisation with sympa- 
thetic attention. It can be plainly seen that he is 
worrying about the fate awaiting the numerous 
Spanish aristocrats at present in France. Not that 
he has in any way influenced their decision to flee 
their native country, but he realizes no other choice 
was open to them, and he wishes he could somehow 
help them. 

We smoke and are about to begin a "serious" 
conversation, when looking at the two young 
couples, I notice the nervous expression of their 



faces. They fear my talk with their father may last 
for hours so many hours taken away from their 
happiness, while the etiquette of the court precludes 
any one's rising from the table before the King. The 
Queen smiles understandingly and signals to His 
Majesty. We get up. The two young couples make 
for the park in a hurry. The King invites me to his 
study, a small room containing a large table and 
several armchairs. Not a thing of his own, not a sign 
of its being occupied by a sovereign. 

Now that we talk on the subject dear to his heart, 
he is again the ruler every inch a great ruler. 

He speaks in cleaf, concise phrases, in the manner 
of one accustomed to sum up in a single sentence 
the contents of a two-hundred-page report. He 
never raises his voice. He does not need to fall 
back on this weapon of haranguing politicians, for 
his ideas are crystallized by conviction, and his facts 
arrayed as so many mathematical formulae. 

"Not so long ago," he commences with a mixture 
of amusement and resentment, "an American pub- 
lisher made me what I thought a quite unusual 
proposition. He offered to pay me ten thousand 
dollars for one thousand words. Naturally enough, 
I rejected his proposition, magnanimous as it was. 
In fact, I did not know where and how I could find 



all those words. Only think, Alexander, he wanted 
one thousand words, when there is just one worth- 
while word left in my vocabulary, but that word is 
not for sale. Spain! Nothing else interests me; noth- 
ing else concerns me. Spain and its happiness. Spain 
and its future." 

He stops for a short moment and then adds in a 
tone the solemn quietness of which accentuates the 
utmost importance of the declaration: 

"The very moment I put my foot on the friendly 
and hospitable soil of France, I told the French Gov- 
ernment in the simplest possible fashion: 'I am not 
a conspirator!' I wish to repeat it once more. 7 am 
not a conspirator. I sha'n't move my little finger to 
help anything or anybody cause any difficulty what- 
soever to the present Government of Spain. If my 
people want me back, now or at any future time, I 
shall go back and serve my country in the same way 
I did since the day I was sixteen. But this desire of 
my people would have to be expressed in the same 
strictly constitutional manner, free of any inter- 
ference, in which I permitted them to express their 
republican preferences on the eve of my departure. 
Please, understand it clearly, once and forever: 
7 am a King, not a conspirator! The task of the 
present Spanish Government is sufficiently hard to 



make me wish to guarantee them complete freedom 
from any hindrance on the part of myself or those 
who continue to take my orders. If they should suc- 
ceed in making my people happier than before, I 
should be the first one to rejoice heartily and to ex- 
tend my congratulations!" 

WHAT could one reply to a speech of such sin- 

A long pause. I see his eyes light up with kindness. 
He realizes that I am thinking of another sovereign, 
who sat across the table from me, just as he is doing 
now, and spoke of his desire to give complete free- 
dom of choice to his one hundred and sixty million 

"I do not want to appear overemotional," the 
King says shyly, "but you can not expect me to re- 
main entirely cool, can you?" Then he continues. 

He analyzes the tragic epic of the last spring as a 
historian would, unafraid, unbiased, enfranchised. 
When he mentions his own actions, he appears to 
be speaking of some one else: "The King of Spain," 
he says, "is a tight-rope walker who spent thirty 
years of his life trying to maintain his balance." 

I have the impression of listening to a cautious 


professor discussing events of tremendous impor- 
tance in the light of newly obtained data. 

He knows of my intention to write about him 
for the American readers, and he reacts to it in a 
characteristic fashion: 

"I gladly authorize you to write about me and 
our conversations; but remember, Alexander, you 
must promise me one thing no flattery! You must 
criticize me!" 

In French this last phrase of his sounds almost 
like a command: "Tu dots me critiquer!" 

"AND none spake a word unto him: for they saw 
that his grief was very great." This line comes to 
my mind as I sit in the improvised study. During 
luncheon I did most of the talking, but now that 
we are alone, I am prepared to maintain an unin- 
terrupted silence. There is just one question, a plain 
and a cruel one, that I would like to ask of the 

"How did it happen? So sudden so unexpected! 
Occurring just at the moment when we all thought 
you were the most popular man in Spain!" 

He reads my thoughts and spares me the ordeal. 



"The last Spanish Revolution," he remarks in the 
way of introduction, "would present, no doubt, an 
unsolvable puzzle for anyone not familiar with the 
continuity of the thirty years of my reign. The 
troubles that befell my kingdom even long before 
my arrival in this world, the peculiar circumstances 
surrounding my birth, the atmosphere of my child- 
hood, the insurmountable handicaps that accom- 
panied my first steps as sovereign all of this must 
be understood and analyzed. It all serves to prove, 
I suppose, that one can not change the solid pattern 
of one's life, the joy of Genesis in the beginning, 
the disenchantment of Ecclesiastes at the end!" 

His words startle me. They would have sounded 
more natural coming from the fatalistic Czar 
Nicholas IL Am I still in Fontainebleau in the year 
of grace 1931; or have I been transported into 
Czarskoie-Selo in 1917? 

The King smiles. I never saw another face capable 
of changing its expressions so rapidly. All sovereigns 
are trained in the art of smiling, but with him it 
amounts to a veritable magic. Only a short moment 
ago he was "all jaw"; he suggested the daguerreo- 
type likeness of a maternal ancestor of his, a ruler of 
the Holy Roman Empire: he was a Hapsburg. His 
smile brought back his father's son, a Bourbon a 



finished product of that unique culture which car- 
ried its fascination unscathed through ten centuries 
of pillaging Saracens, thundering wars and tottering 

A Hapsburg and a Bourbon! A quintessence of 
ages, this combination of resounding names! Next 
to them we are mere newcomers, we the Romanoffs, 
our British cousins the Windsors, and the haughty 
Hohenzollerns of Prussia. He is forty-five; I am sixty- 
five; yet I am several centuries his junior a differ- 
ence negligible, perhaps, for history, but rich in 
consequences for the undisturbed development of 
an enthusiastic attitude toward life. It dawns on me 
that he was born with too young and too responsive 
a soul in a family crushed under the weight of awe- 
inspiring traditions. 

The King begins his story. I am the audience 
again. Once in a while he stops, stares into space and 
illustrates his viewpoint with a remark somewhat 
Edwardian in its dry humor. He talks of the things 
that are no more. Spain in the nineteenth century a 
peninsula ravaged by all imaginable plagues, includ- 
ing Napoleon, an endless civil war and the short- 
lived republic of 1868. The nation is stunned by the 
sudden passing of his father, King Alfonso XII, who 
died at the age of twenty-eight on November 2 5th, 


1885, leaving no male heirs and bequeathing the 
throne to his young Austrian wife Maria-Christina. 
The Dowager Queen is expectant. On the morning 
of May i7th, 1886, hidalgos and farmers alike are 
watching for news from the royal palace. Everybody 
realizes that the fate of the country depends on the 
sex of the posthumous infant. The birth of another 
girl would be certain to provoke a new outburst of 
the fratricidal slaughter; the supporters of the heirs 
of Don Carlos are all set to fight the Dowager Queen 
just as they had fought her mother-in-law Queen 
Isabella II since 1833. 

The ministers, the generals and the parliamen- 
tarians are assembled in the throne-room of the pal- 
ace, all eyes riveted on the door leading into the 
Queen's apartments. The liberal Prime Minister 
Senor Sagasta, and the leader of the conservative 
opposition, Senor Canovas del Castillo, are talking 
in excited whispers. Both of them are praying for a 
boy. The hours crawl along. It seems an eternity. 
The door opens. The eldest lady-in-waiting to the 
Queen is standing on the threshold, holding in her 
hands a silver salver covered by a chiffon veil. Senor 
Sagasta crosses the throne-room and raises the veil. 
He turns toward his colleagues and exclaims trium- 


"Viva el Rey!" 

Next moment the crowds in the streets of Madrid 
join in that exuberant shout, and the Government 
rushes out a manifesto announcing the birth of "Al- 
fonso XIII, by the Grace of God and the Constitu- 
tion, the Catholic King of Spain." 

"There is a story attached to that pompous cere- 
mony in the throne-room for whose authenticity I 
can not vouch," adds the King smilingly. "Some of 
the historians claim that I remained perfectly calm 
at the sight of the liberal Prime Minister Sefior 
Sagasta, but that the approach of the conservative 
leader Serior Canovas del Castillo made me scream. 
If it is true, then we may call it a striking case of 
infantile liberalism. In any event, I became the 
King at the very moment of my birth, the youngest 
king ever known in the history of the civilized 
world. King Jean I of France was the only other 
sovereign of equally demure age, but he kept his 
crown for only five days." 

KING at the age of sixty seconds! I shudder. It is 
bad enough to become one at any age, but at least 
an heir apparent to a throne has a chance to enjoy 
his early childhood, while my host had to exercise 
his dangerous profession long before he was able 



to walk unassisted. At the age of eleven months he 
"opened" Parliament (the Cortes) . At the age of 
two he inaugurated an exhibition in Barcelona and 
held his first royal levee. Although he delegated the 
actual powers to his mother for the next sixteen 
years, his subjects persisted in their desire to see 
"El Rey" in person, and an amusing episode marked 
the third year of his life and reign. One morning, 
while awaiting the arrival of an important delega- 
tion, he became uncomfortable on the seat of the 
throne of his ancestors, and profiting by a short 
absence of his nurses, crawled down and climbed 
astride one of the gilt lions supporting the throne. 
"You see," he comments dryly, "my childish in- 
stinct of self-preservation made me realize the safety 
of a lion as compared to a throne/' 

A NIECE of Emperor Franz-Joseph, his mother 
brought to Spain the stern educational ideas of her 
native Austria. A Bourbon was raised by her as a 
Hapsburg. The King of a nation that enjoyed its 
dolce far niente was put in care of physical trainers. 
Very frail as a baby, he grew up to be an accom- 
plished athlete. Naturally enough, he felt inclined 
to let the fervent imagination of his Franco-Spanish 
ancestors find employment for the physical strength 



of his Austrian relatives. Translated into terms of 
childhood, it meant a desire to throw mud-pies at 
the boys in the streets, and an irresistible urge to 
imitate the exploits of the famous bull-fighters 
(toreros.) During a visit to a bull-farm he jumped 
into the training arena and very nearly lost his life 
in a reckless combat with a fierce two-horned cham- 
pion. Whenever he could sneak away from his vigi- 
lant tutors, he would rush to the royal stables and 
ask the grooms to let him break in some untamed 
mount. A marvelous horseman even at ten years of 
age, he turned each one of his morning rides into a 
species of cross-country steeple-chase. 

"In due course of time these exploits came to my 
mother's attention," he says of that period of his 
childhood. "She asked me not to do it again. I par- 
ried with a series of my celebrated why's. You must 
know that I was an undisputed champion of all the 
why-boys of Spain. It is a mystery to me how my 
mother succeeded in controlling her temper. Our 
daily dialogue usually ran as follows: 'You must not 
play with the boys in the streets/ my mother would 
say kindly but firmly. 'Why should I not play with 
the boys in the streets?' I would answer, enjoying 
the dispute. 'Because the King of Spain should re- 
main in his palace/ 'Why should the King of Spain 



remain in his palace?' 'Because the nation is watch- 
ing your actions/ 'Why is the nation watching my 
actions?' And so on, ad infinitum. In her place I 
would have lost my patience after the very first 'why' 
and would have shouted: 'Because such are my or- 
ders!' But not she. Her determination to explain 
everything peacefully knew no limits." 

An outlet had to be found, however, for the over- 
production of energy displayed by the youthful 
King. Once more the Dowager Queen drew upon 
the deposits of her Austrian ideas, and new subjects 
of learning were added to the program of her son's 
education. At the age of ten he possessed a full-sized 
army of tutors and teachers, headed by a trio con- 
sisting of a bishop, a general and a well-known pro- 
fessor of the University of Madrid. The bishop 
supervised his "spiritual development." The gen- 
eral taught him all an officer should know. The kind 
professor took care of the rest, which covered two 
score of subjects. Long before the day of his corona- 
tion in 1902 he spoke, read and wrote English, Ger- 
man and French just as easily and fluently as his 
native Spanish, and he knew as much about the af- 
fairs of state as any one of his ministers. In order 
to please the professor, he had learned the lengthy 
Spanish Constitution by heart. According to him, 



that unusual feat o memory served him well in the 
years to come: 

"Many a time when dealing with my Council of 
Ministers, I had occasion to discover that the gentle- 
men who were extremely fond of referring to the 
'spirit and the letter of the Constitution' were in 
nine cases out of ten ignorant of both! I must admit 
I derived a certain amount of malicious pleasure 
from reciting to them the correct version of this 
or that paragraph of the Constitution quoted by 
them in a most haphazard fashion. Thanks to my 
professor and to my mother, I received a thorough 
governmental training in my early youth. In fact, 
even during our meals Mother never stopped lec- 
turing me on the subject of the spirit of govern- 
ment. I do not doubt that had a fire threatened the 
palace, she would have seized upon it as an oppor- 
tunity for imparting to me additional knowledge 
and experience/' 

The year 1903 came, a significant year in his life. 
He became the King of Spain de facto and not in 
name only. He was sixteen. He is naturally reluctant 
to praise his preparedness for the occupation of the 
throne; but while he talks, I recall the impression 
made by him on Mr. Curry, who represented Presi- 
dent Roosevelt at the coronation of 1902 in Madrid. 



The American delegate was struck by the proud 
motto of Spain Dignidad, Lealtad, y Amor de Dios 
(Dignity, Loyalty and Love of God) , and thought 
that nothing in the whole country illustrated it 
better than the young sovereign himself. 

I am about to repeat to the King the words of Mr. 
Curry, but on second thought I decide it is better 
not to: he loathes anything even remotely suggestive 
of flattery* 

His own memories of the year of the Coronation 
cover two particular episodes. 

"Now that you are a full-fledged King, what will 
your first action be?" asked a friendly Minister. 

"My first action? I shall fill my cigarette-case with 
dozens of cigarettes." 

Up to then he was permitted by his mother to 
smoke but one dozen daily. 

A somewhat more significant answer was reserved 
by him for an exalted representative of the Catholic 

"You must always remember, Your Majesty," said 
the latter sententiously, "that you are a son of the 
Church and a godson of His Holiness Leo XIII." 

"I shall likewise remember," replied the King, 













"that I am the father of my people/' A typical 1931 
answer, though dating back to 1902! 

''Later on," recalls the King, "both of us were 
often to think of that exchange of remarks. As every- 
body knows, the relations between the State and the 
Holy See were largely to influence the course of the 
following quarter of a century. However, it is a sub- 
ject with which I shall deal at greater length later on. 
So far we are still in 1902. I have just come of age, 
and the Spanish anarchists are losing no time in 
taking due notice of this fact/' 

THE first attempt against the King's life took place 
in 1903. He was fired at while escorting his mother 
from the chapel. The buzz of bullets conveyed no 
new sound to Queen Maria-Christina, her late hus- 
band having encountered his would-"be assassins 
twice during his short reign. She looked at her son 
anxiously. He laughed. The very idea of being 
killed at seventeen seemed ludicrous to him. A 
Bourbon had to have faith in the Bourbons' star. 

The following year an infernal machine was dis- 
covered hidden in the royal palace. 

"Both sides held their respective ground firmly/' 
explains the King. "I wanted to go on living; they 
preferred to see me dead/' 



Spring of 1905 came. He left for France to pay a 
state visit to President Loubet. He liked the French, 
and he loved Paris, a combination certain of scoring 
heavily with the crowds lining the boulevards. In no 
time at all, he became "notre Roi" (our King) , 
threatening to give King Edward VII of England a 
hard race for the occupancy of the heart of the 
French nation. 

On May gist, 1905, at half-past eleven at night, 
after a gala performance at the Opera House, he 
drove in an open carriage, seated next to President 
Loubet, and being wildly acclaimed by the Parisian 
population. The President, a dignified man in his 
middle sixties, felt pleased by the reception given 
to his very young guest. They talked gayly and 
smiled at each other, reaping more ovations as they 
progressed down the Rue de Rivoli. At the corner 
of the Rue Rohan, a man standing in the front row 
of a dense crowd raised his hand. A flat object fell 
under the right wheels of the state carriage. A terrific 
explosion followed, accompanied by a bedlam of 
angry voices and groans of agony. The King sat per- 
fectly still. Turning toward the trembling President, 
he patted his knee gently: 

"I am so sorry for you, Mr. President. They could 
have had a little more respect for your age. Are you 



sure you are not hurt? Stand up and see if your feet 
are alright." 

Mr. Loubet lost his power of speech for a 

"But what about you, Your Majesty?" 

The nineteen-year-old monarch burst out laugh- 

"Do not worry about me. We, the kings, are dif- 
ferent. Such are the risks of our trade." 

Another year passed. The King was about to be 
married, and the entire Spanish nation went sleep- 
less trying to guess the identity of their future 
queen. There was no lack of suggestions. Every min- 
ister had his own idea of the "most appropriate 
bride for His Majesty/' Princess X. would help the 
development of the foreign trade. Princess Y. would 
improve Spain's international standing. Princess Z. 
seemed to be the favorite of the Holy See, 

"How about myself?" asked the King. "Has it ever 
occurred to you that I too have something to say?" 

"His Majesty is too great a patriot not to recog- 
nize the necessity of serving the interests of his 

For six consecutive months he opened his eyes in 
the morning with the same question. 


"Well, to what princess have your papers married 
me this morning?" 

The ministers frowned. 

"His Majesty must make up his mind/' 

"You are quite right/' agreed the King. "Indeed, 
I must make up my mind before you make it up for 
me. Next week I am going to baptize my new yacht, 
and then you shall know the name of the future 
Queen of Spain. Only do not tell it to anyone just 
yet. Keep it secret/' 

They did keep it secret. Next week some twenty 
millions of Spaniards tiptoed in the streets, repeat- 
ing to each other: "J ust between you and me, to- 
night we shall learn the name of the King's bride- 

When the beautiful yacht slid down the runways 
into the water, the ministers saw written on its bow: 
"Queen X." 

The King watched the expressions of their faces 
on the sly. Their laughter was rather perfunctory. 
One had to laugh at one's sovereign's jokes, but he 
failed to observe any genuine gayety. 

The truth was that he had reached his decision 
long before they had,^;nmenced to press him. He 
was going to marry Princess Victoria-Eugenie of 
Battenberg, a granddaughter of the late Queen 



Victoria, and a daughter of Prince Henry of Batten- 
berg. He had met her in London the previous year; 
and to use his own expression, "From that moment 
on, English became" his 'language of love/* She 
was eighteen, tall, beautiful in that singularly strik- 
ing way of a blonde English girl who would much 
rather ride to hounds than sit at a bridge-table. 
The old Empress Eugenie of France brought about 
their acquaintance, and their approaching betrothal 
promised to give equal satisfaction both to the two 
interested States and to the two royal youngsters 
an unprecedented case in the annals of the old con- 

"Knowing Qnly too well that we would have little, 
if any, privacy in the years to come," relates the 
King, "I was guarding my secret jealously. In Janu- 
ary, 1906, my future wife and her mother came to 
visit Princess Frederica of Hanover in the latter's 
Villa Mouriscot in Biarritz. Simultaneously I told 
my ministers that I would spend a week-end in my 
Miramar Palace at San Sebastian, which is situated 
just across the border from Biarritz. It seemed to 
me that even the busiest gossipers would be 'unable 
to detect any 'irregularity* <&. that innocent-looking 
trip of mine. I was mistaken. Forty-eight hours later 
the newspapers of Paris, London, New York, Ma- 



drid, Rome, Berlin and Vienna proved their knowl- 
edge of geography and their ability to put two and 
two together. There was nothing to do but authorize 
the official statement." 

Princess Victoria-Eugenie and her retinue were 
to arrive in Madrid on May isth; the marriage it- 
self was to be performed on May gist. Stupefaction 
was expressed at the choice of the latter date. 

"Does His Majesty realize that May gist will be 
the first anniversary of the Parisian attempt on his 

"Yes, of course I do. A lucky date! I came out 
without a scratch, did I not?" 

Superstitious courtiers shook their heads dubi- 
ously. They did not believe in the advisability of 
tempting fate twice. 

In the meanwhile, most elaborate preparations 
had to be made for the royal wedding. Forty Span- 
ish peasant women were to work for fifty-six days 
and fifty-six nights weaving the gorgeous bridal 
gown of satin and silver embroidered with the lilies 
of the Bourbons and the roses of England. No pains 
were to be spared, as the King wanted to prove to 
the world the unsurpassed craftsmanship of Spain. 

From May isth to May goth Madrid witnessed 
a series of spectacular festivities attended by the 



representatives of all the European reigning houses. 
At half-past eight on the morning of May gist the 
King drove to the El Prado Palace to have breakfast 
with his bride and her relatives. Ten o'clock found 
them in the church of San Geronimo El Real, kneel- 
ing before the Primate of Spain, the Archbishop of 

Finally the lengthy solemn ceremony drew to an 
end, "Ite in pace" ("Go in peace") , said the Arch- 
bishop, and the newly-weds stood up to face the 
assembly: she in her radiant blonde beauty accentu- 
ated by the background of the gorgeous gown, he 
with his fascinating smile of a Bourbon, more pro- 
nounced than ever. 

Vociferous vivas arose outside. The procession 
started, headed by the so-called "coach of respect/' 
an empty carriage driven by four horses. The King 
and Queen drove in the gilt state carriage, sur- 
rounded by a guard of honor of the Royal Wad-Ras 
Regiment. The density of the crowds could be 
judged by the fact that it took the state carriage 
twenty-five minutes to cross the Puerta del Sol, a 
distance usually requiring not quite three minutes. 

When the procession turned into the Calle Major 
(Main Street) , the King called the Queen's atten- 
tion to the people waving flags and throwing flowers 



at them out of the windows of the Government 
buildings. The Queen turned her head in the direc- 
tion pointed by him, and in doing so she moved 
closer toward him, to the left side of the carriage. 
At this moment they reached No. 88 of the Calle 
Major. That house being situated on the right side, 
the strange happenings in the window of its fourth 
story escaped the attention of the newly-weds. A 
man stood there it was the notorious anarchist 
Mateo Morrales holding a bulky bouquet in his 
hands, his lips moving visibly as though reciting a 
prayer, and his eyes glaring at the state carriage. His 
pale twitching face attracted the attention of some 
of the guards below, but before they could reach 
any conclusions as to what should be done, he let 
his bouquet fall, missing the top of the royal coach 
by a few inches. There was a sudden white flash, 
a thunderous noise, scattering of broken glass, 
shrieks and cries. 

"I caught a strange acrid odor," relates the King, 
"and for at least two minutes I could not see a thing 
through the thick smoke. When the smoke cleared 
away, I saw blood all over the lilies and roses of the 
Queen's bridal gown. She was unhurt, but several 
of our guards were thrown from their disemboweled 
mounts. Men and horses bled profusely. The Calle 









Major presented a terrific sight. Twenty-eight 
people were killed, forty wounded. Everybody 
shouted hysterically: 'The King and the Queen are 
killed!' Only the superhuman discipline of my Wad- 
Ras Regiment, who did not break their lines, 
checked the general stampede. 

"I took the arm of the Queen and walked with 
her along the street toward the 'coach of respect' 
amidst scenes of horror and enthusiasm. Had it not 
been for my desire that she should acknowledge the 
greetings of the personnel of the Government build- 
ings, she would have been dead now: the bomb ex- 
ploded on the right side of our carriage." 

