Magazine Code, 28 December 2009
Exclusive Interview with HRH Crown Prince Alexander II
THERE IS NO PROGRESS WITHOUT A KING
HRH Crown Prince Alexander II Karadjordjevic in an exclusive interview for
the special holiday issue of CODE magazine says that in a Constitutional
Parliamentary Monarchy the King reigns, and the Government governs. The King is
the head of the state and is not competing with, nor interfering with
Government’s business. The King is the defender of the Constitution.
By Nadja Andrejevic
Crown Prince Alexander II Karadjordjevic and Princess Katherine have for several
years now in the White Palace in Dedinje. Although they frequently travel
outside the Serbian capital, they are very much engaged in humanitarian work,
and help a lot young and talented people, as well as the old, sick and poor.
Recently the Royal Couple celebrated the Patron’s Saint Day of Karadjordjevic
Dynasty, Saint Andrew the First Called, with unanimous support of Serbian clergy
and Elite. Although the majority of Serbs think that the only real way for
Serbia is to go back to its roots, back to Monarchy, there are real chances that
Crown Prince Alexander II realize his birth right and get the Throne back. He
personally believes that Constitutional Parliamentary Monarchy is the right way
forward for Serbia and a positive way to be a proud country with a “new” image
and purpose. To realize his idea about Constitutional Parliamentary Monarchy, it
is necessary to run a campaign.
Your Royal Highness, a campaign requires a lot of money, and you didn’t
inherit that kind of money?
Considering such a campaign, you are definitely right, but I do not have
funds for a presidential type campaign, and even if I had, I would not invest in
such a campaign. Constitutional Monarchy is not a political party, it is not a
lobbying group, it is not an advertisement for a merchandize on the market.
Constitutional Monarchy could be eventually established with such campaigns, but
the question is how it would be different from what we already have.
Constitutional Monarchy does not compete with or against any political party,
but rather provides unity, continuity and stability.
According to you, what model of monarchy would the Serbs most like? As it
is known there are variations, and you, if I am not mistaken, are looking for a
European model, which is a constitutional parliamentary monarchy?
have been advocating for the concept of Constitutional Parliamentary Monarchy
for a long time, because I believe that such a concept encompasses by equal
measures tradition and a modern way forward just like in the countries that have
Constitutional Monarchy Norway, Sweden, Denmark, United Kingdom, Belgium, Spain,
the Netherlands and Luxemburg, as well as a vision of the future. I don’t feel
that differences regarding the concept of Monarchy currently present in Serbia
could be a problem, because if we have a common goal than means it should not be
a problem. I would like to point that in a Constitutional Parliamentary Monarchy
the politicians would be the same as today, but the head of state would be
neutral and not a member of any political party. Imagine a neutral head of state
that has no conflict or contention with the Prime Minister and government.
Has the Constitution of Serbia discussed the issue of monarchy?
The current Serbian constitution is formally based on decisions taken in
Jajce and Bihac, and that is common knowledge.
How would you like to see our future? Do you see us as a member of the EU
and under what conditions?
I do not see that we have a choice outside the European Union, and not
because it is the only positive alternative, but because all other alternatives
are less favourable. Therefore we should be supportive for the entry of Serbia
in the European Union.
Unless we, as nation, spiritually do not aggrandize, we will not
regenerate as a state. Visas have been abolished and therefore, the "brain
drain" is inevitable. Is there any hope to keep the young and educated people in
The danger you mention is a real one, and all countries in transition have
faced it. The only question is whether we can speak about how to stop a brain
drain at all, if the economic conditions and democratic procedures within the
country are not good enough to prevent it. Only then we could review the brain
drain as a matter of professional development, and not the question of survival.
From the technical aspect I think that my Foundation for education gave a pretty
good example on how to prevent this. We signed a contract with 40 students that
went to Nottingham University by which they were obligated to come back to
Serbia after they finished their studies and implement their knowledge and
experience in Serbia in the following eight years. I am proud to mention all 40
young men and women came back to Serbia. Of course this cannot be applied to
every person and every institution but it can help in decreasing the percentage
of a brain drain.
What is in your opinion the common future of all Serbian citizens? Of all
faiths – Orthodox, Catholic, Muslim, Protestant, Jewish?
The common faith of all citizens of Serbia, no matter of their ethnic origin,
religion or political affiliation, is based on sentiment of unity and the ties
that bind us and does not divide us. That means we should stop emphasizing
differences and divisions. Recent history taught us that divisions result in
multiplying problems with less people and smaller territory. We must not
tolerate the use of negative religion and negative nationalism. We must be
committed to democracy and human rights.
Crown Prince, in which sectors of Serbia would you be most influential?
