George, Crown Prince of Serbia
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|Crown Prince of Serbia|
|House||House of Karađorđević|
|Mother||Princess Zorka of Montenegro|
27 August 1887|
Cetinje, Principality of Montenegro
|Died||17 October 1972
Belgrade, SFR Yugoslavia
George, Crown Prince of Serbia (Serbian: kraljević Đorđe Karađorđević; 27 August 1887 – 17 October 1972) was the son of King Peter I of the Serbs, Croats and Slovenes and Princess Ljubica (Zorka) of Montenegro, the grandson of King Nicholas I of Montenegro, and the older brother of King Alexander I of Yugoslavia. He was a member of the European Royal House of Karađorđević. As the eldest son, he was his father's heir-apparent, but he did not get to savour his role for long, as he was forced to renounce his succession rights in 1909 after he kicked his servant to death in a fit of rage.
George was born in Cetinje, Principality of Montenegro and was raised in the court of his grandfather King Nicholas before the sudden death of his mother led his father to move his family first to Geneva and thence to Russia.
In Russia, George studied at the Page Corps school of Tsar Alexander II. At the age of 17 he returned to Serbia in 1903, along with the rest of his family, following a palace coup when a conspiracy of army officers overthrew the ruling Obrenović dynasty to proclaim his father as King of Serbia. As a result, George became Crown Prince. During this time, George struck up a friendship with mathematician Mihailo Petrović who had been retained to tutor him in mathematics. This friendship through difficult times later on in his life. They went fishing together, established a fencing club in Belgrade, and of course spent time studying mathematics.
Encouraged by Petrović, George in time became fascinated by the work of Henri Poincaré, and on 3 March 1911 he wrote to the great French mathematician:
Dear Professor,....Please excuse the liberty I take in addressing myself directly to the Master to clarify the results of modern research on the question. The question is as follows: What is the least of the limiting values which a polynominal function F(z) may take when the variable z increases indefinitely along the different vectors in this plane? Begging you to excuse my importunities, I beg you, Monsieur, to accept this expression of my respectful regards. George
The reply arrived on 12 March 1911. The only (known) surviving answer comes from a paper by Mihailo Petrović, which mentions Poincaré's solution to the problem (Petrović, 1929).
War service and arrest
Prince George participated in the Balkan wars as well as World War I, where he was severely wounded in the Battle of Mačkov Kamen near Krupanj in 1914. After his father's death and brother Alexandar's subsequent coronation, hostilities between the two brothers arose, which led to Prince George's arrest in 1925. He was proclaimed to be insane and locked in an asylum near the city of Niš. Following Alexander's assassination in 1934, George hoped he would be freed by the new regent Prince Paul, but he remained in jail until World War II when he was freed by the German occupiers.
Later life and marriage
After the war the royal Karađorđević family was declared enemy-of-the-state by Josip Broz Tito's communist regime. However, George was allowed to retire in Belgrade as the only member of the Royal family in the country. In 1947 at the age of 60, he married Radmila Radonjić (1907–1993). The couple did not have any children. He wrote his memoirs Istina o mom životu (Truth About my Life).
He died on 17 October 1972 in Belgrade and was buried in the Church of St. George (Oplenac) in Topola, Serbia. His death came the day after the tenth anniversary of the death of his sister, Princess Helen of Serbia.
- Christopher Clark, The Sleepwalkers. How Europe went to War in 1914, London, Penguin Books, 2013, p. 15
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