SVEDOK, 15 June 2004
Prince Alexander II Karadjordjevic about the agreement with the Serbian Government, the status of The White Palace, Endowment of King Peter I in Topola, connections in The World Bank and assistance to Mladjan Dinkic, and the double standards of the international community
THE KARADJORDJEVICS MUST WORK FOR THE GOOD OF ALL CITIZENS OF SERBIA, THEY HAVE NO PLACE IN THE POLITICAL ARENA
By Dobrica Gajic
Serbian monarchists gained one of the greatest scores at the end of April, when after the negotiations with The World Bank, the Minister of Finance Mladjan Dinkic said that his good starting position in the talks was significantly made easier by Prince Alexander II Karadjordjevic who is a great friend of The World Bank’s general manager, James Wolfenshon.
Stories immediately started circulating in the public of how much easier it would be if Serbia was a monarchy, and how faster we would integrate into European Union. Besides, the connection between The White Palace and the Government worked very well, and the state provided means to finance The Royal Compound, in order to open it for the public.
It was a reason to request an interview from Prince Alexander II Karadjordjevic, who kindly accepted it.
Prince Alexander II Karadjordjevic is, let us remind the readers, the son of King Peter II Karadjordjevic and the Greek Princess Alexandra, the daughter of the Greek King Alexander I and Aspasia Manos. He was born on 17 July 1945, in the London hotel Claridge’s suite 212, which was specially for the occasion proclaimed the Yugoslav territory by the British Prime Minister Winston Churchill.
Since 1966, Prince Alexander II Karadjordjevic had served as a British Army officer at the Middle East, Italy and West Germany. He came to the rank of a captain, and in 1972 left the officer’s career and went into business.
From his marriage with the Brazilian Princess Maria da Gloria of Orlean and Braganza, whom he married in 1972, he has three sons: Peter (1980) and the twins Philip and Alexander (1982). He divorced his first wife in 1983 and in 1985 married Katherine Batis in London. He visited Serbia for the first time with his family in 1991, when he was welcomed by tens of thousands of the Karadjordjevic Dynasty supporters.
Since the summer of 2001, Princess Katherine and Prince Alexander II Karadjordjevic have resided at The Royal Palace in Belgrade.
Svedok: Your Royal Highness, you have opened The Royal Compound for the public. At the same time the Serbian has brought a decision to establish a fund for The White Palace, which can lead to establishment of the “small Versailles” in Belgrade. What is the situation of The Royal Compound , what needs to be repaired first?
Alexander Karadjordjevic: The Royal Compound is in the situation I would say better than I feared, worse than I hoped. Nothing was invested into it for a long time, and the signs of deterioration were particularly noticeable at The White Palace, which did not see the planned restoration in the early 1980’s, but also in the terraces, plateaus, swimming pools and ancillary buildings. Since my family and I moved here, we have invested substantial funds into maintenance, repairs and reconstruction. Since then, over 12,000 of visitors have been at The Royal Compound. Now, when the Government has decided to put the Compound partly on the budget again, I believe the long time ago made plans for its opening and better visitors’ insight into artwork and history of the Palaces are going to be carried out. There is an agreement with the Government and we are now working on its implementation.
S: How valuable are the works of art at The White Palace, and who are the authors? Are you satisfied with the security of the premises and with the attention of the State in that respect?
A.K.: One can’t really say the material value of the artwork, for this value is usually established in the artwork market. However, these masterpieces are of measureless importance for our history, above all, and they are part of European and world’s cultural heritage. That goes for architecture, sculpture, paintings and applied art. I shall just mention Krasnoff, Mestrovic, Paja Jovanovic, Nicolas Poussin, Albrecht Altdorfer, Carpeaux, Rembrandt, Veronese, Fromentin, Canaletto, Palma Vecchio, Lubarda etc. The premises are secured in accordance with the agreement we had with the State Union.
S: How do you think the status of The Royal Compound in Dedinje should be resolved and whom should it belong to: to the State or the Karadjordjevics? Is the denationalization the right solution?
A.K.: My attitude is well known to the public. I think this Compound should remain a single and indivisible entity, for any other solution would be a great loss for our national history and culture. Having in mind that at present the Compound is the property of the state, and that it is the only way for it to remain whole, I have suggested that the legal heirs be compensated. I would like to remind that a similar solution was applied in many other European countries, monarchies as well as republics.
S: What are your plans for the estate in Topola? With the good road and more investments, this town could become a tourist centre of Serbia?
A.K.: The estate in Topola is mostly the victim of lawlessness after the WW2. It was taken out from the jurisdiction of the Foundation of King Peter I and leased to the state companies, and today is in the situation for which are less to blame those who were there, than those who, for 12 years now, have disputed the last will of King Peter I. The Foundation itself is working well, but as long as the status of its property is not regulated by law, it will not be possible to take more serious steps in terms of business, that would be to the good of both the Foundation and the town of Topola, and even this part of Sumadija region.
S: Minister of Finance Mr. Mladjan Dinkic sad that he had done much during the recent negotiations in London and in Washington thanks to your influence and assistance. What exactly is this all about?
A.K.: I have had a good opportunity to activate some of my contacts and friendships in order to make it possible for the Minister of Finance to have a direct contact with the highest level of the international financial institutions and present Serbia’s programs and needs. I believe the Minister was very pleased, I know the international institutions have listened to our side of the story with good will, and I shall be very happy to put my connections and my influence to the service to our nation in the future as well.
