By Nick Hawton
BBC News, Belgrade
The crown prince does not have his own
The man who would be king of Serbia smiles
warmly at me as I enter the royal palace in
There is no hint of a Serbian accent from him as
he guides me into the splendid interior.
"The first time I came into the royal palace, it
was very emotional for me. This is where my
father lived, where my grandfather lived. It was
His Royal Highness Crown Prince Alexander II of
Serbia and Yugoslavia only moved to Serbia in
Most of his life had been spent in the United
Kingdom - and one of his godparents is Queen
The Yugoslav royal family was abolished when
Tito's communists came to power after World War
Alexander was born in Claridge's Hotel in London
in 1945. Winston Churchill declared the hotel
suite Yugoslav territory for the occasion.
1804 Founder of dynasty, Djordje
Petrovic, known as Karadjordjevic or
'Black George', leads Serb uprising
1811 Karadjordjevic confirmed as ruler
1918 Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and
1929 Kingdom of Yugoslavia declared
1934 King Alexander I assassinated in
1941 King Peter II goes into exile
1945 Crown Prince Alexander II born in
London. Tito's communists abolish
2001 Prince Alexander II returns to live
"The previous regime castigated the monarchy,
said that we left with trainloads of gold. That
would have been great. But it never happened,"
says the crown prince.
In many ways, he is the last embodiment of the
old Yugoslavia, following the final dissolution
of the old country this summer when Montenegro
and Serbia split up.
The six republics of the former Yugoslavia -
Serbia, Montenegro, Croatia, Bosnia, Macedonia
and Slovenia - are now six independent states.
New royal role?
Crown Prince Alexander believes there is a role
for the monarchy in the new Serbia.
Djordje Petrovic, founder of the
"I do believe a constitutional parliamentary
monarchy is a very positive thing. It works very
well in Europe and Australia, New Zealand and
"You have a head of state who is neutral, not a
member of any political party. I think a monarch
can help provide political stability."
But how much support is there in the country for
a return of the monarchy?
"I don't have a coffer to do campaigns, blow up
balloons, blow trumpets. But the polls say more
than 30% of the people are solid for it - which
is more than most political parties here."
'Lack of unity'
He believes Serbia has real potential for the
future but that certain actions have to be taken
before the country can really move forward.
He believes the former Bosnian Serb leaders,
Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic, accused of
genocide by the UN War Crimes Tribunal in The
Hague, have to be arrested.
The royal palace in Belgrade is now home
to Prince Alexander
"We have to fulfil our international
obligations. Even though they will be
distasteful for some. But we do have to do it
and move ahead towards the European Union and
kick start again the negotiations that were
suspended. We have to work hard to bring more
money, business and investors to Serbia."
"We're suffering from lack of unity and sense of
purpose. I don't think there'll be a proper
settlement in the region until Serbia is at
peace with itself and with its neighbours."
And as for the Serbian language?
"I am improving all the time," he says.