BLIC PULS, Tuesday, 20 October 2009
HRH Crown Princess Katherine and
HRH Crown Prince Alexander Karadjordjevic
THIS IS OUR HOME
The Royal Couple is enjoying the beauty of their Residence on Dedinje
hill, which they opened for citizens eager for knowledge of our culture and
history. They are most happy when their children are with them and the most
important joint ritual is their breakfast. As every family, they are struggling
with the bills for electricity and water.
On that Saturday, October 10th, we were not aware that we were enjoying the
last summer day of this autumn, but we surely spent it Royally! We were sitting
in the Royal Palace in Dedinje, with the wonderful view of Belgrade stretching
ahead of us, served by silent maids, while "Puls" was drinking coffee and having
a conversation with the Crown Prince Alexander Karađorđević and his wife
Princess Katherine. The Royal couple was in a very good mood despite the fact
that they woke up early that morning.
- Before your arrival, we had a working breakfast with the Deputy Minister of
Health in our Government, City Secretary, chiefs of gynaecology, oncology and
radiology of the Clinical Centre in Belgrade and three very important doctors
from Chicago. We discussed many important matters regarding health, mutual
cooperation, but also the beauty of Dedinje and Belgrade – explained Princess
- The doctors from Chicago could not believe how beautiful the weather in
Belgrade is, since it already started snowing there. Today is October 10th, and
it seems as it is summer!
We shall take advantage of this beautiful afternoon and go for a walk, as we
have a beautiful park. The air is wonderful, fresh and the walk will really be
of benefit for us – continued Prince Alexander, who also commended their small
The Crown Prince and his wife, prior to all the commitments waiting for them
for the day, have breakfast that Princess Katherine is personally prepares for
- That is very important for us and has already become a tradition. The
mutual beginning of the day gives us great energy, and sometimes it is the only
opportunity when we can spend some time alone. I wake up before him, sometimes
as early as 6 am, because our commitments begin at 8 am. He likes eggs for
breakfast, but domestic eggs, so we have our own hens here and I collect the
eggs before breakfast.
Princess Katherine says that even when she does not have any planned
commitments during the day, she thinks about work most of the time, especially
the humanitarian actions that are in progress or that are being planned. The
Prince is the one who reminds her that she needs to rest as well, especially
when they are in Belgrade.
- We often plan to watch a movie and eat popcorn, however it eventually all
comes down to fantasy. We spend more time talking about it, even come to an
agreement which movie to see, but we just do not realize our plans. It is
however nice just to fantasize, but we should try and make our fantasies come
true sometimes, right? – asked the Princess her husband.
- We really should, you are right, but we always have more interesting
commitments. Do you know what else is interesting? Since we have arrived here,
we have come across many art works, but none of them were catalogued. It, for
example, just said “in this room there are two paintings and three chairs”, but
no one knew their origin. Then we made an art archive that included all data, as
it is important to have everything documented. This is really a small Versailles
and after a long time it stopped being a forbidden city. It is open to everyone
who wants to come and see the beauty of these Palaces, and I am very happy that
people do come every day for a tour and want to know the history.
The Maintenance of the Royal Compound is very expensive and strenuous, and
the Karađorđević family admit that it had been a very big problem when they
arrived and still is.
- The Palaces get old, just like people. This Royal Palace was renovated 30
years ago, while the White Palace never had a restoration, so it is in a bad
shape. It leaks, which is bad for the artwork there. It would be nice if the
Government would help with these issues, as it is among other things a
historical museum as well – said Crown Prince Alexander, while Princess
Katherine reminds him that not a day goes by that workman are not invited to fix
- No one knows in what shape our home would be today if my husband had not
put his own assets in fixing it. You know, every family has a fund for their
children, for their scholarships, for their future, and I was very sad when
Alexander had to use the children’s funds to invest in the Palaces. Not only
that, but the money was used to pay for all repairs, electricity bills, water
bills, heating, as this is a house just like any other house and we receive
bills that need to be paid, and nobody had done that for years.
- This is our home, not a hotel. We live on the first floor where it is very
comfortable and cosy, a real home ambience. My grandfather is responsible for
this ambiance, as he hired the best architects from Serbia and Russia in order
to make a good home for his family. The White Palace is more classical, while
here it is more comfortable for living. We have our own rooms, sons as well, and
there are several guests’ rooms, as well as a terrace where we like to sit and
from where a beautiful view of the park stretches.