Strangely enough, the year 1907 passed without 
any particular accidents, outside of a minor attempt 
to derail the royal train. The year 1908 ushered in 
the tempestuous strikes in Barcelona. Immediately 
upon the receipt of the news of considerable blood- 
shed in that city, the King decided to go there at 
once. His ministers turned pale and said Catalonia 
was the very last province of Spain fit to be visited 
by the sovereign. On this occasion the King lost his 

"I wish you would understand/' he exclaimed 
tersely, "that I am the King of the whole of Spain! 
The day I feel afraid to visit any part of my king- 



dom, I will be honest enough to sign a manifesto 
of abdication/' 

His Prime Minister Canaleyeas was assassinated 
in 1909. In 1911 an explosion coincided with the 
King's sojourn in Malaga, while 1913 witnessed his 
miraculous escape from the bullets of the anarchist 
Rafael Sandez Allegro. He refers to the latter epi- 
sode with the utmost simplicity: 

"I was always used to being approached by people 
in the Streets of Madrid. One would solicit assist- 
ance, another would complain of the treatment 
received by him at the hands of this or that 
official In fact, I encouraged that habit, as it 
brought me into close contact with the nation. 
There was nothing unusual nor suspicious in the 
appearance of Allegro. He stepped out of the crowd 
just as I was riding past the place where he stood. 
He had a sheet of paper in his hands. It looked like a 
petition. I was about to stop my horse, when he 
brandished a pistol and began to fire at me. He must 
have been a poor shot. The first two bullets missed 
me. There was nothing for me to do except what I 
actually did. I made my horse rear, and drove 
straight at the crazy fellow. I knocked him down. 
The whole show lasted about thirty seconds. His 



third bullet landed in the neck o my beautiful 
Alarum. Fortunately, the noble animal recovered. 
Come to think of it, I prefer revolvers to bombs: 
they do not scatter; you are hit, or you succeed in 
dodging the bullets. In either case you do not feel 
responsible for having caused the death of scores of 
innocent onlookers/' 

He expresses his "preference for revolvers" in the 
manner in which one would state one's partiality 
toward seasoned cheese or extra-dry champagne. He 
is not trying to be humorous, and I do not feel like 
laughing. I know something about bombs and re- 
volvers, the former having been used in the assassina- 
tion of my uncle Emperor Alexander II and my 
cousin Grand Duke Sergei Alexandrovich. I note, 
however, that the King has omitted to mention his 
refusal to sign Allegro's death-sentence. Evidently he 
thinks it natural, considering his "preference for 

THE outbreak of the World War, which followed 
closely the attempt at regicide made by Allegro, 
seemed for a while to cool off the zeal of the Spanish 

"Spain tried to stand for the ideals of humanity 
in the midst of a world-wide conflict. My archives 



in Madrid contain some of the evidence of our con- 
ciliatory work." Thus the King summarizes his atti- 
tude in 1914-1918. 

This concise formula fails to satisfy me. I remem- 
ber vividly how the King of Spain had become over- 
night the Good Samaritan of the bleeding world, 
and how his country, the only Great Power in 
Europe to remain neutral, was intrusted by all bel- 
ligerent states with the difficult task of representing 
their respective interests in the camps of the enemies. 
I insist on getting a more detailed story of his "con- 
ciliatory work/' He willingly describes the efforts of 
his ambassadors, but talks most reluctantly about his 
own achievements. 

"My ambassador in Berlin took charge of seven 
deserted embassies; my ambassador in Vienna 
handled six. At the end of the war their services 
were gratefully acknowledged by the Allies and the 
Central Powers alike/' 

"But what about the numberless soldiers located 
through your own efforts? What about those French 
women rescued by you from the German courts- 

He answers in monosyllables. I am afraid that in 
this particular instance I have to recur to the assist- 
ance of his friend Marquis de Torres. The picture 



drawn by the latter (notwithstanding the reproach- 
ful glance of his King) deserves to be brought to 
the world's attention. 

Right after the first battle of the Marne a strange 
letter arrived in Madrid. The address read: "To the 
King of Spain." Nothing else. The writer, a French 
peasant woman, wondered whether His Majesty 
would locate her son, who had disappeared on the 
second day of the battle. "He is an awfully good boy, 
and I must have him back." The plain language of 
the letter touched the King. He wired his ambas- 
sador in Berlin, ordering him to take action before 
the German Red Cross. Two weeks later the boy 
was found in a prisoners' camp. The story caused 
a sensation. By October, 1914, the daily mail of the 
King of Spain jumped to four thousand letters. The 
French and the British, the Germans and the Aus- 
trians, the Turks and the Australians, the Belgians 
and the Poles, the Canadians and the Russians 
everybody begged him to locate their fathers, sons 
and husbands. 

The benevolent organizations followed the ex- 
ample of the private individuals. The Austrian Red 
Cross asked him to intervene with the Russian Im- 
perial Government on behalf of their nationals. The 
British Red Cross stated that their wounded in 



Saloniki were craving for a taste of Spanish oranges. 
The German Red Cross solicited his assistance in 
arranging an exchange of permanently disabled pris- 
oners with France and Great Britain. 

The belligerent Governments came next in line. 
Would His Majesty wire to the Kaiser asking clem- 
ency for a French woman accused of espionage in 
Belgium? Would His Majesty wire to the President 
of the French Republic asking clemency for a Ger- 
man spy caught in Paris? Would His Majesty wire 
to the King of England pleading extenuating cir- 
cumstances in the case of an Austrian arrested in 

BY the beginning of 1915 a whole wing of the 
Royal Palace in Madrid was turned into a mammoth 
bureau of research, hundreds of secretaries assort- 
ing, answering, and following up the letters and pe- 
titions. The cases where a human life was at stake 
were handled by the King in person. He worked 
out a formula which seemed to affect even the stern 
Kaiser: "// y a deja assez de victimes" ("There are 
enough victims, as it is") , he concluded his wires 
to Berlin, Vienna, Paris, London, St. Petersburg, 
Sofia and Constantinople. The French Government 
credited him with having saved the lives of sixteen 


French citizens (nine women among them) con- 
demned to be shot by the German courts-martial. 
The exact figures dealing with the other nationali- 
ties are not available, but the aggregate amount 
must run into several hundred. 

On January 23, 19 17, a delegation of 9281 Span- 
ish municipalities (Ayuntamientos) presented him 
with an address and a special decoration commemo- 
rating his services to humanity. A poet in far-away 
San Salvador dedicated to him an ode, its three con- 
cluding lines echoing throughout Latin America: 

Y en tanto que en Europa escandaliza 

El odio, el disipa sus nublados, 

Con la aurora triunfante de su sonrisa. 

("And while Europe is shrouded in hate, he dis- 
pels the clouds with the triumphal aurora of his 

I can hardly qualify as a judge of Spanish poetry; 
but I am able, nevertheless, to appreciate the senti- 
ment of that San Salvador ode. It fits my own mem- 
ories of the King of Spain in the years of Europe's 
madness. We used to call him then "the Mother 
Dolorosa of Madrid/* 

The King raises his hand in protest: "May I sug- 



gest our leaving San Salvador and returning to 

WAR or peace, weekday or holiday, there were the 
duties of the royal office to be attended to. 

"Lots of people are using the expression 'royal 
office/ " comments the King, "but very few recog- 
nize that the emphasis should be laid on the word 
'office.' The only difference between the office of a 
King and the office of a big modern executive lies 
in the additional and very cumbersome social du 
attached to the former." 

I remind him jokingly that once upon a time 
there was a sovereign, Louis XIV by name, who re- 
ferred to his duties as "my delightful royal profes- 
sion" (man delicieux metier de roi) . We both 
laugh. He has his own experience to consider, while 
I keep before my eyes the ever-vivid figures of my 
uncle, my cousin and my brother-in-law, the three 
emperors of Russia who would have disagreed most 
bitterly with the "horn-tooting" philosophy of the 
Versailles autocrat. 

The King talks of his former strict and rigorous 

He was up at seven A. M V sometimes earlier but 
never later. After a light breakfast at eight coffee 


Wide World photo 


and rolls he began his working day by receiving the 
Prime Minister. The two of them discussed the 
latest political news and the projects pending before 
the Council of Ministers. From ten to three the 
King sat and listened to the steady eloquence of 
other ministers, important industrialists and foreign 
visitors. Although the ruler of the most ceremonious 
country in the world, he suspended all rules of eti- 
quette. Transatlantic bankers anxious to meet the 
King of Spain used to call up his secretary a few 
minutes before the appointed time, asking him what 
they should wear. 

"What have you got on now?" 

"Right this moment I am in my golf-suit." 

"Come straight along." 

The very old courtiers, remembering the splen- 
dor of the '8o's, looked with bewilderment at the 
soft collars, knickers and multicolored sweaters ap- 
pearing in the stately antechamber of the royal pal- 
ace. The King did not care. "I took it for granted 
that they brought in their trunks all that is necessary 
to make a fine appearance, but I preferred to have 
them do their talking in comfort." 

He ate his luncheon alone, the family having long 
since finished theirs. At half-past three he was back 
"on the job," ready to spend the balance of the after- 



noon in company of native parliamentarians and for- 
eign visitors. He was never able to determine which 
one of these two categories possessed a bigger gift of 
fluent speech. He knew that it took the Spaniards 
four thousand speeches to pass the Local Govern- 
ment Bill through the Cortes; but he was likewise 
sufficiently familiar with the "matter-of-fact" cap- 
tains of industry from across the seas to question 
their reputation for briefness and lucidity. They all 
began by saying: "It will take me, Your Majesty, 
but a few minutes. I am not an orator, I am a busi- 
ness man." And they were still talking full speed 
long after the passing of the allotted time. 

The English ancestry of the Queen made it oblig- 
atory for him to attend the family tea at five-thirty. 
That was the only time of the day he could spend 
with his four sons and two daughters. The Heir 
Apparent, known to his father as "Alfonsito," 
wanted to become a farmer. The elder daughter, 
Beatrice, showed signs of unmistakable talent for 
painting. The second son, Don Jaime, disclosed a 
preference for the affairs of state. The younger 
daughter, Maria Christina, was an accomplished 
sportswoman. She wished she were permitted to play 
polo on her father's team. The third boy, Don Juan, 
dreamed of the life of a sailor. The youngest boy, 



Don Gonzales, excelled in the manly art of box- 

They were a friendly and a cheerful lot, and some- 
thing exciting was happening to them almost every 
day of their lives. An American gentleman driving 
through the woods where Beatrice was painting a 
landscape stopped his car to admire it, and in- 
structed his wife to "talk to that girl and buy her 
work as a souvenir. Only don't you dare offer her 
more than a couple of bucks. You know how those 
Spaniards are." Another conquering visitor met the 
young Heir Apparent near the royal farm on the 
River Manzanares, and slipped him a quarter "in 
good American money" for showing him the road 
to town. 

The Queen wanted her children to be educated 
in England. As their father, my august host sympa- 
thized with this desire, but as King of Spain he had 
to insist on choosing native institutions of learning. 

AN hour spent at the tea-table filled him with new 
enthusiasm. At half-past six he went back to the 
office and stayed there till late in the evening. Some- 
times he granted particularly urgent audiences long 
after midnight. 

"Talk about an eight-hour day," he exclaims 



laughingly; "why, I think kings should organize a 
union and pass a resolution insisting on a maximum 
twelve-hour day!" 

The analysis of an average day, picked at random, 
discloses the following appointments and audiences: 

(1) Conference with the Prime Minister. 

(2) A report of the Minister of Public Instruc- 
tion on the progress of the Ciudad University 
founded by the King a few years before. 

(3) Report of the War Minister. 

(4) Audience to an American magnate. 

(5) Audience to a delegation representing Span- 
ish tourist industries. Would His Majesty consent 
to organize a regatta at Santander? It would be sure 
to attract most desirable voyagers to Spain. 

(6) Audience to a delegation of Barcelona 

(7) Audience to a foreign ambassador soliciting 
some very special privileges for the industrialists of 
his country. His request is impertinent. He must, 
however, be sent away smiling broadly. 

(8) Audience to a delegation of Spanish ship- 
ping interests. Would His Majesty consent to take 
a trip to London aboard their new vessel? It would 
be certain to promote the maritime passenger traffic 
between Spain and England. 



(9) Solicitors of royal charity, of both sexes and 
all descriptions. 

(10) Social calls: Ambassadors departing and 
ambassadors newly arrived. 

AND so it went, almost every day of his life and 
reign. He traveled a great deal, but without any 
exception his voyages were undertaken with some 
ultimate purpose of state in view. 

The readers of the American newspapers used to 
say on seeing his photo in the rotogravure sections: 
"The King of Spain is certainly having a good time." 
The truth is that he very rarely succeeded in having 
even a moderate degree of good time, although his 
smile left nothing to be desired by the exacting 
camera-men of the ubiquitous transatlantic syndi- 

He officiated at football matches, raced yachts and 
motorcars, played tennis and polo, not because he 
could not find something else to do, away from the 
crowds and the reporters, but because his deter- 
mination to instill a new spirit into the heart of a 
very old nation required his showing a personal 
example and exercising a continuous active leader- 

"I did enjoy playing polo, though," he confesses 



quite readily. "It is a marvelous game, particularly 
for one who is obliged to control his temper every 
second of his time. What I mean to say is this: when 
you play polo, you are supposed to hit the ball hard, 
the harder the better. Now, if you are endowed with 
any imagination at all, you can visualize the ball as 
the face of an annoying person. You hit it with all 
your might, and you add under your breath: 'I am 
about to get even with you, you pest of my existence; 
take that, and that, and that and some more is still 
coming/ ... I do believe polo, if approached sci- 
entifically, could be used as a very efficient safety- 
valve for all sorts and cases of suppressed emotions/' 

I like this idea exceedingly well and regret that 
polo never acquired much of a vogue in Russia. 

The memory of the days when the King of Spain 
galloped on the polo-field a bright spot of his own 
colors of Castile indicating his participation in a 
hard-fought match makes him think of his other, 
still less conventional attempts to modernize the 
stereotyped conception of a monarch. Looking back 
at that aspect of his thirty years on the throne, he 
characterizes his "unusual actions" as a policy of 
four paradoxes. 

"Very early in life," he concludes with a slight 
tinge of sadness in his voice, "I became convinced 



that, not unlike a human being, a State can not re- 
main at a standstill. It goes forward or it rolls back- 
ward. What was I to do? Usual methods spelled stag- 
nation. I was obliged to try the paradoxical ones. I 
attempted to be an up-to-date king in the country of 
the most ancient royal traditions in the world. I en- 
deavored to create a democracy without the benefit 
of screaming demagogues and cheap grandstand 
players. I strove to reconcile the orthodox dogmae of 
the Catholic Church with the boldest theories of 
modern science. And most daring of all, I believed 
in the necessity of building heavy industries in a 
land that had preserved its purely agricultural char- 
acter even after the passing of a century of epochal 
technical discoveries. Does it surprise you that I 
experienced considerable difficulty in maintaining 
my balance? Have you ever heard of a circus per- 
former who had to walk a rope as tight and thin as 

A STRANGER entering this sparsely furnished room 
of the Hotel Savoy in Fontainebleau would be sur- 
prised to discover that the management calls it the 
"Royal Study." Least of all would he be willing to 
believe that the man seated behind a plain desk 
piled with books and documents is really King Al- 


fonso XIII of Spain. All photographs lie. His Catho- 
lic Majesty's brilliant humorous eyes suggest but re- 
motely their likeness so familiar to the readers of 
the Sunday rotogravure sections. His always even 
manner and well-modulated voice never disclose the 
emotionality to be expected from the chief protag- 
onist of one of the tensest dramas of modern times. 

Fontainebleau is lying outside, mellowed by age 
and eloquent in its uninterrupted green-and-marble 

The King's two young daughters and their fiances 
are playing tennis in the park, not far from the court 
where Napoleon held his last review of the Old 
Guard. The memories of 1814 enter the continuity 
of 1931, creating an atmosphere of soothing un- 
reality. The odd fascination of life grows clearer and 
more tangible. 

I look at the King. I think of my own past. My 
mind drifts across the ocean. Thirty-five hundred 
miles away, in the canon of Wall Street, overexcited 
people are wringing their hands in despair, and are 
prophesying the imminent end of the world just 
because the perfidious stock-market failed to act in 
accordance with their wishes. Here in Fontainebleau 
the two of us are mourning two thrones lost by the 
Spanish sovereign and my late brother-in-law; and 


yet neither of us is inclined to consider his personal 
tragedy as a sign of this planet's dismal failure. 
While I myself have long since written down to 
"profits and losses" the fifty years of my Imperial 
life, my august host has likewise preserved his abil- 
ity to appreciate the supreme sarcasm of human 

We talk of our countries, drawing parallels obvi- 
ous to an outsider, but full of meaning for the two 
interested parties. 

I maintain with fervor that his experience and 
mine travel a long way toward proving the transi- 
tory character of all values conceived on a purely 
material plane. He listens sympathetically, but the 
corners of his lips are twitching. 

"I have noticed, Alexander/' he remarks casually, 
"that today your sermon scored rather heavily with 
the ladies at the table/' 

"So it would appear/' I reply, a bit embarrassed, 
"but I have noticed, on the other hand, that you 
were smiling all through our discussion." 

His strong, athletic figure shakes with laughter. 

"I am afraid, Alexander, you misunderstood the 
meaning of my smile. Needless to say, I thoroughly 
agreed with you. Unfortunately, I was still under 
the impression of a somewhat different discussion 



that took place this very morning, shortly before 
your arrival. The selfsame two ladies, friends of 
ours, who showered you with compliments express- 
ing their contempt for the riches of the world, had 
spent a full hour crying and begging me to do some- 
thing to protect their investments in Spain. I feel 
much better now that I have discovered their spir- 
itual inclinations. In fact, I think I shall refer them 
straight to you for further guidance, should they 
broach the financial subject again/' 

The joke is on me. 

"Some people are funny," I suggest compromis- 

"Did you say, 'some people? You are being very 
mild, indeed!" he answers with a marked sarcasm 
in his voice. "I suspect that most people are excru- 
ciatingly funny, particularly to one with a weakness 
for slapstick comedy. But then, of course, I might be 
prejudiced in this matter, having dealt a bit too fre- 
quently with professional politicians. Oh, those poli- 

HE makes a grimace expressing his acute dislike 
for the word politicians. 

"Have you ever heard, Alexander," he asks quite 
seriously, "of a monarch who has been too lenient 



and too ruthless at the same time? Who has proven 
himself both a cruel tyrant and an oversentimental 

His question requires no answer. The allusion is 
plain. Although not a monarch, I happen to know 
what he is talking about. For quite a few years now, 
I myself have been accused of near-bolshevism by 
the Russian royalistsa fact which in no way de- 
creases the hatred felt for me by the Soviets. In the 
words of Anatole France: "One is always somebody's 

"Well/* continues the King, "according to my 
recollections, such was the case of King Alfonso 
XIII of Spain! The Conservatives were always de- 
nouncing me for my so-called 'excessive radicalism/ 
while the Liberals never stopped reproaching me 
for violating this or that irrelevant clause of the 
Constitution. The Conservatives told me that the 
whole of Spain was clamoring for an uncompromis- 
ing autocrat, for a replica of a Caesar of the Holy 
Roman Empire. The Liberals, on the other hand, 
swore that the nation would be certain to revolt 
against any sovereign attempting to change even a 
comma in the sacred document of 1876. I often 
wonder what all those brilliant diagnosticians have 
to say now, after the supposed admirers of autocracy 



have voted three to one in favor of the Republic, 
and after the alleged worshipers of the Constitution 
have witnessed without a murmur the spectacle of its 
being torn to pieces by the present Government of 

He shrugs his broad shoulders, giving me to un- 
derstand that having made this swift thrust at his 
former critics, he feels no further desire to review 
the petty disputes of the political yesterday. 

The past interests him only in so far as its un- 
solved problems are bound to determine the course 
of the future. 

"The day is not far off," he says with utmost 
modesty, though emphasizing each word, "when the 
Spaniards will realize that I was not such a bad king, 
after all, and that I did do something for the wel- 
fare of Spain. In my personal opinion, I have 
achieved as great a degree of success as could be ex- 
pected from a ruler who had to contend with four 
major and a dozen minor attempts against his life, 
the consequences of two costly wars and numberless 
ever-smoldering uprisings. Mine was, indeed, a life 
of deep vicissitude. 

"As I see it from this distance, the main achieve- 
ment of my reign consisted in my having charted 
a 'middle course' for both ruler and people. 'Glissez, 



mortels; n'appuyez pas! (Glide, mortals; do not 
force issues) '. . . . Revolutions will come and go, 
but any Spanish government will have to continue 
navigating between the highways of the vast indus- 
trial empires and the trails of the rustic agricultural 
countries. Independent of future political develop- 
ments, the nation will be obliged to reconcile the 
daring attempts of its grandchildren with the bind- 
ing traditions of its forefathers. 

"The eloquent orators of the present Spanish re- 
publican regime have nicknamed last April's up- 
rising an 'elegant revolution/ I sincerely hope for the 
sake of all Spaniards that the months and the years 
to come will not rob their revolution of its 'ele- 
gance/ but one thing is sure; there is no getting 
away from those well-nigh insolvable problems 
which have turned my thirty years on the throne 
into thirty years of walking on a tight-rope. . . . 
My problems were many. The first and foremost of 
them had to do with the relations between the State 
and the Church. The Ruler of Spain and the Holy 

He pronounces these last words of his in the man- 
ner of a convention-orator sounding the keynote 
of a political platform. I am extremely glad he has 
broached that very delicate subject on his own ini- 



tiative. While in America the whole of last spring, 
I had searched in vain through the long columns of 
the New York newspapers for a plausible explana- 
tion of the anti-religious riots in Spain. Although 
the "special correspondents" spared no colors in de- 
scribing the burning of one hundred and fifty-odd 
convents and cathedrals which occurred hardly four 
weeks after the outbreak af the revolution their 
dispatches failed to mention whether those outrages 
in any way reflected the real feelings of the Spanish 
people. Faithful to my habit of drawing parallels, 
I recalled at the time that it took fully eight months 
of a gradual increase of the Red tempo before simi- 
lar disturbances took place in Russia* I felt amazed 
that the Catholic Church, having done so much for 
the cause of civilization, should have seemed to in- 
spire no more respect in the revolutionaries than 
the Greek Orthodox Church, never known for its 
cultural achievements. 

The King hastens to assure me that the acts of 
vandalism committed by the hoodlum section of the 
"elegant revolution'' were never approved by the 
republican regime, least of all endorsed by the 
Spanish people. 

"The Spaniards/' exclaims the King, "are just as 
deeply religious today as they were six months ago! 



Only a person utterly ignorant o the vital events 
of our history would believe that the mere fact of 
my absence from Madrid could suffice to uproot the 
secular tree of Spanish Catholicism. Let us not for- 
get that the very definite religious policy of the 
Spanish state had always been dictated by the people 
to the throne, never by the throne to the people. 
It is not by accident nor through a fancy of my an- 
cestors that of all sovereigns of ancient and modern 
times, we, the kings of Spain, were the only ones to 
have the word Catholic added to our title." 

The logic of his argument is striking. Perhaps for 
the first time in my life I feel inclined to analyze 
the resounding titles of European royalty. He enu- 
merates the past and present sovereigns. 

The Emperor of Austria was known as "His Apos- 
tolic Majesty/' the King of France as "His Christian 
Majesty," the King of Portugal as "Fidelissimo," the 
King of England is still using the title "Defender 
of the Faith/' "His Catholic Majesty" was an exclu- 
sive attribute of the kings of Spain as far back as the 
Middle Ages. Unlike some other monopolies, this 
particular one signified more obligations than privi- 
leges. The Popes considered Spain as the "favorite 
daughter of Rome," in consequence of which the 
Catholic clergy, having lost its strongholds in 



France, Italy and Portugal, decided to transfer its 
activities into my august host's kingdom. In due 
course of events, and long before the birth of King 
Alfonso XIII, Catholicism had become both the 
main cultural force and the leading influence in the 
internal life of Spain. Nothing illustrates this situa- 
tion better than two historical religious traditions of 
the royal court which the King describes in detail, 
"Beginning with the year 1242, each and every 
king of Spain had to dedicate Thursday of the Holy 
Week to the ceremony of the washing of the feet of 
thirteen beggars. My ancestor Fernando III intro- 
duced this tradition, anxious to show his royal hu- 
mility in imitation of the Savior's act of washing the 
feet of his disciples. The Spaniards liked this cus- 
tom. It reminded them that their monarchs were 
first of all Christians and then only kings. 

