Crown Prince Alexander exclusively for Telegraf, after Oplenac ceremony, speaks about the Karadjordjeviscs funeral, Serbia as constitutional monarchy, EU negotiations opening date and his family’s unity
Crown Prince Alexander II Karadjordjevic speaks for Telegraf about how he feels now when the legacy of Peter I Karadjordjevic has been fulfilled, about Serbia and the EU, restoration of monarchy, as well as the necessary help by the state to the dynasty, in his first interview after the funeral of the mortal remains of King Peter II Karadjordjevic, Queen Maria, Queen Alexandra and Prince Andrej, in the crypt of St. George’s Church in Oplenac.
Crown Prince Alexander, the Head of the Royal House of Karadjordjevic and legitimate heir of the Serbian throne, who has already been addressed as „King“ by Patriarch Irinej at Oplenac, says for our portal that the interest for constitutional parliamentary monarchy has always existed, and that Serbia as monarchy is a better solution for the XXI century.
According to the earlier survey by Telegraf, but also by many other public opinion research agencies, 60% of the examinees has stated they would like to see Serbia with monarchist form of government. Crown Prince Alexander II says for Telegraf he is glad because of such result, and that he and his family are much moved.
1.What are your impressions after the funeral and fulfilment of King Peter I’s wish for all Karadjordjevic’s to be buried in one place?
It was very moving for all my family and a great satisfaction that all family members are now resting in peace in the crypt of the Royal Mausoleum. We are especially very proud to have fulfilled King Peter I wishes. It took time, but it happened.
2.Serbian state has finally stood by the Karadjordjevic’s and helped in the transfer of the mortal remains. How much has that support meant to you?
The support from President Nikolic was very strong and wonderful, and with the help and advice of Professor Oliver Antic the process moved forward. Also with the help and support of Prime Minister Ivica Dacic, Foreign Minister Mr Ivan Mrkic, the Commission for the Return of Family Members much was accomplished in getting things to move forward. I am very grateful our Patriarch Irinej for the amazing support from the church. In the United States the support from Chicago was excellent with our lawyer Mr Tom Karacic who dealt expertly with the legal side and the required applications for King Peter and Prince Andrej to be exhumed. Our Ambassador in Washington Mr Vladimir Petrovic and our Consul General Mr Desko Nikitovic were excellent and worked very hard. In the United Kingdom Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II gave her gracious permission for the exhumation of Queen Maria so the process went very smoothly. Our Ambassador in London, our Consul General Ljiljana Zarubica were excellent liaised very well with the British authorities. We are grateful to our airline JAT and staff for their great help. In Greece regarding my mother Queen Alexander the Prime Minister Mr Antonis Samaras and Foreign Minister Mr Dimitris Avramopoulos provided superb help and support, our Ambassador in Athens Mr Dragan Zupanjevac liaised expertly with the Greek authorities. Everyone was a great team and my family too. We succeeded and the public clearly saw the results last Sunday 26 May.
3.We have witnessed many people coming to the Royal Chapel to pay their respect to the Karadjordjevic’s, also a great number of people have attended the funeral at Oplenac, are you glad that more and more citizens of Serbia is turning to monarchy again?
It was very moving to see so many people who came to pay their respects to the family in the Royal Chapel in Dedinje, my family and I were very touched by this. There has always been much interest in Constitutional Monarchy and I am always grateful for the very warm interest.
4.Is Serbia going to get the accession negotiations with the EU opening date?
I would hope so towards the end of June. Our Government has been working very hard to achieve this and we all know that it will be a big boost for Serbia to be a member of the EU and take part in the decision making and especially also open up a huge market for our economy and build friendship and brotherhood. Our Government also has the difficult task to work on this very important matter which so close to all our hearts.
5.Just to make it clear regarding all the rumours – is the family of Karadjordjevic united and are there any differences within it?
No doubt about that – as best as can be. It is clear and visible that we are 98% strongly united and that is what is important. Therefore no matter what we move forward united.
