Ilustrovana Politika magazine 12 January 2008
Interview with Prince Philip
SERBIA IS THE COUNTRY OF THE
One of three sons of Crown Prince Alexander II is
more and more often staying in the land of his ancestors which he feels as his
second home. He spoke to us about his job seeking experience, working at a Bank,
and plans on doing business in Tourism, food and wine, adding that Serbia in
that regard provides many more possibilities than Spain, where his mother,
brother and half sisters live, and Great Britain, where he grew up in and gained
When he started coming to the Royal
Compound of Palaces at Belgrade’s Dedinje and to feel it as his second home in
2001, Prince Philip Karadjordjevic just turned of age, started studies in London
and came to Serbia with his brothers, Princes Alexander and Peter, on vacation,
but also to learn about obligations from his father Alexander II Karadjordjevic
and stepmother Crown Princess Katherine. He discovered the world of humanitarian
actions and gained knowledge of how to help others.
He understands the Serbian language
quite well, but he is not sure when he should speak it. When the photo-shooting
assistant mentioned the word “tie” (in Serbian), Philip touched it and adjusted
it immediately. When will we be making the interview in Serbian?
- Well, let’s say, next year –
confidently says the young Prince who is today 25 years old (he will celebrate
his birthday on 15 January). He already has some work experience and is now
planning to complete his postgraduate studies and then start his own business.
He celebrated the first Christmas
(25 December) in Spain, in the city of Seville, where his mother, Brazilian
Princess Maria da Gloria of Orléans and Bragança, stepfather, brother Peter, and
two halfsisters Sol (age 19) and Luna (age 17), live.
In a way, it was both a nice and sad holiday since that was the last time I saw
my grandfather Dom Pedro, who died two days after Christmas and he was 94 years
old. At the age of 91, he used to ride horses, swim, he was an active, wonderful
man whom everybody loved and who had a lot of friends. He was a great man and I
will miss him a lot. My grandmother died a few years ago at the age of 92. I do
not know what it is, but I feel that something has changed in my life since my
grandfather died. Maybe I have grown up more.
much political correctness
He talks to the family, takes
walks, rests, that is what Philip likes to do the most, for Christmas. He does
not pay too much attention to gifts – “because our gathering together is the
biggest present that we can get and give to others”.
He spent New Year’s Eve with
friends in London.
- I was at a nightclub and it was
nice. That is how I usually celebrate New Year.
He celebrated the second Christmas
(7 January – Serbian Orthodox) in Belgrade and he had a good time with his
father and stepmother. It was much more intimate than in London, where, he says,
the Christmas and New Year fever begins two months before the holidays, the
entire city is decorated, and everyone rushes to shop, shop, shop....
- I am not really a fan of Christmas being so
commercialized. It should not be a machine for making and spending money. I
prefer the traditional meaning of Christmas.
And what about greeting cards...
- Well, this year we got just a
few by post, but they were mostly received by email.
London offers good
opportunities to anyone who wishes to work, claims Prince Philip. Motivation is
an important condition for someone to find a good job and do it well, he adds.
- Competition is huge, just like
in other cities. It’s an open city, I love it. The prices are high but the
economy is strong. Housing is expensive, rents are huge, which you probably
know. Compared to Serbia, everything is much more expensive. The extent of how
much a certain country is expensive can be seen by the price of a pack of
cigarettes. In London it’s 7, 8 Euros per pack, and here... 2, 3 Euros?
The unemployed exist there, as
What is their problem, why can’t
they find a job?
Britain is a very
open country for foreigners, it has lots of immigrants, but also some people
with right-wing, nationalist views who are not fond of newcomers, and the
country seems somehow divided over this issue. Those who are against immigrants
feel that the newcomers are taking away their jobs, that they work for less
money than they should, and that they work much more than it is normal. I feel
that everyone has equal chances, and that there is a job out there for everyone.
I think that the unemployment rate is about 4% less than in many countries in
the world. Everyone who
wants to make it, has to be active, to try and obtain as good education as
possible in order to find a better job.
School years were a breeze for
Philip, he had always had good marks and says that even primary school was a
very serious one, in which real sciences were studied and real exams taken. The
secondary school for him, and for others, was preparation time for the
relationship of students and professors depends on the behaviour, I suppose –
says Philip in the Blue Salon of the Royal Palace. – When I started going to
school, teachers still punished pupils for bad behaviour by making them write
the same sentence or word many times over and over, in their notebooks. Today
they can not do that anymore. Things have changed. I think that today things
have become too politically correct, soft. At the University, it’s completely
different. The relationship with professors is excellent, each one has seven to
ten students per year, whom he tutors, and to whom the students can always come
for advice and help.
