Ilustrovana politika, 11.01.2003.
ALEXANDER AND PHILLIP KARADJORDJEVIC ON HOLIDAY
CHRISTMAS AT THE WHITE PALACE
Younger sons of Crown Prince Alexander have spent holidays with their father and his wife Crown Princess Katherine in Belgrade. The day before Christmas, family celebration was joined by the children without parents, refugee children and handicapped children
For the second year in row, during Christmas, the White Palace in Belgrade turns into a temple of joy for hundreds of young ones who are welcomed by Crown Prince Alexander and his wife Crown Princess Katherine. Children without parents, refugee children and handicapped children have the opportunity to play and sing together with the members of the Royal Family and to get presents from them.
The kids are marching through the Palace (this year over a thousand from all over Serbia) and their hosts are also the Crown Prince's sons Philip and Alexander, while the elder son Peter has missed this celebration due to his business engagements, but he later joined the Family for a short vacation in Kopaonik.
Who knows what time again we have had the opportunity to see how Princess Katherine was the one to set things in motion. One smile of hers, and the children melt immediately. And when she gets into "kolo", or starts leading the line of the young ones through the rooms of the White Palace, followed by music and Pedjolino's songs, there is no end to joy. The Princess cuddles her young guests, talks to them, help them get up when they fall in the heat of the dance, offers them to eat and have soft drinks and then again - hands up, clap and sing… A volcano of energy called Princess Katherine never stops.
Only Prince Philip manages to keep up, to an extent. He speaks Serbian much better than last year and he is naturally open for socialising. His brother Alexander is a little on the side, he joins the dance from time to time and it seems he lets loose only when he is among the people whom he knows well.
Both young Princes and their father Crown Prince Alexander show through many gestures that they are of flesh and blood (but "blue"). At one moment, probably happy because he caused smiles on the faces of the children who weren't very lucky in their lives, the Crown Prince shed a tear.
Between the two visits and an interview and a photo session for an American magazine, we talked to Princes Philip and Alexander in one of the Palace's salons, with a Christmas tree and decorations. The Princes remembered our meeting from last year and that probably made our contact more relaxed, despite the presence of several people from the protocol.
Since both of them are still studying (Philip Spanish and Slavonic languages in London, and Alexander communications in California), it's not easy for them to stay in Serbia for a longer time. Their elder brother Peter has finished his education and now is working as a graphic designer in London. It seems that Philip is most often in the country of his ancestors. He wasn't hiding his wish to continue with postgraduate studies here, if possible, and Alexander (Alex for his friends or just Al) too would like to live in Serbia after his studies.
Last year they told us their impressions on Serbia and their personal likes and dislikes, and this Christmas we asked them what presents they would get (the interview was made on the day before Christmas).
- It is still a surprise for us - says Philip. - I might guess, but I'm not sure.
Has he got any wishes?
For the world peace… Of course, but I really haven't got any particular wishes when it comes to presents, except that I have a good time for Christmas.
- Me too, it is my greatest wish to spend the holidays with my family for I live in America during the year so I don't spend much time with them.
That probably is the reason why the whole family is taking a vacation on Kopaonik where they will be to themselves only, without media. We asked Philip if he personally gave anything to anybody for Christmas.
- Mostly greeting cards and small things to my friends, not real presents. I don't buy anything particular, it all depends, sometimes it’s a bottle of wine, a perfume for the girlfriend, whatever.
Alexander was more specific and funnier:
- I also didn't buy anything for Christmas because I didn't have enough money. Otherwise, I don't mind getting presents. I don't have a girlfriend to buy a present to, so I did all right this year, but we bought presents for our parents.
- What did you buy them?
- That's a surprise - says Philip. - We can't say.
- But this issue of our magazine will be out after Christmas?
- All right then - adds Alexander. - For our stepmother we bought special chocolates that she likes, and a small porcelain box like the ones she keeps on her desk.
- This one is really nice - adds Philip - and it's beautifully decorated. She has a whole collection of them and we bought it for the first time.
- And what will their father get?
- Now that really must be a surprise - Philip stays firm. - I'm sorry. I'm sure it's something he really likes. Last year we bought him a picture frame with a photo of the whole family and he really liked it very much. We also gave him a photo album.
People in the West celebrate Christmas earlier in the year, and our collocutors didn't "waste time":
- We were with our mother and stepfather in Spain, in Villa Madriche della Fondesa where my brother and I were baptised - says Philip. Beside our mother and stepfather there were also our grandmother and grandfather on our mother's side and our two half-sisters, and we really had great time. The elder sister is sixteen and her name is Sol, which means Sun, and the younger is fourteen and her name is Luna, which means Moon.
- They are like real sisters to us - continues Alexander. - Unfortunately I can't go there as often as Philip and Peter because I live in America. Although I like to travel and to go different places, I can't make it to be everywhere.
Staying in Spain was a good opportunity for Philip to practise his Spanish, which he is studying:
- Of course, it's the best possible way to learn a language. Since I'm studying Serbian, I shall spend more time here in the future, not only for holidays, but as often as I can.
Both twins like snowboarding, but they sometimes have fun snowballing that they used to like when they were younger.
- Yes, that can still be good fun - says Philip.
Alex adds, to his brother surprise:
- I like snowballing too, especially when I'm throwing at Philip, who is helpless there..
- Hey, shut up - half loudly and through laughter finishes Philip.
Both of these fine young men will celebrate their birthday together on 15 January.