"THE ceremony itself ran as follows: on the morn- 
ing of that day thirteen poor men were brought into 
the palace, given new clothes and then invited to 
take their seats in the Hall of Columns. The King 
would appear, escorted by the attendants carrying 
all necessary paraphernalia. The officiating priest 
read the corresponding chapter from St. John, with 
the King scrupulously following each of the three 


'"""" , . . KING ALFONSO 


principal movements described in the Scrip- 

"'Posuit vestimenta sua (he laid aside his gar- 
ments) .... Precinxit se (he girded himself) .... 
Ccepit lavare (he began to wash) / 

"Naturally enough, the actual washing of the thir- 
teen pairs of feet was done before their possessors 
entered the Hall of Columns, but even so, I did gird 
myself with an apron and did use a sponge soaked in 
water. The ceremony over, each one of the thirteen 
men was given a whole turkey, a whole baby lamb 
and so forth, to take home for Easter. They used 
to sell it to the Madrid merchants or to foreign visi- 
tors curious to taste of 'royal food/ " 

Another equally characteristic religious tradition 
of the court of Spain had to do with the installation 
of the new Cardinals of Spanish origin. On this 
occasion, the Pope used to send a special edict to the 
King, delegating the divine powers of the Holy See 
to the lay throne of Spain. The ceremony took place 
among scenes of medieval splendor and was at- 
tended by the highest representatives of the clergy 
and the numerous dignitaries of the court. The 
King ordered the edict read, and then placed, with 
his own hands, the red "biretta" dispatched from 
Rome on the head of the new Cardinal. The symbol- 


ical meaning of this procedure, established by cen- 
turies of history and generations of rulers, invariably 
met with the enthusiastic acclaim of the Spanish 
masses. They felt as though their king brought them 
closer to God by acting as the emissary extraordinary 
of Christ's vicar on earth. 

The Holy Father's affection for Spain found still 
another expression in the traditional act of pre- 
senting the so-called "fajas henditas (girdles for the 
infant's wardrobe) " to the newly-born royal chil- 
dren and the blessed "golden roses" to those of the 
kings and queens whose piety left no doubt in the 
minds of the Vatican. The "golden rose habit" dated 
back to 1 148, when King Alfonso VII of Castile was 
the first to receive that cluster of roses of gold with 
gold leaves and thorns set with precious stones 
which had been blessed by the Pope on the fourth 
Sunday of Lent. 

"Among my immediate relatives," the King re- 
lates, "my grandmother Queen Isabella II, my 
mother Queen Maria-Christina, and my own wife 
were the three proud recipients of the golden 
rose. Contrary to the misrepresentations of the revo- 
lutionary writers, this token of the esteem of Rome 
had created, perhaps, even greater jubilation among 
the masses than it did at court. 


"I AM relating to you these details so you can 
understand the origin of Spain's religious policy. 
I may say that the cooperation between the kings 
of Spain and the popes of Rome antedates almost 
any other cardinal fact of modern civilization. No 
government can afford to destroy light-heartedly 
that which has proved beneficial for over nine cen- 
turies. I admit cheerfully and readily that I made it 
a point to exercise particular care in preserving 
Spain's friendly relations with the Vatican. I am a 
great believer in the progressive forces within the 
Catholic Church, and from the very beginning of 
my reign I knew that the Holy Father would be only 
too glad to collaborate with me in promoting 
healthy reforms. I claim that, thanks to my deter- 
mination to uphold the institutions of the Catholic 
Church, I was able to bridge the past and the pres- 
ent, the Middle Ages and the Twentieth Century, 
the dogmae of the Fifteenth Century and the boldest 
theories of our very conceited era. The superficial 
critics of the Holy See are totally unaware of the 
tremendous changes which have entered the policies 
of the Vatican during the past fifty years. It would 
not be an exaggeration on my part to say that Rome 
has left the democracies far behind in its straightfor- 



ward desire to recognize the pressing needs of the 
less successful classes and groups of humanity. 

"Had I, as a king, been given as much encourage- 
ment by the politicians as I received from the clergy, 
the history of Spain would have taken a vastly dif- 
ferent course. I have mentioned already that mine 
was a policy of four paradoxes. Well, the paradox 
Number One dealing with the relations between the 
state and the Holy See caused me no particular 
trouble. It is not my fault that in the very first 
month of its rule the republican government has 
destroyed the fruit of thirty years. 

"Now I shall describe to you the workings of the 
second paradox of a king who attempted to become 
an up-to-date ruler in the most tradition-bound 
country in the world." 

He stops for a moment, evidently searching his 
mind for facts illustrating his "second paradox." We 
smoke in silence. 

The tooting of automobile horns and the sounds 
of loud laughter come from the park. Life goes on 
with its tourists and picnic parties, indifferent to 
royal heartbreaks, and ignorant of the political his- 
tory of Spain that was. 

"There was a Spanish aristocrat once upon a 
time/' the King commences again, "who thought he 



deserved a high court position. My mother, Queen 
Maria-Christina, entertained a slightly lower opin- 
ion o his qualifications, and on this hinges the story 
of a titled follower of the revolution. The gentle- 
man in question turned Red overnight. He became 
a friend of Blasco Ibaiiez and dedicated all his time 
to a shameless campaign against the King of Spain. 
Foreigners said he was a man of courage. Native 
radicals claimed him as their leader. As a chamber- 
lain of the court, he would have been outspoken 
in his condemnation of parliamentarism; as a re- 
jected aspirant, he advocated revolt. ... A typi- 
cal product of an epoch of transition, he should be 
remembered as a living example of that Spanish so- 
ciety which combined a deep admiration for titles 
with a passion for rather childish feuds against the 

"I must admit that at first I was slightly amazed 
by this unique mentality of the higher classes. Then 
I decided to beat them at their own game. If they 
thought it correct for their sons to gather in the 
republican clubs and for their wives to preside over 
the "pink radical salons/ it was only logical for their 
sovereign to assume leadership of the democratiza- 
tion of Spain. In other words, much to their disgust, 



I interpreted their speeches literally and took their 
slogans at face-value. 

"THE denunciations of the 'royal Camarilla' 
which have resounded throughout Spain for the last 
fifty years were met by my orders to reduce the staff 
of the court to a minimum, and not to grant any fur- 
ther appointments. There was likewise a consider- 
able amount of idle talk about the necessity of 
'pouring new wine into the old cask/ Imitating the 
British habit of criticizing the House of Lords, the 
parlor socialists of Spain claimed that something 
should be done to rejuvenate the aristocracy. I liked 
this idea exceedingly well, so much so that I created 
a new series of titles, distributing them chiefly 
among the publishers of the influential Spanish 
newspapers. - . . The proud possessors of names 
dating back to Charles V suddenly found themselves 
side by side with the owners of Madrid and provin- 
cial dailies. . . . Unless I am very much mistaken, 
this measure of mine failed to cause any excessive 
jubilation among the champions of the 'new blood/ 
My next democratic steps were traced in the direc- 
tion of the students and Parliament. The former 
complained that the kings of Spain paid but little 
attention to the interests of higher education; 



the latter brooded over the growing phantom of 
socialism. Once more I accepted idle words as true 
facts. I began to visit the University of Madrid and 
sit through lectures of professors known for their 
bitter opposition to the regime, congratulating them 
on their frankness, and at the same time asking them 
some 'embarrassing questions' as to the sources of 
their amazing information. Furthermore, I founded 
the Ciudad University, conceived and planned as an 
institution of pure learning. The students ap- 
plauded my appearance in the auditorium but con- 
tinued their participation in the republican clubs. 
Politics interested them much more than science. 

"Now, as to Parliament: You may recall the sen- 
sation created in Europe in January, 1913, by my 
decision to consult the leaders of the Republican- 
Socialist Party during the course of a governmental 
crisis. Bear in mind that it occurred long before any- 
one could have thought that the chiefs of the British 
Labor Party would sit on the benches of His Britan- 
nic Majesty's Government. In fact, I was the very 
first sovereign of Europe to invite a socialist to pay 
me a visit in my palace. In the presence of the Prime 
Minister, Count Romanones, I told Ascaratez (such 
was the name of that socialist) that I intended to 
make it a rule always to consult his anti-regime party 



before reaching any important decision, and that, 
generally speaking, I was inclined to consider myself 
a 'crowned president of a republic/ The newspapers 
of all the world quoted this last remark of mine; but 
the Spanish parliamentarians expressed their ex- 
treme dissatisfaction with the 'dangerous turn taken 
by the King/ They had the right to use the bugaboo 
of socialism, but I had no right to consult its cham- 
pions! And speaking about my rights: a prominent 
Spanish Conservative leader once told me that 
no king has a right to express his ideas in an out- 
spoken fashion. ... I could not think of a better 
reply than that telling the truth was a duty rather 
than a right of the sovereign. 

"Duties and rights, rights and duties! No other 
subject interests the parliamentarians. It seems they 
could spend centuries debating the question 
whether the King's insistence on passing this or that 
reform does not disguise his desire to infringe upon 
some cherished rights of Parliament. By the time 
they finish talking, so much precious time has been 
wasted that the debated reform utterly loses its prac- 
tical purpose. 

"Do not think that I am opposed to democracy. 
Far from it! I am the greatest friend of democracy, 
provided it consents to rid itself of demagogues and 







grandstand-players. Up to this day no democracy has 
ever been able to achieve that miracle. I myself 
tried to perform it in Spain and failed, although I 
did my very best to keep prejudice and bias from 
influencing my judgment. I am not discouraged, 
however. I do believe that a day will come when 
the people of Spain will express their readiness to 
follow the program of their king. / have not abdi- 
cated as yet. Do not forget itl" 

He is not threatening anyone. As he told me be- 
fore, not for a second would he think of handicap- 
ping the labors of the present Government of Spain. 
His words, "I have not abdicated as yet," simply 
state a historical fact. While living away from Spain 
in his temporary exile abroad, and letting his sub- 
jects enjoy freedom of choice, he remains, neverthe- 
less, the King, ever ready to answer the call of the 
nation when and if it should be sounded. It would 
not be the first time in the history of Spain nor of 
several other European nations that a monarch who 
left his country voluntarily would be invited to re- 
sume possession of the throne. The editorial writers, 
vociferous in their proclamation of a New Era, seem 
to forget that even the well-established Republic of 
France is but sixty years old. My understanding of 
history leads me to believe that ten centuries of 



Bourbons may easily outweigh the sixty years of 
the presidents of France on the scales of Europe's 

I need not communicate these thoughts of mine 
to the King. He knows his history better than I do, 
and is well aware of the fact that the first abortive 
Spanish Republic of 1873 lasted scarcely one year, 
just long enough to bring the nation into a state of 
complete despair, and was followed by the invita- 
tion issued by Parliament to his father, King Alfonso 
XII, to occupy the throne of Spain. 

Now that the King has told me of his efforts to be- 
come an up-to-date ruler and promote an honest 
democracy, there is one more "paradox to deal 
with: he believed in the necessity of building new 
industries in an agricultural country. On this occa- 
sion the ledger speaks. During his reign Spain 
reached a point when for the first time in almost a 
century its annual budget was balanced, and its cur- 
rency, the peseta, enjoyed an unprecedented stabil- 
itywhich collapsed immediately after the revolu- 
tion of last April. * . . 

Although a fervent Spaniard, first and last, Al- 
fonso XIII developed a cosmopolitan outlook and 
an understanding of foreign countries in his early 



youth. That helped a lot in attracting foreign visi- 
tors and capital to Spain. 

"In order to restore its former prosperity, Spain, 
the new Spain of the Twentieth Century, had to 
become known to the world at large/' explains the 
King. "A country just as beautiful and fascinating 
as France, Spain suffered from the lack of facilities 
reserved for the visitors. Therefore I, the King of 
Spain, was obliged to act as inspirer of an industry 
counting innkeepers among its most important lead- 
ers. 'Build highways and construct modern hotels, 
and you will enjoy prosperity/ I invariably said to 
the delegations of tradesmen visiting my palace. 
'But first of all, understand the necessity of adver- 

"The results of my initiative speak for themselves. 
At the moment of my coronation there were hardly 
five hundred miles of highways suitable for auto- 
mobile touring. Today there are some sixteen thou- 
sand miles of concrete roads that could compete 
with the best to be found in the United States. The 
modern Spanish hotels are highly admired by all 
tourists, while the Hotel of Alfonzo XIII, recently 
constructed in Seville, is conceded to be the most 
luxurious in the world. 

"The consequences of this external transforma- 



tion of Spain could be well imagined. Each of the 
past thirteen years saw an ever-increasing flow of 
visitors. They came to see and to learn. The Amer- 
ican capitalists became interested in financing the 
Spanish public utilities. A powerful New York con- 
cern was granted by me a concession for telephones 
and telegraphs, a transaction which proved highly 
beneficial to both sides. The American stockholders 
acquired a new interest in the country that paid a 
handsome return on their investment, while the 
Spaniards were given an ideally constructed system 
of communications. Naturally enough, the example 
of the International Telephone and Telegraph 
Company influenced the other large American con- 
cerns. In the days of Alexander Moore as Ambassa- 
dor of the United States in Spain, hardly a day 
passed without at least one American mining or 
utilities magnate arriving in Madrid to submit a 
proposition for my approval. All of this meant 
steady employment for Spanish workers, better 
wages* healthier living conditions. 

"Politically speaking, it signified a very broad and 
very comprehensive basis for Spanish-American 
friendship. I am proud to think that in the short 
thirty years of my reign, continuously interrupted 
by external and internal complications, I did make 



a sympathetic friend out of a country which had 
made war on us but four years before my coronation. 

"The principles that guided my relations with 
the United States were applied by me with equal 
success in my dealings with England and France 
two other former foes of Spain, and its present cor- 
dial friends. I am tempted to hope that even the 
revolutionary historians will admit that having in- 
herited from my ancestors a provincial agricultural 
country, plagued by its technical backwardness and 
deprived of friends in the outside world, I was able 
to pass to the present republican government a first- 
class European power well advanced in its indus- 
trial development and enjoying an excellent stand- 
ing on both sides of the Atlantic. It would appear 
that I came out victorious in my struggle with para- 
dox Number Four/' 

Undoubtedly it would. But for that matter 
neither had the Russia of the Czars suffered from 
lack of foreign allies, friendly international mag- 
nates and enterprising industrial geniuses. While 
there is the World War to blame for the debacle of 
my own country, I am naturally curious to learn 
the name or the names of the Spanish villains. Why 
should any nation revolt against a king as talented 



and as efficient as the man who sits facing me in this 
narrow room of a provincial French hotel? 

The facts communicated by him so far fail to ex- 
plain the causes of the recent tragedy. Unlike Nich- 
olas II, he ascended the throne fully prepared for 
his royal responsibilities. Contrary to Wilhelm II, 
he possessed a distaste for pose and a genius for con- 
ciliation. And finally, the homogenous character of 
the Spanish population spared him the troubles that 
befell his Austrian relatives. 

Having exhausted my repertory of all-explaining 
parallels, I am obliged to ask the King a possibly 
naive question: 

"What are the principal factors that prepared the 
revolutionary storm of April?" 

His answer comes instantaneously: 

"Thunder on the right and thunder on the left!" 

"Which one of the two was the stronger?" 

"It is the weaker one that caused the greater 
damage. As is always the case, the extreme right 
elements were not sufficiently well organized to 
defeat the attack of their left adversaries, but they 
possessed enough strength to embarrass the throne 
and to deprive it of a possibility of reaching a com- 
promise. Nothing new in this controversy for you, 
Alexander. Very much like Russia, is it not?" 



Very much like Russia, indeed, with our ultra- 
royalists too much engaged in plotting against the 
court to pay any attention to the subterranean 
preparations of the revolutionaries. I am about to 
advance my argument as to the World War having 
played a decisive part in the Russian Revolution, 
when my host anticipates me by pointing at the 
other war, the Spanish-Moroccan war of 1921-1924, 
which in his estimation was largely responsible for 
the "two thunders." This brings back memories of 
Primo de Rivera's dictatorship. 

"Volumes of lies have been written about the 
relations between General Primo de Rivera and 
me/' says the King. "The Spanish radicals accused 
me of encouraging the brave General to seize power 
in 1923. The imaginative magazine-writers exploited 
the theme of the King-versus-the-Dictator-combat. 
The high priests of constitutional law asked heaven 
to bear witness to the fact that the King of Spain 
had violated his oath to the Constitution. The rev- 
olutionaries of all countries called me a crowned 
fascist. I am afraid that we would have to go all the 
way back to 1921 and the tragedy that befell the 
Spanish army in Morocco, to reconstruct the correct 
historical perspective. 

"I grant you that you may find elements of drama 


in these ten pivotal years of my life, but I resent most 
emphatically the attempts at making it look like 
an old-fashioned hair-raising melodrama, with my- 
self cast in the role of a shrewd calculating autocrat 
who is using his generals and ministers like so many 
pawns in a ruthless game of chess. 

"I am well accustomed to being libeled. It is not 
my habit to issue statements and denials. The 
moment I left Madrid I promised myself to refuse 
to be interviewed, and to answer all lies with silence. 
To you, however, I will say this: I did not violate 
my oath; I did not inspire in any manner, shape or 
form the bloodless military coup organized by Primo 
de Rivera and supported by the best element of the 
Spanish army; I spent many sleepless nights think- 
ing of every possible means to prevent a dictatorship 
in Spain and the ensuing dissolution of Parliament. 
I was not a calculating autocrat! When I tell you 
the truth about the events that preceded General 
Primo de Rivera's pronunciamento of September 
i3th, 19253, you will understand that I was then, on 
that tense September night eight years ago, and I 
am now, in the year of our Lord 1931, simply a 
son of Spain willing to make the supreme sacrifice 
for the greater glory of his country!" 






ONCE again I am on my way to Fontainebleau, 
His Catholic Majesty has promised to tell me today 
the dolorous story of his last forty-eight hours in the 
city that had for over twelve centuries been the 
proud capital of his royal forbears. 

Two feelings are vying with each other in my 
heart while I drive through the half-awakened 
streets of Paris, which resemble the scrubbed decks 
of a battleship. As a conscientious reporter, mindful 
of his self-imposed duties, I anticipate the thrilling 
pathos of a supreme tragedy; as a man who sat side 
by side with Czar Nicholas II during the excruci- 
ating days of his abdication and parting from the 
Army, I would much rather not disturb those mem- 
ories. What worries me most of all is the realization 
of the fact that, even though the King of Spain 
escaped the fate of my late brother-in-law, he had 
nevertheless to cover in just forty-eight hours that 
same Calvary of anguish and despair which it took 
the last ruler of Russia twenty-three years to ascend. 
The lightning tempo of the Spanish upheaval makes 
the Russian revolution appear like a landslide photo- 
graphed by a slow-motion camera; but it remains, 



of course, a matter of opinion whether the contin- 
uous clinging to a withered branch on the brink of 
a precipice should be considered less horrible than a 
stone-like fall to its bottom. 

I try to brace up and forget the past. The morning 
is clear and pleasant, but there is a rawness in the 
air suggestive of the approach of bitter storms. The 
roads to Fontainebleau are covered by a thick carpet 
of yellow-and-red leaves. Yellow and red happen to 
be the colors of both autumn and Spain, the royal 
Spain of yesterday. If I am to believe the newspapers, 
the Spain of today is leaning toward a solid red, 
thus employing that self-same color-scheme of all 
revolutions, which calls for a dreamy blue in the 
prologue, relies upon a timid pink in Act One, and 
floods the stage with streams of crimson at the cli- 
max. A straight line leading from initial idealism 
to final slaughter is the course charted by history 
for each and every revolution. 

The secular trees towering over the road to Fon- 
tainebleau bear witness to the struggles of other 
generations who expended their time and zeal and 
sacrificed untold numbers of lives in an equally 
impetuous desire to reach the ever-escaping star of 
universal happiness. More than one flamboyant rev- 
olutionary leader galloped through this majestic 



forest carrying the tremendous news o Liberty, 
Equality and Fraternity to the four corners of 
France; and more than one royal exile returned by 
this spectacular highway, thinking that he who tries 
to save his nation by attempting to change the 
existing regime is merely prescribing death for ill- 
ness. The firebrands of 1793, the bloodthirsty poets 
of 1830, the fanatics who died on the barricades of 
Paris in 1848, the communistic visionaries of 1871 
they all slaughtered their brethren for the greater 
glory of mankind, failing to bring us even an inch 
closer to the ultimate solution of the problem of 

"Let each one sweep in front of his own door, 
and the whole world will be clean." This was the 
recipe for universal happiness written down a cen- 
tury ago by dying Goethe in the album of the 
youthful Sigmund von Arnim; and this is the very 
simple though utterly impractical idea that crosses 
my mind as I alight in front of the Hotel Savoy. 

The sight of gold-braided porters busily engaged 
in handling the baggage of visiting American tour- 
ists brings me back to the realities of 1931. The 
headline of a paper spread on the table in the lobby 
advises me that "epochal results" are expected from 
the coming international conference in Geneva. 



I go upstairs, present my respects to Her Majesty 
the Queen, and escort the King to his study. 

We sit and talk, exchanging our summer impres- 
sions. He has spent his vacation in northern and 
central Europe; and I can tell by the healthy tan on 
his vivid face that the sea-voyage has helped restore 
his physical strength undermined by the ordeal of 
the previous April. His eyes seem shining with new 
energy. He is pacing the floor of the small room 
with brisk strides, a striking picture of a strong 
young man anxious to get back to work and action. 

His thoughts are in Spain more than ever. The 
latest news from his country indicates at least a 
temporary triumph of the radical elements over 
the moderate leaders that headed the Spanish repub- 
lican government in the beginning of the revolution. 
This, however, causes him not nearly as much con- 
cern as the general situation in Europe: several 
weeks have passed since the day of our first meet- 
ing on the soil of France, weeks marked by anxiety 
and the shattering of the world's two greatest illu- 
sions. His Brittanic Majesty's navy has gone on 
strike, and a laconic statement issued by Number 
Ten Downing Street has announced the demise of 
the gold standard of the pound. The old continent 



is dangerously ill. It is running a high temperature 
and is muttering incoherent phrases of sadly belated 

The King dwells upon the events in England and 
the external signs of acute economic depression no- 
ticed by him throughout central Europe. Half-laugh- 
ingly he tells of the reporters that pursued him 
during his voyage, never tiring in their efforts to get 
a "personal interview." It amazes him that practi- 
cally none of those very experienced journalists dis- 
played any ability to comprehend that the fate of 
Spain depends in the long run not on the pronounce- 
ments of its king or its republican government, but 
on the outcome of the present world crisis. 

"I wish the people would finally realize," he 
exclaims with a mixture of impatience and sorrow, 
"that from the very beginning of the Spanish politi- 
cal crisis, which dates some twelve years back, my 
country has suffered the unavoidable consequences 
of a grave condition which originated far beyond 
its borders! At first it was the famous Armistice 
madness that spelled revolutions, strikes and riots. 
Then we were called upon to pay our share of the 
price exacted from the world-at-large by the exi- 
gencies of the economic readjustment. Everybody, 
Alexander, has paid, and is still paying, for the late 



war, the neutral nations as well as the belligerent 
ones. No mountains were high enough and no ocean 
was sufficiently wide to protect a nation against the 
onrush of the post-war calamities. The United 
States, the South American republics, the British 
dominions, each and every country under the sun 
was given a grim lesson in solidarity! It would take 
a person very nai've indeed to imagine that a mere 
king could have fought single-handed against the 
forces of destruction unchained by the war. Were I 
to live these past twelve years anew, I doubt whether 
I would be capable of finding a program of action 
differing from that which I followed in 1919-1931. 
"I am going to give you a brief outline of the 
main political events that took place in my country 
since the day of the Armistice, and I shall leave it 
to you to decide as to what was right and what was 
wrong in the policies of the Throne of Spain/' 

WHILE listening to the King's speech, I can not 
help thinking that at least a half-score of the present 
leaders of great democracies would have good rea- 
son to sympathize whole-heartedly with the Spanish 
sovereign. For one thing, President Hoover would 
be justified in recalling to his disgruntled fellow- 
citizens that "no ocean is sufficiently wide" to save 


a nation from getting its grim lesson in solidarity 
with the suffering world. 

The King commences his story with the "cannon 
of the Armistice" a clarion call of a new Joy which 
turned out to be the signal of an approaching Flood. 

While shrewd calculating statesmen, true to their 
habit of decorous deceit, are bargaining around 
the oblong table in Versailles, the nations repre- 
sented by them emphatically refuse to return to 
the former routine of life. The younger generation 
vaguely feels that it has been "done in" by its elders. 
Partly inspired by their own just resentment, and 
partly goaded on by the communistic propaganda 
of Moscow, they are willing to listen only to the 
prophets of "direct action." A wave of political 
unrest rolls over the belligerent countries. When 
it reaches the neutral ones, it stirs up the workers, 
who had been accustomed to exaggerated wages 
during the four fabulous years of inflated prosperity, 
and who find it impossible to adjust their newly 
developed tastes to the scale of prices which pre- 
vailed before 1914. The three neutral kingdoms of 
Scandinavia are able to wade through that extremely 
dangerous period, thanks to the coolness of their 
national temperament; but in Spain the unrest 
attains the proportions of a veritable catastrophe. 


