Danas, 15 July 2005
MONARCHY, THE BEST SOLUTION FOR SERBIA
up in England in a kind of exile · We would like to know what were your
relationships with your parents (in details, if possible); what were the
principles you were brought up by, what were your role models; the
language used at the home of your parents; what was the image of Serbia
in a young man’s mind, how did you do at school and how was your
character built; your favourite books (and why), favourite school
subjects; teachers, professors, lecturers – do you have any contacts
with any of them today? Your career – how did it begin, how did you
build it? Have you ever written your personal diary?
-When I was born on 17 July 1945, it was sadly far away from my
homeland, but it happened on Yugoslav territory in London’s Claridge’s
Hotel. Prime Minister Winston Churchill approved that the suite at
Claridge’s should be proclaimed Yugoslav territory. In November 1945,
the Monarchy was illegally abolished and Yugoslavia became a
dictatorship. It was the beginning of my exile and horrible pain for my
father who over the years and decades longed for his home more and more.
My parents had the misfortune to live in many countries and I followed
them from one place to another. In July 1946, we went to Paris for a
short time, then to Switzerland, then back to Paris and further way to
Monaco. In January 1947, we returned to Switzerland. In April 1948, we
went to New York on the “Queen Elisabeth” ship. We stayed at the Carlyle
Hotel. We went from Europe to New York and back several times on
different ships, including the “Queen Marry” and “Caronia”.
I longed for a home like any other child. In the summer of 1950, I was
even sent with a nanny to the Channel Islands and then to Cortina in
Italy where I learned to ski. We returned to New York at the beginning
of 1951, but that time we moved to an apartment. That did not last long,
so we moved again to the Carlyle Hotel. Then I was moved with my nanny
across the street into another apartment. When the time came, I went to
school in New York. The school bus would pick me up everyday. My
parents’ marriage was going through a difficult time, so they returned
to Europe, and I stayed at the apartment with my nanny. In 1952 my
parents sent for me and I arrived in Paris for the first time by plane,
in a “Boeing 377 Strato – Cruiser”, which is still very much a memorable
moment for me.
When I was eight, in September 1953, I was sent to my first boarding
school in Gstaad in Switzerland. At that time I was already spoking
English, French and Italian, but unfortunately there were no
possibilities for me to study Serbian. I was becoming more and more
aware of what had happened in Yugoslavia and I was a real pest to my
father asking him many questions. In September 1954, I went to Le Rosey
School in Switzerland. It was a wonderful school and I am still in touch
with the people there. Just last week my wife and I went on special
cruise with the students of my generation. I stayed at the Le Rosey for
five years, but my father thought I was getting spoiled there, so they
sent me to a rather strict school in America. I remember coming to
Europe for Christmas with my hair cut very short and chewing gum and my
father was not very pleased with that. Then I went to school in
Scotland, the same one Prince Charles attended. I spent every school
holiday in a different place, depending where my parents lived at the
time. I also attended the British Military Academy, spent seven years
serving the Army, and stayed in many different places.
My father got very sick in America and I visited him in the hospital in
Los Angeles. He died in Denver, Colorado in 1970. In 1972 I left the
Army and got married to Princess Maria da Gloria from Orleans and
Bragança. We moved to Rio de Janeiro were I worked in advertising and
for a while, we lived in London. Then we went to Chicago where I worked
as a broker in the insurance business. Peter was born in Chicago in
1980. Then we moved to Virginia, where I continued working in
international insurance. Philip and Alexander were born in 1982 in
Virginia. Maria da Gloria and I separated in 1983, and soon afterwards,
in 1984, I met Katarina. I moved to London and in 1985, we got married
in the Serbian Orthodox Church. Katarina was wonderful in bringing up
the boys. Maria da Gloria also got married in 1985. We have always been
on friendly terms, and Katarina and Maria da Gloria became friends.
I have never written a personal diary. Both of my parents published
their autobiographies in the fifty’s.
· Did you ever discuss any of your father’s decisions brought at the end
of the WW II regarding Tito and the Chetniks? If you did, what was your
attitude? Did you notice your father’s disappointment in the
circumstances in the country and how did you take his feelings? What was
your view of the Serbian emigration in London during the WW2? What
attitude did you have towards Slobodan Jovanovic’s writings about the
Royal House? Have you ever made your own list of the Karadjordjevic’s,
and if you did, who was your role model and why? What was your
perception of communism, which social and economic concept is your
favourite? Historically speaking, what has been the greatest challenge
for the Serbs and Serbia so far for them to become a prosperous nation?
