JAT New review,12. 03. 2007
My Home is in Serbia
"I have always dreamed of returning home and to my roots... the well being of
all citizens of Serbia is always on my mind, regardless of their religion or
party affiliation..." says HRH Crown Prince Alexander II Karadjordjevic.
HRH Crown Prince Alexander II
The founder of the Karadjordjevic dynasty, Djordje Petrovic - better known as
Karadjordje - lead the Serbs in the first uprising against the Ottoman Empire,
after which he formed a government in Belgrade and in 1811 was declared
Descendant of celebrated Karadjordje King Peter II Karadjordjevic, father of
Crown Prince Alexander, and his government left the country in wake of the Nazi
invasion in April 1942, first to Jerusalem, then to Cairo and afterwards to
London. In London in 1944, King Peter II married Princess Alexandra of Greece
and Denmark the daughter of King Alexander of the Hellenes and Aspasia Manos. On
July 17, 1945, while living in Claridge's Hotel Queen Alexandra gave birth to a
son HRH Crown Prince Alexander II of Yugoslavia.
In order that the Crown Prince Alexander, the heir to the throne, may be born
on Yugoslav territory, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill declared suite
212 in Claridge's Hotel to be Yugoslav territory. His Holiness Patriarch
Gavrilo baptized the Crown Prince in Westminster Abbey. The Godparents were King
George VI and his daughter (at the time) HRH Princess Elizabeth, and now HM
Queen Elizabeth II.
Considering that King Peter II never abdicated and that following the King's
death in Denver (Colorado) in the autumn of 1970 the crown automatically passed
his only son, the Crown Prince, as heir to the throne he decided at the time not
to use the title of King, as he felt it would have had little meaning in exile.
At the time, he made it very clear that he was neither renouncing his title nor
the dynastic right to the throne.
Crown Prince Alexander II was educated in Switzerland, at a US Military
Academy, in Scotland and England. He then proceeded to attend the British Royal
Military Academy. As of 1966', he served in the Middle East, Italy and West
Germany as a commissioned officer in the British Army Having left active
military duty in 1972, Crown Prince Alexander II pursued a career in
He has three sons: Peter, born in 1980 in Chicago, and twins Philip and
Alexander born in 1982 in Fairfax, US, from his first marriage with Brazilian
Princess Maria da Gloria de Orleans and Braganza. Crown Prince Alexander married
Katherine Batis of Athens in London in 1985.
YRH, You have spent most of Your life as the citizen of the world. Based on
the decision of the state union of Serbia and Montenegro from 2001, which gave
the family of the Serbian Crown Prince the right to use the Royal Complex, You
have returned to Serbia. It has been six years since then. How does it feel
being at home?
- I feel very much at home. It was always my dream to come home and to my
roots. It has also been an unbelievable experience driving around Serbia,
getting to know people and places and to witness the incredible beauty.
Their Royal Highnesses Crown Prince Alexander
II and Crown Princess Katherine at the wedding of His Royal Highness Crown
Prince Frederik of Denmark and Miss Mary Eliyabeth Donaldson, 14 May 2004 in
You have visited Serbia for the first time in 1991. How can You describe,
today, Your first encounter with the fatherland? How did the people receive You?
- Coming to the homeland with my family back in 1991 was very emotional.
Although it was short, I was happy to have set foot on the soil of my ancestors.
We were deeply impressed by the huge welcome we received, but saddened
afterwards by the tragedy of the former Yugoslavia. Tragically, people deeply
suffered and much valuable time was lost in very painful times. We must now all
work for common good.
What was your perception about ancestors, fatherland, people, landscape,
house in which Your family lived... What stories about Serbia Your father King
Peter II used to tell You when You were a child?
- We have no shortage of history and I am very proud of my ancestor
Karadjordje and the rich history of my family, like that of my great grandfather
King Peter I, my grandfather King Alexander I and my father King Peter II. My
father would tell me about his daily life in the homeland and his travels. My
father was very homesick and wanted to come back home. Now living in the home of
my grandfather and my father is an amazing experience. When we first came as a
family we saw the beauty of the Dedinje compound; it is Serbia's Versailles, the
two palaces, namely the Royal Palace and the White Palace. I have opened the
palaces to the public and I am so glad everyone enjoys coming.