A perennial desire for a radical change of the 
existing regime seems to be in the very marrow of 
the Latin race; not unlike their Italian cousins, 
who have seized factories and mills in Turin and 
Milan, the workers of Barcelona create a state of 
complete anarchy in no time. They are headed by a 
formidable organization known as the "Sindicado 
Unico/' which combines an arch-communistic pro- 
gram with the methods of the Mafia and the Black 

"A FEW statistics will suffice," says the King. "Dur- 
ing the year of 1921 alone, three hundred and 
twenty-seven employers of labor in Barcelona, and 
one hundred and sixty-seven workers who would 
not bow to the dictates of the Sindicado Unico, 
were assassinated by its agents. The same fate befell 
the eighty-year-old Cardinal Soldeville y Romero, 
the Archbishop of Saragossa, and my capable Prime 
Minister Dato. For the next two years it looked as 
though no government at all existed in Spain. Anar- 
chy reigned supreme. As a constitutional king, I 
had to follow the decisions of Parliament; I regret 
to say that the persons chosen by Parliament to 
head the government were lacking both in courage 
and in ability. 



"While my army was engaged in fighting the 
native bandits in Morocco, the ministers intrigued 
and the parliamentarians talked. Everybody in the 
outside world knows about the disaster that befell 
my army in Mellila in the summer of 1951; but 
very few people are aware of the fact that Parliament 
had been directly responsible for that disaster, hav- 
ing refused to vote the necessary military credits. 
The foreign editorial writers, so fond of blaming 
the throne of Spain for the defeat of the Spanish 
army rarely mention the revolting fact that no mu- 
nitions had been supplied by the Spanish Govern- 
ment to its officers and soldiers, who had to die in 
Morocco because the World War had discredited 
the white man in the eyes of the natives and led the 
Moroccan bandits to believe that the time was ripe 
to get rid of the foreign conquerors. 

"What I am trying to explain to you is this: the 
Moroccan war was forced upon Spain by circum- 
stances which were not of our making, while our 
initial defeat should be credited to the same poli- 
ticians who afterward said that the King of Spain 
had broken his oath to the Constitution. I can blame 
myself for just one thing: I was too much of a con- 
stitutional King in the years of the after-war anarchy. 
Had I been willing to ignore the voice of Parlia- 


ment, Spain would have been spared both the humil- 
iation in Morocco and the ensuing dictatorship at 
home. As it was, I was firm in my determination to 
keep my oath and to remain a strictly constitutional 

HE stops, lights a new cigarette. His jaw is firmly 
set, his eyes aglow with indignation. This dispute 
as to whether he has kept or broken his oath to the 
Constitution may appear somewhat theoretical to 
outsiders; but to him it is a question of vital impor- 
tance. He wants to prove that no matter how his 
heart bled and his common sense revolted, he has 
kept aloof from the political strife and was ready to 
tolerate Parliament as long as it had the support of 
the people. Only those who have lived in the atmos- 
phere of a palace, and in proximity to a man 
regarded as a near-god by popular fancy, can esti- 
mate the depth of his anguish. To be obliged always 
to remain on the sidelines and to watch the tobog- 
gan-slide of one's own country in helpless sorrow 
I know of no more cruel torture. 

After a short pause, the King continues his de- 
scription of the years of anarchy that followed the 
Armistice madness and the Moroccan war. 



"In 1931-1923 the Spanish Government failed 
the Nation, while the Spanish Parliament failed the 
Army. Such was the only logical conclusion to be 
drawn by any unbiased observer. I need not tell you 
of the indignation of the generals, officers and sol- 
diers. Returning home from Morocco, they minced 
no words in denouncing the politicians. Not versed 
in the intricacies of constitutional law, they looked 
with amazement in the direction of the royal 
palace. What was the matter with their King? He 
was supposed to be their friend, and yet he had toler- 
ated a parliament that voted down military credits. 
He was the ruler of Spain, and yet he had permitted 
the anarchist murderers of Barcelona to escape thus 
far unpunished. 

"What could I have answered to my warriors? 
Reduced to inactivity, I was likewise bound by 
still another constitutional obligation of mine 
that which expected the throne to keep a glorified 
silence and make no speeches except the ones pre- 
pared by the ministers. The latter thought I should 
take their part and order a severe chastisement of 
the patriotic generals. It was unbearable. Things 
were going from bad to worse. By late summer of 
1 923 the relations between the Army on one side and 
the Government and Parliament on the other had 



reached a state of open conflict. I continued to listen 
to all and to keep a strict neutrality. 

"!N September I left for San Sebastian, where 
society and members of the diplomatic corps usually 
spent their vacations, Mr. Alexander Moore, then 
the Ambassador of the United States in Spain, 
accompanied me. He felt greatly concerned about 
the political situation in Madrid, and generously 
volunteered his advice, disclosing a profound knowl- 
edge of American politics which have little, if any- 
thing, in common with the procedure followed by 
the Spanish Parliament. 

"Late at night on September isth, I received the 
sensational news of the coup d'etat organized by the 
military governor of Barcelona, General Primo de 
Rivera. Announcing his decision to restore order 
in Spain, the General referred in his pronuncia- 
mento posted in the streets of Barcelona to 'the 
immorality of the Government, its disastrous Mo- 
roccan policy and its abandonment of public author- 
ity/ He was particularly harsh in denouncing the 
Minister of Foreign Affairs, Senor Santiago Alba, 
who happened to be on that night a guest in my 
Miramar Palace in San Sebastian. Later on Senor 
Alba claimed that I was all the time aware of the 



preparations made in Barcelona, and that I had 
invited him to San Sebastian so as to deprive the 
Madrid Government of his valuable advice. I need 
not answer this childish accusation. 

"During the night I received numerous telegrams 
from Madrid and from abroad. It appeared that my 
ambassadors in Paris, London and Rome were 
informed by General de Rivera of his program, 
which was expressed by the straightforward General 
in the following terms: 'Peace is our motto, but 
peace founded on dignity abroad and salutary 
severity at home/ Sitting in San Sebastian, it was 
difficult to decide whether General de Rivera was 
right in his claims that the whole Army was in back 
of him, or whether the Madrid Government was 
nearer the truth when it described his movement as 
a ridiculous attempt by an uncouth soldier. 

"Next morning I left for Madrid. Ambassador 
Moore traveled with me. This excellent man became 
obviously agitated, it being his first experience with 
a Spanish revolution. He produced a diminutive 
automatic pistol and said that if it came to the worst, 
he would place both his life and his gun at my dis- 
posal. I thanked him for this magnificent offer, but 
begged him to put the deadly weapon back in his 
hip pocket. 


"Immediately on my arrival in Madrid I became 
submerged in a pool of contradictory rumors. Prime 
Minister Alhucemas thought I should declare Gen- 
eral de Rivera an enemy of the people. As a speech 
it sounded extremely firm. As a practical measure 
it meant nothing. In the presence of all the minis- 
ters I asked Alhucemas a point-blank question: 'Con- 
sidering the present mood of the Army, can you 
guarantee to restore order in Spain and protect the 
Crown and the Government? He answered that he 
could not guarantee a thing but General de Rivera 
should be court-martialed anyway! 

"While we sat in endless conference, the news was 
brought in that even the Madrid generals were 
adhering to the Barcelona governor's movement. 
Simultaneously General de Rivera sent me a tele- 
gram guaranteeing the maintenance of civil order, 
loyalty to the Crown, and the restitution of all con- 
stitutional liberties as soon as the anarchy was sup- 
pressed. The last line of his telegram read: "Long 
live the King, long live Spain, long live the Army' 
"It became clear to me that the choice between 
Alhucemas and General de Rivera amounted to 
choosing between a certain debacle and possible sal- 
vation. I wired General de Rivera to come to Madrid 
at once. The ministers said that I was breaking my 



oath to the Constitution, but the outside world 
answered the news of General de Rivera's triumph 
by marking up the quotations of the peseta and of 
all Spanish securities. 

"This is the whole of the story of my so-called 
participation in the coup d'etat of General Primo 
de Rivera. It differs, no doubt, from that very pop- 
ular version which tends to represent me as a perfidi- 
ous Bourbon, outwitting the innocent ministers of 
Spain, but real facts somehow have a peculiar charm 
of their own." 

The King shrugs his shoulders and looks faintly 
amused. Thirty years on the throne have developed 
in him an extreme leniency toward the imagination 
of excitable "eyewitnesses." The subject he is about 
to broach will put his impartiality to an acid test: 
so much has been written on both sides of the 
Atlantic of the alleged jealousy between the King 
and the Dictator that I am curious to hear his 
appraisal of Primo de Rivera's personality. 

"General de Rivera was a military man, first and 
last/' he begins, weighing each one of his words. 
"He possessed all the qualities and all the limitations 
of a career-officer raised in the army. Perfect honesty 
and a complete absence of egotistical purposes were 
his two outstanding virtues. The figure of a fine dis- 


ciplinarian he presented, making a religion of duty, 
will remain forever a striking and a lonely contrast 
against a background made by dense crowds of hus- 
tling and jostling masters of intrigue. As a politician, 
the General was a pure improvisation built up with 
the aid of his enormous adaptability and his knack of 
getting down to the substance of things. A man of 
no particular culture, he was obliged to rely upon 
his natural intelligence, which circumstance proved 
beneficial, in many instances protecting his judg- 
ment from the influence of prejudices invariably 
imposed by all schools of thought and all systems 
of mental training. 

"A champion of common sense, he succeeded in 
pleasing the nation as long as the distasteful mem- 
ories of ever-talking Parliament stayed fresh in the 
mind of the man-in-the-street. Having had no exper- 
ience, however, in the art of keeping the voters 
excited, he overestimated the longevity of the appeal 
to common sense. Toward the end it suddenly 
dawned on him that the people were interested not 
only in constructive achievements but likewise in 
a semblance of free public opinion provided by 
Parliament. Just as he was about to propose a new 
set of legislative reforms, he discovered for himself 
that the nation had become tired of him. He was a 




man who had stayed too long! In his desire to build 
a powerful Spain, he showed no patience in deal- 
ing with the demagogues. I suppose he did make a 
few mistakes, insignificant from the point of view of 
the welfare of Spain, but fatal for his standing with 
the masses. 

"I WOULD like to remember General Primo de 
Rivera as an unselfish administrator who did things 
and promoted the progress of the country. During 
his regime civil order had been restored, five thou- 
sand new public schools opened, thousands of 
miles of highways built, and most remarkable 
achievement of all the budget of the kingdom bal- 
anced for the first time in over fifty years. His sincere 
willingness to cooperate with France combined with 
my old pro-French sympathies made it possible for 
us to pacify Morocco, working hand in hand with 
the army of the Gallic republic. This in turn created 
new possibilities for Spanish foreign trade and the 
Spanish merchants. 

"It would not be an exaggeration to say that in 
the six years of Primo de Rivera's regime, Spain 
had made a step forward which under ordinary cir- 
cumstances would have taken at least twenty years. 
For the first time since the era of the Napoleonic 


wars, the country had been spared the handicaps im- 
posed by political unrest and the slowness of a par- 
liamentarian mechanism. It is rather significant that 
the end of this highly beneficial regime coincided 
with the commencement of an acute European eco- 
nomic crisis. In other words, once more Spain had to 
suffer for other people's blunders, and once more its 
unceremonious politicians were to exploit an inter- 
national calamity for the sake of their own glorifi- 

"Primo de Rivera came to power because the 
nation revolted against the demagogues. Primo de 
Rivera had to quit because the nation, having recov- 
ered its breath, was growing restless without its 
demagogues. His success was made possible by a six- 
year period of comparative prosperity of the world. 
His failure was precipitated by the wave of a general 
depression. While the business men prospered and 
the workers were employed, all good things were 
credited to General de Rivera and to the absence of 
Parliament. The moment the merchants encoun- 
tered the unbreakable wall of the world crisis, and 
the laborers had to cope with the slackening tempo 
of production, all calamities were laid at the door of 
the selfsame dictator, and a cry was raised for the 
convocation of a Parliament. 



"This explanation may not sound very logical, 
for the simple reason that no trace of logic is ever 
to be discerned in the emotional fits governing the 
actions of the masses. It usually takes a historian liv- 
ing many years afterward to substitute scientific 
formulae for shouts and yells. I expect that my 
grandchildren will read a much more coherent story 
of Primo de Rivera's rise and fall than that which I 
witnessed with my own eyes." 

The King talks like a practical philosopher. He 
does not mean to be sarcastic. He is simply striving 
to keep off the beaten track of hackneyed all-explain- 
ing theories. No man could remain in a royal pal- 
ace as long as he did, without acquiring the habit of 
looking slightly above the heads of his contempo- 
raries. The royal profession is a school of tolerance. 
A king in exile learns to forget nothing and forgive 
almost everything. There is no bitterness in his 
heart. Just pure undiluted pity. We both know 
without telling it to each other in so many words 
that, not unlike a babbling infant, a nation dearly 
loves to play with matches. 

A MOMENT of silence ensues, with his thoughts in 
Spain, mine in Russia; then the King proceeds with 
his description of the last act of the Spanish tragedy. 


"It would have taken a much greater thinker than 
General Primo de Rivera to recognize that the 
march o world events had made the further applica- 
tion of his methods impossible and that his resigna- 
tion was imperative. The poor General quit with 
a broken heart. Astounded by the ingratitude of the 
people, he left for Paris, and died shortly afterward. 

"Another general, Damaso Berenguer, was called 
to replace the fallen dictator. You may ask why I 
chose still another soldier. Because only an outsider 
free from political entanglements and party alle- 
giances could be entrusted with the execution of a 
great national program that included the prepara- 
tions for general elections. The Army trusted Gen- 
eral Berenguer; and in such trying times, no govern- 
ment could succeed unless supported by the best ele- 
ments of the Army. Do not forget that until the very 
last day I trusted my Army implicitly. I called myself 
'the first soldier of Spain/ and would never have 
believed, not even for a second, that my officers and 
soldiers could break the ties of our lifelong friend- 
ship and cooperation. 

"General Berenguer was not a miracle-worker. 
He tried his best, but the best of a Spanish general 
was obviously not sufficiently good to bring back 
financial prosperity while the entire world was still 



ailing. The depression continued in Spain as much 
as in England, Germany and the United States. 
More workers were discharged by the shutting-down 
of industries, and fewer customers entered the 
deserted shops of the Spanish merchants. Detailed 
statistics and profound economic discourses were 
never able to appease the anger of a suffering nation. 
People believe in panaceas, and in moments of dis- 
tress they are likely to turn to magicians and political 
mountebanks. Long before General Berenguer had 
a chance to do the groundwork for his reforms, the 
Spanish nation deprived him of their confidence/* 

"People believe in panaceas." To me these words 
sound rather American. . . . Unless I am very 
much mistaken, the present master of the White 
House used a similar phrase in his Valley Forge 
speech. I am quite certain, in any event, that, not un- 
like my august host, the President of the United 
States has learned to his dismay that "detailed statis- 
tics and profound economic discourses were never 
able to appease the anger of a suffering nation" and 
that "in moments of distress people are likely to turn 
to the magicians and political mountebanks." Had it 
not been for the latter characteristics of all nations 
stricken by an economic crisis, the American busi- 
ness men would hardly have displayed their present 


exaggerated interest in the "achievements" o the 
Soviet Union and would have realized that no unem- 
ployment exists today in Russia for the same simple 
reason that no colored slaves were ever known to 
be out of jobs even in the leanest years of the Louisi- 
ana plantations. 

The King continues: "Statesmen of wisdom and 
friends of proven sincerity told me that the govern- 
ment of Berenguer would not be able to last till 
the elections and that immediate "radical changes" 
were imperative. By that time, I confess I was feeling 
weary of generalities and platitudes. The expression 
"radical changes" contained no practical advice. If 
the people were dissatisfied with Berenguer, there 
should be someone else capable of pleasing 
them. . . . 

"In February 1931 I came to the conclusion that 
a chance should be given to that political party 
which had advocated the convocation of a parliament 
invested with the extraordinary powers of making 
changes in the Constitution and prosecuting the 
allegedly guilty members of the former cabinets. 
Therefore I invited two leaders of the radical party, 
Sanchez Guerra and Melquiades Alvarez to come 
to my Palace. I explained to them that according 
to my understanding of the duties of a constitutional 



monarch I should propose to them the forming of a 
government. Both gentlemen praised my 'loyalty to 
the people* and my sincere patriotism, but at the 
same time declined the task. For reasons too obvious 
to warrant an explanation, they preferred to remain 
the chiefs of the irresponsible opposition rather 
than the heads of a government entrusted with the 
salvation of the country! 

"Had it been my first experience with the elo- 
quent champions of the common people, I would 
have been frightfully indignant. As it was, I smiled 
a rather knowing smile. The leaders of other par- 
ties, to whom I communicated this decision of 
Senores Sanchez Guerra and Melquiades Alvarez, 
expressed no surprise whatsoever. Politics was always 
like this, they said gravely, and suggested my form- 
ing a coalition cabinet. I agreed at once, distributing 
the portfolios between the chiefs of several different 
parties. Following their advice, Admiral Aznar, a 
man respected by all parties, was made Prime Minis- 
ter. The program of the new cabinet emphasized 
the economic problems and promised to hold muni- 
cipal and legislative elections at an early date. 

"Everybody predicted glorious success for the 
coalition government. The English newspapers 
referred to me as a 'master politician of the world/ 


The population of Madrid gave me a vociferous 
ovation. The Queen, returning from London, was 
met by a reception seldom if ever accorded any liv- 
ing sovereign. The people shouted with joy at seeing 
her again; they threw flowers at her feet; they 
grasped and kissed her hands, and they sang songs 
glorifying the reigning house. All this took place in 
the month of February, 1931 that is to say, barely 
two months before the final upheaval. 

"I AM certain that even the most rabid revolution- 
aries believed at that time in the absolute security 
of the throne. It could not have been otherwise. The 
new government fulfilled each one of its promises. 
It arranged the release of the imprisoned republi- 
can leaders. It granted a pardon to an army captain 
who had headed the revolt in the fortress of Jaca. 
It succeeded in obtaining an important loan in the 
United States, making the coming stabilization of 
the peseta possible. It gave its unreserved attention 
to the organization of the relief for the unemployed. 
And it finally set the date for the municipal elec- 
tions on April isth, a rapidity that caused a complete 
surprise to the republicans. 

"My ministers and I were equally aware of the 
importance of these elections. For the first time in 



almost ten years the Spanish nation was going to 
express its political preferences. In order to be sure 
of the popular feeling, all measures had been taken 
to guarantee the unhindered freedom of the voters' 
choice. The throne was prepared to bow before the 
judgment of the people. 

"On the evening of Sunday, April the isth, I sat 
in my palace in Madrid waiting to hear the verdict. 
I realized the important part to be played by the 
grievances of the workers and merchants, and I 
expected to see the triumph of the extreme left 
parties in the large centers. I did not doubt, however, 
that the pro-governmental vote of the rural dis- 
tricts of Spain would be quite sufficient to overrule 
the cities. 

"Shortly before midnight I learned the bitter 
truth. Nearly seventy per cent of my subjects had 
voted a straight republican ticket. I can not say that 
I was the most surprised man in Spain. My astonish- 
ment was mild compared to that of the republican 
leaders! The biggest optimists among them counted 
on carrying from twenty-five to thirty per cent of the 
seats instead of which they suddenly found them- 
selves in possession of an overwhelming majority. As 
for myself, I felt like a man calling on an old friend 
and anticipating the pleasure of a cheerful evening, 



only to discover that his friend has just passed 

The King is calm and cooL Even now when his 
narrative is approaching the last forty-eight hours 
spent by him on the soil of Spain, he is able to 
maintain the poise of a philosopher. 

"THERE was not a moment to be wasted," contin- 
ues the King. "The results of the elections showed 
that I had lost, at least temporarily, my people's 
love. While I still had ample means at my disposal to 
protect the prerogatives of the throne, I had no 
intention of using them: I never considered myself 
infallible! No matter what was going to happen to 
me personally, I wanted to prevent bloodshed at 
all cost. 

"In the early morning of Monday, April the igth, 
I called in my ministers to discuss the situation. 
Count Romanones, my Minister of Foreign Affairs, 
had spent a night haunted by a peculiar dream; it 
seemed to him he was suddenly transported to Rus- 
sia in 1917 and made witness of the frightful end 
that befell the Czar and his family. He begged me to 
leave Spain at once. He predicted the possibility of 
an ugly outburst on the part of the triumphant 
revolutionaries. He doubted the loyalty of the Army. 


"I was obliged to remind Count Romanones of 
the answer given by me in 1905 to the French Presi- 
dent Loubet, right after we both had escaped the 
bomb of a terrorist: 'Such are the risks of the Royal 
trade.' I love life as much as anyone else, but as a king 
I had to think of my country above all. I visualized 
the dangers inevitably accompanying all changes of 
regime, and I wanted to make one more effort to 
save Spain from a catastrophe. Inasmuch as my peo- 
ple had voted for the republicans, I thought I should 
have a talk with the leaders of the triumphant par- 
ty. Seiior Zamora, the future president of the Span- 
ish Republican Government, was invited by me to 
the palace and received my offer to form a cabinet. 
He said no. The wine of victory had gone to his 

"At five o'clock in the afternoon of Tuesday, 
April the i4th, I bade good-by to my ministers. 
Half an hour later Miguel Maura, a man of consid- 
erable showmanship, proclaimed the Republic in 
his speech delivered from the balcony of the City 
HalL At nine o'clock that night Admiral Rivera 
brought three powerful automobiles to the palace 
door. It had been decided that I would motor to the 
port of Cartagena, where a battle-cruiser would wait 
to take me to France. My wife and children were 


to leave by train the next morning, the Republican 
Government having guaranteed their safety. 

"!T is an eight-hour ride from Madrid to Carta- 
gena. My faithful collaborator the Duke of Miranda, 
and my cousin Alphonse de Bourbon accompanied 
me in one of the three automobiles; the other two 
were occupied by Admiral Rivera, a few loyal offi- 
cers, my valet and my hand-baggage. We drove at 
an average speed of sixty miles per hour. While 
passing through towns and villages, I heard the 
shouts of celebrating crowds; but the night was 
pitch-dark, and I could not discern those fields and 
groves of Spain that I had known for forty-five 
years. I was worried about my wife and children. I 
hoped to God the republicans would be able to keep 
their word. Otherwise I felt a deep moral satisfac- 
tion at having prevented the calamity of a civil war. 
All during that night just one thought possessed 
my mind: 'It is better to go into exile than to be 
responsible for bloodshed/ 

"At four o'clock in the morning we arrived at 
the port of Cartagena and were met by Admiral 
Magar, commander of the local naval arsenal. He 
and his staff seemed crestfallen at this sudden turn of 
events. They talked to me in hoarse whispers, break- 


ing down with emotion. Shaking hands with them, I 
said: 'Gentlemen, I have preserved my traditions 
intact. Long live Spain!* A few minutes later I was 
aboard the cruiser Principe Alfonso, and we weighed 
anchor for Marseilles. The lights of the shore, pale 
in the dense fog of dawn, grew dimmer. The com- 
mander asked me what ensign he should hoist on 
the mast- Under ordinary circumstances he would 
of course have raised the Royal standard. To pro- 
tect him from the rancor of the Republican Govern- 
ment, I advised him to hoist the national flag of 
Spain. Then I went to my cabin. Anticipating a 
manifestation of the idle curiosity of the world, I 
gave orders riot to answer any radios from shore. 
And well I did! Hardly had we cleared port, when 
the messages began to pour in: the American corre- 
spondents wanted to know all about my plans and 
my destination; one of them suggested my answering 
a long questionnaire. ... I had to laugh. There I 
was, exhausted by three sleepless nights and living 
through the darkest hours of my life, and they 
expected me to give them a short outline of world 
history! When an hour passed, bringing no answer 
to their radios, they informed their newspapers that 
our cruiser was evidently 'lost' somewhere in the 


"We reached Marseilles before dawn on Thurs- 
day, April the i6th, several hours earlier than was 
expected by the French authorities. The port was 
deserted, and it took my valet quite a time to find 
a taxi. Just as I was about to drive away, a young 
man stepped out of the darkness and said 'Your Maj- 
esty, would you grant me a short interview? I repre- 
sent . . . 