The Crown Prince, by definition, could not have and does not have the supreme
influence in any area. The King does. The role of the King is clearly defined by
the Constitution, but taking into consideration all active Constitutional
Monarchies in the European Union, it is obvious that such influence is exercised
in the following areas: the role of the Monarch as a cohesive and uniting factor
outside and above daily politics. Second is his role in foreign relations and
the economic image of the country, but without interference in government
policy, raising the visibility of people and country he is the head of. Third is
to provide continuity, to protect national and state interests in all aspects of
public life, and especially so during times of crisis. The principal is that the
King reigns and the government rules in a Constitutional Parliamentary Monarchy.
Naturally there are free elections in a Constitutional Parliamentary Monarchy
just like in a Republic. The King is the head of state and does not compete or
interfere with the government and its rule. The king is the defender of the
Would the Monarchy accelerate Serbia’s entry in European Union?
I believe so since a Constitutional parliamentary Monarchy would provide a
positive image and respect, although I am aware of many bureaucratic problems
that European Union is facing.
To what extent does the Diaspora support the return of Monarchy in Serbia?
The Diaspora is a very sensitive topic, and we have always specified what
Diaspora we are talking about. The greatest part of the territorial, national
and economical Diaspora I know is supportive to the idea of Constitutional
Monarchy, but our present Diaspora is not similar to the one we had 20, 30 years
ago neither by structure, composition or the manner of their territorial
Are you aware of possible resistance and who are your opponents?
The resistance is always present; oppositions are always easier to identify
then support, for any idea. It is the legitimate right of the people to have
their own attitude and opinion on all questions, even the question of
Constitutional Monarchy. I always ask that question and I must say that it is
much easier for me to find out who is against Monarchy than from what reason.
Who gives you the greatest support and where does your mechanism for
The greatest support I have and I always had comes from members of my closest
family, which is quite normal and necessary. But as well as from the numerous
people of good will and free mind from all social structures. I must say that
the Serbian Orthodox Church openly supported the idea of renewing Monarchy and
that other religious entities have shown a very positive interest.
Is the problem of the returning property of the Karadjordjevic family from
the former republics in the process of solving? And what is the status of this
As far as the legal status of my Family properties in the former Yugoslav
countries the situation is formally different in each one of them and processes
and procedures are ongoing.
kind of relationship do you have with other members of the Karadjordjevic
family? Will you reconcile with Princess Elizabeth as she states that you do not
allow her to visit her birth home – the White Palace?
Relations between the members of the Karadjordjevic family are a private and
important issue, but I will say that I have never denied Princess Elizabeth in
visiting her birth place, the White Palace, and she was recently there in
December 2009 and previously several times too with her daughter and son in law.
It should be noted that the Dedinje compound is the property of the descendants
of King Peter II, Prince Tomislav and Prince Andrej as stipulated by court
decision by the City of Belgrade District Court, competent for the inheritance
of the deceased King Alexander I, issued on the 27 October 1938 Decree No.
0.428/34. The Prince Paul branch does not have any property rights to the
Dedinje Compound, but does have properties elsewhere.
How much time do you spend in Serbia? And to what extent is the Crown
Council important for you?
spend a lot of time in Serbia that I am so attached to and a great part of my
activities is connected to maintaining relations and contacts that are very
important for all the fractions I can have influence on and others can have
either small one or none. The Crown Council in which lately we have
irretrievable loses, was and will remain a great support for me, an institution
that assisted me in resolving many important questions.
Recently deceased academician Milorad Pavic, was a member of the Crown
Council. What memories you have of him?
Milorad Pavic was a great friend and precious advisor. His death as well as
the previous loses we had of the people, members of the Crown Council, that left
a significant trace on our history (like Borislav Pekic, Mica Popovic, Slobodan
Vitanovic…etc) is permanent but what is left behind them is extremely
significant by quality, importance and memory.
How often do Princes Peter, Philip and Alexander come to Serbia?
My sons come home and especially for their holidays and because of the
geographical distance Philip is the one that comes here more often than the
How true is it that Prince Peter married without gala and royal protocol?
The news about Prince Peter’s marriage is entirely false and unfounded.
Are you personally satisfied with life in Serbia?
I love living in my country, but feel I could do so much more for the good of
all people and government should it be a Constitutional Monarchy.
What would you like to wish Serbian citizens in 2010?
I wish everyone good health, prosperity, stability, respect and to be able to
work freely as they wish and live in peace with everyone and all neighbours.
