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
Regency ended 27 March 1941
Predecessor Alexander I

Monarchy abolished

(Ivan Ribar as President of the Presidency of the People's Assembly of Yugoslavia)
Regent Paul (1934–41)
Born (1923-09-06)6 September 1923
Belgrade, Yugoslavia
Died 3 November 1970(1970-11-03) (aged 47)
Denver, Colorado, U.S.
Burial Libertyville, Illinois (1970–2013)
St. George's Church, Oplenac, Serbia (since 2013)
Spouse Alexandra of Greece
Issue Alexander, Crown Prince of Yugoslavia
House Karađorđević
Father Alexander I of Yugoslavia
Mother Maria of Romania
Religion Eastern Orthodox
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 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, his mother's second cousin and his godmother was Queen Mary.

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, after a British-supported coup d'état.

Postponing Operation Barbarossa, Germany simultaneously attacked Yugoslavia and Greece on 6 April 1941. Within a week, Germany, Bulgaria, Hungary and Italy invaded Yugoslavia, and the government was forced to surrender on 17 April. Parts of Yugoslavia were annexed by Italy, Bulgaria, Hungary and Germany. In the remnant, two puppet states of Germany were founded, Croatia and Serbia.

Peter left the country with the Yugoslav government following the Axis invasion;[1] 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.[2] The King completed his education at Cambridge University and joined the Royal Air Force.


Peter married his third cousin, 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]

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,[3] 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.[4][5]

Return of remains and state funeral[edit]

On 4 March 2007, former 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.[6] After talks with the Serbian government, the move was confirmed in January 2013 with the burial place being the Royal Family Mausoleum in Oplenac.[7]

On 22 January 2013, Peter's remains were returned to Belgrade, Serbia.[8] 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.[2][9] The latter openly advocated for the restoration of the Serbian monarchy.[10]


Titles, styles, honours and arms[edit]

Titles and styles[edit]

  • 6 September 1923 – 9 October 1934: His Royal Highness The Crown Prince of Yugoslavia
  • 9 October 1934 – 29 November 1945: His Majesty The King of Yugoslavia
    • in pretense: 29 November 1945 – 3 November 1970: His Majesty King Peter II of Yugoslavia


Kingdom of Yugoslavia
Order of St. Prince Lazar, Collar
Order of the Karađorđe's Star, Grand Master and Grand Cross
Order of the Karađorđe's Star with Swords, Grand Master
Order of the White Eagle, Grand Master and Grand Cross
Order of the White Eagle with Swords, Grand Master
Order of the Yugoslav Crown, Grand Master and Grand Cross
Order of St. Sava, Grand Master and Grand Cross
International and Foreign Awards
Legion of Honour, Grand Cross (France)
Order of the Redeemer, Grand Cross (Greece)
Order of the Most Holy Annunciation, Collar (House of Savoy)
Order of Saints Maurice and Lazarus, Grand Cross (House of Savoy)
Order of the Crown of Italy, Grand Cross (House of Savoy)
Sacred Military Constantinian Order of Saint George (Kingdom of the Two Sicilies)
Order pro merito Melitensi, Bailiff Knight Grand Cross with Collar (Sovereign Military Order of Malta)



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


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
Monarchy abolished
Titles in pretence
Loss of title
King of Yugoslavia
29 November 1945 – 3 November 1970
Succeeded by
Crown Prince Alexander