“Istok”, winter 2003
CHRISTMAS AT THE WHITE PALACE
WE LOVE OUR PEOPLE
HRH Crown Prince Alexander II Karadjordjevic and Crown Princess Katherine in constant humanitarian mission. Aid of the Foundation of HRH Crown Princess Katherine to the neediest, and scholarships of the Fund of the Royal House of Karadjordjevic to the best and most talented students
The White Palace... the atmosphere of joy and great expectations! Children dancing together with the members of the Royal Family. Santa Claus is arriving. Wide open eyes of the children, timid smiles and hands full of toys... Christmas wishes come true. Christmas, the day when we give love. The day when we try to bring joy to those who we love, but also to those who are without close ones, so that they don’t feel lonely and forgotten.
Respecting tradition, the Royal Family celebrated Christmas at home. Their Royal Highnesses Crown Prince Alexander II and Crown Princess Katherine and Princes Philip and Alexander opened the doors of The White Palace in Dedinje. They warmly welcomed and personally greeted each of 1,200 children refugees, children without parents, Romany children and children with special needs, among them the protégés of “Slavko Paunovic” home from Negotin.
After the reception, the Royal couple through their short addressing the press confirmed that they themselves were the most beautiful Christmas present to the happy smiling children. And it was in such peasant atmosphere that had fulfilled, it seemed, every corner of The White Palace, relaxed and smiling, HRH Crown Prince Alexander II Karadjordjevic kindly answered, in Serbian, the questions of “Istok” magazine.
Your Royal Highness, how does it feel to be in your own country, have you adapted to Serbian mentality and life which is completely different than the one you had in England?
We are very happy to be living in our country, in the home of my grandfather King Alexander I and my father King Petard II in Dedinje. I was very emotional when I came back here in July 2001, for my family and I belong here. We have always wanted to come back to Serbia. Now we have democracy and finally a chance for a better future. That is a new experience, a new day for us. I have traveled with my wife throughout Serbia wishing to see what the situation outside Belgrade was and what was most needed, and that certainly is humanitarian aid. The work of my wife’s Foundation is focused on that. My children are finishing their studies.
Is there a barrier in communication, in the way of thinking between you and your compatriots in Serbia?
There are no barriers, no walls. We are open, modern people and we have respect for all people in our country.
Your Highness, what is your view of the political and social moment in Serbia, and how do you see the future of our country?
I am neutral, I am not a member of any political party and I support everybody who follow democratic principles. Our country has a lot of smart politicians and they must find a peaceful solution for our problems. I support constitutional monarchy because it provides stability and continuity and it enables the democratically elected Government to run the country. The best example of how constitutional monarchy functions are Western European countries like Spain, Great Britain, Denmark, Norway, as well as Japan, Australia or Canada. Our people should know that constitutional monarchy is very democratic system, in which the government is freely elected and the head of the state is monarch, not a politician. Our people need stability and progress for only in that way we shall send a message to the world that we do have a future. It is very important that we cover our needs, and work together and prove we are ready for foreign investors and partners. I am working on bringing the investors to our country, I traveled abroad several times with our ministers, I went to Great Britain and to Greece a few months ago. When we are abroad, there are many questions, first of all of the elections. It is not good for our country to have elections every month. It is good to have elections, but once every four years with specific political agendas, for elections are expensive. It is good to look for solutions step by step, but it is the job for our politicians.
So, you hope for reestablishing of monarchy in our country?
Yes! I think it would be a good solution for us, although the issue of constitutional monarchy is still not clear enough. It is not fully understood that constitutional monarchies in Europe are in fact highly developed democracies.
Many of our people have emigrated in recent years, looking for new life faraway from their homeland. You yourself, Your Royal Highness, have experienced that, having spent many years outside our fatherland. What are your views of the Serbs outside Serbia and their readiness to invest in our country?
We have many people who live abroad, it is estimated 3-4 million. That is a huge number. They are our people, they have families and friends who live in our country and they should have their interest here, and also the chance to vote. They should promote our country and its great possibilities for investments globally, like our ambassadors. There are some very talented young people in Serbian Government who offer great program of privatization. For the last several years our people have suffered terrible hardship. Sanctions, bombing... those days are over and Serbia is on the way of economic recovery.
The issues that Serbian Diaspora are insisting on are citizenship and the right to vote. How do you see the solution?
We have spent many years under the dictatorship, we had one political party and twelve years of bad government. The international community did not know about our problems and did not understand our situation. Now, after the 5 October 2000 we have a democratic government, but it is to soon to solve all the issues that the Diaspora is interested in two years only. Some reforms should be commenced in the parliament as the proof that the system is functioning.
How often do you appear in public and on what occasions?
We travel a lot throughout our country, there is a map in the office with dots, and it is very interesting to see where we went in Serbia, Montenegro and Republika Srpska, but I believe there are still many corners of our country yet to be seen.
Do you have any free time to spend with your friends, or for your hobbies?
We find time. We love to go to Kopaonik with our sons and have a few quiet days there. They love snow boarding and I love skiing. We also visit our friends abroad, but most of all we love to be with our people. We love our people.
Message for the end ...
I am very sad because of all the sufferings of the Serbian people, but at the same time I admire the great patience they have. I respect all religions, all political beliefs and I am ready to be with my people always and to help them. We have lost to much time, but I believe that good news are coming, investors and better days.
Copyright © 1998 NJ.K.V. Prestolonaslednik Aleksandar II
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