Greece is my country. I moved there once I finished my studies in Paris. I arrived to find a monarchy in office to which I belonged. I was flattered. With power comes a comfort unimaginable to those without it. Everything is brought to you on a silver platter. Simply make a wish and it will be realized. I was showered with special favors and privileges, and enjoyed constant pampering. I sat in the first row with my family at official ceremonies, much to the pleasure of my vanity.
Then, after a few months, I became accustomed to it all, or rather, bored of it all. Public occasions became chores. The demands and constraints of official life became more and more unbearable. I wanted my freedom at any cost. And ever since this now distant time, I have guarded my freedom against anything and everything, sparing no expense in the process, for freedom does not come cheaply.
In the interim, I also observed the thankless nature of the royal office, not towards myself of course, as I was only the fifth wheel of the carriage, but for those who wore the crown, or those who were much closer to it. They worked themselves tirelessly, devoted themselves, and in turn received only criticism. Of course it is great to be popular, but it is very difficult to remain so. Monarchs operate in an emptiness, where it is impossible to measure one’s progress. One must always be on guard, thinking of everything in advance, suspicious of everyone. If one is not anchored by a profound sense of duty, it is impossible to exercise the responsibilities of the office.
The other aspect of my new life in Greece was my military service. I had hardly been out of university when I entered the Greek barracks. What was for most boys a tolerable chore was for me an intoxicating, exhilarating apprenticeship.
In reality, this country, my country, that I first arrived in at twenty years old, without knowing anything of it beforehand, I discovered thanks to the Greek army.
The army took boys, men from each and every province and social class and threw them all together. I saw and experienced more than I would have on any expedition or excursion. The military maneuvers that brought me to central Greece and Macedonia showed me provincial life, the rural character of my country. To be frank, I wasn’t very interested in the army, but what the army showed me lit a passion inside me.
I developed an unbreakable attachment, a bond between myself and Greece and the Greeks. Of course I continued to followed closely the developments of History in motion, but from a different vantage point and by different means than during my time at university.
In effect, power brought with it information of the highest order and provoked meetings and encounters that put me in direct contact with the events that were developing before my very eyes.