- I spoke with my father about the World II and the Civil war many
times. At that time, my father was very young and heartbroken for having
being taken away from his homeland. He would tell me many stories about
how he used to travel all over Yugoslavia when he was a boy, and about
his everyday life in Dedinje.
From time to time, I used to feel my father had been ill advised, and in
my opinion, some strange characters surrounded him. My mother suffered
much because of all the emigrants' politics and intrigues. There was no
doubt that various shady elements from Yugoslavia were included in my
father's surrounding and a man should have been blind not to notice the
activities and games that my poor father had to face.
I have always felt very sad about our emigration, not just in London,
but also all over the world. Those were, and still are, wonderful people
who were tragically uprooted from their homes by the human madness. They
struggled to survive in foreign countries, far away from their country,
while Yugoslavia was caught in a trap of an ideological experiment
without much hope for democracy. In my view, we could all live better in
a democratic society in which human rights and tolerance are respected.
I also believe that we must have appropriate social services financed
through a free market economy.
has tremendously suffered through decades of dictatorship after the
World War II and the Civil war and the complete madness which followed.
The tragedy of the 90’s included so many elements: bad management,
negative nationalism, negative religion, international misunderstanding,
sanctions, isolation, and on top of it all, criminal bombing. I feel
very sad because our people had to go through all of that. We must move
forward as a nation, and unite to be successful. We have a wonderful
people and incredible talents.
Our politicians must work together for the welfare of all citizens,
regardless of their religion or ethnic origin. We must fulfil our
international obligations and remain firmly together in order to provide
a future for Serbia as one of the key members of the European Union. We
cannot allow ourselves any more divisions for others will take advantage
of our discord. Big challenges ahead of us are the future of Kosovo, the
union of Serbia and Montenegro, unemployment and reforms. Our market
economy must be efficient and create new jobs, prosperity and social
services we so desperately need. We must try harder to promote great
investment opportunities of our country abroad. In addition to our
image, we should also be improving our international public relations.
THE REPUBLIC WITH A MONARCH
· Your first visit to the country happened during the time of Milosevic
rule. Have you been critical of his roll from the very beginning? You
are not accustomed to comment the personal attacks to the Crown, still –
did Seselj’s invectives and attaints during your first stays in Serbia
affect you? Do you find today’s status of Crown in Serbia temporary?
What would Serbia gain if it was a Monarchy? Do you discuss this issue
with the current Serbian politicians – if you do, what do they say? Does
the Palace conduct some research of its own about the disposition of the
people about conversion of Serbia to the Monarchy, and if it does, what
are the results and what are your comments on them? When you think about
Monarchy, what are its geographical borders? How strong economically and
how stable is the Crown today, and what is done for improving the
position of the Crown? What is going on with the consolidation of the
Royal property? Is there going to be any younger people in the structure
of the Crown Council?
-My relations with the Government and politicians are warm, and they
should be like that, since we all believe in friendship.
When there are people who abuse power, I must make an exception and work
for the democratic future. From the very beginning, I was critical
towards the people who had abused the people. There were some
individuals in ex-Yugoslavia who had abused power and that includes the
years of madness.
There is an expression that when you are attacked by someone than at the
same time it means acknowledgment.
has a great future, for I believe the constitutional parliamentary
monarchy is the best solution for prosperity, stability and respect of
our country. We are the witnesses of the bickering of the two political
sides who are constantly in a low intensity conflict. Constitutional
parliamentary monarchy functions very well in Sweden, Luxemburg,
Holland, Belgium, United Kingdom, Japan, etc. One should notice that in
constitutional parliamentary monarchy, governments of different
political parties change in democratic elections, whether they are
socialists or conservatives in the Western European sense of the term.
In all the constitutional parliamentary monarchies, the monarch reigns
and the Prime Minister rules and governs the country together with his
(or her) cabinet. In addition, of course, there are free and democratic
I have spoken about the issue of constitutional parliamentary monarchy
with our politicians, and there is interest and concerns, but there is
also a need for the public and the politicians to be informed about what
a constitutional parliamentary monarchy is, and also what a
parliamentary republic is. In most of the political parties, there are
people who have interest in the constitutional parliamentary monarchy.
