Sunday, May 26, 2013

The Funeral

It has been amazing.  Had to be up at 6:30 this morning as the bus left for Oplenac for the State funeral 8:00 a.m.   It was pouring rain when we left, cold and damp by the time the bus arrived in Topola,  A crowd about 7000 people crammed into the tiny area between St. George's Chapel and King Peter's villa.

As the chimes struck 10 a.m., the sky turned bright blue and warm.  Most of the guests at the funeral (the church is rather small) sat outside in front of big TV screens.  I sat with Paul and  Kate Brandram -- he is the son of Princess Katherine of Greee, and is a first cousin of King Constantine II.

The broadcast was carried live on Serbian television,  It was an official State Funeral honoring former head of state, King Peter II.  The funeral was paid for by Serbia.

Crown Prince Alexander and the Serbian president walked together.  The crowd cheered for Alexander, shouting his name, applauding.

The funeral lasted for more than two hours.  The Serbian president was accompanied by the Prime minister and other government officials.

The United States was represented by the Ambassador Michael Kirby.  I was introduced to him at the dinner last night at the palace.

One of Alexander's press people allowed me to join the queue of photographers to go into the service for about two minutes, and I snapped about a dozen photographers.  

After the service -- and the burials below the chapel -- the Patriarch of the Serbian Orthodox Church stepped up to the microphones.  A very tall Serbian photographer let me in front of him so I could get a few photographs.  Another photographer took my camera so I could get better photos.  He was tall, too.  All Serbian men are tall.

The Patriarch received applause when he said that a great injustice had been righted with this funeral.  He also called Alexander King... and then corrected himself saying Prince.  After the Patriarch spoke,  Crown Prince Alexander stepped to the microphone. The Serbian crowd behind the barriers started chanting "Monarchy, Monarchy, Monarchy!"

The Prime Minister was booed several times when he spoke, and he was followed by the President.

Members of the crowd wore specially made buttons commemorating the event.  The picture on the button showed Queen Alexandra, King Peter and Queen Marie.  I asked one man, who spoke English, where he got it, and he said down the hill.  I said the bus was coming so I could  not go down the hill to get one.  He gave me his.  I was so touched by that kind gesture.

Back to the palace for lunch -- we did not arrive until 3:30 -- and now it is 6:30, and I want to get photos loaded before changing for the final reception at the palace.  I have to be at the lobby at 7:20.

The photos are from the dinner on Saturday night at the Palace.  I own the copyright,  PLEASE DO NOT COPY OR USE WITHOUT PERMISSION

Art Beeche and the Margrave and Margravine of Baden

Herta and Sandor of Austria (he's the son of Archduke Dominic, son of Princess Ileana of Romania)

Herta and Sandor and Marlene

Royal Palace

Crown Prince Alexander meets Sandor and Herta

Royal Chapel

King Constantine II and Queen Anne Marie

Princess Katarina

Princess Isabelle of Liechtenstein and Prince Michel of Yugoslavia

Princess Elizabeth and her partner

Prince Michael of Yugoslavia (son of Tomislav)

Michael and mom Princess Linda

Crown Princess Margarita

Paul and Kate Brandram

Prince Michel, Princess Lavina and her son Luca

Prince George

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