By the nature of Your position, You are pro-monarchy oriented. You often
say that in the future You foresee Serbia as a constitutional parliamentary
monarchy. Serbia has recently adopted the Constitution that does not treat the
issue of monarchy. Why do You think that it would be good for Serbia to become a
parliamentary monarchy and which model of European monarchy would You suggest as
the role model for the Constitution of the Kingdom of Serbia?
- Serbia would do very well as a Constitutional Parliamentary Monarchy, just
like Sweden, Denmark, Belgium, the United Kingdom, The Netherlands, Luxembourg
or Spain, who are members of the European Union. Other Constitutional
Parliamentary Monarchies are Norway, Japan, New Zealand, Canada and Australia.
In all these countries the head of state is neutral and does not belong to a
political party, and is the symbol of unity, continuity and stability. I have
excellent relations with our President and Prime Minister, but Serbia
desperately needs a head of state who does not belong to a political party nor
is involved in party politics. The power and leadership is with the prime
minister, the cabinet and there are, of course, free and fair parliamentary
elections. We would avoid divergence between the president's office and the
prime ministers office. Our politicians and political process would benefit
greatly from a Constitutional Parliamentary Monarchy and also work better for
the common good of all the people, and this is the case in all the above
The future of Serbia definitely lies in the EU. Would EU support the
implementation of a parliamentary monarchy in Serbia?
- Of course, the European Union would have no objection since we must strive
to be like all other democratic countries and be responsible for our actions and
our own future providing we abide by democratic principles and maintain
stability. Within the European Union both Republics and Constitutional
Monarchies work daily hand in hand for the common good of all citizens of the
It is well known that You have good relations with other royal families,
and that to some of them You are related. You are a dear guest at the European
courts and around the world, and You have direct contact with a great number of
political leaders around the globe. How have You, and have You at all, used
these connections for the wellbeing of Serbia?
- I am proud to explain and answer questions about our beautiful country and
people. The well being of all the citizens of Serbia is always in my mind
regardless of their religion or political affiliation. We are proud to travel
abroad on our national airline JAT.
You are committed to humanitarian work through HRH Crown Princess
Katherine Foundation and Lifeline, humanitarian organization established by Your
wife. Who do You help?
-I am very proud of my wife's hard work for humanitarian causes and grateful
for the help she has received over the years. I am also grateful to all the
people who work in her foundation in Belgrade and Lifeline aboard for their
contribution. The humanitarian help goes to hospitals, orphanages, refugees,
children, old people, continued medial education etc. My foundation for
Education and Culture obtains scholarships like the 40 we received from the
Nottingham University and it opened a Career Centre at the University of
Their Royal Highnesses during the humanitarian
Their Royal Highnesses during the humanitarian delivery HRH Crown Princess
Katherine is present in the public through her humanitarian work and through it,
obviously, attached to Serbia. Do Your sons like Belgrade as well?
- Peter, Philip and Alexander like vibrant Belgrade very much, have many
friends and also bring their friends from aboard to stay. Kopaonik is a very
popular destination for the boys since they are avid snowboarders. They also
like tennis when they come home for their holidays. Last year we founded the
Royal Tennis Club.
You organize receptions often, and thanks to the media we know how they
look. Our readers are probably curious to hear how a common day at the palace
- Everyday is busy and consists of various activities. Not only receiving
domestic, but also foreign visitors. We travel a great deal around Serbia on
humanitarian and cultural work. We are very grateful for all the wonderful
invitations we receive and we host reception for many causes. Our aim has always
been to work for the positive image of Serbia and its citizens. ■
From left to right: HRH Hereditary Prince
Peter, HRH Crown Princess Katherine, HRH Crown Prince Alexander II, HRH Prince
Filipe and HRH Prince Alexander in front of The Royal Palace in Belgrade