Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Prince Vladimir offers his reason why he remains adamant

Proud papa: Prince Andrej holds his infant son, Prince Vladimir (HRH Prince Vladimir)

Several people asked me yesterday why Prince Vladimir had not been included in the family announcement.  According to Prince Vladimir, he had not been informed or included in the decision to bring Prince Andrej back to Serbia. He felt it was not time to bring his father home.  His siblings do not share that view, and are very happy that Prince Andrej is now en route home.
Prince Andrej and Prince Vladimir  (HRH Prince Vladimir)
[Prince Andrej committed suicide in May 1990 in California.  He was buried in an Illinois cemetery.]
This comes from a recent interview with Prince Vladimir of Serbia, eldest surviving son, of the late Prince Andrej and his second wife, Princess Kira-Melita of Leiningen. The interview was given to a Serbian media outlet earlier this year.   Prince Vladimir was not informed about his siblings' plan to bring Prince Andrej's remains back to Serbia in time for the state funeral.   His brother and sister, Prince Dimitri and Princess Lavinia, and half-sister, Princess Tatiana, were able to have the remains of Prince Andrej removed from the cemetery in Illinois, for return to Serbia. 
"Your Royal Highness, the State funeral for the late King Petar II, Queen Marija and Queen Aleksandra has been planned for the 26th of May this year and yet you have not brought the remains of your late father, Kraljevic Andrej back to Serbia to also be buried then. Why is this?
A1) I am afraid that I cannot be brief in answering this question but I will try to keep it as short as possible. Firstly, let me make it quite clear that I too believe that the ultimate resting place for all deceased members of the Karadjordjevic family is in Oplenac but the question is not a matter of "if" but rather a very delicate question of "when", followed by another question, "how"!
I was visiting my father in the United States at the time of his death in 1990. We had spent many hours discussing the Yugoslav situation and also various elements of Serbian history. We also discussed certain morals and beliefs for which my father had fought as a member of the Karadjordjevic Royal Family. Through these talks, my father made it very clear to me as to what sort of a country he would like to return to in relation to the ex-Yugoslavia, now Serbia.
When my father died, on the 07th of May 1990, my half brother Prince Hristofer became the head of the Kraljevic Andrej branch but he too very sadly died in 1994 and this double tragedy has left me as the head of my late father's branch. As head of my branch of the Karadjordjevic family one of my many duties is to protect the memory and integrity of my late father and, to the best of my ability, to fulfil the legacy that he left to me. Part of that legacy has been to do what I can to serve the Serbian people, both as a member of the Karadjordjevic family in my capacity of a prince and more importantly as a Serbian Orthodox Christian member of the Serbian society. Only God can judge if I am fulfilling these duties as part of the legacy to which I refer.
In the 90's, Yugoslavia began once again to bleed and to suffer great pains through the various wars and battles. Despite all the dreams of hundreds of thousands of Serbs across the world, the 5th of October 2000 has not brought us much of the milk and honey which was expected and often promised to the people. Today, in 2013, we still have a country in which masses must fight each and every day to just survive. Indeed, the world is suffering a terrible economic plague but the Serbs are not only suffering as a result of this new catastrophe but are very much still suffering from the ever present fallout of the black war years and subsequent inabilities of various political structures to better their lives since the famous 5th of October 2000!
Added to all these other very real and drastic problems is the personal situation concerning the Karadjordjevic Dynasty. Since our first return in October 1991 and then our ability to live in the land of our forefathers in 2001, virtually nothing has been done by the various political structures to officially verify or legitimise the role of the Karadjordjevic Royal Dynasty. Under the very early signs of a hatching democracy in 2001, we were able to use one of the estates that was stolen from the family by the Tito regime in 1947 but like hundreds of thousands of other Serbs we are still waiting for restitution to see if we are to be given back any of our legitimate inheritance or not. It is not the matter of material value to which I am referring but to the vacuum of our existence in our own fatherland.

