Alexander, Crown Prince of Yugoslavia

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Alexander
Crown Prince of Yugoslavia
HRH The Crown Prince of Serbia.jpg
Crown Prince Alexander at the celebrations of the wedding of Victoria, Crown Princess of Sweden, and Daniel Westling, 18 June 2010
Head of the House of Karađorđević
Period 3 November 1970 – present
Predecessor King Peter II
Heir Hereditary Prince Peter
Spouse Princess Maria da Gloria of Orléans Bragança (m. 1972, div. 1985)
Katherine Clairy Batis (m. 1985)
Issue
Hereditary Prince Peter
Prince Philip
Prince Alexander
House House of Karađorđević
Father Peter II of Yugoslavia
Mother Alexandra of Greece and Denmark
Born (1945-07-17) 17 July 1945 (age 68)
London, United Kingdom (Kingdom of Yugoslavia's territory)
Religion Serbian Orthodox
Styles of
The Crown Prince of Yugoslavia
Royal Monogram of Crown Prince Alexander of Serbia.svg
Reference style His Royal Highness
Spoken style Your Royal Highness
Alternative style Sir
Yugoslav Royal Family
Coat of arms of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia.svg

HRH The Crown Prince*
HRH The Crown Princess*

Royal Standard of the Crown Prince

Alexander, Crown Prince of Yugoslavia, also named Alexander II Karađorđević (Serbian Cyrillic: Александар II Карађорђевић; born 17 July 1945), was the last heir apparent to the throne of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia and is the head of the House of Karađorđević. Alexander is the only child of former King Peter II and his wife, Alexandra of Yugoslavia. The title "Crown Prince Aleksandar", he legally held in the Democratic Federal Yugoslavia for the first four-and-a-half months of his life, from 17 July 1945 (his birth) up-until his father's deposition by the communist single party Parliament of Yugoslavia in late November of the same year.

Alexander is a proponent of re-creating a constitutional monarchy in Serbia.

Status at birth[edit]

As with many other European monarchs during World War II, King Peter II left his country to establish a government-in-exile.[1] He left Yugoslavia in April 1941 and arrived in London in June 1941. The Royal Yugoslav Armed Forces capitulated.

After the Tehran Conference, the Allies shifted support from royalist Chetniks to communist Partisans.[2] Commenting on the event and what happened to his father, Crown Prince Alexander said, "He [Peter II] was too straight. He could not believe that his allies –- the mighty American democracy and his relatives and friends in London –- could do him in. But that's precisely what happened."[3] In June 1944 Ivan Šubašić, the Royalist prime minister, and Josip Broz (Tito), the Partisan leader, signed an agreement that was an attempt to merge the royal and communist governments.

On 29 November 1943, AVNOJ (formed by the Partisans) declared themselves the sovereign government of Yugoslavia and announced that they would take away all legal rights from the Royal government. On 10 August 1945, less than a month after Karađorđević's birth, AVNOJ named the country Democratic Federal Yugoslavia. On 29 November 1945, the country was declared a republic and changed its name to People's Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.[4]

In 1947, whole Alexander's family except for his grand-uncle George was deprived of Yugoslavian citizenship[5] and their property was confiscated.[6]

"Based upon the Decree of the Presidency of the Presidium of the National Assembly of the People's Federal Republic of Yugoslavia nr. 392 from 8 March 1947, with which the Government of PFRY was entrusted the fulfillment of the decision about the removal of the citizenship of the PFRY and confiscation of the property of the members of the Karadjordjevic family, the Government of PFRY brings the following ORDER:

By the Decree of the Presidency of the Presidium of the National Assembly of the People's Federal Republic of Yugoslavia nr. 392 from 8 March 1947 (Official Gazette nr. 64 from 1 August 1947), the citizenship of PFRY is being taken away from the members of the Karadjordjevic family and their entire property is being confiscated".[7]

Prince Alexander with his wife Princess Katherine.

Birth and childhood[edit]

Alexander was born in Suite 212 of Claridge's Hotel in Brook Street, London. Like the Canadian Government did in the case of Princess Margriet of the Netherlands, born in Ottawa, the British Government temporarily ceded sovereignty over the suite in which the birth occurred to Yugoslavia so that the prince would be born in Yugoslav territory.[2][8]

He was christened at Westminster Abbey. His godparents were King George VI and Princess Elizabeth, now Queen Elizabeth II.[2] He was the only child of King Peter II and Queen Alexandra and the only grandchild of King Alexander of Greece by his wife Aspasia Manos.

His parents were relatively unable to take care of him, due to their various health and financial problems, so Alexander was raised by his maternal grandmother. He was educated at Institut Le Rosey, Culver Military Academy, Gordonstoun, Millfield and Mons Officer Cadet School, Aldershot, and pursued a career in the British military.