"My dear fellow/' I interrupted him, "try to be 
kind even if it hurts you and leave me alone/' My 
voice must have carried a certain amount of per- 
suasion, because he bowed and stepped aside. Three 
hours later I met him again at the railroad station, 
at the head of an army of reporters. Fortunately, 
by that time the French had the situation well in 
hand. ... It was while answering the queries of 
the French Admiral Jaubert in Marseilles that I 
said: "You are surprised to see me here? You want 
to know how it all happened? Well, Admiral, it is 
much more difficult to fulfill one's civic duty than 
to charge a crowd at the head of a squadron of cav- 
alry/ 1 It was before leaving Marseilles for Paris that 
I issued a manifesto explaining that my departure 
from Spain should in no way be construed as an 
abdication. The months that have passed since that 
day have failed to alter my feelings in that respect. I 


still maintain that I have voluntarily ceased to exer- 
cise my authority, and that I shall wait for future 
developments. My love for Spain alone dictated 
that decision, and I hope to God that all other Span- 
iards now and in years to come will hear the call of 
duty as clearly as I have. . . . " 

"AFTER the present world crisis, what? Will Eur- 
ope be able to return to economic sanity? will the 
Monroe Doctrine prove as effective in saving the 
Americas from the far-reaching claws of Bolshevism 
as it has been in protecting their sovereignty against 
the threats of the Nineteenth Century European 
powers? Right now I know of no other question of 
equal importance." 

These questions interest the King as we talk of 
the future: his own, his children's, that of his coun- 
try smoldering in its revolution and that of the 
world at large. 

The King feels restless and tells me he does not 
at all enjoy the "freedom" of which all monarchs 
are in the habit of dreaming. After thirty years 
spent in constant fulfillment of rigorous duties, he 
finds it irksome to idle his days away. Otherwise he 


has no complaint to make. Of course we both are 
aware of the gigantic campaign of calumny launched 
against him by the Spanish revolutionaries, but 
striving as I am, I cannot discern the slightest trace 
of anger in his finely shaped face, so detached and 
so typically Bourbonesque in moments of repose. 
He realizes that he is approaching the crucial turn 
in the life of a royal exile, obliged to maintain unin- 
terrupted silence while the foulest libels are being 
spread abroad; and that very knowledge makes him 
straighten up to the full height of his moral stature. 
He is willing to face this new danger in the way a 
King and Christian should pitying his ruthless 
aggressors, and trying to condone their actions. 

"Do you remember, Alexander/' he asks me with 
a slight smile, "that old venerable legend about a 
queer creature that was born with the divine head 
of an angel and the loathsome body of a monster? 
As you no doubt recall, so extremely fascinating were 
its facial features, that not until a year had gone by 
did anyone notice its hairy limbs, its shapeless mas- 
sive breast and its hooflike feet. And then its beauti- 
ful face suddenly commenced to acquire a new and 
savage expression, and everybody raised the cry, 'A 
monster!' I say the revelation came at the end of the 
first year; but for all I really know, it may have taken 



an even longer period. It seems to me that you 
Russians have had quite an experience mistaking 
monsters for angels. . . . How long did it take your 
people to recognize their frightful mistake?" 

I can see the half-sarcastic, half-romantic gist of 
his parallel between a revolution and a monster; 
but this does not make it easier for me to answer 
his question. 

"Some of the Russians/' I finally reply with a sigh, 
"noticed the hoofs the very first day of our revolu- 
tion; but others are still hypnotized by what is 
left of the divine light in the monster's eyes." 

"Just what I thought," comments the King; "ap- 
parently it all depends on the viciousness of the mon- 
ster and the gullibility of the people. In any event, I 
am extremely fond of this legend, and I do think it 
is an excellent symbol of the present Spanish revolu- 
tion. In the beginning the latter was referred to by 
everybody as the 'elegant revolution/ but very soon 
hundreds of lives were sacrificed in senseless riots 
and religious brawls. At this date, after but a few 
short months of sway, the 'elegant revolution' is 
responsible for a much greater number of deaths 
than the thirty years of my reign. It stands to reason 
that the Spanish people are now likely to raise the 
cry, 'A monster/ any day. 


"What is there left for the revolutionary leaders 
to do in order to justify their inability to keep their 
promises of 'immediate happiness for air? Just one 
thing: they must find a scapegoat whom they can 
blame for the misfortunes brought by their rule. 
Hence the present outburst of calumnies and hatred 
against the King of Spain. Hence the Republican 
Parliament's decision to sit as a self-styled supreme 
tribunal to judge my imaginary crimes. This dis- 
graceful comedy at the same time provides the revo- 
lutionaries with an excuse for the confiscation of 
my personal property in Spain. If this only could 
help the Spanish people, I would have nothing to 
say and no complaint to make/' 

The King is obviously not in a mood to discuss 
his financial affairs at any greater length. In his esti- 
mation any grievances he may have against the Span- 
ish revolutionary government are rather insignifi- 
cant, compared with the vast problems occupying his 
mind. The subject is painful, but I venture to press 
him for more details. The American and the Euro- 
pean papers almost daily dedicate considerable 
space to the idle discussion of the "millions amassed 
and lost by the King of Spain." It seems to me his 
own statement would help to settle this matter once 
and forever. 


The King explains that persons keenly interested 
in counting other people's money do not under- 
stand the difference between the property of the 
Crown of Spain and that of the King. While each 
and every revolutionary government invariably 
takes possession of the palaces, lands and museums 
belonging to the Crown it replaces, only the Russian 
bolsheviks so far have appropriated the personal 
estates of the former Monarch and his relatives. The 
present French Republic (established in 1871) 
never attempted to confiscate that which belonged to 
the members of the Bourbon, the Orleans, the Guise 
and the Bonaparte families. The German Republic 
paid a huge sum of money to the former Kaiser 
for hjs estates sequestered by the Reich. The Portu- 
guese Republic made a similar settlement with form* 
er King Manuel. In fact, it became almost an un- 
written law governing the relations between a fallen 
sovereign and the triumphant revolutionaries, that 
the former be given the choice of either continuing 
to hold or selling his possessions. That is why the 
attitude taken by the revolutionary government of 
Spain bewilders not only the King himself, but like- 
wise all the legal experts in historical precedent. 

"Everything that I possess in Spain/' says the 
King, "has been either inherited by me from my 


grandmother and mother, or purchased with my 
own funds. Most of my estates were never run on a 
profit-making basis; they represent valuable histor- 
ical monuments which I tried to preserve for future 

"When my mother, Queen Maria-Christina, 
bought the Miramar Palace in St. Sebastian, it was 
just a cottage. She spent a great deal of money, time 
and perseverance in erecting the buildings, which 
today attract universal admiration. My palace of 
Santander, situated on the spot where I used to hold 
the annual regatta, although presented to me by the 
city, was rebuilt and redecorated entirely out of my 
own funds. The same condition exists in regard to 
my Barcelona palace. 

"I CAN not understand what law can give the 
Republican Government power to confiscate my 
personal estates. So long as the institution of private 
property continues to exist in Spain, I should be 
accorded by the Government the same rights and 
protection as any other Spaniard. As far as the sei- 
zure of my bank-accounts and securities is concerned, 
no comment is necessary: the Republican Govern- 
ment is well aware of having committed a glaring 
infringement of my rights. It could think of no other 

Wide World photo 


way o explaining its illegal actions except ordering 
the newspapers to attack my character and record. 

"What can I say? No king can qualify for his job 
unless prepared to endure the ingratitude of his 
people. My life is an open book; it can be read by 
any man, Spaniard or other, who is capable of dis- 
tinguishing real facts from the libelous products of 
a malicious mind. I do not care to repeat those vile 
accusations. I am quite certain that you and everyone 
else have read them in the newspapers, both here 
and in America. A day does not pass without this 
or that foreign journalist getting Fontainebleau on 
the wire and demanding to know what I have to 
say in reply to the calumnies of the unscrupulous 
politicians, I have nothing to say, now or at any 
future time/' 

While he speaks, coolly and reservedly, some of 
the clippings shown to me in Fontainebleau and 
Paris come to my mind. The contemptible mud- 
throwers have used every low trick and every das- 
tardly invention to revile the character of the man 
who forsook his kingdom in order to spare his peo- 
ple the calamity of a civil war. The Madrid corre- 
spondent of a Porto Rican paper advised his far-away 
readers that, according to the "latest discoveries," 
the King of Spain was not the son of King Alfonso 


XII, but an illegitimate child of Queen Maria-Chris- 
tina by her paramour, a well-known leader of the 
Spanish revolutionaries. . . . The Paris correspond- 
ent of an American newspaper, having exhausted 
his repertory of calumnies about the King himself, 
deemed it in good taste to invent a tale of some "un- 
foreseen complications" keeping the two daughters 
of the King from marrying their fiances. . . . Half 
a score of Madrid newspapers announced in bold 
type that the King was in the habit of "squandering 
the people's money," but they failed to provide any 
documents or other proofs to substantiate their 

There is nothing more repelling than the spec- 
tacle of a crowd of cowards attacking the man whose 
favors they were soliciting but yesterday. My heart 
goes out to the King. I need not tell him of my sym- 
pathy. He knows what my relatives and I have gone 
through: for one solid year after the Russian 
debacle, no publisher considered his "revolutionary 
duty" fulfilled unless his paper contained daily sev- 
eral columns of the vilest lies about the House of 
the Romanoffs. Looking at the horrible Porto Rican 
clipping, I cannot help recalling how one gray 
morning of 1917 I woke up to discover that my 


ancestor Peter the Great was nothing more than a 

As though reading my thoughts, the King remarks 

"It is as it should have been expected. Through- 
out the ages the masters of libel were guided in 
their doings by the old French saying: 'Calomniez, 
calomniez il en restera toujours quelque chose/ 
('Go on and libel some of it is bound to strike 
home/) All of them are hoping that at least a few 
listeners will be ignorant enough to believe their 
inventions. Humans will be humans, and the bread 
of exile will forever retain its bitter taste. Let us 
not talk about it any more. I repeat, nothing can 
make me happier than to see the welfare of the 
Spanish people bought at the price of my personal 

The King commences to talk about his children. 
Unlike the Queen, who is extremely worried about 
their future, he believes that they will make their 
own way in life. 

He has just placed his youngest boy in the Uni- 
versity of Louvain in Belgium, and he is looking 
forward to seeing the fiances of his two daughters 
graduate from an engineering school in Switzerland. 


I no new developments take place in the mean- 
while in Spain, he is willing to let his youngsters 
try their luck in America. 

As to his own personal plans, he prefers to main- 
tain a policy of "watchful waiting/' He has read the 
newspaper tales of the "fabulous bank-accounts" he 
is supposed to have in England and the United 
States, but he does not wish to break the hearts of 
the editors by asking them to take several ciphers 
off the figures mentioned in their publications. 

"Fortunately," he exclaims laughingly, "I do not 
have to consult the newspapers in making my plans 
for the future. Otherwise I would be in a complete 
quandary as to which particular 'special dispatch* 
of an unusually well-informed correspondent should 
guide my decision. Within one single week I was re- 
ported as having bought a castle in France, a palace 
in Czecho-Slovakia, a farm in Argentina, a villa in 
California, a shooting-lodge in Scotland, and a mam- 
moth town house in London. It would appear as 
though I were doing quite a bit of purchasing and 
were bent on spending the balance of my life aboard 
a steamer running back and forth between Europe 
and the two Americas. 

"You realize, of course, that all of these rumors 
owe their origin to the untamed imaginations of 


the correspondents. The truth is much simpler, and 
covers considerably less mileage. I have not decided 
as yet as to where I shall spend most of my time. I 
have not abdicated my throne, and in consequence 
all my plans depend on the future developments in 
Spain. So far, I am quite comfortable right where I 
am. I am being treated by the French people with 
the utmost courtesy and touching friendliness. I 
see no reason why I should be in a hurry to leave 
this beautiful and hospitable country." 

"But how about your desire to visit the United 
States?" I ask the King. "I feel certain that you 
would be received over there with equal friendli- 
ness. I do not have to tell you of your popularity 
with the Americans. Not so long ago a California 
paper said that the local Chamber of Commerce 
should take "energetic steps' to persuade you to 
come to the Olympic games in Los Angeles." 

The King laughs, and looks through the window 
half -dreamily. 

"No particular energy is necessary to persuade 
me to visit California. I have for a great many years 
hoped to do it. The only reason that keeps me from 
starting for America right at this moment is my 
determination not to do anything that might embar- 
rass the present Spanish Government. I fear they 


would interpret my trip as a mysterious political 
move. I would much rather wait another year, until 
the situation has become somewhat clearer and the 
passions have cooled off." 

WE chat for awhile about the latest political and 
economic events in the United States. 

The King is anxious to hear my impressions of 
Detroit and the automotive industry. Well acquaint- 
ed with the theories and books of Henry Ford, he 
wants to know what measures, if any, were taken 
by Mr. Ford to decrease unemployment and fight 
off the effects of the depression. I tell of my own 
interview with Ford, during the course of which I 
had the temerity to say that he was "all wrong" in 
his idea of the future. 

"What did Ford answer?" 

"Just that it is quite a few years since he heard 
that word wrong applied to him." 

The King nods approvingly. It is at this juncture 
of our conversation that he makes the remark which 
I have quoted previously: 

"After the present world crisis, what? Will Eu- 
rope be able to return to economic sanity? Will the 
Monroe Doctrine prove as effective in saving the 


Americas from the far-reaching claws of bolshevism 
as it has been in protecting their sovereignty against 
the threats of the Nineteenth Century European 
powers? Right now I know of no other question o 
equal importance." 

The fact of his having mentioned the Monroe . 
Doctrine amazes me. It had always been taken for 
granted that all sovereigns were bitterly opposed to 
the "new system" proclaimed by a farsighted Presi- 
dent of the United States; and yet it seems to me I 
have detected a note of praise in the intonation of 
my august host. 

He confirms my supposition: 

"The former rulers of Europe failed to appreci- 
ate the positive features of the greatly abused Doc- 
trine. In it they saw only a menace to their Central 
American and South American interests, entirely 
forgetting that the principles established by Monroe 
could be used at the same time as a shield protect- 
ing the new world against the dangers of pernicious 
propaganda continuously brewing in Europe. I 
would go further than that, and say that even the 
South American republics themselves have under- 
estimated the benefits to be derived by them from a 
clear division between the Western and the Eastern 
hemispheres. The history of the spread of bolshe- 


vism provides me with an excellent illustration of 
my point. Had it not been for the Monroe Doctrine, 
the South American continent would have become 
sooner or later a battleground of clashing European 
powers, which would have led in turn to industrial 
unrest and an accumulation of revolutionary spirit. 

"Bolshevism is a pure and undiluted product of 
that hapless European system which made Europe 
spend the whole of the last century in destroying the 
class of the small property-owners, the only class 
capable of supporting organized government. Look 
at Europe today: Of all the countries situated 
between the Gulf of Biscay and the mountains of 
the Ural, France is the only one that can boast of 
immunity from the danger of bolshevism because 
it possesses some twenty million small owners among 
its citizens. I do not know whether the present gov- 
ernment of Spain will succeed in its fight against 
the ultra-red elements; but if they do, they will 
have to thank the Kings of Spain for encouraging 
the growth of the class of small land-owners. 

"Now then, turning once more toward the South 
American republics, we must admit that had it not 
been for the Monroe Doctrine, the whole economic 
development of that virgin continent would have 
taken a different direction and would have followed 



in the steps of the European countries, thus bring- 
ing its peoples into the same impasse where we see 
today some of the most powerful empires of Europe. 

"You may think it odd that I, a descendant of 
the former masters of South America, should be 
inclined to praise the Monroe Doctrine; and so it 
would be, if the relationship between the Old and 
the New Spain were based solely on the fact of the 
latter having been conquered by Cortes, Pizarro and 
the other daring Iberian adventurers of the Six- 
teenth Century. Fortunately for both countries, the 
sisterhood of the Iberian peninsula and America 
Hispana was built on a much more enduring 

"Historians annoy me. In their childish attacks 
against the ruthlessness displayed by Cortes and 
Pizarro they completely ignore that while hold- 
ing the sword in one hand, the Iberian conquerors 
were carrying the Cross in the other. Perhaps half- 
consciously, perhaps even involuntarily, those con- 
querors brought into the New World the light o 
the most magnificent civilization of modern times. 
The Pilgrims who landed in North America were 
merely trying to escape from persecution in their 
native country; but the Spaniards who stormed the 
fortresses of the ancient Aztec rulers were burning 


with the fire of veritable crusaders. That is why they 
succeeded in just fifty years in achieving the con- 
quest and the colonization of the South American 
continent, while it took the descendants of the Pil- 
grims two hundred and fifty years to fight their 
way from the Atlantic to the Pacific. 

"The selfsame greatly maligned Cortes displayed 
the farsightedness of an empire-builder. Very few 
people know that as early as the year 1529, that is 
to say nearly four hundred years before the opening 
of the Panama Canal by the Government of the 
United States, Cortes wrote a letter to the King and 
Queen of Spain in which he said: 'We have not 
found as yet a passage from Iberia to Cathay, but 
we must cut it. At no matter what cost, we must 
build a canal at Panama/ 

"A typical child of the Sixteenth Century, Cortes 
may not have been particularly elegant in his meth- 
ods, but he was the very first European to recognize 
that 'westward move the Empires/ In his dreams, 
the whole Western World, from Mexico to Brazil, 
and from Brazil to Tierra del Fuego, was destined 
to become the 'America Hispana/ a proud daughter 
of old Spain, and a worthy legatee to the treasures 
of the Iberian civilization. He did not live to see 
his dreams fulfilled, but his task was well done; and 


the Empire founded by him in South America 
remained faithful to its Spanish traditions. 

"When the Nineteenth Century came along, 
bringing in its wake the Monroe Doctrine and the 
victories of Bolivar in Colombia, Spain had nothing 
to worry about. Great Britain may have lost its 
prestige in the New World because its transatlantic 
standing was based on conquest and military occu- 
pation; but the Spanish civilization needed no army 
to strengthen the ties between the Iberian penin- 
sula and the young republics founded by Bolivar. 
It became the duty of the future Kings of Spain to 
see that no effort was spared in developing a perma- 
nent cultural exchange between the mother-country 
and its now numerous daughters in the New World. 

"BEFORE I proceed with my account of what I 
personally did to promote the idea of Ibero-Ameri- 
can civilization, I want you to see some of the letters 
received by me within the past few months from 
Argentina, Chile, Peru and other South American 

The thick package of letters he produces for my 
inspection is well worth commenting upon. 

All of them are written by people who await no 
favors from the royal tenant of the Hotel Savoy, 


and who could easily afford to express their feel- 
ings freely. Every one of them is inspired by the 
same sentiment, and is permeated by the same 
fear: their authors maintain that something infi- 
nitely valuable was lost for the Spanish world 
on the day King Alfonso left Madrid. According to 
them, the Spanish sovereign, although living far 
away from the South American continent, had 
always been considered a vivid symbol of Ibero- 
American unity. They draw a parallel between the 
part played by him and that filled by the present 
King of England. They say that just as the existence 
of the latter succeeds in keeping together all the 
member-nations of the British Commonwealth not- 
withstanding economic and racial divergencies so 
also has the figure of King Alfonso XIII reminded 
the often quarreling republics of South America of 
the obligations imposed by their common past, and 
of the splendor of their early history. 

They claim that a president of the Spanish Repub- 
lic, no matter how great his talents may be, would 
never be able to appeal to America Hispana, which 
today, in the cool matter-of-fact Twentieth Century, 
thrives more than ever before on the proud tra- 
dition of cultural unity based on spiritual alle- 
giance to Spain. 


Wide World photo 



The grieving authors of these extremely signifi- 
cant letters from South America resemble in their 
disappointment the possessor of a priceless string of 
pearls who, having lost the emerald clasp, is told 
he will be given just as solid a clasp, only made of 
rhinestones. . . . 

They finally confess that their complaints may 
contain more emotionality than logic, but then, 
isn't the whole driving power of life derived from 
emotional sources? 

"I must have been still a mere child/* recalls the 
King, "when the thought of the millions of Spanish- 
speaking and Spanish-thinking people living out- 
side Spain proper first came into my mind. 

"I always felt that as a nation we Spaniards have 
stood on the extreme border of Europe, with our 
backs toward the old continent and our faces toward 
the New World. While bowing before facts and 
realizing that the spirit of the modern era pre- 
cluded the possibility of further colonization of 
South America, I decided to apply new methods in 
recapturing the dreams of my ancestors. 

"They were the masters of South America; I was 
content to be its friendly brother. They were financ- 
ing the expeditions of Columbus, Cortes and 
Pizarro, but I preferred to entrust the flag of Spain 


to the hands of the scientists, writers and mer- 

"The records of my reign prove that beginning 
with the year 1910, when my relative Infanta Isa- 
bella was asked by me to be present at the centen- 
nial celebrations in Argentina and Chile thus 
marking the good will of the Crown of Spain a 
steady stream of my representatives kept a live con- 
tact between the royal palace in Madrid and the 
capitals of the South American republics. My instruc- 
tions to them were exceedingly simple: 'No inter- 
ference with political developments; utmost neu- 
trality in dealing with the leaders of different 
parties; good will toward every Spanish-speaking 
person; all possible support to the South American 

"I SHALL mention some of the most striking epi- 
sodes in the history of my relations with America 

"In 1920, during the visit paid to me by the chair- 
man of Argentina's delegation at the League of 
Nations, we established a well-defined policy to 
govern the commercial and cultural intercourse 
between Spain and Argentina. In the same year I 
dispatched a mission headed by the Infante Don 


Fernando to Chile on the occasion of the four hun- 
dredth anniversary of the death of Magellan. 

"In 1922 the President of Argentina, Alvear, 
came to Madrid, the first South American chief exec- 
utive to make a pilgrimage to the ancient capital of 
all Spaniards. Next year the Spanish writer Bena- 
vente, who had just received the Nobel Prize for 
literature, made a triumphant lecture tour of South 

"In 1924 our aviators succeeded in accomplish- 
ing the first flight across the South Atlantic, and 
were met by an outburst of national pride and cul- 
tural solidarity. 

"At the same time, while my relatives and repre- 
sentatives were visiting and lecturing across the 
ocean, I was laying the foundation of several impor- 
tant Ibero-American institutions at home. 

"I established so-called 'Houses of America' in 
Barcelona, Cadiz and Seville, dedicated to the study 
of South American culture, and I founded an Ibero- 
American Academy of Sciences, and an Ibero-Amer- 
ican law-school in Madrid. Right at the moment the 
revolution occurred, I was working on two still 
more ambitious projects: I was going to turn my 
estate in Aranjuez into a Palace of South American 
Nations, and I intended to open an Ibero-American 



University in Seville for the winners of numerous 
scholarships created by me in South America. 

"The climax of my activities was reached in 1929. 
That year a magnificent Ibero-American Exposi- 
tion was organized in Seville. Every South Ameri- 
can republic constructed a spectacular pavilion, dis- 
playing the products of its trades, and testifying 
before the entire world to the fact of the unbroken 
continuity of our common culture. An enormous 
map of America Hispana placed by its representa- 
tives at the entrance of the exposition grounds- 
bore a caption which in itself was a sufficient recom- 
pense for my efforts. It said: 'South America owes a 
great debt of gratitude to Mother Spain.' 

"Aside from my personal satisfaction, the material 
results of my policy spoke for themselves: in 1913 
the trade with Spain amounted to but three per cent 
of the entire trade balance of the South American 
republics; by 1929 it was multiplied far and beyond 
all expectations. 

"You may ask, why so much talk about South 
America? Why make such strenuous efforts to pro- 
mote that distant land? Well, I must admit that it 
does make me feel proud to think that in the years 
of the after-war panic, when every European govern- 
ment was fretting about the competition of the 



Americas and dreaming the nonsensical dreams of 
an anti-American trade combine, I was the only 
responsible head of a European regime who said to 
the transatlantic peoples: 'More power to youl I 
am willing to cooperate with you; so let us help 
each other.' 

"Why did I do it? In the first place, because I 
was certain that there was much more to be gained 
through cooperation with the United States and 
the South American republics than through wasting 
my time and energy in continuous regrets of the past 
glories of Europe. In the second place, I have always 
lived in the future. Let the politicians fancy that 
they can check the onward march of history by 
a cleverly worded treaty! We, the kings, are accus- 
tomed to think of tomorrow. And the tomorrow of 
the world lies not here in Europe, in the countries 
choked by jealousies and blinded by mutual hatreds, 
but there across the ocean, among the new nations 
that were fortunate enough to escape the necessity 
of fighting for more land. 