Whilst semi-artificial groups, such as Kraljevina Srbija try to support Prince Aleksandar as the rightful king, the family is little more than tolerated within the political power circles and this has very much been the case since the death of Dr. Zoran Djindjic. Please, do not interpret these comments of mine a some sort of pitiful snivelling but take them as concrete fact. The simple truth is that for all the pompous ceremony that some members of the Karadjordjevic try to pass off as a legal Royal position, the Karadjordjevic Royal Family has absolutely no official function in any part of Serbian society what so ever. In fact, our Serbian passports and identity cards list us all as completely normal citizens with Mr. and Mrs. as our titles. It is only the good manners of many individuals and institutions, which give a legitimacy to the "Royal" Karadjordjevic members in the present Republic. As I have said, this is not a point of necessary complaint on my behalf, as ironic as it is, but simply a statement of the way things are.
Now let's come to the point. Who is burying whom and as what?
When King Petar II was announced as being of age, not quite 18 years old, and given the throne of Yugoslavia in 1941, the streets were filled in minutes with a mass of love and support for this young boy king who had to carry the world on his shoulders. Through the political games of chess, which were better known as the Second World War, King Petar II was forced to leave his kingdom behind to suffer the onslaught of the German occupation together with the Nazi Croatian state without their monarch. King Petar II fought almost every day for his countrymen. He had to fight on so many fronts, including the very political ones that should have been his walls of support, that it almost broke him as a man and as a king. King Petar II, together with his brothers, Kraljevic Tomislav and my late father, Kraljevic Andrej and their mother Queen Marija, were forced to live a life akin to a stray animal as a result of the betrayals committed against the king by his allies as well as his enemies. Yet, despite what the Titoist propaganda taught the children of the new Yugoslavia, King Petar II, his brothers and their mother never stopped working for the Yugoslav people, even after suffering the indignation and treachery of having their official royal powers stripped from them illegally in 1947.
Only Kraljevic Tomislav was able to be buried in the Family Crypt at Oplenac at the time of his death in July 2000. He had chosen to do this despite the fact that Milosevic was in many ways very much still in power. Although Patriarch Pavle, together with Vladika Sava of Sumadija buried my uncle with the full honours of a son of a ruling king, the majority of political and mass secular scenes did not even register the death of a member of the Karadjordjevic Dynasty. In other words, although Oplenac was full of royalist well wishers and mourners, the event did not even register on any official scale outside Topola.
So, on the 26th of May this year, 2013, presumably there will be a state funeral for two of the three most important members of the deceased Karadjordjevic family who have been in exile since (1945) 1947. This event should be monumental and it should take place in an atmosphere of spiritual, political and economic stability within Serbia.
The best case scenario would of course be to have this sort of funeral in a new kingdom of Serbia but nobody knows if or when this could be a reality. On the day of the 26th of May there will thankfully be a great number of people who will either attend the funeral or want to attend the funeral. If you are to measure this on the scale of Topola then everyone will be very surprised to see how many supporters for the monarch are in existence. If however you measure this event on the scale of Serbia then it may very well not look all that positive for the popularity or the future of a monarchy and may very well act as another event through which to ask more uncomfortable questions instead of receiving praise for a positive exercise.
As far as I am concerned, nothing realistic has been done to bring the question of a monarchy in Serbia to the people. I do not think that members of the Kraljevina Srbija being seen to shout and scream "long live the king" actually do anything very positive in this respect although I take my hat off to their efforts. A false picture was painted of the members of the Royal Family in exile. We were portrayed as thieves and playboys who had no interest about the suffering of our brothers and sisters in the former Yugoslavia. You may be shocked at how many young people today still believe these stories about the Karadjordjevic Dynasty, which were propagated by the Tito regime. Again, in my humble opinion, nothing has been done to show the people that these were lies. The whole education of the Serbian people about the structure and system of a constitutional monarchy has not been fulfilled since 2001. That is sad. Very sad indeed. Added to this is the all too often negative pictures of certain members of the Royal Family through their acts and behaviour and this also does not help us in any positive manner.
The only members of the exiled Royal Family to have been rehabilitated are those members of Princess Jelisaveta's family. I personally feel, no matter how justified or un-justified, it is imperative for the children of all exiled members of the Royal family who are now deceased to enact a process of rehabilitation to prove through a court that they were illegitimately portrayed as criminals of the state and were in fact true Serbian / Yugoslav Christian members of a whole and honourable Royal Dynasty which has always served it's people.
At the end of all this explanation, I can now give you a very short answer as to why I will not be bringing my late father back for the event on the 26th of May - It is not the time! That is the simple truth and the simple answer. When the suffering of the Serbian people is much more lightened, when the question of Kosovo is answered in the favour of Serbia and her people and when the Karadjordjevic family is given its deserved and full political respect, then it will be time for me, as head of the Kraljevic Andrej branch, to bring my father home where he belongs!

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