Banking is not for me
studies, Philip gained a quite interesting experience in seeking a job, so much
so, that there was an idea that Philip becomes one of the lecturers and
associates at the Career Development Centre in Belgrade, whose founder is his
father. That did not happen (“it was a flattering offer, but I do not think I am
qualified for something like that”). The young Karadjordjevic, therefore, gained
huge life experience.
- A few years
ago, I graduated at the University College London and started seeking a job. The
search took a few months, and in the end I got a job at a Bank. I had about ten
job interviews. You cannot really prepare for them, you have to be yourself. You
do not know in advance what they are going to ask you. I have seen the ads in
the newspapers, but I did it a different way, based on recommendations from
friends and family. I was fortunate because, by that time, I had acquired many
He admits he remembers one job
- In fact, there
were several interviews in that one particular Bank. In the end, they told me
that I was not ready for that job, and they gave me a few good pieces of advice.
They thought it would be better for me to do something else, that Banking was
not for me. I wanted to be a banker, but I also had other ambitions, and they
got glued on those. They explained to me that I have to be 100% certain in what
I want to do. However, they told me that they would like me to do some other
jobs in their company, and, for that and for the advice they gave me, I did not
feel sad, nor bad. Yes, you get in a bad mood for a few days, but that passes
And then, one day, he passed both
interviews and a couple of tests for a job at another Bank. They told him the
good news over the phone.
He says he has never seeked a job
presenting himself as a Prince, or saying who his ancestors and cousins are.
- At first, they have some
difficulty pronouncing my last name, but after several attempts it goes
smoothly. Someone asks where I am from, and I say - from Serbia. Rarely do they
know, from my last name, about the origin of my ancestors. As for the origin
itself, I never talk about that, I prefer to be merited on the basis of what I
am and what I know. If someone finds out, it is okay.
He worked at the Bank for a year,
and then left his job and started postgraduate studies. Now he wants a Masters
degree in the Hospitality Industry and Tourism.
- Management in hotels,
restaurants, food, wine, it’s completely different from banking. That was a nice
experience, but I did not feel complete. I told myself I had to find something
that I will love to do and that I will have the motivation for, and this is it.
The moment I told my friends and family, they supported me and said: “Bravo,
this is you, Philip, good decision”.
After a year and a half of
studying, Philip envisages himself as an associate of a hotel chain and then,
maybe, even as an owner of his own Tourism business. He thinks he could work in
Great Britain, Spain, and Serbia.
Our father has confidence in us
- I began coming here in 2001,
when I started the Faculty and did not have time to be in Serbia more often and
examine the opportunities here. The possibility of being here has opened new
doors for me. I am slowly being adjusted to the fact that this is my second
home. Here, there are even greater possibilities to find a job than in Spain.
Serbia is obviously moving in a good direction, I have seen the statistics and
Philip would present Belgrade as a place of numerous opportunities, as the
capital of life and fun, with a great fortress, and regarding Serbia, he would
point out excellent spas and good mountain ski slopes. “More and more often in
London, I hear people asking about coming to Serbia and Belgrade”, explains the
Maybe because of the Exit (music
- That helps, of
course, but I personally would prefer this country not to be known for its
festivals, but for its beauty. And history.
Philip knows the
situation in Serbia quite well, and he admits it. When someone abroad asks him
about it, he starts by saying: “It’s complicated”. He discovers about the
current events in the country on the Internet, and a lot more from his father.
“He is my main source of information”. Regarding Kosovo and Metohija, he is
worried about the basic human rights for Serbs, and would like a good solution
to be found for all the people who live there.
- I would like no
more problems there, that’s for sure.
To the question,
to whom in the Karadjordjevic family is he closest to, he replies: “My
brothers”. Okay, besides them?
- I do not know
the rest of the family really well, but I respect them all, and I am friends
He sees his brothers, depending on
how much all their obligations allow them to see each other.
- Elder brother,
Peter runs his own graphic design company in Seville and London, and twin
brother Alex is in California, studying for a Masters degree in Marketing. I
hear from both of them once in every ten days, or once in every two weeks. We
are very close, the best friends to one another, but we are not the types of
people who sit by the phone all day.
Photos: Zeljko Sinobad