Thursday, September 3, 2015

Interview with Crown Prince Alexander

CorD magazine

Tuesday, 1. september 2015.


Interview: His Royal Highness Crown Prince, Alexander II Karađorđević: I Am Ready To Help


Serbia would benefit from friendship and connection not only with royal heads of state, but with republic heads of state. You will note that european union countries and others benefit from a friendly interchange and invitations. We seem to have many firemen that come to visit us and can’t wait to get to the airport. If we all work more on friendship and invitations this can dramatically change for benefit of our people and government, and i am ready to help

Alexander Karađorđević was born on 17th July 1945 at Claridge's Hotel in London as the first (and only) child of Yugoslav King Petar II and Princess Alexandra of Greece and Denmark. Then British Prime Minister Winston Churchill declared suite number 212 the territory of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, so that immediately upon his birth Alexander received the title of heir to the throne, given that King Petar II was still the king of Yugoslavia.

His father, himself a young king, left Yugoslavia in April 1941 and, finally, together with the Yugoslav government in exile, moved to London. King Petar II married Princess Alexandra of Greece and Denmark, the daughter of Greek King Alexander and Aspasia Manos, in London in 1944.

Prince Alexander’s roots are royal on both his father and mother's sides. He was named after his grandfather, Yugoslav King Alexander I Karađorđević, while the same name also belonged to his maternal grandfather, Greek King Alexander. His paternal grandmother was Queen Mary, the Romanian princess and daughter of Romanian King Ferdinand and Queen Mary, who had been a British princess (the granddaughter of Queen Victoria).

Alexander was christened at Westminster Abbey by Patriarch Gavrilo, while the godfather was British King George VI and the godmother was his daughter, the then Princess Elizabeth, now HM Queen Elizabeth II.

Alexander II was educated at Le Rosey in Switzerland, the Culver Military Academy in Indiana, USA, Gordonstoun School in Scotland and Millfield (England). He then enrolled at the Royal Military Academy of Great Britain. From 1966, as an officer of the British Army, where he advanced to the rank of captain, he served in the 16th/5th Regiment of Royal Lancers in the Middle East, Italy and West Germany. After ending his military service in 1972, Alexander II dedicated himself to a career in business.

Following the death of his father in 1970, Alexander decided to not formally use the title of king, but he never gave up his title of dynastic heir to the throne.

Since 2001, Prince Alexander and his wife, Princess Katherine, have lived together with their sons, Peter, Philip and Alexander, at Belgrade’s White Palace.

On the occasion of his 70th birthday, in July this year, His Royal Highness Crown Prince Alexander celebrated over three days in the presence of members of his family, friends and top representatives of European royal families.

In this issue of CorD, we speak exclusively with Crown Prince Alexander.

Every man in his youth has his own life plans, even princes. You recently celebrated your 70th birthday. Which of your youthful expectations remain and how did you feel when you received birthday greetings from your close friends and distinguished guests?

- Seventy is just a number. It was very nice to receive birthday wishes from all over the world. Everyone was so nice.

You celebrated your birthday surrounded by the most eminent representatives of the royal families of Europe. What does that say about the reputation of the Serbian royal family?

- It was very wonderful that my relatives came to my birthday, I was very touched. My wife and I are very lucky and happy to have good relations with so many people across the world. We always try to keep in touch with our friends abroad and attend many events.

Your life story is turbulent and more than interesting. From exile to a royal welcome in the heart of Belgrade, from non-recognition, to challenging fundamental rights... What has left the greatest impression on you?

- My greatest impression is how good our people are, how patient and respectful they are. Wherever we go, we are always so well received across our country.

Do you plan to convert your life story into an autobiographical memoir?

- I have thought about it and will eventually get down to it.

How would you describe the relationship of the Serbian state towards you?

- Polite, but very much more could be done in the interest of Serbia and the people. Everyone can benefit from a good and healthy relationship. More has to be done to improve our communications and friendship. This will improve the image of Serbia and be positive for public relations, which are so important for Serbia. Unfortunately, there are politicians who do not know about the constitutional monarchies in the European Union and beyond. When Serbia will eventually become a member of the European Union, these politicians will have to work with the constitutional monarchies in the European Union. One should note that the constitutional monarchies are highly developed and successful social entities. In addition, it is very important to maintain and cultivate friendships with the Middle East monarchies and those beyond.

