Wake Forest Historical Museum

LOCATION: 414 N. Main Street Wake Forest, NC 27587 CONTACT: 919-556-2911

When William Bailey Royall Met the King of Greece

 

William Bailey Royall and Sarah Hall Royall at the turn of the 20th century.

William Bailey Royall and Sarah Hall Royall at the turn of the 20th century.

Wake Forest College Professor William Bailey Royall made international news on May 17, 1904 when he bumped into King George and Queen Olga of Greece while touring the palace garden in Athens.

This wouldn’t have shocked anyone in Wake Forest, however. Royall had been teaching Greek at the college since returning from the Civil War at the age of 21. By the time of this meeting he’d spent almost forty years immersed in the language.

A description of the event is taken from two publications of the era, The Acropolis and The Times.

The King and the Americans 

Yesterday afternoon around five o’clock, an American tourist and his wife were wandering in the Palace Garden with a guide. Along one of the paths, going in the opposite direction, suddenly appeared the King and the Queen.

When the travelers turned respectfully, the King approached and stood before the astonished strangers.

“Welcome,” said the King in English to the American traveler.

“Your Majesty,” replied he.

“Who are you?” the King asked.

“William Royall,” replied the American, “professor of Ancient Greek in the college of Wake Forest, North Carolina.”

“But you speak it with the English pronunciation,” says the King.

“We use the continental,” replied the stranger.

“How seems our climate to you?” asks the King. “Is it very cold here?”

“The climate appears to us very fine. As to the cold we are accustomed to that.”

“I rejoice much that you are pleased with Greece,” said the Queen, who stood near holding to the branch of a tree.

The King then shook hands with the American and his lady and bade them farewell. The Americans expressed themselves enthusiastically concerning the goodness and naturalness of our sovereigns.

In the letter he sent home to accompany the articles, Professor Royall added that he did not address the monarch as “Your Majesty,” and when other American visitors later asked Mrs. Royall how she acted in the presence of the King and Queen she replied, “Just as if I had been meeting kings and queens every day of my life.”

 

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This entry was posted on May 18, 2016 by in Old Campus History and tagged , , .

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Atlas Ray, owner of a legendary store in the Harricanes, was among those remembered at the WFHA program on country stores. Just received several reels of 16mm film. Looks like 1950s home movies of the Demon Deacs in the Billy Barnes days!!! From the April 1961 Wake Forest phone book... instructions on how to use a dial telephone, how to dial a number, how to interpret ringing and busy signals, and what to do on a party line. Anyone else remember those days? This amazing photo from Sanford Bailey shows just HALF of the folks at the 1954 Powell Family Reunion!!!