"I CONSIDER that as a King, a Spaniard and a Euro- 
pean, I have done my duty by turning the attention 
of my people from the past toward the horizons of 
the future. As long as Europe persists in closing 


its ears to the voice of history, no progress at all can 
be achieved by its statesmen. Each time another 
republic replaces a monarchical regime, they imag- 
ine they have taken a step forward; but I seriously 
doubt whether a republican government headed by 
even the most well-meaning politicians will ever be 
prepared to assume the same tremendous respon- 
sibility my ancestors and I did. Talk about 'modern 
times favoring the spread of radical policies!' Who 
could possibly be more radical than a king born and 
raised in an atmosphere overcharged with memo- 
ries of continuous changes? It all depends, of course, 
on the meaning attached by one to the word radical- 
ism. If it indicates the vote-getting attitude of an 
all-promising demagogue, then I shall gladly cede 
this honor to the politicians; but if it strives to con- 
vey a determination to work for the welfare of the 
masses, then I was and I am the ranking radical of 

"Should the present government of Spain come 
out victorious of its many difficulties and restore 
peace, order and prosperity to the people, I shall 
admit that its leaders are better radicals than I was, 
and I will be overjoyed to extend to them my heart- 
felt congratulations. I often hear it said, and almost 
every day see it written in the newspapers, that 


'King Alfonso's day is gone' and that 'his bolt has 
been shot/ but I invariably add: 'Wait and see/ 

"It is agreed, Alexander/' he reminds me as I 
am about to thank him for his patience and take 
leave, "that you are not obliged to make my conclu- 
sions your own. Use the facts and do not be afraid 
to criticize me. Constructive criticism never causes 
harm. Only libels do, but they have a peculiar 
knack of turning, boomerang-like, against their 

We walk through the corridor and join the Queen 
in her little salon. I ask Her Majesty for a photo- 
graph, which she signs "Ena" 

"Ena Princess Ena" A quarter of a century has 
passed since she was known under that name. It 
reminds me of the days when on visiting the house 
of Princess Henry of Battenberg I used to admire the 
radiant blonde beauty of her little daughter Ena. 
Hardly did I think then that many years later I 
should meet that adorable child in a provincial 
hotel in France, the mother of two beautiful girls 
who now bombard me with eager questions about 
the United States, the mysterious land of their 

I say my adieux and express the hope to meet the 


two infantas in the shadows of the Empire State 

"Is it very beautiful? Is it really so inspiring?" 

"It is as beautiful and as inspiring as your youth. 
At night it resembles a gigantic candle lighted by 
the Twentieth Century for the greater glory of the 
all-conquering human genius/' 

"One more description like this/' exclaims the 
King, "and I shall be ordering my transatlantic trans- 

I wish he would. It seems to me that while in 
America, far away from the scenes of the tragedy, 
he would be able to see his own life from a distance 
and to find considerable mental comfort in the reali- 
zation of the immensity of the task performed by 
him with great courage and utmost honesty. I know 
that I shall always remember him as a brilliant- 
eyed boy of nineteen who sat perfectly calm in a 
carriage wrecked by the bomb of an anarchist, laugh- 
ing and saying that such were the risks of the royal 



MY dear uncle/' wrote the Crown Prince of 
Germany from his provincial retreat in 
Silesia in the early spring of 1932, "so 
hectic were the last six months of my life, so often 
did I figure in the news, that both Cecilia and my- 
self feel as though we could stand a bit of privacy. 
Flattered as we are by this sudden outburst of public 
attention, we confess that we did not solicit it in 
the least. . . ." 

The "hectic six months" mentioned in the letter 
of my German nephew happened to be precisely the 
six months which had elapsed since I had bid adieu 
to King Alfonso of Spain in the lobby of his hotel in 
Fontainebleau. The stocks of royalty which had 
touched a "new low" on the day of his landing in 
Marseilles April i6th, 1931 had suddenly staged a 
vigorous rally and recovered a goodly part of the 


ground lost in the course of the previous fourteen 
years. Democracy had failed to surmount the eco- 
nomic crisis and this, logically enough, constituted 
bullish news insofar as the Pretenders were con- 
cerned. The rules of politics are no less stringent 
than those of the Stock Exchange: the shorts must 
cover sooner or later, and the self-same operators 
who had raided the Hohenzollerns, the Hapsburgs 
and the Wittelsbachs in 1918 began to bid for them 
in 1932. 

"Things never were so bad under the Kaiser/' 
this whining phrase (whoever coined it!) proved 
extremely popular with panicky bankers and starv- 
ing ex-soldiers alike. In no time it became the battle- 
cry of the Restoration, and it took an emphatic "no" 
from the old gentleman in Doom to keep his son 
from being pitted against von Hindenburg. 

Not that the elder Hohenzollern felt jealous of his 
offspring; far from it. The disagreement, if any, had 
to do with the "method," not with the principle. 
The son was willing to reach the throne with the aid 
of the handy ladder of the Presidency. The father, 
always a stickler on etiquette, thought that this idea 
reeked a little too much of that clumsy upstart, the 
third Bonaparte. After all, said the patriarch of the 
Clan, a Hohenzollern should not accept favors from 

Keystone photo 



an Austrian adventurer and even though Berlin 
might well be worth a mass it is better to have it said 
by some other bishop, not Herr Hitler. 

The Doom decision delivered, an eloquent silence 
descended upon the haunts of the German monarch- 
ists and now it fell to the lot of the international 
legitimists to continue the dispute as to the best tech- 
nique of an imperial comeback. Listening to their 
angry shouts under the awnings of the sidewalk cafes 
in Paris one might have thought that the clocks were 
moved eighteen years back and that a man by the 
name of Lenin was still debating the platform of a 
would-be soviet government of Russia. There is 
something in the air of the Grand Boulevards that 
enables the exiles be they monarchists or commu- 
niststo see through the smoky clouds of the future. 
Perhaps, it may be merely an after-effect of too much 
vermouth-nature and too little eau de seltz. 

NATIONS have changed a lot since the days when 
Charles II was perambulating between Holland, 
France and Spain in search of cash and an army to 
fight Cromwell. Military intervention, except in 
China, has become a distinct thing of the past. Even 


the Rumanians, eager as they always are to score 
an easy victory, sulked at their Queen's idea of 
fighting the Hapsburg battle in Hungary. True 
enough, the Allies did send their troops to Russia in 
1919 but that was done for the sake of oil and 
manganese, not for the Romanovs. A modern pre- 
tender must rely solely on the counter-revolutionary 
forces within his own nation if he really expects to 
stage a comeback. I say "really" because not every 
Pretender cares to ascend the throne. Some of them 
the Guises in the case of France, the Braganzas in 
the case of Portugal do their pretending with the 
tongue in the cheek, simply to keep up a grand and 
glorious tradition. I imagine that the late Duke of 
Orleans would have been the unhappiest man in the 
world had he awakened one morning to learn that 
the "beloved" French nation was ready to receive 
him in Paris. He liked London, he got thoroughly 
accustomed to thick fogs and thin coffee, and when- 
ever he had to address a gathering of French royal- 
ists, he sighed and said under his breath: "what 
asses . . .'* 

I may be hopelessly wrong, but it is my sincere 
belief that even the Kaiser would think twice before 
accepting the invitation to return to Potsdam. The 
fourteen years spent by him in the simple but solid 


comforts of his castle in Doom must have cultivated 
in him a taste for healthy life. 

The same is the case of the present "first citizen" 
of Coburg, my wise and big-hearted friend the ex- 
Czar of Bulgaria, and as for the late King Manuel 
of Portugal, no forces in the universe could have 
made him exchange England and his priceless col- 
lection of first editions for the Royal Palace in 
Lisbon and the Portuguese street scene. Gaby Deslys 
or no Gaby Deslys, he would have remained in 
London until the very end and it is pleasant to think 
that his last day on this planet was spent by him in 
the civilized atmosphere of Wimbledon. 

Then there is that gentlemanly white-bearded 
chap in Nice, the ex-Sultan of Turkey and the ex- 
Calif of Islam. His was a dignified, if somewhat 
forced, exit; in fact, his trunks were packed and 
reservations made before the order of expulsion 
signed by the energetic Kemal could reach the prem- 
ises of Yildiz-Kiosk. Strolling in the Promenade des 
Anglais and smiling cheerfully, he does not resemble 
the preconceived type of a Bloody Sultan's descend- 
ant in the least. He tips well and the French like 
him. He married his daughters to the two sons of a 
fabulously rich Rajah and has discovered that the 
taste of Perrier compares most favorably with that 


of the celebrated sweet waters of Beykos. A Sultan 
of his age can easily exist without the benefit of 
kneeling subjects. One of these days he may learn to 
play contract and then he shall find an amiable and 
capable partner in the person of ex-King George of 
Greece: a massacre or two are easily forgotten after 
the first rubber. For I likewise doubt the ultimate 
ambitions of my Hellenic cousin. Brought up 
between the Royal Palace in Athens and his father's 
favorite retreat in Italy, in a constant turmoil of 
packing and unpacking he was obliged to leave 
Greece twice while still a boy he finds it distinctly 
restful not to live the life of a pursued commuter. 
He does not begrudge Mr. Venizelos the republican 
attempts to exploit the imaginary "royalist plots" 
because he realizes that the absence of snakes is apt 
to imperil the job of a St. Patrick. 

THIS leaves us with just four men who are willing 
and eager to answer what we royalty tentatively refer 
to as the Call of the Nation. Alfonso of Spain, 
Friedrich-Wilhelm of Germany, Cyril of Russia and 
the youthful Otto of Hungary. Curiously enough, 
with the sole exception of King Alfonso, none of 


them ever has occupied a throne, which fact might 
explain both their eagerness and their lack o fear. 

We have seen that His Catholic Majesty of Spain 
has decided to pursue his policy of "watchful wait- 
ing." No such spirit of resignation is apparent in the 
case of the other three: if the Call of the Nation ever 
reaches their present residences, they will be the 
ones to help put it through. So different are their 
financial situations and the degree of their popu- 
larity at home that their experiences instead of 
evolving a general Technique of the Comeback 
prove that there are as many techniques as there are 

The Crown Prince is permitted to live in Ger- 
many. His exile in Holland lasted but four years, 
foiling to injure his popularity with the ex-soldiers 
or to damage his beautiful estates in Silesia. The em- 
ployees of his office in the Unter den Linden would 
be very indignant indeed were one to refer to their 
organization as "office" or to themselves as "em- 
ployees." The heading of the stationery reads: "the 
Chancellery of His Imperial Highness, the Crown 
Prince of Germany." The secretary to the Prince 
signs his name as "Berg, private councilor," The 
newspapers, all but the soviet ones, speak of the 
Crown Prince in terms of respect. They often dis- 


agree with his program but he is still "His Imperial 
Highness/' The privilege of calling royalty by their 
last names is being left by German journalists to 
their American colleagues: it does take a transat- 
lantic homme de lettres to conclude that a "Crown 
Prince" (meaning the eldest son of an Emperor) or 
a "Grand Duke" (meaning a son or a grandson of an 
Emperor) ceases to be his father's son on the day 
Revolution triumphs. 

Although by no means as wealthy as he was before 
the war, the Crown Prince is relatively well-to-do 
and in any case free from worries about tomorrow's 
dinner or the-end-of-the-month bills. He does not 
write for magazines. He need not sell his endorse- 
ment of a popular brand of cigarettes. He never 
accepts invitations from war profiteers, and inn- 
keepers are still excluded from the circle of his social 
acquaintances. This puts him in a class by himself 
as a Pretender because none of his prototypes in 
the past or colleagues in the present can boast of the 
same degree of financial independence. Charles II 
lived off the extremely meager donations of his 
French and Dutch relatives and there were long 
stretches in his exile when he could not afford a 
warm coat for himself or a new saddle for his horse. 
Louis XVIII earned his bread and butter as a 


teacher of French in a high-school in Russia. Louis- 
Philippe tried his hand at every conceivable job, 
both in Europe and in America. And as for the pres- 
ent day pretenders, neither the would-be King of 
Hungary nor the would-be Emperor of Russia can 
write a check for as much as one thousand dollars. 
They live from month to month, depending on the 
generosity of their impoverished supporters or the 
bounty of their reigning relatives, their revenues de- 
rived from both sources failing to cover the bills of 
their landlords. 

Grand Duke Cyril has settled down in the small 
village of St. Briac on the coast of Brittany, while 
Otto remains in Belgium where he moved after a 
protracted stay in Spain as a "guest'* of King 
Alfonso. So far Otto's talking has been done by his 
mother Zita, a throne-struck woman if there ever 
was one. A Bourbon of Panne by birth, she is more 
pronounced in her Hapsburg clannishness than any 
real Hapsburg ever was, which is invariably the case 
with all ambitious women who come to the throne 
through a sheer prank of fate. As a child, Zita 
showed such fondness of court etiquette that it made 
her the pet of the Master of Ceremonies and the 
despair of her chums. As a middle-aged woman, an 
exiled Empress and an impoverished widow, she has 


lost none of her original pride. She is a confirmed 
believer in the veracity of stock phrases and because 
she had insisted that the Hungarians "adore" their 
sovereigns, her handsome husband Charles quit his 
peaceful abode in Switzerland and boarded an air- 
plane to fly to Budapest. He landed on the Island of 
Madeira where he died shortly afterwards, a heart- 
broken and puzzled prisoner of the self-styled Castle- 
reaghs of the Little Entente. The lesson was cruel, 
its moral obvious, and yet it failed to change Zita's 
ideas or her technique. She can never forget that she 
is a Bourbon by birth and a Hapsburg by marriage, 
and her talent for memorizing these cardinal facts of 
her family's history plays havoc with the plans of the, 
Hungarian legitimists. The homecoming of a King 
must necessarily be disguised behind the veil of a 
"new deal" and the country of Kossuth is the last 
one to get excited over the arrival of a bourbonesque 
Hapsburg. An American politician versed in the 
art of convention trading and convention double- 
crossing would bring Otto to Budapest in less than 
a year. It is just a question of quieting this minister's 
fears and flattering that orator's vanity. The job is 
simple for an American politician but not for a 
fantastically proud woman who would rather be a 
Hapsburg in a village in Belgium than a hostage of 

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stunt-masters in the Royal Palace in Budapest. She is 
willing to wait and wait she will. According to the 
family records, the "waiting period" of a Bourbon 
may consume as much as twenty-five years. 

Were I to risk my reputation as a prophet, I 
would predict that of the four Pretenders the Crown 
Prince of Germany will be the first to reach the 
Throne, closely followed by King Alfonso and sep- 
arated by miles and miles from a Hapsburg and a 
Romanov. I am not sufficiently foolish to try to guess 
even as a joke which particular Hapsburg and which 
particular Romanov shall return to the capitals of 
their ancestors. Grand Duke Cyril has a son. Both 
the latter and the youthful Otto will, no doubt, 
marry some day and give birth to male heirs. This 
will take time but neither one of the two nations 
seems to be in too great a hurry. 

The Germans are. So much so that, admirable as 
the Crown Prince's technique is, he would be doing 
just as well by merely avoiding gaffes and not posing 
too much for the American photographers. There is 
such a thing in the career of a Pretender as attend- 
ing too many parades. 

To compare the actions of the Crown Prince with 
those of Grand Duke Cyril would be obviously un- 
fair to the nominal head of the exiled Romanovs. It 


is not the fault of the Grand Duke that our imme- 
diate ancestors never stopped to consider that a 
dynasty must have a party, that the backbone of 
every regime is formed by a well maintained system 
of political patronage. The Hohenzollerns, thanks to 
the clear wisdom of Bismarck, had always known 
that the class of wealthy Prussian landowners con- 
stituted the solid basis of the German Throne. They 
cherished the affection of those muchly criticized 
"junkers" and no Heidelberg theoretician and no 
talkative Berlin economist was ever able to make 
them quarrel with their natural supporters. It 
is only because Emperor Wilhelm I favored the 
"junkers'* that his great-grandson may depend today 
on the unlimited loyalty of a von Papen. The enthu- 
siastic support of even a half of one per cent of the 
population is all that is necessary for the mainte- 
nance of a regime. The Hohenzollerns understood it 
in Germany, the communists in Russia, but the 
Romanovs missed their chance. When my grand- 
father Emperor Nicholas I died he left to his son 
what he called "the army of the forty thousand chiefs 
of police," meaning the forty thousand-odd wealthy 
landowners of Russia who were accustomed to re- 
ceive favors from the throne. These forty thousand 
faithfuls realized that they stood and fell with the 


dynasty and made it their self-imposed duty to police 
the vast Empire. They would have stuck to the 
Romanovs just as the "junkers" did to the Hohen- 
zollerns had it not been for the fact that in the year 
1861 a strange gesture was made by Emperor Alex- 
ander II. The gesture is known to the historians as 
the Emancipation of the Serfs and it had for net re- 
sult the disappearance of the party that was support- 
ing the regime. Had the serfs been given adequate 
land together with their freedom, they would have 
rallied around the throne and replaced the party of 
the rich agrarians. As it was, the serfs became polit- 
ically neutral at best while, at the same time, the 
dynasty lost its claims on the fealty of the masters. 
Seventy years later the peasants were driven back 
into practical serfdom because the communists of 
1931 understood what had escaped the mind of 
Emperor Alexander II: whatever the name of the 
regime, its only hope of survival lies in the mainte- 
nance of a compact party of a few favored ones, not 
in the millions of lukewarm voters. 

I am quite certain that this interpretation of the 
Chief Event of modern Russian history would hor- 
rify Grand Duke Cyril. His program reeks of noble- 
hearted liberalism and his technique consists of 
appealing to the now disfranchised majority of 


Russia, I am wishing him the best of luck, but I 
doubt his ability to re-write the axioms of practical 
politics. Even the Presidents of the United States 
must have their faithful postmasters. 

Were I to rule over an Empire, I would pit any 
day of the year the thorough loyalty of 40,000 
against the grumblings of 120,000,000. Were I to 
attempt a comeback, I would think up a program 
that would make it worth while for those 40,000 to 
take a chance even against loaded dice. I realize that 
this statement classifies me with the enemies of De- 
mocracy but I can endure it when I think of the 
League of Nations. If this is fascism, then the first 
name of Lenin was Benito, 



WITHIN my lifetime the number of the 
leading reigning houses of Europe has 
dwindled down from eighteen to ten. 
The Emperors of France, the Kings or Portugal, 
the Czars of Russia, the Kaisers of Germany, the 
Caesars of the Holy Austro-Hungarian Empire, the 
Sultans of Turkey, the Kings of Greece and the 
Kings of Spain have passed on, in the order named, 
leaving in their wake a wealth of glamorous 
romance and a considerable accumulation of bitter 
object lessons. 

Now, whenever a great international institution 
registers within the short span of sixty years forty- 
four per cent of casualties among its member-firms, 
something is obviously and radically wrong both 
with its policies and practice. 

As a Grand Duke and a former beneficiary of the 


Imperial Regime, I am tempted to give vent to a 
certain amount of resentment, but as a man not en- 
tirely deprived of logic, I realize that the causes of 
the fall of my relatives and friends are much less 
interesting to outsiders than the methods which 
help the remaining European sovereigns to continue 
in office. 

To each nation its measure. That which delights 
one may appall the other. I do not need to empha- 
size that the last ten wearers of the royal purple 
have recourse to widely different means in their 
ceaseless combat against time and tide. For purposes 
of classification I shall divide them into four groups. 

Group One characterized by its sense of enlight- 
ened paternalism includes one Queen and four 
Kings: Wilhelmina of the Netherlands, Albert I of 
Belgium, Christian X of Denmark, Gustav-Adolph 
of Sweden and Haakon VII of Norway. 

Group Two permeated by a strong desire to 
uphold the Balkanic brand of absolutism- consists 
of Alexander I of Yugoslavia, Boris III of Bulgaria 
and Carol II of Rumania. 

The other two groups possess a one-man member- 
ship each. There is King George V of England and 
there is King Victor-Emmanuel III of Italy: the great 



British enigma and the outstanding paradox of the 
Fascist State. 

To be absolutely exact, we have still with us the 
King of Albania, the reigning Grand Duchess of 
Luxemburg and the Prince of Monaco, but, as the 
part played by their respective countries is some- 
what limited in scope, I may ignore them in my roll 
call of the surviving sovereigns of Europe just as I 
disregarded the passing of the Kings of Bavaria, 
Saxonia and other German half-sovereigns in my 
report of the casualties among royalty. 

How do the Big Ten of Europe succeed in keep- 
ing their glorified jobs? 

The question is plain and simple, but the various 
answers, as given by the omniscient political observ- 
ers, leave me in a serious dilemma. 

I am told that the House of Windsor is just a 
"good old English tradition" and then I think of 
the last Emperor of Austria who died a destitute 
exile on the island of Madeira. Surely no one can 
deny that the almost endless reign of the Hapsburgs 
outdated by a great many centuries any other "good 
old tradition" of the modern world. 

I am told that King Albert I of Belgium owes the 


stability of his throne to his "one hundred per cent 
patriotism/' and again I evoke the image of the 
present woodchopping squire of Doorn. Whatever 
the Kaiser's shortcomings may have been, not even 
his bitterest enemies have ever attempted to ques- 
tion the completeness of his patriotism. 

When talking to Yugoslavs, I am usually given 
any amount of proofs of King Alexander's "tremen- 
dous personal popularity" and to them I quote the 
example of King Alfonso. Up to April isth, 1931, 
was there a more "popular" Spaniard in the whole 
of Spain? 

The journeyman type of Scandinavian pro-royal 
argument deals with the "democratism" and the 
"niceness" of the three Northern Kings, and while I 
bow to no one in my admiration, for Christian X, 
Gustav-Adolph V and Haakon VII, I am obliged to 
remind my informers that with a very few excep- 
tions there never existed a sovereign who did not 
possess the secret of being charming and simple. 
Even the so-called "bloody" Sultan Abdul-Hamid 
of Turkey impressed me at his luncheon table as a 
man of great fascination who would not harm a fly, 
let alone slaughtering thousands of Armenians. 

I can go on and on quoting the stock-phrases one 
overhears in the political circles of London and The 


Hague, Brussels and Stockholm, Belgrade and 
Sophia, but in the end I still will have to use the very 
caustic remark of the exiled King of Spain as a 
searchlight to guide me through the labyrinth of 
"royal mysteries." 

"How do you account for the survival of the 
remaining thrones of Europe?" I asked him recently 
in Fontainebleau, "do you consider those sovereigns 
greater statesmen and more experienced pilots than 
those who have been dethroned by war and revolu- 

"Tight-rope walkers, every one of them!" an- 
swered the King without a moment's hesitation, 
"just as I was and as anyone born to a crown is and 
always will be. You know how it is with the tight- 
rope walkers: sometimes they manage to maintain 
their balance until the very end of the performance; 
then they glean applause, no end of it. Often, how- 
ever, they experience a slight vertigo; then they fall 
and break their necks. . . . Who is there to decide 
whether the one who succeeded was a more talented 
tight-rope walker than the one who failed?" 

Opinionated as this judgment may appear, it set 
a definite goal for my investigation: I had to find 
out what devices help a royal tight-rope walker to 
maintain his balance and what dangers, lurking in 


the stupendously involved political life o contem- 
porary Europe, would be likely to cause a slight 

My task was delicate and arduous, and could not 
have been accomplished at all had it not been for 
the extensive ramifications of my family tree. Not 
unlike the Southerners, we, the royal exiles, possess 
an incredible number of uncles and cousins, neph- 
ews and nieces. With the exception of the Royal 
Family of Belgium and the dethroned house of 
Hapsburg, I am related to each and every one of 
the present and former reigning dynasties of Europe. 
To some of them I am doubly related, and only the 
fear of causing mental discomfort to the readers 
keeps me from explaining how it happened that I 
am both uncle and cousin of the sovereigns of Den- 
mark. In any event, I felt at home in my investiga- 

Since the day I was old enough to understand 
that each throne is only as strong as its weakest 
mainstay, I took an active part in conversations 
revolving around the subject of that "uncertain 
future facing us all." 

Many a time while walking with the late Czar 
Nicholas II along the trail connecting our respective 
palaces in the Crimea, I heard him discuss the rela- 



tive merits of a friendly parliament and a strong 
police; and on many an otherwise perfect morning, 
while playing golf with King Edward VII in Biarritz, 
I listened to the frank prophesies of the Father of 
the Triple Alliance- 
Years went by. An exile at fifty-two, I had become, 
in the estimation of my reigning relatives, an expert 
on all matters revolutionary. We often met. We 
reminisced. We sized up the present. We considered 
the future. The intercourse between the "ins" and 
the "outs" varies but little, be they royalty or poli- 
ticians. The "ins" are inclined to take the advice of 
their less fortunate colleagues with certain reserva- 
tions; the "outs," on the other hand, are invariably 
prone to exaggerate the danger-signals. All in all, 
I learned a great deal. Because of this I can say that I 
would not exchange my present precarious position 
for any one of the ten remaining thrones of Europe, 
and least of all for the one that stands in the white- 
and-gold room of Buckingham Palace. 


May the world come against her, 
England yet shall stand . . . 