One must realize that no political party has the exclusive right to
that, but that they all have equal respect in monarchy, on condition
that they accept democracy.
Yes, a recent public opinion survey conducted by a respectable agency
was published, according to which 29 percent of the polled were for
constitutional parliamentary monarchy. It is interesting because there
was no campaign or effort to explain to the public what constitutional
parliamentary monarchy is. There is interest for constitutional
parliamentary monarchy in Serbia, Montenegro and Republika Srpska. Our
goal is to have young well educated people in The Crown Council. We have
recently included some new members.
The 60th Birthday
When you look back, what would you say about your life? What visions did
you have as a young man, and what did you achieve? When you came to (The
Royal and The White) Palaces did you introduce your own “order of
things”, or you left “the sediment of epochs” to last? When you made a
concept of the ceremony for celebration of 60th birthday, how did you
put together personal moment and state interests? What guests from the
World are expected, and what can this mean for the image of the country;
Will the celebration of your birthday be the full or just partial
reflection of your intensive relations with the worlds state officials
and the royal houses; Prince Charles has the reputation here as someone
who has a certain felling for this part of the world – what is actually
the story, and is he coming? What do you expect from other members of
the Royal Home on this event, regarding the fact that from time to time
some individual discontent emerged in the public? Your wife enjoys a
great respect here because of her sincere humanitarian work – what are
her big forthcoming projects? At last, the question about your children:
what are the goals that you have set for the heirs to the Crown?
-I am sad because for so many decades, I was torn away from my country,
but now I am happy to have returned to the home of my ancestors. I am
glad that I have experienced life in democratic societies, and in an ex
dictatorship during the early 70’s - in Brazil. I thought communism
would stay with us forever, but it turned out I was wrong. I am sad
because our country lost so much precious time. My vision was to have a
democratic country. The horrors and the pain the people had suffered
throughout ex-Yugoslavia during the wars in the 90’s shocked me. I had
hopped we could have done that without pain and separate in peace.
I first saw The Royal Compound with the two palaces in Dedinje in
December 2000, after the 5 October revolution. I tried to visit the
compound in 1992, but I encountered opposition, although it was not the
case with some other members of the Karadjordjevic Family, who had
visited it – the regime applied “rule and divide” principle. After my
family had moved into The Royal Palace, the home of my grandfather and
my father, my wife and I were faced with the responsibility of
maintaining and protecting the cultural heritage of this unique
historical place, “the little Versailles of South-Eastern Europe”. We
fell in love with the compound and spent considerable personal funds for
maintenance and repairs before the government included it into its
modest budget. I decided the compound should be preserved as a national
monument for the future. I also asked for legal advice in drafting a law
that was presented to the Government and the politicians. After many
repairs of all kinds, including The White Palace’s new roof, we are
delighted that last year the compound was for the first time opened for
the public, so that all citizens could see its beauty. We have had
thousands of visitors from our country and the whole world.
I have decided that it was logical to keep all the ideological symbols
of the past era in the compound for posterity – only dictators try to
My wife, the boys and I are very proud to be living at The Royal Palace;
it was built between 1924 and 1929 by my grandfather, King Alexander I.
In 1934 King Alexander I started construction of The White Palace, which
was supposed to serve as the residence for his three sons, Crown Prince
Peter (my father), Prince Tomislav, and Prince Andrej. After the King
was assassinated in Marseilles, construction was continued and The
Palace was completed in 1936.
My wife and I are proud to have many friends all over the world and it
is wonderful to be with them on my 60th birthday in our country. My wish
at my 50th birthday was to celebrate the 60th birthday at home, and it
came true. Our country needs friends and there is no better way to share
this friendship with an invitation to a birthday party and by creating
an opportunity for them to meet our politicians and our people. It is
going to be very positive for our country to host these friends of ours.
My wife has worked very hard for this celebration to be a success, and
to be memorable for our people and the visitors, among whom we expect
the King (Head of State) and the Queen of Sweden, The Grand Duke of
Luxemburg (Head of State), former President of South Africa, FW de Klerk,
the Prince and the Princess of Lichtenstein, former President of The
World Bank, Jim Wolfensohn, members of The House of Lords (both from the
Labour Party), many distinguished business leaders and many dear
My wife and I are working on creating contacts with foreign universities
to improve our education system. There is great hope after Belgrade
became a sister city with Chicago. We would like to see our other cities
taking the same initiative with other places.
