Wednesday 6 January 2010
DANAS DAILY NEWS PAPER
CLOSE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE CROWN AND CHURCH
“The American schism” brought division to the Royal House as well. King
Peter the Second and his brother Prince Andrej aligned with a “free church”,
while your uncle the late Prince Tomislav and you stood beside the “homeland”.
How do you evaluate present relationships between Royal house and Serbian
Orthodox Church, and would the election of the new Patriarch change that
The tragic and painful split of our Serbian Orthodox Church was most likely
due to the clever use of the “rule and divide principle” imposed by our former
intelligences services. The Serbian Orthodox Church suffered very much and many
families were deeply affected. Thanks to the hard work of our late Patriarch
Pavle the church came together again and wounds are constantly being healed. My
relationship and that of my family with our Serbian Orthodox Church is a very
close and respectful one.
- Publishing of the partial report of the State auditing Commission about
budget spending, including costs of the maintenance of the Dedinje Compound,
with spending for daily press, caused protests by part of the public. What is it
all about, and what are your comments on that constant fear that state money is
spent for financing Karadjordjevic family? Do you have state allowances, what
the state is paying for and do you file reports about the spending?
The State auditing Commission’s work is very important. It is pity that such
an institution did not control budget spending in previous years. I do not
receive any personal allowances from the state. For the money earmarked for
investment within and maintenance of the Royal Compound the application is
submitted annually, and reports about spending are filed as well. I also
maintain that the Dedinje Complex as an important cultural and historical entity
and has every right to be kept abreast of news and trends in Serbia and the same
goes for every ministry.
- On 1 December 2009 was the 80th anniversary of creation of the Kingdom
of Serbs, Croats and Slovenians. How do you judge this “project” of your
grandfather today, after all we have experienced with south Slavs living in one
I have full respect for the creation of the Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats and
Slovenes during the time of my great grandfather King Peter I and later in 1929
the Kingdom of Yugoslavia during the reign of my grandfather King Alexander I. I
must say that the concept was somewhat similar to a European Union. The trouble
was that we were not ready for such an entity and now we are I hope ready for
the European Union a much larger entity with many countries, ethnic groups and
religions. Lets face it following the Balkan Wars and First World War we did not
have the time to establish and bind our democratic institutions since we were
faced almost immediately with a depression, fascism then Civil War and
Today we are back to our historical roots, Serbia, and we can and must do
well and take part in the European Union. Providing we all work skilfully
together for the common good we can have an important future role in the
European Union and preserve the proud national heritage of Serbia.
- What is left today from Yugoslav idea, and was it, in your opinion,
defeated in historic terms?
The idea is not defeated historically, but it is realistically.
- When the first interviews with you started to appear in ex-SFRJ at the
beginning of 90s of the last century, many were left disappointed by your
pro-Yugoslav stance, and at the same time reason for disintegration of common
country for many other nations in ex-Yugoslavia was the “threat” of alleged
Serbian hegemony. What are your comments on that?
The tragedy was the terrible loss of life and the immense pain suffered by so
many people across the former Yugoslavia in the wars of succession. If we are to
compare this with divorces, then we have an example here of one of the worst
ones possible. It was shocking when we could have resolved issues in a peaceful
and civilized way around a negotiating table. Our former leaders and others
chose the path using negative nationalism and negative religion, which resulted
in appalling bloodshed. I am ashamed of what happened. Today the only way
forward where we can come together is by membership of the whole region in the
European Union where we have to and must respect everyone regardless of religion
or ethnic origin. We need all our neighbours and the other members of the
European Union to survive economically and securely.
- There was much talk about moving your father’s and your grandmother’s,
King Peter II and Queen Maria, earthly remains to the family mausoleum in
Oplenac. Are there any concrete plans, and was the reason for this to take so
long your father’s will, who asked that “no matter of any other wishes of the
family” he is to be buried in the Monastery in Libertyville in the USA?
That is no project or plan that has “timetable” that can expire. My father
was the King, and he belongs back in his country with his people and his
ancestors. What better resting place than Oplenac. The only thing necessary is
that the Serbian Government should make a firm and wise decision of taking over
and burying the King who was the former head of state, two Queens and one
Prince. I would propose that with some planning a good time would be with the
consent of the government and the church during the time of the Church Sabor in
May this year or most likely next year. This would be the honourable way
- Are the quarrels regarding inheritance within the Royal Family solved?
How many heirs there are, and what are your comments on recent statements of
Prince Vladimir, son of Prince Andrej, that you are just one of several
legitimate heirs of the King Alexander the First, but “you are not the Head of
the family, because only the King can be that, and you are not a crowned
Prince”? Prince Vladimir said, among other things, that you have not informed
the rest of the family about State’s decision that all of Karadjordjevic can use
the White Palace?
There is no running away or bending of court decisions or twisting of rules
or principles. The question of inheritance is simply a legal question, and it
was firmly settled for once and all by the court decision from 1938, while the
question of Dynastic discipline has always been based on the principle of
primogeniture, and it cannot be voted for or decided by rebellious voices. A
united family is important.
- You are entitled by the Royal Family to negotiate with Serbian
government matters of return of Karadjordjevic’s estates. How far these talks
have gone, and will sell offs of Karadjorjdevic belongings in Montenegro and
Slovenia go to courts?
There are negotiations in process and I will not comment any further on this
- Why do you not use the title of King, although it was transferred to you
”immediately, without any conditions and irrevocably”, according to the rules of
the Royal house, after the death of your father, King Peter the Second? Is there
any political reason for that, and would it be less confusing for the citizens
regarding your status and your rights?
