Peter II of Yugoslavia

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Peter II
Petar II Karađorđević.jpg
Peter in January 1944
King of Yugoslavia
Reign 9 October 1934 – 29 November 1945
Predecessor Alexander I
Regent Paul (1934–1941)
Spouse Alexandra of Greece
Issue
Alexander, Crown Prince of Yugoslavia
House House of Karađorđević
Father Alexander I of Yugoslavia
Mother Maria of Romania
Born (1923-09-06)6 September 1923
Belgrade, Yugoslavia
Died 3 November 1970(1970-11-03) (aged 47)
Denver, Colorado, US
Burial Libertyville, Illinois, US (on 22 January 2013 moved to Belgrade, Serbia, before reburial in St. George's Church in Oplenac nearby Topola on 26 May 2013)
Religion Eastern Orthodox
Monarchical styles of
Peter II of Yugoslavia
Royal Monogram of King Peter II of Yugoslavia.svg
Reference style His Majesty
Spoken style Your Majesty
Alternative style Sir

Peter II of Yugoslavia, also known as Peter II Karađorđević (Serbo-Croatian: Petar II Karađorđević, Serbian Cyrillic: Петар II Карађорђевић; 6 September 1923 – 3 November 1970), was the third and last King of Yugoslavia and the last reigning member of the Karađorđević dynasty, founded early in the 19th century. Peter II was the eldest son of King Alexander I and Queen Maria (born Princess of Romania); his godfather was George V of the United Kingdom.

Early life[edit]

His education commenced at the Royal Palace. He then attended Sandroyd School in Wiltshire, England. When he was 11 years old, Peter succeeded to the Yugoslav throne in 1934 upon the assassination of his father King Alexander I in Marseille during a state visit to France. Because of the King's young age, a regency was established, headed by his father's cousin Prince Paul of Yugoslavia.

World War II[edit]

Although Peter II and his advisers opposed Nazi Germany, Regent Prince Paul declared that the Kingdom of Yugoslavia would join the Tripartite Pact on 25 March 1941. Two days later, King Peter, at age 17, was proclaimed of age, and participated in a British-supported coup d'état opposing the Tripartite Pact.[1][unreliable source?]

Postponing Operation Barbarossa, Germany simultaneously attacked Yugoslavia and Greece. Within a week, Germany, Bulgaria, Hungary and Italy invaded Yugoslavia and the government was forced to surrender on 17 April. Yugoslavia was divided to satisfy Italian, Bulgarian, Hungarian and German demands.

Peter left the country with the Yugoslav government following the Axis invasion;[2] initially the King went with his government to Greece, then to Jerusalem in the British Mandate of Palestine, and to Cairo. He went to the United Kingdom in June 1941, where he joined numerous other governments in exile from Nazi-occupied Europe.[3] The King completed his education at Cambridge University and joined the Royal Air Force.

Marriage[edit]

Peter married Princess Alexandra of Greece and Denmark, in London on 20 March 1944. They had one son, Alexander, born on 17 July 1945.

Deposition and exile[edit]

Former grave of Peter II at the Saint Sava Monastery Church at Libertyville, Illinois, 1987.

Peter was deposed by Yugoslavia's Communist Constituent Assembly on 29 November 1945. After the war, he settled in the United States. After many years of suffering from cirrhosis of the liver,[4] he died in Denver, Colorado, on 3 November 1970, after a failed liver transplant.

Peter was interred at the Saint Sava Monastery Church at Libertyville, Illinois, the only European monarch ever buried on American soil.[citation needed]

Return of remains[edit]

On 4 March 2007, Crown Prince Alexander announced plans to have his father's remains repatriated to Serbia. The plan upset some Serbian-Americans. Peter II had chosen St. Sava Serbian Orthodox Monastery as his interim resting place because of the extenuating circumstances that afflicted his homeland.[5] After talks with the Serbian government, the move was confirmed in January 2013 with the burial place being the Royal Family Mausoleum in Oplenac.[1]

On 22 January 2013, Peter's remains were returned to Belgrade, Serbia.[6] He lay in state in the Royal Chapel in Dedinje before being buried in the Royal Family Mausoleum at Oplenac on 26 May 2013 along with his wife, Queen Alexandra. His mother, Queen Marie, and his brother, Prince Andrej, lie nearby. The Serbian Royal Regalia were placed over Peter's coffin. Present at the return ceremony were the Prime Minister Ivica Dačić, Peter's son Alexander with his family, and Patriarch Irinej of Serbia.[3][7] The latter openly advocated for the restoration of the Serbian monarchy.[8]

Gallery[edit]

Bernard Montgomery (left), King Peter II (center), and Winston Churchill (right) in July 1941
Saint Sava Orthodox Monastery Church, Libertyville, Illinois, where Peter II was buried for over four decades, before his remains were repatriated to Serbia
Royal Standard of the King of Yugoslavia

Honours[edit]

Ancestry[edit]

Bibliography[edit]

  • Petar. A King's Heritage; The Memoirs of King Peter II of Yugoslavia. London: Cassell, 1955.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "HM King Peter II Returns Home after 72 Years". Balkans.com Business News (Balkans.com). 20 January 2013. Retrieved 23 January 2013. 
  2. ^ Yugoslavia's exiled Queen returns home at long last
  3. ^ a b "Remains of last Yugoslav king Peter II Karadjordjevic returned from US to Serbia". The Washington Post (washingtonpost.com). Associated Press. 22 January 2013. Retrieved 23 January 2013. 
  4. ^ Overy, Richard (2010). The Second World War: The Complete Illustrated History. Carlton Books. ISBN 978-1-84732-451-1. 
  5. ^ Tarm, Michael (4 March 2007). "King's body in U.S. may head to homeland". The Boston Globe (boston.com). Associated Press. Retrieved 23 January 2013. 
  6. ^ "King Peter II Now in Royal Palace Chapel". Royal Family of Serbia. 
  7. ^ "The remains of King Peter II in Belgrade (Посмртни остаци краља Петра II у Београду)". Radio Television of Serbia (in Serbian) (rtv.rs). Tanjug. 22 January 2013. Retrieved 23 January 2013. 
  8. ^ Serbian Patriarch Irinej states that Serbia needs emperor or king, or some form of parliamentary monarchy. Retrieved 23 January 2013.

External links[edit]

Peter II of Yugoslavia
Born: 6 September 1923 Died: 3 November 1970
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Aleksandar I
King of Yugoslavia
9 October 1934 – 29 November 1945
Vacant
Titles in pretence
Loss of title
— TITULAR —
King of Yugoslavia
29 November 1945 – 3 November 1970
Succeeded by
Crown Prince Alexander