The National Herald “Ethnikos Kirikas” 29 January 2010
KATHERINE...ANGEL OF LOVE AND PHILANTHROPY FOR
THE SERBIAN PEOPLE
(Translation of HRH Crown Princess Katherine Interview in Greek to the
leading American Greek newspaper)
Well known for its faith and its civilization but also for its great suffering
especially during the last years Serbia has its own guardian angel since nine
years ago, a guardian angel that offers a lot of love and affection that is
needed so much for this country. This angel is Princess Katherine of whom
everything is Greek, name, language, blood, origin and soul. She was born and
raised in Greece. Her name was Katherine Batis, but for 25 years she is married
to Prince Alexander of Serbia, and is known as Princess Katherine
Karadjordjevic. Her husband Prince Alexander is the son of King Peter of
Yugoslavia, grandson of King Alexander of Yugoslavia, as well as grandson of
King Alexander of Greece and his grandmother was Aspasia Manos. Prince Alexander
grasps the Greek language since his Greek wife speaks fluently and with ease the
They met in the United States and specifically in Washington, the fell in
love, they got married and this year they will celebrate their 25th wedding
anniversary, having as a common goal to keep on offering in anyway and by any
means assistance to the suffering Serbian people. Of course today there is no
Monarchy in Serbia, nevertheless, the Royal couple is enjoying broad acceptance
and appreciation exactly because they offer love, help and compassion.
In an interview to the “Ethnikos Kirikas” Princess Katherine said, “In June
we will be here 9 years” and she explained, “we didn’t come here because he is
the son of King Peter, but because my husband helped in restoring democracy to
the nation”. More specifically she said “he gathered the opposition in a
conference in Budapest, he also organized another one in Athens which was
greatly supported by the opposition, they were able to unite, which was not easy
at all, since as you might very well be aware in Balkans it is not easy to unite
on their own and when the opposition became the government after a year, my
husband decide to come here on this birthday 17th July 2001” and she added “we
came here to work, to assist”.
The Serbian people love very much Princess Katherine’s Greek roots because
they understood from the beginning that she was on their side. She escorted
trucks with humanitarian aid, medicine, clothes, and towels, to Bosnia during
war in the winter. “Even if we never go to live in our nation, I want to be able
to look at the people in their eyes and to see that we were at their side when
they needed us the most” emphasized Princess Katherine.
Serbian people are not only simply love Princess Katherine but they adore her
literally. “The Serbian people are closely connected with the Greek people and
they say to me Greeks are our brothers, they stood by us in the difficult times”
she said. And she added “They feel so proud that I am Greek and wherever I go
they have Greek flags, they play Greek songs and they say some words in Greek
since many Serbians go on vacation to Greece especially to Chalkidiki”. She
underlined that “Serbians believe that during the war nobody stood by them as
the Greeks did”. And she added “I mean that Greeks saved a lot of lives during
Princess Katherine founded a humanitarian office in Athens, through which
great assistance has been directed to Serbia. She continues “many trucks came
from Greece heavily loaded with almost everything, it was very sentimental since
it was our Christmas (7th of January) because on 4th of January we had 1200
orphans here in the Palace, who are coming with buses from all around the
country and all the toys that we distribute at Christmas and Easter come in
trucks from Greece as gifts”.
Princess Katherine has been officially assigned by Serbia as the official
coordinator for Health and Social Solidarity Sector. Through her care and
through her humanitarian network all the hospitals in Serbia have new medical
equipment and new ambulances and new surgical units were also created.
She mentioned, “we use to have the highest percentage of infant mortality
rate in the whole of Europe, because for 10 years women did not want to have
children and when they started to, premature birth was the standard and we
didn’t have enough incubators”. She also revealed that “today in Serbia we have
the highest rate of breast cancer mortality among women in Europe” and she
explained that “eight hundred women are dying in only one town, and this is
unacceptable”. She also said “the Stavros Niarchos Foundation helped us to buy a
mobile mammography unit which is going to all villages and examines 2,500 women
the question whether or not this increase of cancer is caused by the chemicals
used during the war she answered, “I cannot give an answer to that and I
shouldn’t answer because this moment I need assistance to save the mothers who
are dying one after the other, it is a mess here”. Adding to that she “I am very
grateful to the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Hospital in New York, they came 2 times
during 2009 and we held a conference. Also, we had great support from the Komen
Foundation, as well as from Estee Lauder”.
When they came back 9 yrs ago to Serbia, along with her husband Alexander
from London where they lived, “…unemployment was 40%. One third of the hospital
equipment was not operational at all, one third was more than thirty years old
and we had to work with the remaining one third. We had to find equipment,
medicine, bring doctors here to show new methods to our doctors, and to send
doctors to the Memorial Hospital for training in radiology”.
Princess Katherine comes from a charitable family. Her family offered much to
the “Soldiers shirt”, while her father was honoured last year by the Greek state
for his humanitarian work. “I grew up listening to my parents saying that you
find happiness in life when you give and I believe today that offering ourselves
is like oxygen”, she emphasized and continued that “I have come to believe that
there is no greater happiness in life than to give from yourself”.
She speaks with awe and affection for her husband. She said “last June we
were invited to the residence of Vice President Joseph Biden for dinner, the
Vice President said that Prince Alexander brought democracy to his country”.
The following day, the American Vice President, the Royal Couple and the
founder of Komen Foundation Ambassador Mrs Nancy Brinker, addressed over 50,000
people to the Mall between the White House and the Capitol.
When Alexander appeared on the balcony with the new Serbian Patriarch Irinej,
“the people were cheering with great sentiment”, she said.
Speaking about the Serbian people she underlined that “they are a very proud,
educated and industrious people and we admire them. Here we have all the
religions and although they were at war, now everybody lives in harmony”. She
added, “we are Orthodox but we respect everybody”.
The Royal couple lives in the Palaces that were built by Alexander’s
grandfather, which are in the centre of Belgrade, with beautiful gardens and
which are preserved although 50 yrs have passed since the abolition of Monarchy
from the country.
To the question whether or not there is a possibility that Prince Alexander
become King she said, “in most of people’s minds here he already is” and she
clarified that “they are aware that we came to offer not to take”.
In one of her visits to one of the orphanages a little kid raised his pillow
and show her a bar of chocolate that the Princess gave to him 3 yrs ago and he
told her that “when you came to see me it was the greatest day of my life and I
am keeping the chocolate bar so I remember that day…”.
Three of her five children, Philip, Peter and Alexander, celebrating their
birthday are organizing Friday February 5th at Cipriani restaurant, which is at
110 East 42nd Street in Manhattan New York, a dinner under the title “Princess
Ball” in honour of their mother, aiming to fund raise half of which will be
directed for the premature born infants that are hospitalized to the Intensive
Care Units and the rest for the breast cancer treatment for women patients.
The Royal couple will be present at the Ball, for those interested in
information and tickets they can visit the relevant web page