WHEN a nation is fighting for its very existence, 
the proudest of flowery quotations is bound to fall 


flat: Lord Tennyson's two celebrated lines sounded 
more pathetic than impressive when recited in the 
late summer of 1931 from the benches of His 
Britannic Majesty's Government by the pale-faced 
invalid Philip Snowden, then Chancellor of the 

Though the honorable members present "waved 
their papers/ 7 applauded vociferously and shouted 
"hear, hear" in voices trembling with emotion, 
nothing, not even the rhythm of martial poetry, 
could obliterate in their minds the fatal significance 
of the events which had taken place during the two 
weeks preceding this historical session of Parliament. 

The pound sterling had gone off the gold stand- 
ard! The Bank of England, that age-old symbol of 
financial reliability, was facing a panic, perhaps 
complete collapse and bankruptcy! 

Poet Tennyson may have been right in his day, 
and England in the course of her glamorous past 
may have succeeded on more than one occasion in 
her single-handed fight against the world, but 
would she be able to survive and come out victorious 
now, when she had to call upon all her resources of 
tenacity and grit in her present battle for the 
salvation of the world? 

Such was the ominous question wracking the 


nerves of the British nation in the Month of Despair 
of the Year of Damnation 1931. 

The politicians raved while trying to reconcile 
the unequivocal commands of a tense moment with 
the highly involved platforms of their respective 

The economists wasted quarts of ink and ran out 
of words suggesting useless panaceas. 

The simple citizens looked around and turned to 
the traditional device of hoarding gold and currency. 

There remained just one man in the whole of the 
gigantic Empire to whom his duty was painfully 
clear and in whose estimation the "proper thing to 
do" looked obvious though infinitely difficult. 

A night's ride from London, in his ancestral castle 
of Balmoral, sat George V, King of Great Britain, 
Emperor of India, "Defender of the Faith/' If faith 
ever needed a defender, now was the moment to 
come to its rescue. 

The King ordered his special train, rushed back 
to London and spent the next morning in momen- 
tous conference with Messrs. MacDonald, Baldwin 
and Samuel, the leaders of the three great political 
parties of England. Around luncheon time the Em- 
pire learned that a Government of National Union 
was to be organized, an amazing combination that 


had seemed thoroughly impossible only twenty- 
four hours before. 

What did the King say to the three political 

What were the arguments used by the Tenant of 
Buckingham Palace that made Conservatives, Lib- 
erals and Laborites cast aside their historical dif- 
ferences and forget their traditional hostility? 

They did not need to be told of the calamities 
throttling the Empire. Nothing the King could have 
said to them in regard to the World Crisis would 
have been new to men of their wisdom and ex- 
perience, while an appeal to their patriotism would 
have sounded decidedly out-of-place when addressed 
to statesmen of their caliber. 

The newspapers groaned with the anguish of un- 
satisfied curiosity. The whispering busybodies 
strained their ears in vain. 

No explanation was forthcoming from Bucking- 
ham Palace and no hints were volunteered by the 
participants in the Royal Conference. 

The iron-clad rule which protects the King of 
England against the "risks" of being quoted was to 
be respected even after the downfall of the pound! 

Overindulgence in guessing rarely helps solve a 
puzzle; on the contrary, it is often likely to obscure 


the correct perspective. That is why I prefer to 
effect my reconstruction of the British Royal Enigma 
by dealing solely with facts, recent facts which are 
beyond doubt, as well as facts that have sufficiently 
receded into the past to permit frank and uncensored 
discussion. In this way I will not violate any con- 
fidences, and, on the other hand, I will resist the 
temptations which overcome all explorers in the 
Realm of Guesswork. 

CONSIDER the case of a King at sixty-six, facing 
the most formidable problem of his life and realiz- 
ing that England must be saved and the stricken 
world shown the "way out/' 

And then consider the case of the two Kings, 
for it would appear as though there always were 
two different men, both bearing the name o 
George V, and both living in Buckingham Palace, 
but resembling each other as little as a faded effigy 
of Caesar resembles the vigorous warrior who led 
his legions into ancient Gaul. 

There were and there are, indeed, two Georges 
V: one extremely familiar to the multitude of his 
subjects and to humanity at large; another pos- 


sessing a personality hidden from everybody except 
his relatives and close collaborators. 

One whom the world has grown accustomed to 
consider as "just a figure-head/' a mild-mannered, 
soft-spoken, markedly reserved, smiling, old gentle- 
man, officiating at the race meets, and reading to 
Parliament the anodine speeches written by his very 
clever ministers. 

Another a rugged naval officer with iron nerves, 
who went through the fifty-one months of the war 
without losing his courage even for a second, a firm 
head of a vigorous family who succeeded in main- 
taining the best of the Victorian traditions in the 
face of a general collapse of morals; a forceful and a 
lucid talker who refuses to use sonorous words as 
a camouflage for his thoughts. 

One who remained throughout the twenty-one 
years of his reign the Guardian and the Prisoner of 
the Constitution, never attempting to usurp the 
right of initiative vested in the Government. 

Another who borrowed the stern intonations of 
Queen Victoria's voice when demanding of his 
counselors an immediate settlement of this or that 
thorny problem of State. 

One who acquiesced and confirmed, while his 
ministers led and ruled; who presided at garden 

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parties and with a uniform smile greeted visiting 
American lawyers and disgruntled Hindoo revolu- 
tionaries, Arabian warriors and complaining He- 
brew delegates while his ambassadors orated at In- 
ternational Conferences and crossed oceans looking 
for a compromise that would cure the post-war ills; 
who welcomed anyone approved by his Parliament 
whether he be an over-taxed Lord or a Laborite 
swelled with ambitions while the politicians quar- 
reled with each other and threatened resignation; 
who stayed secluded in his Palace not sharing in the 
triumphs though always ready to shoulder the 
blame, while others took the credit for all achieve- 
ments and disclaimed responsibility for failures. 

Another the "papa" of his four sons whom these 
boys know to be a vastly different human being: 
an earnest thinker who spends many a sleepless night 
awaiting the dispatches from abroad or the messages 
from Number Ten Downing Street, and who often 
has to make a strenuous effort to regain that cheer- 
ful expression which the crowds lining the streets 
of London expect their Sovereign to wear con- 

Of all personalities the personality of a King is 
the hardest to X-ray, and so the world, the near- 
sighted, self-complacent world of editorial writers, 


foreign correspondents and political observers, over- 
looked the unassuming Head of the British Com- 
monwealth and took note only of the work and 
quoted only the so-called "historical phrases" of his 
famous Prime Ministers. 

The legal-minded Asquith, the ever-boisterous 
Lloyd George, the sadly phlegmatic Bonar Law, the 
meditating Baldwin, the reformed labor-agitator 
MacDonald each one of these five succeeded in 
capturing the popular imagination, but the King 
himself remained, to all appearances, only the Last 
Mohican of Good Old England, only a certain un- 
definable something which was presumably helping 
to keep together the sister-nations of the Empire. 

Didn't the bright young radicals remark almost 
within Royal hearing: "the existence of our Kings 
and the annual running of our Derby merely tend 
to remind Australia and South Africa, New Zealand 
and Canada, of their membership in the self-same 

No radicals were needed, however, to demon- 
strate to George V the odd character of his position 
and to prove to him the advisability of maintaining 
his dual personality. His own father, undoubtedly 
the most talented and most brilliant of all Windsors, 
entertained but a very slight illusion as to the possi- 


bility of the monarchistic regime being continued 
in Great Britain for any great length of time. 

I shall never forget the reconciled irony of King 
Edward VII's voice when, as he sat on the terrace of 
his summer Palace and looking at his then very 
youthful grandson, the present Prince of Wales, 
playing in the garden below, he nudged me and 
said with the air of an astrologist reading the future: 
"You see that boy the last King of England!" 

The twenty-four years that passed since the day 
"Uncle Bertie" made his remarkable forecast came 
within an inch of proving the extreme wisdom of 
that Royal thinker. The three great Empires have 
fallen: cousin Nicky has met his death in an obscure 
town in Siberia; cousin Willy has retired to the life 
of a ruddy woodchopping squire in his very middle- 
class castle in Doom; cousin Alfonso was forced to 
exchange the glitter of Madrid for the oblivion of 
Fontainebleau; and a group of odd-looking individ- 
uals, coal miners of Wales and school-teachers of 
Scotland, have firmly planted themselves on the 
benches of His Majesty's Government. 

It looked as though nothing could save the Throne 
of the Windsors from passing out of the picture. 

And then, suddenly, something strange happened, 
something which dealt a deadly blow to the very 


idea of Democracy just at the precise moment when 
Democracy was riding the crest of the waves. 

Mussolini and Stalin, Hitler and the firm militar- 
istic regime in France, fascisti and nazis, leather- 
coated communists and gold-braided generals in 
spite of the difference in their slogans, they all re- 
sembled each other in their methods. Brothers under 
the skin, they found supreme delight in ridiculing 
the "Ideals of Democracy"; they turned its program 
into an infernal joke, and they spoke to their cohorts 
of heavily armed men in a language that would have 
brought a grin of envy to the faces of Napoleon, 
Wellington and Bliicher. 

Depression becomes a Dictator! 

When the World Crisis sounded its dismal horn, 
only the countries ruled by an iron fist were able to 
withstand the panic. Even the United States has dis- 
covered to the utter dismay of the liberal American 
philosophers that the Man-in-the- White-House could 
obtain effective results only when willing and able 
to substitute his own. decisions for those of Con- 

What was England to do? 

The choice obviously lay between appointing a 
dictator of unknown possibilities a measure that 
would never have appealed to the liberty-loving 


Britishers or preserving the Rule of Democracy 
under the tutelage and protection of an unobtrusive 

There is no limit to the pranks of history. What 
would King Edward VII have thought and said were 
he to know that fully twenty-one years after his 
death the flamboyant, anti-dynastic Scotsman Mac- 
Donald would be begging his son, George V, to save 
the British Empire from chaos and the Labor Party 
from the "impossible demands" of the conservatives? 

TRAVELING in his train from Balmoral to London, 
the King must have mused quite a bit over this 
wholly unexpected turn of the wheel of history. 

At the age of sixty-six, having done his utmost to 
keep up with the "spirit of modern times/* he was 
now recognizing, perhaps with a great deal of be- 
wilderment, that he should turn to his grand- 
mother's and father's policies both for inspiration 
and example. 

He was certainly eager enough to accept the sug- 
gestions of his country's political leaders, provided 
they were willing to forget their party-platforms 
a thing which they obviously were not prepared to 


do. And, on the other hand, every one o the prob- 
lems that threatened to crush the Empire, had con- 
fronted his immediate predecessors on the Throne 
at one time or another. 

Now and in the past his eyes had been invariably 
open to realities. From the very first moment of his 
reign he had made it a policy to keep in constant 
touch with his people, and, in "taking the tempera- 
ture" of the Empire, not to rely solely on his minis- 
ters' reports. Aside from his own very pronounced 
level-headed scepticism, there was a grave object 
lesson provided by the fate of his German cousin 
the Kaiser the Kaiser who had ordered that a 
special "all's well" journal, printed on gilt-edged 
paper, be served with his breakfast and who read 
with no end of childish glee the flattering comments 
of the Court's privy editorial writers. 

Nothing of that sort would have been tolerated by 
George V. Every morning, whether sick or well, he 
began his work by perusing thirty newspapers, 
printed in three different languages and represent- 
ing the veritable consensus of all parties' and all 
countries' opinions. Thanks to that lifelong habit, 
his knowledge of national and international affairs 
compared very favorably with that of the most il- 
lustrious observers of the Foreign Office. Therefore, 


the alarming telephone messages which reached 
Balmoral Castle the day of his precipitate departure 
for London added but little to what he had been 
able to read between the sinister black headlines of 
the papers. His favorite journals, all thirty of them, 
had told him everything in unmistakable terms. 

The unrest in India. The menacing financial 
dictatorship of France in Europe. The advisability 
of reaching a harmonious understanding with the 
United States. The necessity of granting special tariff 
privileges to the overseas members of the British 
Commonwealth. Ambitious Italy. Disgruntled Ger- 
many. A disrupted "balance of power" on the old 
continent. The overwhelming shadow of the "Rus- 
sian bear." 

The more he pondered over all those puzzles 
described at large in his thirty newspapers, the more 
clearly it dawned upon him that he had to turn to 
yesteryear for guidance and practical advice. 

Gandhi may have been but an infant-in-arms in 
the days of Queen Victoria's apogee, but the Indian 
Problem was just as acute in those almost forgotten 
"glorious eighties/' 

His grandmother never stopped worrying over 
India's internal strife. The sarcastic historians not- 
withstanding, it was not her passing fancy nor a long- 


ing for additional glamor that prompted her decision 
to be crowned Empress of India. It was thus that 
she tried to consolidate the hostile races and religions 
of that colossal country around a Throne that would 
be impartial, unbiased and helpful. Long before 
the big-hearted American missionaries and the sen- 
sational "special correspondents" had b.ecome aware 
of the existence of "untouchables" and of the revolt- 
ingly uneven distribution of wealth in India, Queen 
Victoria had attempted to be friendly with all classes 
of Hindoos. A woman in her early seventies, she 
decided to learn the Hindustani language and chose 
for teacher a simple Hindoo of small means by the 
name of Munchi. 

"Munchi". . . . His name revives in my memory 
a story extremely characteristic of Queen Victoria's 
Indian policy, a story which is well known to King 
George V. 

It happened in 1889. I was twenty-three and a 
sublieutenant on H.I.M.S. Rynda. Stopping in 
London on my return from a three-year cruise 
around the world I received a telegram from my 
cousin, Emperor Alexander III, ordering me to 
present his respects to Queen Victoria. As the rela- 
tions between the two countries were more or less 
strained at that moment, I did not relish my 


assignment. I had heard a great deal about the 
alleged coldness of the powerful Queen and was 
prepared to be frozen. 

The invitation to the Palace mentioning "the 
luncheon" increased my fears. An audience has at 
least the advantage of short duration, but the 
thought of sitting through a long meal with a 
sovereign known for her distrust of Russia filled me 
with apprehension. Arriving at the Palace ahead of 
the appointed time, I was shown into a large somber 
salon. I sat alone and waited for a few minutes. 
Then two tall Hindoos appeared, bowed to me, and 
opened the double doors leading into the inner 
apartments. A short plump woman stood on the 
threshold. I kissed her hand and we began to talk. I 
was slightly taken aback by the very pronounced 
cordiality of her manner. At first I imagined it 
signified a coming change in Great Britain's Russian 
policy. The explanation was forthcoming, however. 

"I have heard all sorts of good things about you," 
the Queen said with a smile, "I must thank you for 
your very kind treatment of one of my dearest 

I looked surprised. I could not recall ever having 
met anyone capable of boasting of friendship with 
Queen Victoria. 


"Have you already forgotten him?" she asked 
laughingly, "Munchi, my teacher of Hindustani." 

Now I knew the reason for this warm reception, 
although Munchi had never told me of being the 
teacher of Her Britannic Majesty. I met him in 
Aghra while inspecting the Taj-Mahal. He spoke 
most intelligently of the different religions of India 
and I was naturally pleased to accept the invitation 
to dine at his house. It never dawned upon me that 
the fact of my breaking Munchi's bread could elevate 
his standing in the eyes of the haughty Hindoo 
Rajahs and that he would write a long letter to 
Queen Victoria glorifying my "marvelous kindness." 

The Queen rang the bell. The door opened letting 
in, of all people, our mutual friend Munchi in the 
flesh. We shook hands and wished each other good 
morning, the Queen watching this scene with ob- 
vious delight. 

By the time luncheon was announced, I felt com- 
pletely at ease. Fortunately I was able to answer the 
Queen's very relevant questions about the political 
situation in South Africa, Japan and China. The 
British Empire had a right to be justly proud of 
that remarkable woman: sitting at her desk in Lon- 
don, she followed at close range the changing con- 
ditions in far-away countries, her brief remarks dis- 


closing sharpness o analysis and shrewdness o judg- 

Two days later I was invited to attend the Royal 
family dinner, and from that time on, for the follow- 
ing twelve years, the Queen continued to favor me 
with her friendship, our meetings taking place in the 
Hotel Cimiez in Nice where she was in the habit of 
staying each spring. 

No Windsor, setting his course by the star of 
Queen Victoria and adjusting it in accordance with 
the "chart" drawn by King Edward VII, could 
possibly go wrong. 

King Edward VII "Uncle Bertie" to me and 
mine, and the father of the man whose train was 
approaching London and who was preparing to 
make what could be considered the most important 
decision in the history of modern England. 

No sovereign and no prime-minister ever ap- 
proached King Edward VII in quality of statesman- 
ship and none surpassed him in clearness of thought. 
Round, jovial, possessing the gift of fascinating 
speech and suggesting in appearance a conventional 
dandy of the early go's, he went around Europe 


turning England's former foes into friends and sup- 
porters. He "beat" his garrulous nephew Willy to 
a treaty with Russia, thus settling the perennial 
British-Russian strife and sticking a knife in the back 
of the German armies. He fully realized the 
potential financial power of the French, a nation 
which never spends but always saves, and he be- 
came the most Parisian of all Parisians, feeling that 
such was the best way of gaining the hearts of the 
sceptical Latins. Had the present British Govern- 
ment followed King Edward's tradition of "flatter- 
ing the French into working for the English," there 
would have been no danger of the French Govern- 
ment refusing to grant the Bank of England an 
additional loan and of the French bankers raiding 
the pound. 

He was the first Britisher to preach the spectacular 
future of America, a prediction based by him on 
the impressions gathered in the course of his sup- 
posedly "holiday tour" through the United States in 
the 6o's. Each summer, while playing golf with 
prominent New York and Chicago financiers on the 
links of Carlsbad, King Edward VII used to find 
out more about the Transatlantic policies and 
prejudices than could ever be learned by a dozen 
ambassadors spending their lifetime in Washing- 



ton. He became an out-and-out pro- American in the 
days when the visiting citizens of that nation were 
still being referred to as "those impossible colonials" 
by the haughty members of the smart social set of 

It was quite natural that King George V should 
inherit his father's Americanomania, How could the 
United States have taken the British side during the 
world conflict had it not been for certain very private 
talks which the King had in 1915-1916 with Mr. 
Walter Page, the American Ambassador in London. 

"There is today one hypocrite less in London," 
George V said to Mr. Page on learning that President 
Wilson had signed the declaration of war. 

"What do you mean, Your Majesty," asked Page, 
pretending to be surprised by this strange Royal 

"You know what I mean, Mr. Ambassador, and 
I knew all the time that you personally were on our 
side from the very beginning." 

Pro-American, pro-French, pro-Russian, pro- 
Italian! It seems that the Windsors were practicing 
the League of Nations virtues without learning its 
pompous covenant and without participating in the 
notorious endless conferences of the world's sixty- 
four war-crazed countries. One hundred per cent 


Britishers, they were never little Englanders, Heaven 
be praised. Everyone in their family, including 
King George V and the present Prince of Wales, 
was invariably capable of sympathizing with the 
other nations. To be sure, the Prince of Wales re- 
sembles King Edward VII while the King takes after 
his grandmother, but both are made of the same ma- 
terial and their love for Good Old England never 
interferes with their understanding of changing con- 

MOST of those musings and recollections belong to 
the past. The past could have interested the London- 
bound King George V only insofar as it abounds in 
object lessons. 

There were the present and the future to be con- 
sidered. His thirty newspapers talked a lot about 
the necessity of cutting down the budget and intro- 
ducing a rigid all-round economy. That was fine. 
He was ready to be the first to show the example. 
Both he and the Prince of Wales were going to 
voluntarily accept considerable reductions in the 
"civil list" granted to them by Parliament, although 
nobody, not even the most rabid foe of the Royal 
Family, could ever have accused them of prodigality. 


Long before the advent of the World Crisis, the 
King, the Queen and their four sons had reduced 
their expenses to a minimum. The King's racing 
stable cut to a small fraction of what it was in the 
days of Edward VII and his yachting activities con- 
ducted on a scale far from befitting the premier 
yachtsman of the world, he spent the biggest part of 
his "civil list" in ever-increasing contributions to 
the various charities. Foreigners would be surprised 
and shocked to learn that even the secretarial depart- 
ment of the Court had felt the repercussion of a 
policy of financial retrenchment: every member of 
the Royal Family, including the King, writes his 
letters in long-hand, and there is no doubt that an 
average Park Avenue dowager or a Detroit auto- 
mobile manufacturer employs a much greater num- 
ber of private secretaries than Buckingham Palace 
does. As to the four Royal Princes, it is an open 
secret among their friends that the youngest of the 
boys had to wait for the day of his coming of age 
before being able to afford a new set of curtains in 
his drawing room. 

Economizing and keeping a strict check on ex- 
penses had been the regime of the Royal Family 
since the day of the declaration of war. If further 
sacrifices had become necessary, the King was pre- 


pared to cut his allowance from the State by still 
another fifty thousand pounds. Obviously, however, 
this was not sufficient for the salvation of the pound, 
even if the Government executives and employees 
should consent to imitate the example of their 
sovereign. Something besides rigid national econo- 
mizing had helped Great Britain assume her spec- 
tacular place in the sun, and that something 
else was sadly lacking at the present moment. Na- 
tional Solidarity. The willingness of the statesmen 
and politicians to put the country above their 
parties, to join efforts, and to work together disre- 
garding probable resentment and an inevitable 
defeat of personal ambitions. 

The King knew that nothing short of a Sacred 
Union of all classes and parties could pull the 
country away from the brink of the precipice, and 
he must have found comfort in the realization that 
he would preach only what he himself had practiced 
when demanding sacrifices and fighting his min- 
isters 5 egotism. In no way did he try in 1917 to in- 
fluence his Government to intercede with the Rus- 
sian revolutionaries on behalf of his imprisoned 
cousin Emperor Nicholas II. Although extremely 
fond of Nicky, he recognized that such a step would 
be likely to jeopardize the relations between the two 


countries. So he kept this feeling in check and suf- 
fered in silence. In that same year of 1917 he even 
let his elder son, the Prince of Wales, join the rank 
and file of the fighting armies in France, thinking 
always of England and never of himself and his 

Not that he wanted to be praised for his un- 
selfish actions. Far from it. But he saw no reason 
why the others, the ministers, the politicians and the 
bankers, could not afford to do that which he had 
done as a matter of course. 

Coming to London for a "final talk" with the 
three leaders, he was facing a battle, a doubly diffi- 
cult battle, because while speaking in the presence 
of their King each one of the three powerful states- 
men was likely to overemphasize the obstacles put 
in the way of the National Union by his political 
enemies and to underemphasize the handicaps 
created by his own party. 

Had Edward VII been placed in George V's posi- 
tion, he would, no doubt, have endeavored to outwit 
the great wits and outpoint the formidable scorers of 
points. Fortunately or unfortunately, King George V 
had not inherited his father's fencing talents; only 
his loyalty to the nation. That being the case, he 
was going to talk to the three gentlemen not in the 



inimitably brilliant manner of the creator of the 
Anglo-Franco-Russian Alliance, but in the blunt 
fashion of a former sailor accustomed to hear and 
use plain language. "God damn the soul of the 
Kaiser!", he exclaimed in 1918, in the course of a 
conversation with General Pershing, thus summariz- 
ing the attitude of the large masses of British soldiers 
and civilians. After all, black was black and white 
was certain to remain white, even in a Royal Palace, 
even when confronted by the glittering lights of 
eloquence and the fireworks of the three great 
leaders' generalship. 

What was he to do, on the other hand, should 
Messrs MacDonald, Baldwin and Samuel meet his 
proposal to form a Government of National Union 
with a flat "no"? 

Being a cautious Britisher, he surely must have 
weighed the possibility of getting a negative answer. 

Continuing to think along the straight lines of a 
man aware of his duty, he could have reached but 
one conclusion: the "no" of the three leaders would 
have necessitated his acting forcefully and promptly. 
An enemy of melodrama and a great believer in the 
Constitution, he would have indignantly rejected 
any possible offer of forming a committee invested 
with dictatorial powers. A Windsor never breaks his 


Brown Brothers photo 


oath. He swore to rule in accordance with the de- 
cisions o Parliament, and the vogue of half-Napo- 
leonic, half-Fascist ideas sweeping England at that 
moment left him entirely cold. 

