The New Student's Reference Work/Peter, King of Servia
Peter, King of Servia, was born at Belgrade in 1846. His grandfather was George Petrovitch, known as Czerny George, who led the Servians in their struggle for independence against the Turks and whose son, Alexander, was made reigning prince in 1842, but deposed by the National Assembly in 1858 and subsequently banished. Peter was put to school in Hungary, and later entered the French military school of St. Cyr. He graduated, became an officer in the French army, and served with distinction in the Franco-German war. He was captured three times by the Germans, but each time escaped. Afterwards he for years lived a life of extravagance and dissipation in Paris. Then, aroused by the troubles in the Balkans, he actively encouraged the rising of 1875–6 in Herzegovina which culminated in the Russo-Turkish war of 1877–8 and the complete establishment of Servian independence. After a period of roving he went to Montenegro and in 1883 married the Princess Zarka, the oldest daughter of Prince Nicholas. This marriage eventually served to connect him both with the Russian and the Italian court. Princess Zarka died in 1890, and Peter went to Geneva, Switzerland, to put his children in school, where he lived quietly until 1903. On June 11th, 1903, the king and queen of Servia (q. v.) were murdered. Peter was elected king four days later. He entered Belgrade, after an absence of forty years, on June 24th, and on the following day took the oath of office and assumed the regular royal rights and duties. He received his crown on October 9th, 1904.