S: What else can you do to attract foreign investors in Serbia? Where did we fail as a country, for it is obvious that our cooperation with the world is not going as well as we excepted?
A.K.: My willingness and my contacts are no secret to anybody. Whoever needs me, will find me! Wherever I go, I speak about the situation in the country and about our needs and plans. It is essential, however, that someone comes in through the door that is opened! It seems to me that the readiness to use my good will is increasing and I hope for the good results of it.
S: What are you and Princess Katherine involved in most? What response the activities under your patronage have?
A.K.: At the moment, my wife is mostly into humanitarian work. She is the official coordinator for cooperation with international humanitarian organizations, and she has been very successful in her work. I am more into creating and expanding contacts in the business and diplomatic circles, as well as into activities in aid of our talented youth.
S: You were in San Francisco at the end of May on a very nice occasion?
A.K.: That’s right, at the end of May my son Prince Alexander graduated at the University of San Francisco, and it was a moment of pride and joy for us. We attended the ceremony, and since the wedding of the Spanish Crown Prince, Prince of Asturias was at the same time, my middle son Prince Philip represented us there.
S: What do your other two sons do? Can they speak Serbian? It seams that you have improved your Serbian?
A.K.: Peter works on various projects, and Philip is still studying. Learning Serbian and refreshing it is something they do regularly. As for me, I hope you are right!
S: How do we change the double standards of the international community towards Serbia? You have recently said that we are required to extradite the accused by the Hague Tribunal and nobody requested from Afghanistan to find Al Qaeda leaders....
A.K.: One can and should be a politician, but one must not stop being a man. It is a universal rule, including the circles that rule the world. It is true that Serbia and its people have been so much vilified that one gets an impression it relieves the commitment to apply one’s own standards and criteria. I resent the fact that billions were spent with no hesitation when it came to pouring bombs on us, and now every conceivable reason is being found to avoid assisting in at least rebuilding or repairing what was destroyed and damaged.
It is almost a miracle how easily ultimatums are being issued every day, how no one finds it strange that a country is being blackmailed to hunt down the accused in the Hague tribunal, while it is considered as perfectly normal that the international armed forces with full executive and any other power, allegedly can’t bring charges against obvious criminals, for either there are no witnesses or no documents, or no true will, and circumstances to persecute them usually are created when the potential accused die of old age. It is not ignorance or incompetence, it is, to put it mildly, the double standards, or to be more precise – it is an invitation to exterminate the Serbs. And this invitation was heard and understood, for example in Kosovo and Metohia!
S: The situation in Kosovo is huge problem for Serbian people. Have you appealed to the international statesmen to protect our people and our shrines for it is the commitment of the international community? How do they respond, do we have any support from anywhere?
A.K.: I speak about it wherever I can. People listen to me, I think they are willing to help, but at the same time it is a fact that the situation was let out of the hands in a way that makes me think the only thing that matters to them is to get out of there, not asking for the price. The price is for us to pay! But the near future will show this price is going to be paid by other as well, although they don’t see it today, or don’t care, or think how something must happen and someone else will take care of it!
S: Prof. Dragoljub Kavran, member of the Crown Council has stated that the member of The Royal House have no place in the political arena. These presidential elections have shown, it seams, that it is not so for Princess Elizabeth? Tell us your attitude towards these elections.
A.K.: I have made my statement about it on several occasions. Whoever carries the name of Karadjordjevic, has to know he or she has no place in the political arena as a participant. Of course, that does not go for the right to a political opinion or an attitude, but the Karadjordjevics can only work for the good of all citizens of this country, regardless of their religion or political orientation, and one can’t do so if one is a candidate for a political position, whatever it might be.
BRAVE ATTITUDE OF PATRIARCH PAVLE AND SERBIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH
S: You, of course, believe that restoration of monarchy is the right solution for Serbia. What is your comment on the direct support to you by the Serbian Orthodox Church and Serbian Patriarch Pavle?
A.K.: I am grateful to them! Like so many times before during our existence, the Church and the Patriarch had a vision and the responsibility to the people and history, as well as the courage to present their attitude loud and clear.
THE FUTURE WITH MONARCHY
S: One should not dismiss the possibility of Serbia as Monarchy becomes the member of the EU one day. How much are our people in favor of something like that? What would that mean for Serbia? Would monarchy under the Crown of the Karadjordjevic be a solution for Montenegro too, as it was in the time of your grand father King Alexander?
A.K.: I don’t see why it should not? We have already seen what sort of problems and dead-ends was brought to us by irresponsible taking a path not made to lead to the future, but to lead nowhere! Out of all communist failures, this is the only one that survived, and it is being artificially kept alive, spending what little of our energy has left.
ACCUSATIONS WITH NO PROOFS
S: How do you feel about the denials of your biography by parts of Serbian emigration? They reproach you for not being on good terms with your father King Peter II, for being loyal to the Vatican and for being member of the order of Maltese Knights?
A.K.: When one does not know anything, or does not care for the truth, one becomes hyper-creative and then there is no limits to where it takes. There are people who think my father was closer to them than to me, who think they deserved more than me to be his children, who think freedom means to make accusations without any proofs and pass judgments without any rules. They only can’t cope with a plain fact: my father was a father to me, not to them, and for everything I may have done or not done as a son, I am responsible to the memory of my father and to no one else. It would be nice if those people remembered their own fathers, and settle their debts with them.
Copyright © 1998 NJ.K.V. Prestolonaslednik Aleksandar II
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