When my father King Peter II passed away I was his only son born the Crown
Prince Alexander and I became the new King. The transition of the Kingship was
immediate, it was without any conditions and irrevocable. As long as the King is
alive, his only heir is the Crown Prince, regardless of whether he is of age or
not. The Head of the Royal Family and the personality of the King and his
function are united in the same person. I do not officially use at this time the
title of King, but this has absolutely no bearings on status and rights. The
position and the right pertaining to the King can only be renounced through an
official act of abdication, in which case the Crown Prince automatically becomes
the new King.
- How do you see your position in the Serbian society today, after almost
a decade since your return to Serbia? Do your ambitions and plans end at your
current humanitarian work and promotion of Serbia abroad?
My ambition is not, if you can call it that, only to be engaged in
humanitarian work and promotion of Serbia abroad, although I do not see anything
wrong with that. On the contrary, at the same time, I am fully aware that,
regarding the current constitutional and legal norms, my area of engagement
should not interfere with the activities of elected officials. It is up to them
to use my services and support, which I offer, for the benefit Serbia. Wherever
and whenever I can, I am ready to help.
- As a former officer in the British Army you have served in the Middle
East, Northern Ireland, Italy and West Germany, and you have had a successful
career in international business. Did our authorities address you for
professional advice or help regarding economic, state or social problems?
In some cases they did, and I did all what I could in these circumstances. It
was for the general benefit of Serbia.
- You have repeated several times that Constitutional Monarchy is the best
choice for Serbia’s future. What are the concrete measures that Royal House and
advisory bodies to the Crown are taking to restore the Monarchy, and is it
realistic to discuss that today, considering the current balance of political
I 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 as well as a vision of the
future just like in the countries that have Constitutional Monarchy such as
Norway, Sweden, Denmark, United Kingdom, Belgium, Spain, the Netherlands and
Luxemburg, 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 be a member of any
political party. Imagine a neutral head of state that has no conflict or
contention with the Prime Minister and government.
- During the last several decades, have there been any ideas about
changing of the political system in Serbia, and are there any at present in the
West, in order to eventually stabilize situation in our country and in the
The West is constantly engaged in political and economic calculations, and in
all those calculations stability of your neighbour is not necessarily a virtue.
Also, you cannot always encompass various different interests and goals by the
term “West”. The relationship with each country is a matter of the estimate
about the best benefit your community could gain from such relationship. Among
western countries there are those who quite openly support Serbia on its way
towards stability and the European Union, but also there are those which build
their internal political consensus on their reservations regarding Serbia’s
interests. It is quite legitimate, but it is very different from our point of
view. When we start to view the restoration of Constitutional Monarchy in Serbia
from the point of benefit and stability of the state and people, I believe that
the predominant policy and feelings in the West would be to support such a
- You have contributed a lot to toppling of the regime of late Slobodan
Milosevic, and unifying of then-opposition parties, although prior to 5 October
2000 some members of DOS couldn’t hide their ideological prejudices and fears
regarding restoration of the Monarchy. How would you estimate your relationships
with current authorities?
The relationship I have with any government is subject to changes influenced
by the problems of the government. DOS indeed was one particular group of
political parties based on interests, leaders and charismatic individuals, with
different backgrounds and ideological affiliations. The majority of opponents of
any political idea in Serbia today are recruited mainly from ex-members of DOS.
I have not changed my attitude towards that. Any government that respects
democratic principles and which is working for the general benefit of all the
people of Serbia has my support. I am not a competitor or alternative to the
- How your good connections in the world could help in solving problems in
Serbia, first of all regarding Kosovo and Metohija, and could the question of
Kosovo be separated from European integrations in your opinion?
This is the real possibility. I cannot comment on something that is a capital
point of state strategy in international affairs, but I must say that quite
broad national and political support has formed to back up the hard work and
efforts of our Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr. Vuk Jeremic, which I find very
important. Nevertheless, there are a few other vital questions regarding the
complexity and eventual consequences to Kosovo and Metohija, and the important
problem of the survival of the Serbs in these unfortunate and ancient lands.
- What is your vision of Serbia?
Serbia as a free and strong democratic country, respecting human rights and a
member of the European Union. A country of happy citizens with good social
services, surrounded by good neighbours, friends and trading partners. Serbia
with no hunger and poverty. Serbia that is productive and offers a peaceful and
a proud life. Serbia that gives birth and which grows and protects its children!
Serbia that the Lord smiles upon!
PROPONENT OF RELIGIOUS TOLERANCE
- Each year you address citizens with Christmas and Easter message. Why on
the occasion of these two biggest Christian holidays and what will you say this
year for the Christmas?
I enjoy sending my wishes for Christmas and Easter since they are very
important holidays. I also like sending wishes for the Islamic holidays and
Jewish holidays. It is important to respect everyone. I always wish everyone
happiness and particularly during these difficult times, many people have been
hurt by the economic recession and I feel for them. I hope 2010 will be better
I feel it is very important to respect religious holidays such as Christmas
and Easter and my wish is that we respect everyone regardless of religion or
ethnic origin. There must be tolerance and love between all religions and that
religion is not used as pretext for conflict or to be imposed on people. We need
each other and can and will live in peace together. I firmly stand for human
I would have hoped by now that people will realize that we are moving into a
form of a Yugoslavia and that is the European Union. I was too advanced for the
madness at the time to understand that a peaceful divorce handled in a
democratic way and not by blunt force and conflict would have been a normal a
civilized way forward. In the end all the former republics are going in the same
direction and that is membership of the European Union.
- Your Royal Highness, Christmas is approaching. How does Your Family
celebrate Christmas? Have you succeeded to preserve Christmas tradition during
your life out of Serbia, and to what extent is religion important to you?
We celebrate Christmas as a family traditionally. It is nice that we have
preserved such traditions as the Yule log on Christmas Eve. We are proud to be
Serbian Orthodox and deeply respect all religions.