86TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE DEATH OF HIS MAJESTY KING PETER I
Belgrade, 17 August 2007 – Yesterday at the St. George Church
at Oplenac a memorial service took place to mark the 86th anniversary of HM King
Peter I Karađorđević's death.
Due to the previously accepted obligations abroad, HRH Crown
Prince Alexander II was unable to attend the service. On his behalf Mr. Miki
Savicevic, member of the Advisory Bodies of the Crown, laid a wreath on the tomb
of His Majesty King Peter I The Liberator.
His Grace Bishop Jovan of Sumadija served the Holy Liturgy.
Official delegations from the Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Labour, the
Serbian Army and many citizens attended the service.
The ceremony was conducted with state and military honours.
King Peter I was the fifth child of Prince Alexander
Karadjordjevic and Princess Persida (the daughter of Jevrem Nenadovic). He was
born on St. Peter’s Day 11 July 1844 in Belgrade. He is remembered as Serbia's
first Constitutional Monarch, who valued above all things the Constitution,
democracy, freedom of the press. He translated John Stuart Mill's work "On
Freedom". The Serbian people, truly devoted to their King, called him Uncle
Before becoming King, he lived in exile for a long time. He
served with the French during the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-71, then joined
the Bosnian insurrection against the Ottoman Turks in 1875 under the name of
In 1903, the Parliament had unanimously elected him as the
new King of Serbia. In 1904, the corronation took place, on the 100th
anniversary of the First Serbian Uprising. The handle from Karadjordje's cannon
had been melted and used as part of the Crown, which symbolised continuity. King
Peter's Crown has been preserved to this day.
The King’s reign saw the reform of the Constitution, the Army
and education, with the outbreak of the First World War King Peter passed
executive control over to his second son Aleksandar, who became Regent.
The Serbian army, victorous after the Balkan Wars of 1912 and
1913, fought the battles of Cer and Kolubara in 1914 against the invading
Austro-Hungarians and suffered very heavy losses, but also achieved the first
major Allied victory at Cer.
The enemy regrouped and attacked again in 1915. Serbia was
surrounded from all sides. The only way to act was to proclaim a strategic
retreat, through the bitterly harsh mountains of Albania. World historians
described this as Serbia's "epic defeat". King Peter I joined his Army,
Parliament, Government, Treasury, and people in retreat through the ice and snow
freezing mountains of Albania to Corfu, Greece. It was there and in other places
that the Serbian Army had recovered and later freed the homeland in a fantastic
In 1918, King Peter I became the King of the newly formed
South-Slavic state - the Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes, which later
became the Kingdom of Yugoslavia in 1929.
King Peter I died in Belgrade, in 1921.
Crown Prince Alexander II wants to continue down the path of
his ancestor King Peter I - for democracy above everything, and for the benefit