The Crown Prince and his wife travel a lot, not only abroad but in Serbia as
- We want to get to know Serbia and our people. We have travelled many
kilometres in the past eight-nine years, meeting people that always give us a
warm welcome and prove what a welcoming and good nation we are. I am normally
always sad when people live hard, when I see the horrors of bombing.
- I am always inspired when I see how many talented people this country has.
It is amazing! I feel sad that the rest of the world cannot see that, but we are
trying to show them.
The previous day Crown Prince Alexander was in Marseille and at Oplenac, for
the commemoration of 75 years of his grandfather’s, King Alexander I
- Yesterday was a truly remarkable day. I have never been in Marseille and I
was very excited to see where the assassination took place. I paid a visit to
the monument, which is big to my big surprise, laid a wreath, and then went to
the City Hall where my grandfather was taken and laid on a sofa after his
assassination. Our Minister of Foreign Affairs Vuk Jeremic accompanied me, and
gave me great support during that very emotional moment. That same afternoon we
flew back to Serbia, and from the airport we went straight to Oplenac, where the
King is buried. And it was very beautiful there as well. I thought about my
father Peter, who was only 11 years old at the time. I can say that it was a
very important day for me and I am grateful to everyone, especially President
Boris Tadić, who was with us, and everyone else: the government, ministers, and
army. Everyone was amazing, I am truly delighted. On the same day, we went to
Avala, to the Unknown Soldiers monument, and I believe that no other country has
such a monument, on top of a mountain, overlooking the whole city.
- I am very proud of my husband and everyday I see how the Karadjordjevic
dynasty was important for this country, how much they have done for it. My
husband not only carries his grandfather’s name, but resembles him in many ways,
especially in regard to Serbia and Serbian people. He is happiest when he sees
progress in the country and lives for the day when Serbia will become a member
of the European Union, being proud that Serbia is working very hard towards it
and daily looking for solutions to help speed up the process. He is always
wondering what more can we do for the country, and motivates me to work harder.
He is so persistent that I need to excel next to him. Constantly talking and
dreaming of better life, better Serbia, I honestly believe that he is a true
gift for this country.
- Now you have touched me! Thank you – said the Crown Prince with unhidden
emotions and gave his wife a hug.
- She also does many wonderful things for people.
- You gave me a chance to do it. People sometimes ask me what the most
distinguished characteristics that my husband has are. You know that a monarchy
is not what it used to be. It is not enough that he is King Peter’s son, but it
is also important what he is like in private, and what he can contribute to his
people. Alexander is just, respectful to all, has energy that brings people
closer together, and always sees the good in people. Beside that, he has big
credibility and integrity worldwide. I think that people are not aware how many
contacts he has, among State Governments, State Presidents, Prime Ministers, and
Kings! When we celebrated his 50th birthday, a wonderful ceremony at
“Claridge’s” hotel in London, where he was also born, 400 invitees came to the
party, out of which 100 from Royal families. All Kings and Queens in the world
have come to my husband’s birthday, including Queen Elizabeth II, his Godmother.
When Alexander was born, she was a Princess, and her father King George, was
King Peter’s godfather. American Senators, as well as Presidents of major world
corporations were also present. I believe that says enough about my husband’s
reputation in the world.
It has been a long time (perhaps never) since we have heard such beautiful
words spoken of one woman’s husband, even though she is a princess! Even the
Prince agreed with us and spontaneously returned the compliments.
- Believe me, she is unbelievable. She is always focused, reminds me of
things I need to do, she handles everything. I often tell her to slow down,
rest, as she tends to wake up in the middle of the night to send someone an
e-mail, make a phone call.
- In a family everything depends on a woman. How the woman places herself
that is how her marriage will be, her children will be, her life in general. A
woman must make her priorities, and put everything and everyone at the right
place. Love, care, respect, affection, sacrifice, it does not cost anything and
means a lot. Women like to talk, but it is even nicer when they know how to
listen, to hear what their husbands are saying, to understand, be happy for
their success, anyone’s success in general – the Princess has revealed small
secrets of successful marriage, and beside the beautiful sunny morning the Crown
Prince ended this conversation with the theme that interests him most: Serbia in
the European Union.
- I think that Serbia will make a few steps further by the end of the year;
we are all doing our best. I am sorry that only one country is holding us back,
Holland. It is a pity to prevent so many people to be members of the European
Union. That hurts me. I am trying in my own way to convince other foreign
countries to put pressure on Holland to change its mind. Other countries in the
region must also enter the European Union that is how we will be strong again.
If the whole region is stable, chances for better quality of life are greater.
We must all be in the first class, as we are part of Europe.