Marriages[edit]

On 1 July 1972 at Villamanrique de la Condesa, near Seville, Spain, he married Princess Maria da Gloria of Orléans Bragança. They had three sons, Hereditary Prince Peter and fraternal twins Princes Philip and Alexander. By marrying a Roman Catholic, Alexander lost his place in line of succession to the British throne, which he had held as a descendant of Queen Victoria through her second son Alfred. Alexander is also descended from Queen Victoria's eldest daughter Victoria.[9] His sons remain in the line of succession to the British throne.

Alexander and Maria da Gloria divorced in 1985. Crown Prince Alexander married for the second time, Katherine Clairy Batis, the daughter of Robert Batis and his wife, Anna Dosti, civilly on 20 September 1985, and religiously the following day, at St. Sava Serbian Orthodox Church, Notting Hill, London. Since their marriage, she is known as Princess Katherine, as per the royal family's website.

Return to Yugoslavia[edit]

World Heart Day in Belgrade, 2005. Front row, left to right: Tomica Milosavljević, Serbia's Minister of Health; Crown Prince Alexander; United States Ambassador to Serbia Michael C. Polt; Mrs. Polt. Back row: Basketball player Vlade Divac.

Alexander first came to Yugoslavia in 1991. He actively worked with the democratic opposition against the regime of Slobodan Milošević and moved to Yugoslavia after Slobodan Milošević was deposed in 2000.

On 27 February 2001,[10] the parliament of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY) passed legislation conferring FRY citizenship on members of the Karadjordjevic (royal) family. The legislation also purported to annul a decree stripping the family of its citizenship of the then Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRY) in 1947. The latter purported annulment was the topic of some debate. Notably, the FRY was not the successor of the SFRY. Rather the FRY was a new state (and was admitted to the UN as a new state on that basis). Therefore some politicians questioned the jurisdiction of a new state to purportedly annul an action of another former state. It is sometimes described as citizenship having been "restored" to the Karadjordjevic (royal) family. However, this is not strictly correct. The FRY was a new state and could not restore citizenship of a state of which it was not the legal successor. In effect, the Karadjordjevic (royal) family had FRY citizenship conferred on them, nothing restored as such.[11] The FRY legislation also related to restoring property to the Karadjordjevic family.

In March 2001 Yugoslavian (FRY) citizenship was finally conferred to him by the government and the property seized from his family, including royal palaces, was returned for residential purposes with property ownership to be decided by parliament at the some later date.[citation needed]

He currently lives in Kraljevski Dvor (Royal Palace) in Dedinje, an exclusive area of Belgrade. Kraljevski Dvor, which was completed in 1929, is one of two royal residences in the Royal Compound; the other is White Palace which was completed in 1936.

Belief in constitutional monarchy[edit]

Alexander is a proponent of re-creating a constitutional monarchy in Serbia and sees himself as the rightful king. He believes that monarchy could give Serbia "stability, continuity and unity".[12]

A number of political parties and organizations support a constitutional parliamentary monarchy in Serbia. The Serbian Orthodox Church has openly supported the restoration of the monarchy.[13][14] The assassinated former Serbian Prime Minister Zoran Đinđić was often seen in the company of the prince and his family, supporting their campaigns and projects, although his Democratic Party never publicly embraced monarchy.

Crown Prince Alexander II has vowed to stay out of politics and has so far fulfilled this promise. He and Princess Katherine spend considerable time associated with humanitarian work.

The Crown Prince however has increasingly participated in public functions alongside the leaders of Serbia, the former Yugoslav republics and members of the diplomatic corps. On 11 May 2006 he hosted a reception at the Royal Palace for delegates attending a summit on Serbia and Montenegro. The reception was attended by the Governor of the National Bank of Serbia, as well as ambassadors and diplomats from Slovenia, Poland, Brazil, Japan, United States and Austria. He later delivered a keynote speech in front of prime ministers Vojislav Koštunica and Milo Đukanović. In the speech he spoke of prospective Serbian membership of the European Union. He told delegates:[15]

In addition, we in Serbia and Montenegro must take into account that whatever form we take within the European Union, we have only but one choice and that is to work for the common good of all member nations. It is also central to take into account that stability in our region will be enhanced when Serbia is fully at peace with itself.

Following Montenegro's successful independence referendum on 21 May 2006, the re-creation of the Serbian monarchy did find its way into daily political debate. A monarchist proposal for the new Serbian constitution has been published alongside other proposals. The document approved in October 2006 is a republican one. The Serbian people have not had a chance to vote on the system of government.

