BEAVER COUNTY TIMES (Pennsylvania)
Serbian royals to visit Aliquippa
By: Bill Utterback
Beaver County Times
Tuesday January 4, 2011 10:05 PM
ALIQUIPPA — The most creative minds at Disney have never
imagined a more improbable script: A prince and princess who live in a royal
palace in Europe will celebrate Christmas in Beaver County this week.
Crowned Prince Alexander II of Serbia, son of Yugoslavia’s
last king, grandson of the a past king of Greece, and godson of Queen Elizabeth
II of England, will participate in Christmas Eve activities Thursday at the St.
Elijah Serbian Orthodox Church in Aliquippa.
The prince, the man who would have been king of Yugoslavia
had the 20th century unfolded with less turbulence, will be accompanied by his
wife, Crown Princess Katherine.
Although Prince Alexander and his family returned to the
royal palace in Belgrade in 2001 after a 60-year exile, he has no governmental
“When we told the Sunday school kids that a real prince and
princess were coming, their eyes lit up ... They were transfixed,” Brian Hayden,
a Sunday School teacher who is coordinating the Christmas Eve activities said.
“The kids are excited. Their parents and grandparents are excited. We’re all
excited to have this opportunity to share Christmas with them.
“We’re very proud of how we have continued the traditions our
grandparents and great-grandparents brought from Europe.”
Hayden said the royal couple will be visiting Pittsburgh this
week and were seeking a Serbian-American church where they could celebrate
Christmas. They were directed to Aliquippa, where 300 to 400 people gather
annually on Christmas Eve.
“They wanted a place that represented a traditional Serbian
Christmas,” Hayden said.
Hayden said the prince and princess are expected to arrive at
4 p.m. for the cutting of the yule log, and attend a children’s program at 4:30
p.m. They will leave by 7:30 p.m. to attend another engagement in Pittsburgh.
The Prince has asked to address the congregation, and to
“meet and greet as many people as possible”, Hayden said.
Prince Alexander, in a Serbian newspaper last week, urged his
nation to someday adopt a constitutional monarchy similar to Sweden, Norway,
Denmark, Belgium, Spain, the Netherlands and Luxembourg.
Hayden said Prince Alexander, while not in power, remains an
important figure in Serbian-American churches, where Serbian history is
“Absolutely,” Hayden said when asked if children knew of the
prince. “We teach a lot of our history and tradition at church, and he’s part of
the royal family. It’s a well-known part of our history. We’re Serbian-Americans
and were proud of both sides of the hyphen.”
According to his official online biography, Prince Alexander
was born in London after his father, King Peter II of Yugoslavia, was forced
into exile after refusing to ally with Nazi Germany in 1941. Alexander’s mother
was Princess Alexandra, daughter of King Alexander of Greece. At the time of the
prince’s birth, Winston Churchill declared Suite 212 in the Claridge Hotel to be
Yugoslavian territory. The prince was baptized at Westminster Abby with his
godparents, King George VI and Elizabeth II of England, standing with him.
Alexander, according to his biography, decided not to use the
title of king after his father died in 1970, but “made if very clear that he was
not renouncing his title, or the dynastic right to the throne.”
Serbian royal family
l Prince Alexander, ruled principality of Serbia from
l King Peter I, Alexander’s son, served as king of Serbia,
and then king of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, reigned from
l King Alexander I, son of Peter I, last king of Serbs,
Croats and Slovenes, first king of Yugoslavia, reigned from 1921 until his
assassination in Marseilles, France in 1934.
l King Peter II, son of Alexander I, king of Yugoslavia from
1934 until 1945, exiled to England in 1941 after refusing to ally with Nazi
l Crown Prince Alexander II, born in 1945 in exile in London
to Alexander I and Princess Alexandra, daughter of King Alexander of Greece. He
was educated, in part, at Culver Military Academy in Indiana, and graduated from
the British Royal Military Academy before serving as an officer in the British