Biography of HRH Crown Prince Alexander II
April 1941 after Germany attacked and occupied Yugoslavia, the country’s young
King Peter II left in advance of the invading German forces for Athens with the
Yugoslav government. The King and his compatriots were determined not to
surrender to the invaders in the best tradition of the founder of the Dynasty
Karadjordje ("Black George") Petrovic who led the heroic first uprising of the
Serbs against the Ottoman Empire in 1804. From Athens HM King Peter and his
government went to Jerusalem and then Cairo. Finally King Peter II established
the government in exile in London. In 1944, King Peter II in London married
Princess Alexandra of Greece and Denmark, the daughter of HM King Alexander of
the Hellenes and Aspasia Manos.
On 17 July 1945 while living in Claridge's Hotel, Queen Alexandra gave birth
to a son - HRH Crown Prince Alexander II of Yugoslavia. Crown Prince Alexander,
the heir to the throne, was born on Yugoslav territory as the British Government
under the orders of Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill declared suite 212 in
Claridge's Hotel Yugoslav territory. His Holiness Patriarch Gavrilo of Serbia
baptized the newborn Crown Prince in Westminster Abbey with Godparents King
George VI and HRH Princess Elizabeth (now HM The Queen Elizabeth II).
After the war, King Peter II was illegally prevented from returning to his
country by the communist regime, which had seized power in Belgrade. HM King
Peter never abdicated. The King and Queen lived in exile in many countries
(United States, France, Italy and England).
HRH Crown Prince Alexander II was educated at Le Rosey (Switzerland), Culver
Military Academy (Indiana, USA), Gordonstoun School (Scotland) and Millfield
(England). He subsequently went to the British Royal Military Academy and in
1966 was commissioned an officer in the British Army. Crown Prince Alexander
served in the 16th/5th The Queen's Royal Lancers rising to the rank of captain.
His tours of duty included West Germany, Italy, Middle East and Northern
Ireland. After leaving the army in 1972, Crown Prince Alexander II, who speaks
several languages, pursued a career in international business.
Although King Peter II died in 1970, the Crown Prince, as the heir to the
throne decided at the time not to use the title of King - which he felt would
have had little meaning in exile. He made it very clear at that time that he was
not renouncing his title, or the dynastic right to the throne.
In 1991 Crown Prince Alexander accompanied by Their Royal Highnesses Crown
Princess Katherine, Hereditary Prince Peter, Prince Philip and Prince Alexander
travelled to Belgrade where they were very enthusiastically received by hundreds
of thousands of people who see the Crown Prince as the embodiment of all that is
best for democracy and Constitutional Parliamentary Monarchy.
Before the 5 October 2000 revolution in Serbia, the Crown Prince visited Serbia
in 1992, 1995 and 2000. The Crown Prince travelled to Montenegro and Kosovo in
1999 and Bosnia and Montenegro in 2000. The Crown Prince and his family have
been living in The Royal Palace in Belgrade since 17 July 2001.
HRH Crown Prince Alexander has always been a very ardent defender of
democracy and human rights. In 1989, he took a very active role in helping his
people shake off the legacy of decades of dictatorship and the regime. During
the next decade the Crown Prince Alexander conducted numerous meetings and
maintained constant contact with the democratic opposition and democrats
throughout the former Yugoslavia. In November 1999, Crown Prince Alexander
convened a large conference in Budapest for the representatives of the
Democratic Opposition in Serbia.
Another symposium followed in Bosnia in January 2000 and in April 2000 the
Crown Prince convened a large conference of key opposition leaders in Athens.
Following the Athens conference the Crown Prince and leaders of the opposition
went to a symposium at Harvard Kennedy School of Government. These meetings led
to the successful election victory of Serbia’s democratic opposition in
September of that year. Crown Prince Alexander has been a tireless contributor
in the process of co-operation and unity amongst the democratic political
parties to make his homeland a great democracy for all citizens regardless of
political belief, religion or ethnic origin.
During the previous decade Crown Prince travelled extensively, met with
numerous world leaders, politicians, parliamentarians, world bodies and had many
interviews to the media.
In 1972, His Royal Highness Crown Prince Alexander married Her Imperial and
Royal Highness Princess Maria da Gloria of Orleans and Bragança of the Imperial
Family of Brazil in Villamanrique de la Condesa, Spain. They had three children.
The eldest son and heir HRH Prince Peter was born in 1980 in Chicago, Illinois;
and fraternal twin sons HRH Prince Philip and HRH Prince Alexander were born in
1982 in Fairfax, Virginia. The marriage ended in 1983.
In 1985, Crown Prince Alexander married Katherine Batis of Athens. HM King
Constantine of the Hellenes was the best man and HRH Prince Tomislav, the uncle
of Crown Prince Alexander was the witness. The wedding took place in the Serbian
Orthodox Cathedral in London.
HRH Crown Prince Alexander II enjoys skiing, sailing, water skiing, scuba
diving and tennis. He was British Army Ski Champion in 1972. His other interests
include music, theatre, information technology, and current affairs.