The Crown Prince raised the issue of a royal restoration in the immediate aftermath of the vote. In a press release issued on 24 May 2006 he stated:[16]

It has been officially confirmed that the people of Montenegro voted for independence. I am sad, but I wish our Montenegrin brothers peace, democracy and happiness. The people of Montenegro are our brothers and sisters no matter what if we live in one or in two countries, that is how it was and that is how it will be forever.
I strongly believe in a Constitutional Parliamentary Kingdom of Serbia. Again, we need to be proud, a strong Serbia that is at peace with itself and with its neighbors. We were a proud, respected and happy country in the days of my great grandfather King Peter I. So, we can do it! Only if we have a form of governance close to the Serbian soul: the Kingdom of Serbia.
Simply, the King is above daily politics, he is the guardian of national unity, political stability and continuity of the state. In Constitutional Parliamentary Monarchies the King is the protector of public interest: there is no personal or party interest. What is most important is the interest of Serbia.
I am ready to meet all our politicians; we have to work together for the common good of Serbia, and to be friends in the name of the future of our country. I appeal for the end of the continuous political wrangling, division and arguments. I appeal for mature democratic debate in the interest of Serbia. Serbia must have clear and realistic objectives.

In 2011 an online open access poll by Serbian middle-market tabloid newspaper Blic showed that 64% of Serbians support restoring the monarchy.[17] Another poll in May 2013 had 39% of Serbians supporting the monarchy, with 32% against it. The public also had reservations with Alexander's apparent lack of knowledge of the Serbian language.[18]

Ancestors[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Louda; Maclagan (1981), p. 296
  2. ^ a b c Fenyvesi (1981), p. 211
  3. ^ Fenyvesi (1981), p. 212
  4. ^ Fenyvesi (1981), p. 215
  5. ^ "The decree on stripping the Karadjordjevic family of citizenship (translation)". The Royal Family of Serbia. 
  6. ^ "The royal family was stripped off their property (translation)". The Royal Family of Serbia. 
  7. ^ Vlada Federativne Narodne Republike Jugoslavije, Pov. Br. 1433, 2. avgusta 1947. godine, Beograd. – Translation of the official document of the Government of the People's Federal Republic of Yugoslavia; the original is kept at the Archives of Yugoslavia in Belgrade.
  8. ^ Tomlinson, Richard (2 February 1993). "Obituary: Queen Alexandra of Yugoslavia". The Independent. 
  9. ^ Louda; Maclagan (1981), p. 286 Table 144
  10. ^ News Report of B92 as reproduced on Royal Family website
  11. ^ EXCERPTS FROM THE MINUTES OF THE DEBATE AT THE SESSION OF THE CHAMBER OF CITIZENS AND THE CHAMBER OF REPUBLICS OF THE FEDERAL ASSEMBLY ON 26TH AND 27TH FEBRUARY 2001
  12. ^ McKinsey, Kitty (27 June 1997). "Kings Try for Comeback". San Francisco Chronicle. 
  13. ^ Letter from Patriarch Pavle to HRH Crown Prince Alexander II, 29 November 2003
  14. ^ Luxmoore, Jonathan (8 December 2003). "Serbian Orthodox Leader Calls For Monarchy To Be Reintroduced". Ecumenical News International. 
  15. ^ "Reception at the White Palace for the sixth summit state union of Serbia and Montenegro" (Press release). The Chancellery of H.R.H. Crown Prince Alexander II of Yugoslavia. 11 May 2006. 
  16. ^ "Statement of His Royal Highness Crown Prince Alexander II following the announcement of the Montenegro referendum results" (Press release). The Chancellery of H.R.H. Crown Prince Alexander II of Yugoslavia. 24 May 2006. 
  17. ^ Roberts, Michael (5 September 2011). "64% of Serbians polled vote Monarchy over Republic". Balkans.com Business News. 
  18. ^ 39 percent of Serbians in favor of monarchy, poll shows. Retrieved 2013-05-12.

Books, letters and articles[edit]

  • Fenyvesi, Charles (1981). Royalty In Exile. London: Robson Books Ltd. ISBN 0-86051-131-6. 
  • Louda, Jiri; Maclagan, Michael (1981). Lines of Succession. London: Orbis Publishing. ISBN 0-85613-276-4. 
  • Pavle, Patriarch (29 November 1981). Letter to HRH Crown Prince Alexander II. Belgrade. 
  • Luxmoore, Jonathon (8 December 1981). Serbian Orthodox Leader Calls For Monarchy To Be Reintroduced. Belgrade: Ecumenical News Daily Service. 

External links[edit]

Alexander, Crown Prince of Yugoslavia
Born: 17 July 1945
Titles in pretence
Preceded by
King Peter I of Serbia
— TITULAR —
King of Serbia
24 May 2006 – present
Reason for succession failure:
Title abolished, merger of Kingdom into that of Yugoslavia
Incumbent
Heir:
Hereditary Prince Peter
Preceded by
King Peter II of Yugoslavia
— TITULAR —
King of Yugoslavia
3 November 1970 – present
Reason for succession failure:
Communists abolished the Kingdom in 1945