Two of my favorite people are about to hit the road running in Washington, D.C. Crown Prince Alexander and Crown Princess Katherine of Serbia will be in the Nation's Capital to carry out engagements in connection the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure. I first met Crown Prince Alexander more than 25 years ago when I was working on the first edition of my book, Queen Victoria's Descendants. I was still living in New Jersey, and the Crown Prince was living and working in Fairfax County, Virginia. During her conversation, I said to the Crown Prince that I believed that he would in time be living in Belgrade, and I expected a dinner invitation!
Not long afterward, the Crown Prince and his second wife, Katherine, whom he met in this area, moved to London with his three sons from his first marriage.
The London move allowed the Crown Prince to have a more active role in speaking out as the heir to the Yugoslav throne. It also didn't hurt that the Crown Prince, who had served in the British armed forces, is the godson of Queen Elizabeth II, and, as a double descendant of Queen Victoria, he has numerous cousins in Europe.
I visited the Crown Prince at his office in London - on my birthday, and he presented me with a lovely signed photograph. We met again in Washington, D.C., in May 1991, during Queen Elizabeth II's state visit. The Crown Prince and Princess and I were guests at the British Embassy's Garden Party. By pure coincidence, I was chatting with the Crown Prince when the Queen walked by, and stopped to talk with her godson. After exchanging the obligatory kisses, the Crown Prince called his godmother, "Lilibet." It was rather sweet to be able to hear someone actually use the queen's nickname.
I am not sure if my remarks were prescient, but after the fall of Milosevic, Crown Prince Alexander was able to regain his citizenship and moved to Belgrade, settling into the Royal Palace in the leafy Royal Compound, on the outskirts of Belgrade. The Beli Dvor (White Palace) is also on this estate. I sent the Crown Prince a Congratulations on your new home card, and wrote "and don't forget that dinner invitation."
In 2005, I received in the mail a rather thick envelope with a stiffie inside - an invitation to the Crown Prince's 60th birthday celebrations in Belgrade. This was a four day event that includes several dinners, including a gala dinner at the Palace, lunches and brunches and a tour of Belgrade and to Oplenac, at Topola, where the royal family had their summer residence. The Royal Mausoleum is also at Oplenac.
After the visit to Oplenac (with a lovely wine and nibbles reception), we traveled to Arandjelovac to have lunch at Aleksander, a restaurant that specializes in Serbian food.
Crown Prince Alexander and Crown Princess Katherine play active roles in Serbia, and portray their country in a positive manner.
Crown Prince Alexander and Crown Princess Katherine will arrive in D.C., on Thursday, June 4. They will be meeting with the Serbian ambassador to the USA, Vladimir Petrovic, and will also be the guests of a dinner at Cafe Milano. The dinner is being organized by Nancy Brinker, founder of the Susan G. Komen Foundation, and the former U.S. Chief of Protocol. On June 5, the Crown Prince and Princess will visit the Komen Foundation's headquarters in D.C., where they attend a Global Survivors breakfast. Later in the day, they will take part in the Race Day Walk Through.
In the evening, the Crown Prince and Crown Princess will be joining other guests at the Vice President's Residence, where they will have a private meeting with Vice President Joe Biden and his wife, Jill.
The annual Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure will be held on June 6. Crown Princess Katherine and Dr. Jill Biden, Ph.D, will be speaking before the race takes off. In May, Nancy Brinker, who is WHO's Goodwill Ambassador for Cancer Control, visited Belgrade, and was a guest of the Crown Prince and Princess, and met with several health officials and others to discuss fighting cancer.