How would you characterise your relationship with the Serbian Orthodox Church over the past decade?

- I am very proud of my relationship with the Serbian Orthodox Church, which openly supported the idea of forming a constitutional monarchy back in 2003, as well as my relationship with our Muslims, Roman Catholics, Protestants and Jewish people and nonbelievers. It is very important that we respect each other’s religions, customs and views.

Your father, Petar II Karađorđević, the pre-war king of Yugoslavia, transferred his imperial authority to the regency council in 1945, but not his property. What is the status of your family legacy in the former Kingdom of Yugoslavia today?

- My father later disbanded his regency, and it is important to say that he never abdicated. This statement was never backed with any paper, and I am sure that, if there was one, Tito would have used it big time. On the other hand, there are numerous proofs that my father never abdicated. The status of the family property in Slovenia, Montenegro and Macedonia differs as a result of different local legislation, but there is one thing in common – an absence of respect for the basic human rights of my family.

One of the themes that often appear in the local public is the legacy of the Karađorđević family in Serbia. What is your position on this issue?

- My position is clear, as all my claims are based on the Belgrade Court Decision of 1938, according to which everything that belonged to the late King Alexander I was inherited by his three sons, one of whom was my father, King Petar II. This applies to both the real estate property and movables, including art collections and personal belongings like those that ended up in Tito’s private vault at the Central Bank. How come the Order of the Star of Karađorđe with diamonds, which was designated for the future Queen, ended up in someone else's private vault? There is a simple word for that, and yet bureaucratic obstacles for the restitution of the obvious are enormous. My opinion, after so many years, is that this issue is more political than legal, and I still do not why that is the case.

What are relations towards you like today in the former member countries of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, as the successor to the last Yugoslav monarch?

- I maintain good relations with the former Yugoslavia. My wife and I have been guests of the presidents of Croatia and Slovenia.

How do you view current relations between the countries that were once part of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia? What, in your opinion, is the main stumbling block to restoring correct bilateral relations in this region?

- As I mentioned previously, my relations are good and very friendly. There has been great effort exerted on all sides to improve relations and contacts. Everyone must be commended for their efforts, since it is in the interest of everyone that we all get on with one another. We have to work together for the sake of investment and jobs; we need each other.

How do you now see arguments between the Chetniks and the Ustasha some 70 years after the war?

- The key problem is that even today many people put an equals sign between the military formation of the Axis countries, which slaughtered hundreds of thousands of Serbs, Jews and Roma folk, and the movement which was part of the allied effort. This was a necessary historical fraud for the sake of the Tito's “brotherhood and unity” concept, but there are too many historical proofs that provide support to my previous statement.

When we talk about other royal families, whether they are your family or friends, who are among the closest to you today?

- My wife and I are friends with all the royal families. We meet at events across Europe for birthdays, anniversaries and, sadly, funerals. We also have good relations with republics.

European royal families have no executive authority, but they have a great impact. What benefit could Serbia have from the good relations that you nurture with other royal families?

- Serbia would benefit from friendship and connection not only with royal heads of state, but with republic heads of state. You will note that the countries of the European Union and beyond benefit from friendly interchanges and invitations. We seem to have many firemen that come to visit us and can’t wait to get to the airport. If we all work more on friendship and invitations, this could change dramatically – for the benefit of our people and our government – and I am ready to help.

When you compare your social status in Serbia and abroad, which of the two are you satisfied with? Do you consider that Serbia is indebted to you?

- Serbia has been through a lot. There is a lot yet to be done. We can help each other.

Both you and Princess Katherine are known for your humanitarian work. What drives and motivates you in that field?

It makes us happy to help our people. We have seen a lot and feel a great deal for our people. We are glad to help everyone, regardless of their religion or ethnic origin.

To return to the beginning of our discussion: what are your life priorities today?

- My wife and I continue to help our people. Make friends. Keep healthy. Seek urgent help to preserve the Royal Compound and its two palaces, which are beautiful national monuments that are currently under great threat.


I am very proud of my relationship with the serbian orthodox church, which openly supported the idea of a constitutional monarchy back in 2003

My father later disbanded his regency and it is important to note that he never abdicated. This statement was never backed with any paper

My wife and I are friends with all the royal families. We meet at events across europe for birthdays, anniversaries and, sadly, funerals