The Foundation of my wife in Belgrade, and her international charity
organization Lifeline, continue their humanitarian work for our country
in Greece, the United Kingdom, the USA, and Canada.
At a family meeting two years ago, we decided that the boys should
complete their education and gain firsthand working experience. It is
important for Peter, Philip and Alexander to feel comfortable about
making their own living (just as I did) and to gain experience in facing
the responsibilities of every day life. Of course, they come home for
holidays very often.
Peter is a partner in a graphic design company in London, and he has
built up a fine range of clients. Philip has another year at his
university in London. Alexander graduated in communications in
California last year and now he is working as a PR manager. The boys are
keen on sports and every year they go snowboarding at Kopaonik, which
has become a sort of tradition (it is now the fourth year). They are
also proud to bring their friends to Serbia.
By Radivoj Cveticanin
A Danger to Return to Chazan
My opinion is that political parties have to understand what the
democratic process means. Not just the ruling parties, but all
political parties should understand what our situation in Europe
is and what our goal is.
Our goal is that people have a chance to live a normal life. We
have too much gossip each day in our media, from the politicians
who do not share interest for our citizens. We must not work for
isolation, we must work in order to Serbia become a member of
European Union, and what is very important, to have a voice in
Europe. I hear much gossip that is not in favour of our people.
Our people need to know exactly what our goal is. I think that
they do not know exactly what the European Union is. After the
referendum in France and the Netherlands, people think that
European Union is dead and that it has no future. However, it is
only little democratic illness, just a situation, but not the
definite end. The EU is very interesting. If you have a truck in
USA and want to send it from Chicago to New York, you need
papers for Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York… and in EU you
need only one paper.
The European Union has a future, but Serbia wasted a lot of
precious time on nothing. Very sad time that we had: negative
regime, negative nationalism, negative religious game. Now we
have the opportunity to have a future, but all the politicians,
not just government, but the opposition as well, should work
together for the national interest. I do not see they work for
national interest. I see that there is not a common plan,
opinion about Kosovo, about the cooperation of Serbia and
Montenegro, concerning Vojvodina, Sandzak, and on the other hand
about the situation in BiH- Republika Srpska.
We lack vision. We should have vision. To hold meetings, to have
people come, because that is the life of everyone who live in
this region. Now we have a great chance to work for Bucharest,
Sophia, Skopje, Tirana, Sarajevo, etc. to become a big common
market for about 50-60 million people. That is interest of all
of us. I have was recently in Dubrovnik and I was at the border,
and that was like in time of dictatorship. Borders should be
open, we have the same language, and the interest is that this
should be free zone, and that we work together. We still we need
to have cooperation among all the politicians.
We might face huge problem at the elections. We might face
immense changes, because people are not happy, they do not see
democracy actually works, they do not see a future, so we can
again go back to chazzan.
I congratulate President Tadic. He was in Srebrenica. I know it
was not easy, but he was there. In addition, we should not
forget the Serbian people who lost their lives. However, each
day brings something new. He was brave. He gained something, and
lost something by the fact that he went there. That is the
democratic process. He had a vision that he should go to visit
Srebrenica… Very, very terrible, but in former Yugoslavia we had
no angels in political life. That is what we were missing.
I think that there is excessively too much politics in public
life. If you have politics, you have a lot of material for the
newspaper. What are we missing? We miss economy. Economy is
important, people must have money. What is interesting for
foreigners? When I visit Europe, USA they ask me who is the
greatest investor. I say USA. What are you saying? I say US
Steel, Philip Morris, etc. They find it interesting that the
Americans are first. I think that we have great chance to have
bigger capital come in here, if we organize the conferences. We
had one in Athens in February and after that the other one in
London… The road- show, public relation. We have a lot of people
talking about our economic situation, system of privatization.
Milan Parivodic speaks English very well, he has good contacts…
And our former ministers understood that very well, they have
worked together: Pitic, Vlahovic, Djelic, Milsoavljevic. That
was big team. However, when we come back home, we have different
situation. They say:”OK, it was great, it was very good, but we
got back to our country, in our situation…” blah, blah, blah.
That is sad, but that is politics.
Is Prince Charles coming? We have been to his wedding, we were
together at the funeral of Pope John Paul II, but you know the
stand of British Government.