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Portrait of Alfonso XII, King of Spain in uniform facing right
Alfonso XII became King of Spain in 1874 following a coup d’état that ended the First Spanish Republic. Eight years later, General Grant met the Spanish monarch in an environment that still suffered from political unrest. Their first meeting took place in Vittoria, King Alfonso XII’s Capital of Spain. John Russell Young observed that the stress on the twenty year old sovereign from his unstable hold on the throne was evident. He appeared overwhelmed by the responsibilities as King. The King’s beloved wife of five years had also previously passed away. He told Grant his labors as a sovereign kept his mind off his grief. His day was spent reviewing his military and fortifications from town to town. Grant and the King discussed the advantages and disadvantages of holding such a leadership position. The Grants enjoyed a dinner together with the King honoring their visit to Spain. Mrs. Grant also noted the tension between the Spanish public and their sovereign. After their Vittoria meeting, General and Mrs. Grant saw the King again in Madrid as he made a procession across a square by the Hotel de Paris. Mrs. Grant later commented in her memoirs the King did not receive even the slightest expression of loyalty from his people. It was during this same procession that General Grant witnessed an assassination attempt on King Alfonso XII. General Grant later told a reporter he saw the flash made by the pistol as the assassin raised it to fire a shot as the Kin. King Alfonso XII was unharmed in this attack.
Ulysses Grant Dietz
Fernando Debras, Primer Fotografo de S.S.M.M. y de S.S.A.A.R.R, Madrid, Spain
Mississippi State University Libraries (electronic version).
Ulysses S. Grant Presidential Library, Mississippi State University Libraries.
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