6.Do you think it is realistic to expect that Serbia will one day become a parliamentary monarchy again?
There is no doubt that the interest for Constitutional Monarchy is strong. However it is important to note that our politicians and people must feel comfortable about it. It is a positive political solution for Serbia and it will bring us on par with other Constitutional Monarchies like Sweden, the Netherlands, United Kingdom, Japan, Australia, Canada etc…
7.SPO leader Vuk Drašković has stated at the State funeral it is time for you to be involved in politics, in order to help promoting the idea of monarchy, so that it would be established as soon as possible, are you planning to do so?
The principle of Constitutional Monarchy is that the government rules with the Prime Minister in at the helm along with his cabinet following elections. The King reigns and is above politics, he is not a member of a political party and this is very important because he provides unity, continuity and stability.
8.Patriarch Irinej has publicly supported the idea of Serbia as a parliamentary monarchy, how important is it to you and are you going to initiate resolving this issue?
It is very important, but requires a lot of work to move forward. His Holiness Patriarch Irinej and other religious leaders are very sympathetic to Constitutional Monarchy. Patriarch Pavle officially supported Constitutional Monarchy in 2003, and this is a continuation of the relationship that was built centuries ago. In Serbia, both Church and Crown are symbols of continuity, stability and unity, they embrace all people without exception based on their personal choices.
9.Are you happy with the work of the Advisory bodies of the Crown?
As you know, there are three bodies: Crown Council, Privy Council and Crown Cabinet. Any idea is as strong as people united around it. Sometimes, the credibility of particular names of academicians and professors, members of the Crown Council speak for themslves. It is not surprising that many of them are internationally recognised. The Privy Council is a much smaller advisory body and active on a daily basis, whereas the Crown Cabinet gathers specialists on various areas, and they give their valuable advice whenever needed. In the more than 20 years of their existence, a lot of good initiatives were proposed and supported.
10.Many internationally distinguished guests and Royal Family members were at Oplenac. What are The Royal Palace and Karadjordjevic family specifically doing to improve Serbia’s reputation in the world?
We are proud to promote Serbia abroad and to foreign visitors and investors. We are invited to many foreign functions and events. We are always asked about Serbia and we do have the golden opportunity do positive talking about our country. We are proud to enjoy equal respect and friendship domestically and abroad. Just look at the teamwork and cooperation both domestically and internationally to bring the remains of my family to Serbia. Without mutual respect and cooperation both domestically and internationally it would have been impossible. We are very happy to have so many good friends both domestically and internationally.
11.Do you think the road of accession to the EU is important for Serbia?
Yes as it is as I mentioned earlier.I know very well that there are misgivings and doubts, and they must be heard. There are soon to be 28 members of the EU with Croatia being the latest. Serbia is getting surrounded with EU countries. We seriously need the huge EU market to trade and export our goods. We need to have more jobs thanks to especially more investment and that would be thanks to the EU. We will continue to have a superlative relationship with Russia. We are not a tax free mini haven like Monaco nor a San Remo, because we as Serbia cannot simply be isolated like an island in the Pacific from Europe and the EU decision making. It is about time we be heard as Serbia and we should be proud of that.
12.How far has the restitution of the Karadjordjevic’s’ property gone?
We are still working on this very important issue and there will be progress and cooperation.
13.It is well known that the Karadjordjevic’s do not receive appanage from the state, what is the source of your finances?
I am glad to say that I always worked to earn my living.
14.Do you, and to what extent, need the state’s help, and in which areas particularly?
Yes, we need the state to help with the maintenance of the historical property so that it does not deteriorate. We are all proud of the Royal Palace and White Palace, and they are beautiful, they are our the Serbian Versailles and they are open to the public, but we need the state to help with the constant repairs and maintenance since it is clearly in the interest of Serbia. The palaces are very popular so we must continue preserve them for the public both domestic and foreign to enjoy. We have wonderful art and architecture and we should be proud of it just like all nations are of their heritage and history.