ďCacanski GlasĒ magazine, 16 July 2002
His Royal Highness Crown Prince Aleksandar Karadjordjevic
On his birthday, 17 July, the Crown Prince Aleksandar and Karadjorevic Family will celebrate the first anniversary of their return in the Fatherland, after more than a half of century of exile at the reception for chosen guests. ďCacanski GlasĒ journalist was received by the Crown Prince a few days earlier and on the occasion of the jubilee, gave an exclusive interview.
FINALLY AT HIS GRANDFATHERíS AND FATHERíS HOME
What do you think about Serbia after 5 October 2000?
- Positive for the future and a great feeling that I have come home to Serbia to my roots after being in exile, a great relief that we got rid of our cunning dictatorship and that we have finally achieved democracy after so much pain and suffering. Great concern about poverty and social services.
What is your communication with the present authorities?
- My relationship with the authorities is excellent and very warm. I fully support the economic plan and objectives for revival that the government has set. If we are to move ahead as a country and create jobs we have to reform and luckily we have got some of the best financial experts in the Serbian government that are the envy of many foreign governments. I would suggest that it is fully understood by everyone that there will be full economic recovery if we go backwards and catastrophically copy some of the former satellite countries when they lost years by going back in time. We have every chance of economic success if we stay the course and cut out the gossip.
There is a certain opinion in the public that you have put the distance between yourself and political parties that emphasized their monarchistic orientation and enabled your first arrival to the country at the beginning of the 90s.
- My position which is correct the one is to respect everyone that abides by democratic principles. The principle is one nation, human rights and let the ballot box decide who will rule our country. Monarchy does not take sides and does not have any favorites. What we urgently need as a people is unity, continuity and stability, and constitutional monarchy provides exactly that just like in the Western European countries such as Spain, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, United Kingdom, Holland, Belgium, Luxembourg and countries like Japan, Canada, New Zealand and Australia.
There is a lot of speculation in the public about the possibility of you being the candidate for the President of Serbia, and by that disqualifying you as the pretender to the throne, which would be absurd. Would you accept that?
- I am not a politician and have no wish to be a candidate. Again what we need is a head of state that is above politics and the defender of the democratic process so as to exactly avoid the situation which we are sadly familiar with today in the Serbian political scene. In a constitutional monarchy the freely elected democratic government rules with the prime minister as the leader of the government and the monarch reigns thus cutting out friction and allowing the government its full capability to govern.
Who, in your opinion, would be the ideal President of Serbia?
- Today, let the people decide whom they wish in free and fair elections, but donít ignore the possibility of bringing for once and all true stability by implementing constitutional monarchy.
How do you see the prospects of the royalists block, having in mind announcements of some political parties to make that one of the options on the future elections for the Republic Parliament, and many are predicting a big future to such possibility?
- It is up to the political parties to adopt constitutional monarchy. Constitutional monarchy is not exclusive to any political party. Constitutional monarchy is there for everyone and it is even there for those who do not believe in it as it will firmly defend everyone providing all abide by democratic principles. In fact the most stable democratic countries are the constitutional monarchy ones and note that all political parties in those countries abide by the constitution.
The White Palace was only leased to you, despite your open complaints. The present authorities promised to return all the property to the Karadjordjevics. To what extent has that promise been fulfilled?
- Who is complaining? A lot has happened since 5 October 200 and a lot more will happen. The dream of living in my fatherís and grandfathers home has been fulfilled and gradually other issues will be resolved in good time. Everyday I am amazed with the beauty of the two dvors and the whole property in Dedinje that my grandfather King Aleksandar so acquired and organized. The two dvors are architecturally totally different and they have great charm. Krajelvski dvor is built in the Serbian Byzantine style and that is the one I live with in with my family. Beli dvor was commissioned by King Aleksandar as the residence for my father King Peter II and his two brothers Prince Tomislav and Prince Andrej, it is in the classical style.
Which moment in the political life of the country do you think is important for the people to take the stand on the issue of monarchy?
- There is no shock therapy I have only been home in our beautiful country a year. Our country has suffered a great deal from regimes, sanctions and bombing. In the very near future as we get closer to the celebration of the 200th anniversary of the First Serbian Uprising under my ancestor Karadjordje we will witness the interest grow dramatically for constitutional monarchy and envy the stability it will provide for democracy..
To what extent does the future of your sons depend on your future status? What will Petar, Aleksandar and Filip do if they are not the official heirs to the throne?
- The boys have had a good education foundation and continue to have a good university education and so that are fully capable to earn their living just as I did. They have also obtained job experience.
Do you expect, and to what extent, the support of the Diaspora?
- The Diaspora is very important and need to take a hard look in how they can help the homeland to obtain jobs and investment. The time has come now for the Diaspora to be active since democracy is finally here. Like in the homeland the interest in constitutional monarchy is alive.
The White Palace was open to the public for the first time at the beginning of June. Do you intend to open the whole compound for the public?
- Over 8,000 people have been at the receptions and meetings at the Palace since 5 October 2000. The Palaces should be open, and it is very important, but it is also important that we have a few young people who know history of art and how to present the Palaces in the right way.
During the last 60 years the Palaces were left without many works of art. Among others, the whole collection of the portaits of the Royal Family is missing. Is there any way to retreive the missing works of art?
- Very serious restoration works are ahead of us. A few paintings were restorated, but it wasnít done properly. Last month we had a visit from the director of Louvre and he said that several paintings were restored there. It is a very expensive job, especially because we donít have a separate fund for it. It is very important that the restoration is done in cooperation with the National Museum and our experts. There are a few foundations abroad who are interested in painters like the great French artist Poussain. There are Poussainís paintings here that are in appaling condition, and we expect help for their restoration. It is our wish to bring back everything that belonged to the Palaces, for it belongs here forever. It is not only for the Karadjordjevics.
We have been here for a year, there is a lot of work to be done, and people should know what we are doing.
Copyright © 1997 Nj.K.V. Princ Aleksandar II