EXPLANATION OF THE PROPSED LAW FOR THE ROYAL COMPOUND
I. Constitutional Grounds for Passing the Law
Constitutional ground for passing the Law on Royal Compound (see law below) in Belgrade is located in the article 60, paragraph 1 of the Constitution of Serbia, which states that “the goods of general interest....are property of the state”.
II. The Reasons for Passing the Law and the Aims that it Should Achieve
The illegitimate Decree of the Presidency of Presidium of the People’s Assembly of Federative People’s Republic of Yugoslavia – U.No. 392, of 9 March 1947 (published in “Official Paper of FPRY” on 1 August 1947) not only dispossessed citizenship of the then ten living members of the Royal House of Karadjordjevic, but also confiscated their entire property. In the case of the passing the general Law on denationalization (restitution of nationalized private property), the issue would be raised of restituting The Royal Compound in Belgrade, consisting of The Royal Palace and The White Palace, with all belonging objects at the estate (movables and immovables). In order to avoid that, the Law that is proposed arranges a new status only of the confiscated property which, in the view of the propounder, represents The Royal Compound as the national and cultural property of priceless historical value. As a “goods of general interest” (article 60, paragraph 1 of the Constitution of Serbia) and a kind of cultural-historical monument, The Royal Compound still remains public property (“property of the state”, according to article 60, paragraph 1 of the Constitution of Serbia), and Alexander (of Peter II) Karadjordjevic, as the Head of the Royal House of Karadjordjevic, is given permanent and hereditary right of usufruct. The usufructuary, at this moment Alexander (of Peter II) Karadjordjevic is expected to manage the entrusted property in general interest only.
Such legal solution, by which the Republic of Serbia remains the owner, and the usufructuary becomes a kind of patron and guardian, is the most appropriate for The Royal Compound of priceless national, cultural and historical value. This solution is accepted in all European countries that have such monuments.
As for the rest of confiscated property of the members of the Royal House of Karadjordjevic, its restitution to the previous owners, that is, their descendants will be included into the general Law on denationalization.
III. Explanation of the Legal Terms and Expressions
Article 1 defines the term of the Royal Compound by stating that it consists of The Royal Palace and The White Palace, the park and the forest, and all movables and immovables that are at the estate. Then the Royal Compound is proclaimed for a single whole and undividable, of priceless cultural and historical importance, which provides its preservation in the future.
Article 2 determines The Royal Compound to be given on permanent and hereditary usufruct to the present Head of the Royal House of Karadjordjevic, Alexander (of Peter II) Karadjordjevic. Since Article 1 determines The Royal Palace as a single whole entity, the hereditary usufruct will not be shared among heirs, but will belong to the heir who will at the same time beThe Head of the Royal House of Karadjordjevic.
Article 3 determines that the usufructuary will put The White Palace at the disposal of the Government of Serbia, for accommodation of foreign statesmen and holding official receptions. In that way the Royal Compound will be used for the state’s requirements.
Article 4 the usufructuary, according to a special book of rules, opens The Royal Compound for the public. That includes also foreign tourists. In that way The Royal Compound will be at the disposal of the whole nation, and also help development of tourism in Serbia and Belgrade.
Article 5 determines that the Government of Serbia will continue to cover the investment expenses for the whole Royal Compound, as well as the expenses of maintaining of The White Palace. That results from Articles 3 and 4 that on one hand put the Royal Compound at the disposal of the Government protocol, and on the other hand open for visits to the entire nation. The usufructuary will cover the maintenance expenses of The Royal Palace in which he will reside.
Article 6 determines that the Government of Serbia will continue to secure The Royal Compound, in cooperation with the Police, Army of Serbia and Montenegro and other institutions in charge. This solution results from the nature of The Royal Compound as the priceless property of cultural and historical importance that is at the disposal of the Government and the public.
Article 7 determines this Law as a “lex specialis” in relation to other laws that might be passed in the future. Particularly in relation to the Law on denationalization that might result in division of the Royal Compound. Since Article 1 determines it as the single whole, the owners will be compensated for their shares in money.
Article 8, as usual, determines the date of coming into power of the Law.
IV. Solutions in Comparable Legal Systems
In Oslo Norway the state is the owner of The Royal Palace, the King’s Farm Bydgoy, Oscarshall, Stifsgarden and Gamlehaugen Palace, as well as of Ledaal residency. All these estates are at the disposal of the king and the Norwegian Royal Family, and some of them are open for the public.
In Sweden, The Royal Palaces in Stockholm, Drottningholm, the Chinese Pavilion, Ulriksdal, Haga, Rosendal, Gripsholm, Stromsholm, Tullgram and Rosenberg are all the property of the state, and at the disposal of The King and The Royal Family. Investment expenses are covered by the Board of National Property, and maintenance and employees expenses are covered by the state budget.
In Holland the state puts three Palaces at the disposal of the Queen: Noordiende Palace and Huis ten Bosch Palace in The Hague, as well as The Royal Palace in Amsterdam and Soestdijk Palace in Baarn. The state covers all expenses of investments and maintenance.
In Spain the King owns The Royal Palaces, and the state covers the investment and maintenance expenses.
In Great Britain the Queen is not the owner of The Royal Palaces, but the usufructuary, with the obligation to relinquish it to the state when the heir to the throne succeeds it.
Therefore, The Royal Palaces in the most European countries are owned by the state, and put at the disposal of the King/Queen Royal Family. That enables preservation of the Palaces as whole, and estates that have cultural and historical importance everywhere and also avoid applying the Law on inheritance for those estates, and their division and possible sale.
Belgrade, 26 March 2003
The Legal Council of HRH Crown Prince Alexander
PROPOSED DECREE ON THE COMPOUND OF PALACES IN BELGRADE
The compound of palaces in Belgrade consists of The Old Palace and The White Palace together with the park and forest surrounding them, buildings and other immovable property in the park and all movable items situated therein are proclaimed to be a whole and indivisible national heritage of high cultural and historical significance.
The Palaces Compound is given into the permanent and heritable tenure (usufructus) of Aleksandar Petra II Karadjordjević, being the Head of the House of Karadjordjević, with all movable items situated therein.
Aleksandar Petra II Karadjordjević shall place at the disposal of the Federal Government The White Palace as a temporary residence for the visiting statesmen and for official functions.
The Palaces Compound shall be open to the public, and the opening times for visitors and the house rules will be arranged by a special rule book.
The Yugoslav Army shall continue to use the military, administrative and other ancillary buildings, premises, facilities and pertaining equipment for its own purposes and for safeguarding of the Palaces Compound.
The Federal Government continues to fund all investment maintenance costs of The Palaces Compound, investment and running maintenance expenses of the military, administrative and other ancillary buildings, premises, facilities and pertaining equipment operated by the Yugoslav Army as well as the running maintenance costs of the White Palace.
The running maintenance costs of the Old Palace shall be borne by Aleksandar Petra II Karadjordjević.
The Federal Government and the Yugoslav Army shall continue to safeguard The Palaces Compound in cooperation with other competent authorities.
This Decree comes into force on the eight day following publication in the “Official gazette of FR Yugoslavia”.