There is just one possibility open for a loyal con- 
stitutional King when his Ministers decide upon 
what looks to him to be a road of inevitable peril: 
he can advise the country that while still eager to 
serve its best interests, he can not and does not wish 
to remain at the wheel, if the latter is to be swung 
by a hysterical crew in the direction of certain 

In other words, a loyal constitutional King quits 
at the moment when, having exhausted all efforts 
in an endeavor to save his country, he realizes that 
his desire to act according to the spirit of the 
Constitution has encountered the stone wall of argu- 
ments advanced by the political leaders who prefer 
to stick to its letter. In a measure his position 
could be compared to that of a conscientious chair- 
man of a mammoth concern who prefers to notify 
its stockholders of his resignation rather than to 
cover with his authority some particularly reckless 
decision of its board of directors. 




BUT to return to facts: 

It is a matter of historical record that on August 
sgrd, 1931, the King "saved the day" by hurriedly 
returning from his vacation to the capital where the 
leaders of the three great political parties of Great 
Britain were hopelessly deadlocked in their en- 
deavors to reconcile their common loyalty to the 
country with their widely divergent platforms. So 
utterly erroneous was the public's idea as to what 
the King could and should do that the news of the 
mad all-night rush, made by the royal train from 
Balmoral to London, came in the nature of a revela- 
tion to many otherwise well-informed persons. 
Nobody needed to witness the conference between 
the King and Messrs MacDonald, Baldwin and 
Samuel to realize that the sovereign who came to 
demand the immediate formation of a Cabinet of 
National Union and the pleasant middle-aged gen- 
tleman who each spring accepted the curtsies of the 
American debutantes proved to be total and abso- 
lute strangers. Were the King to follow the consti- 
tutional interpretations of those writers who insist 
that "the Kings of England reign but never rule," 



he would have stayed at his castle in Balmoral 
awaiting the moment when the political leaders 
would have finally straightened out their differences 
and agreed upon a decision to be confirmed by him. 
As it happened, the King preferred to act as he had 
always done before: in accordance with his own con- 
ception of the responsibilities of his "job" and the 
limitations of his prerogatives. 

"Time never runs against the King," proclaims 
the classical phrase, but, in truth, "time" can change 
its habits instantaneously and swiftly if the tenant 
of Buckingham Palace does not constantly watch 
the political developments and does not possess the 
knack to choose the right moment to step in. Noth- 
ing in the whole career of a modern King of 
England is more difficult and more nerve-wracking 
than this vital necessity to combine the shrewdness 
and the cunning of an experienced parliamentarian 
with the impartial and aloof attitude of a constitu- 
tional monarch. Speaking plainly, it amounts to 
this: a sovereign whose voice is never heard by his 
subjects, except on such solemn occasions as the 
opening of Parliament or the inauguration of a 
hospital, must be as eloquent and persuasive in deal- 
ing with his ministers as the most celebrated of 
Great Britain's statesmen and orators; a man whose 


entire time is being taken up by his innumerable 
social duties must develop a sixth sense, a veritable 
set of antennae, permitting him to feel the ever- 
changing pulse of the country while amiably smil- 
ing at Court receptions and garden parties. 

The people say: "the King of England is able to 
continue in office in spite of all troubles and revolu- 
tions shaking the world simply because he obeys the 
decisions of his government and never attempts to 
dictate them." 

The people seem to forget that when dealing with 
a Cabinet made up of representatives of one party, 
the King can never overlook the "law of cycles" 
governing politics: a party often outlives its popular 
appeal long before its leader ceases to be Prime Min- 
ister of Great Britain, and the King would lose his 
"popularity" in no time and would show himself a 
mere amateur tight-rope walker, indeed, should he 
acquiesce placidly and meekly in each and every 
plan of the political combination in power. 

The last twenty years in the history of Great 
Britain provide numerous proofs of the discreet 
leadership exercised by its King. His dramatic re- 
turn to London on the morning of August 2grd, 
1931, though containing all elements of a tense cli- 
max, should in no way be considered tantamount to 


the birth of a "new" George V. Long before the 
World Crisis did away with venerable traditions and 
precedents, the King had on three important occa- 
sions demonstrated the efficiency of his "antennae." 
In the troublesome days of the Irish unrest he had 
put his foot down and demanded of his hesitating 
ministers an immediate settlement of that thorny 
problem of the Empire. In the dark months of 1916, 
when it had become clear to him that Lloyd George 
had grown up to be the symbol of victory in the 
minds of the alarmed Britishers, he was the one who 
insisted on the creation of the Coalition War Cab- 
inet of the brilliant Welshman. And finally, in the 
spring of 1923, faced with the necessity of appoint- 
ing a successor to the ailing Andrew Bonar Law, he 
scored a master-stroke of political strategy: ignoring 
the clearly indicated candidacy of Lord Curzon, he 
summoned Stanley Baldwin to Buckingham Palace, 
thus expressing his sympathy with the prevailing 
mood of the country which clamored for a sober 
business man and minced no words in denouncing 
the old-school diplomats. 

All fanciful "ifs" of history are cursed with ste- 
rility. It would be idle speculation to try to guess 
whether the British Empire would have followed 
a different course if Queen Victoria or King 


Edward VII had been handling the manifold tasks 
which confronted King George V. To one who 
knew all three of them well and intimately it seems 
as though the chief asset of the present British sov- 
ereign consists in his having solved a great puzzle 
which had remained a perennial mystery both to 
his grandmother and father. He discovered the way 
of reading the thoughts of that Great Britain which 
is lying outside of the Houses of Parliament, and this 
intuition, so rarely, if ever, to be found in a royal 
palace, overcomes the partisanship of the ministers 
much more effectively than those venomous letters 
which Queen Victoria used to address to the stub- 
born Mr. Gladstone or those celebrated and sting- 
ing witticisms dropped around the drawing rooms of 
Mayfair by King Edward VII. 

Among the various comments brought forth by 
the overwhelming triumph of the Cabinet of 
National Union in the elections of October 2 8th, 
1931, one was missing rather conspicuously: the edi- 
torial writers failed to note that the victory of the 
MacDonald-Baldwin-Samuel block proved, first of 
all, the political acumen of King George V who had 
foreseen it nine weeks in advance. This ability to 
tune his mind in harmony with the masses is some- 
thing which his immediate predecessors on the 



throne did not possess. His grandmother believed 
her prerogatives protected by the Almighty. His 
father never doubted the ultimate doom of the 
monarchistic regime. King George V, with all due 
respect to their memories, prefers not to disturb 
the Supreme Being or anticipate the future, but sets 
the course of the House of Windsor by that fugitive 
star known as "Majority/' Not the majority that sits 
in Westminster but the majority that lives and 
laughs and struggles and fights its daily battles 
throughout the length and width of the British 

It is extremely characteristic of the utter abandon 
of the public trend of mind that while a detailed 
and highly colored account of a few minutes spent 
by the Prince of Wales in a Whitechapel "pub" is 
being cabled to the four corners of the world and 
offered in explanation of the stability of the throne 
of the Windsors, no correspondent seems to notice 
that a much more significant, almost revolutionary, 
change in the relations between People and Crown 
has occurred in the course of King George V's reign. 
As recently as twenty-four years ago, the nation re- 
lied upon the Government and Parliament to guard 
its inalienable rights against any possible infringe- 
ment by the sovereign. When the then youthful 


Lloyd George was denouncing the interference of 
the "reactionary" House of Lords, he made no 
bones of the fact that he expected to find King 
Edward VII on the side of what in the United 
States would be termed "special privileges and 
vested interests/' Today, the stauch leaders of 
the laborites publicly pay compliments to King 
George V for His Majesty's protection of their cause 
against the excessive demands of the conservatives, 
and the masses are viewing Buckingham Palace as 
the residence of their deputy-at-large representing 
that vast and heterogeneous constituency known as 
the British Empire. This entirely new popular atti- 
tude, product and result of the sustained statesman- 
ship of the Crown, would be sufficient in itself to 
provide an impressive safeguard for the throne were 
it not for one danger: the nights of Great Britain 
are dark and foggy, and it takes the piercing eye of 
a rugged navigator to locate the guiding star! Pos- 
sibly because of his long service in the navy, King 
George V encounters no difficulties in finding the 
nebulous "Majority," but it remains to be seen 
whether his successors will inherit this particular 
talent of the present "Defender of the Faith." I, for 
one, would venture no prediction as to the probable 
longevity of the monarchistic regime in England 


nor in any other European country for that matter; 
no one could without a thorough knowledge of the 
essential characteristics of the coming generation of 
sovereigns involved. 

"I hope to God that there is no foundation to the 
rumors which have it that the Prince of Wales may 
refuse to ascend the throne when his turn comes/* 
said to me an important British statesman known 
for his radical leanings, "that would be really tragic. 
It would be certain to precipitate the gravest 
national crisis." 

The gentleman may have underestimated the 
capability of the younger brothers of the Prince of 
Wales and may have paid too much attention to 
idle gossip, but the point he raised was indisput- 
able: the chances for the survival of an outmoded 
regime depend solely on the personal ability of its 
titular leader, and the mere readiness to obey the 
Constitution would never suffice to keep a King on 
his throne in the dynamite-charged atmosphere of 
after-war Europe. Sometimeswitness the case of 
Yugoslavia an open challenge to Parliament and 
a bold suspension of all constitutional guarantees 
appeal to the masses much more and better succeed 
in nipping an embryo revolution in the bud. 

It is a far cry from London to Belgrade. An in- 


vestigator would do well to first visit the more 
"enlightened" capitals of Europe. The logical itin- 
erary makes Brussels his next stop. 

ASIDE from secondary details, the constitutions of 
Belgium, Holland and the three Scandinavian King- 
doms were largely patterned after the English 
model. An expert would be sure to frown at this 
statement and quote numerous differences, such as 
certain legislative rights vested in the King of Swe- 
den, the non-existence of the royal power to dis- 
solve Parliament in Norway, the wide executive 
prerogatives of the Queen of Holland, the intrica- 
cies of the mechanism of the royal veto in Denmark 
and the absence of the so-called "suspension-clause" 
in Belgium, but the fact remains that the authors 
of all five constitutions were inspired by the typi- 
cally British idea of demoting the monarch to the 
position of glorified spectator. 

It is not unusual for imitators to improve upon 
their prototype, and were it not for the similarity 
in title there would be nothing left today to permit 
us to classify the crowned heads of Belgium, Hol- 
land, Denmark, Sweden and Norway as members of 



King George V's profession. The arbiter and su- 
preme judge o the disputes between the govern- 
ment and the opposition, he stands above but never 
out of politics, while theirs is a purely decorative 
office closely resembling that of the President of 
the Republic of France, just as far removed from 
active participation in the running of the State and 
just as much of a pompous misnomer. According 
to the constitutions of their countries they are 
allowed a greater latitude of initiative than King 
George V, but their keen understanding of the radi- 
cal spirit of their nations makes them look toward 
Paris rather than toward London for inspiration, 
and prompts them to behave in exactly the same 
manner the nominal head of the Gallic Repub- 
lic does. The students of modern history will recall 
that Alexandre Millerand, the only President of 
France who attempted to exercise the rights of initi- 
ative given to him by the constitution, was forced to 
resign three years before the expiration of his term 
just because of that attempt. Unlike the Americans 
who measure the greatness of their Chief Executives 
by a Rooseveltian yardstick, the majority of the 
Frenchmen maintain that only an affable person, 
thoroughly prepared to remain a mere figurehead, 
should be permitted to occupy the Elyse Palace. 


The statesmen of Brussels, the Hague, Stockholm, 
Oslo and Copenhagen endorse this somewhat vul- 
nerable point o view most heartily; they gauge the 
"goodness" of the ruler by his willingness to let the 
prerogatives of the Crown become a vague symbol 
of the past. 

"You are quite alright. We are satisfied with 
you," said Anseele, the old leader of the Flemish 
Labor Party, at the conclusion of an audience with 
King Albert I, and the Belgian sovereign acknowl- 
edged this homely compliment half blushingly, half 
gratefully. A remark of that sort would have been 
certain to incense his late uncle, King Leopold II, 
although even that confirmed stickler on royal eti- 
quette entertained but small illusions as to the 
future of monarchism. Whenever talking of the 
growth of republican ideas in Europe, he used to 
add wistfully: "For myself I am not worried in the 
least. I have a nephew who is a socialist. . . . With 
him on the Throne my country will be just a heredi- 
tary republic!" 

A socialist nephew succeeding to an autocratic 
uncle! This seems to be a complete summary of 
what took place in all the other Kingdoms of occi- 
dental and northern Europe. King Christian X of 
Denmark and King Haakon VII of Norway (known 


as Prince Charles o Denmark before his coronation 
in 1909) broke away from the regal ideas of their 
grandfather King Christian IX in no less resolute a 
way than King Albert I of Belgium, and an equally 
wide gulf, both mental and emotional, separates 
King Gustav-Adolph V of Sweden and Queen Wil- 
helmina of Holland from their predecessors on the 
thrones. For one thing, no plainer "folk" ever in- 
habited the historical palaces of Europe. Hollywood 
directors, accustomed to think of their royalty in 
terms of ermine and pearls, if given an opportu- 
nity to spend a week-end with the family of reign- 
ing Bernadottes or Glucksburgs would be greatly 
shocked: they would find these tall healthy men and 
women dressed in an unobtrusive manner border- 
ing on poverty, eating the simplest kind of food 
and discussing subjects that would be considered 
distinctly "middle-class" in the mansions of Long 
Island and Newport. It may amuse the Park Avenue 
hostesses to learn that the Belgians usually credit 
the democratic attitude of their ruler to the benefi- 
cent American influence: he stayed for a while in 
the United States, in the late go's, studying the rail- 
road business under the tutelage of James J. Hill. 
Unfortunately, neither Uncle Sam nor Mr. Hill can 
be held responsible for the policies of the other four 


"democratic" sovereigns. Guided by a natural de- 
sire to maintain internal peace and always remem- 
bering the bitter experience of their Russian, Ger- 
man and Austrian relatives, all five of them are 
reconciled to leading the existence of crowned presi- 

In the game of political give-and-take they are to 
be found, when at all, invariably on the giving end, 
gradually divesting themselves of the few remain* 
ing vestiges of the prerogatives of their forebears. 
Queen Wilhelmina proclaiming immediately after 
the fall of the Central European Empires that her 
desire is "to see the necessary reforms promised by 
the Crown accomplished with the rapidity befitting 
the social rhythm of our times." King Gustav- 
Adolph V meeting an identical emergency with a 
readiness which made the leading radical newspaper 
of Sweden say, "our dream has been achieved; our 
people have finally become the supreme masters of 
their destiny." King Albert I reminding a zealous 
delegation of ultra-royalists that "Parliament alone 
can and must decide." So similar are the defensive 
methods of these sovereigns that even the humor 
of the anecdotes built up around their "democratic 
demeanor" reveals exactly the same trend. As a rule, 
the cream of the jest is provided by the "plain- 

Wide World photo 



spoken American." That justly celebrated remark 
presumably addressed to the Queen of the Belgians 
by the wife of a high New York City official in 
answer to the royal appreciation of the skyline, 
"You said a mouthful, Queenie," finds its Swedish 
counterpart in a tale laid in Monte-Carlo and deal- 
ing with King Gustav-Adolph V, a famous Ameri- 
can millionaire (sometimes described as my old 
friend Charles M. Schwab) and the latter *s Swedish 
valet. Said the U. S. tycoon to the King, pointing 
to his servant, "I want you to meet my Eric, King. 
He is a Swede, too." 

Both stories are great favorites with their Belgian 
and Swedish Majesties, who would not swap them 
even for that blue ribbon entry of the Buckingham 
Palace collection of anecdotes which describes a 
gentleman from Iowa as stepping out of the crowd 
at the Wimbledon Exposition and asking King 
George V to "shake hands with the son." 


GRANTING the efficiency of the modern "royal de- 
fense," I must admit, however, that the best-laid 
plans of the Kings would have long since gone awry 
had it not been for the unwillingness of their peo- 


pies to run the risks accompanying the initial steps 
of every new-born republic. The object lesson pro- 
vided by the three fallen Empires has impressed the 
man-in-the-street not less than the man-on-the- 
throne. The latter shuddered and felt uneasy, but 
the former was equally frightened, the example of 
Russia where the storm once unchained had re- 
fused to limit its destructive fury to the Imperial 
Palaces only being rather discouraging to a believer 
in democracy. 

"A campaign against our Royal Family would 
never meet with popular approval." I constantly 
hear this hackneyed phrase which conveys no mean- 
ing other than that the devil we know remains much 
better than the devil we don't know, and that it is 
much easier for the politicians to handle a King 
than to chance the appearance of a Hitler or a 
Trotzky. If any additional proof of this axiom is 
required, Italy is the country to furnish it. 

What makes Mussolini tolerate the existence of 
the Italian Crown? No pilgrim to Rome has as yet 
dared to ask II Duce this logical question, and the 
Encyclopaedia Britannica continues to claim, even in 
its last and newest edition, that "Italy is a constitu- 
tional monarchy in which the executive power 
belongs exclusively to the sovereign." To quote one 


of my reigning relatives: "It is a good thing that 
the members of our profession are still able to count 
on the support of the editors of the Britannica!" 

In the estimation of the persons who are directly 
interested in the continuation of the pro-royal atti- 
tude of the Fascist!, Mussolini is influenced both by 
his fear of offending the shadow of the Liberator of 
Italy, King Victor-Emmanuel II, and by his uncon- 
scious imitation of the ideas incorporated in the 
Soviet Constitution. Just as the existence of the 
so-called "President" Kalinin reminds the citizens 
of the U. S. S. R. that theirs is, after all, a Republic 
an accomplishment of the dream of three genera- 
tions of Russians the presence of King Victor- 
Emmauuel III symbolizes for the Italian nation the 
everlasting Garibaldian* idea of an United Italy. 
Brothers under the skin, the Communists and the 
Fascisti both put their official rulers in a position of 
similar impotence. Kalinin could no more resist the 
decisions of Stalin than the King of Italy could veto 
the bills introduced by Mussolini. The "President" 
of the U. S. S. R., himself an old communist, natur- 
ally rejoices in the power of his party; Victor- 
Emmanuel III, a descendant of the proud House 
of Savoy, merely bows to the inevitable, having 
accepted Fascism as the only way out of anarchy. 



Not much need be said about the defensive 
methods of the King of Italy. His is an attitude of 
silence and of "hoping for the best/' Because the 
fate of his royal cousin of Spain has proved that a 
monarch has to pay for the mistakes of a dictator, 
even if no particular love is lost between the two, 
Victor-Emmanuel III realizes that the often-asked 
question after Mussolini what? likewise affects the 
destinies of the reigning dynasty. When a country 
is threatened by revolution, a monarch should either 
unreservedly accept the "man-on-the-white-horse" 
or dare invest himself with dictatorial powers. The 
latter course, unattainable in the case of Italy, has 
often been tried, with a moderate degree of success, 
by the Graustark rulers of the Balkanic Kingdoms. 


ON the warm and clear morning of April i4th, 
19^5, an open car of American make was slowly 
proceeding along the badly paved highway leading 
toward the capital of Bulgaria. The man at the 
wheel, a slender, pale-faced, dark-haired youth, 
breathed deeply of the fragrance of the spring air, 
while his two passengers, one dressed in the uniform 
of a chauffeur and the other suggesting an elderly 
professor, sat in the rear, silent and half-asleep. 


Approaching a group of trees at a turn of the 
road, the young man thought he heard the sound 
of subdued human voices and glanced around ques- 
tioningly. Almost simultaneously, the crack of a rifle 
sounded, followed by a real salvo. In the small mir- 
ror in front of him he saw his two passengers sink 
to the floor. He applied the brakes, vaulted out of 
the car and made for the nearby village. The bul- 
lets whizzing in his ears helped increase his speed 
and he ran for dear life. 

Less than a mile from the place where he started 
he bumped into a heavy bus parked in the middle 
of the highway, with its chauffeur and passengers 
eating their lunch on the grass. His appearance cre- 
ated a storm of excitement. They glared at him as 
though he were a ghost. Before anyone could ask 
him a question he jumped into the bus, turned it 
around and was off. 

The chauffeur and the passengers looked at each 
other. Could it be possible that they had really wit- 
nessed the incredible spectacle of King Boris III of 
Bulgaria stealing a bus? 

The rest of this story should gladden the hearts 
of the veterans of the American frontier. There 
was a posse of soldiers and peasants who searched 
through the woods all day and all night long, 


guided by their pale-faced King. More shots were 
exchanged, although no culprits caught. 

"This incident is bound to make the King still 
more popular with his subjects/' cabled the Amer- 
ican correspondents in Sophia, but the hero him- 
self thought differently. He feared that a human life 
is too precious to be risked for the sake of popu- 
larity and doubted whether such counterfeit plea- 
sures should be paid for in genuine coin. 

At this particular phase of the continuous Bal- 
kanic drama the curtain falls to denote the passing 
of three years. When it goes up again, on June 20th, 
1928, the scene represents the solemn hall of the 
Yugoslavian Parliament. More shots are being 
heard: a deputy enraged by the stubbornness of his 
Croatian colleagues brandishes a gun and silences 
five of them. 

Such are the Balkans. The danger spot of the 
world and the most unhealthy climate for a King 
to live in. Obviously, the British methods of up-i 
holding the popularity of the monarchistic regimdc 
would prove a dismal failure in the countries whercr. 
a King gets ambushed on the highway and whei 
parliamentary disputes are settled with the aid JPI* 
a .45 Colt. ? 

As King Alexander I of Yugoslavia expresses it 


in his frank fashion: "I prefer to be called a tyrant 
in France and elsewhere than allow to continue in 
my country such political customs as would lead it 
toward chaos and dismemberment." 

The word "allow" is being used by King Alex- 
ander I not in its Buckingham Palace sense, but 
in a way the snipers can appreciate. For King 
George V not to "allow" a measure detrimental to 
the welfare of his country means to make an appeal 
to the patriotic spirit of the leaders of the three 
great political parties. In the case of King Alex- 
ander I it signifies his decision to suspend the con- 
stitutional guarantees, a measure recurred to by him 
in January, 1929, and partly revoked since then. 

"I admit/' he says, "that it may be necessary to 
consult the leaders of the nation and I believe that 
the new Parliament which has just been elected 
understands that. But what is still inadmissible and 
will always remain inadmissible is that the political 
nachinations of a single party or a local interest 
should be allowed to work against the good of the 

His reference to the "local interest" should strike 
JF ympathetic chord in the heart of King Carol II 
6t Rumania. The generosity displayed by the Allies 
in Versailles toward their Balkanic supporters has 



made the position of these two young rulers ex- 
tremely difficult. In 1919 it seemed quite nice to be 
able to put under their respective sceptres millions 
o brand-new subjects and miles upon miles of addi- 
tional land. In 1932 they find it very nearly impos- 
sible to prevent a clash between their pre-war na- 
tionals and the strangers allotted to them by Georges 
Clemenceau. What King Alexander I terms "the 
political machinations of a local interest" represent 
in reality an imposing sum of grievances bred by an 
array of religious, racial and national differences. 

Of all professions the royal one should be the last 
to borrow troubles, and I am appalled to think of 
the lightheartedness with which the rulers of Yugo- 
slavia and Rumania have accepted the explosive 
gifts of the Allies. Not only did their "great con- 
quests" jeopardize the stability of their thrones that 
could be considered rather a minor tragedy from the 
point of view of humanity at large but the selfsame 
conquests made another European war well-nigh 
unavoidable. No suspension of constitutional guar- 
antees can succeed in vanquishing the animosities 
of millions of Hungarians, Croats, Russians and 
others who were "sold down the river" by the Allies, 
and no degree of "personal popularity" will protect 
a King in case of another fratricidal slaughter. 


I WISH I could persuade my friend Ras-Tafari, the 
present Emperor of Abyssinia, to pay a visit to the 
European sovereigns and preach to them his ser- 
mon on the subject of Wars and Kings. 

"What were you Europeans fighting for in 1914- 
1918?" he asked me when I saw him last in 1925 in 

I explained as well as I could. 

"I know all of that/' he said impatiently, "but I 
can not understand why any Emperor or King 
should declare war unless his own country had been 
invaded by the enemy. Didn't they know, those rela- 
tives of yours, that they would be sure to lose their 
thrones in case of defeat? You ask my Secretary of 
State what we think of war here in Abyssinia." 

The Secretary of State spared no words in de- 
scribing how little they thought of war in Abyssinia. 
While talking in the presence of Ras-Tafari and the 
Dowager-Empress, this elderly statesman had to 
keep a handkerchief in front of his face so as to 
prevent his "unclean breath" from offending the 

Abyssinia, I thought, was, no doubt, the cleverest 


country in the world. It did seem odd, though, that 
I had had to travel all the way to Africa to find the 
last Mohican of that majestic profession of Absolute 
Rulers which is no more. The Kaiser himself could 
not have improved upon the handkerchief idea.