Alexander, Crown Prince of Yugoslavia

Alexander, Crown Prince of Yugoslavia, also claiming the crowned royal title of Alexander II Karađorđević (Serbian Cyrillic: Александар II Карађорђевић / Aleksandar II Karađorđević; born 17 July 1945), is the heir to the defunct throne of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia and currently claimant to the abolished throne of the precursor Kingdom of Serbia. He is the head of the House of Karađorđević. Alexander is the only child of former King Peter II and his wife, Princess Alexandra of Greece and Denmark. He held the position of crown prince in the Democratic Federal Yugoslavia for the first four-and-a-half months of his life, from his birth until the declaration of the Federal People's Republic of Yugoslavia later in 1945.

Crown Prince of Yugoslavia
HRH Crown Prince Alexander II with Legion of Honour.jpg
Crown Prince Alexander receiving the rank of Commander of the Légion d’Honneur, 15 May 2015
Head of the House of Karađorđević
Tenure3 November 1970 – present
PredecessorPeter II
Heir apparentPeter, Hereditary Prince of Yugoslavia
Born (1945-07-17) 17 July 1945 (age 75)
Claridge's, Mayfair, London, England
(m. 1972; div. 1985)
(m. 1985)
FatherPeter II of Yugoslavia
MotherPrincess Alexandra of Greece and Denmark
ReligionSerbian Orthodox
Military career
Allegiance United Kingdom
Service/branch British Army
Years of service1966–1972
Unit16th/5th The Queen's Royal Lancers

Born and raised in the United Kingdom, he enjoys close relationships with his relatives in the British royal family. His godparents were King George VI of the United Kingdom and his daughter, the then-Princess Elizabeth (now Queen Elizabeth II). Through his father Alexander is a direct descendant of Queen Victoria, through his great-great-grandfather Prince Alfred, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, Victoria's second eldest son. Maternally he is also a direct descendant of Queen Victoria, through his great-great-grandmother Victoria, Empress of Germany, Victoria's eldest daughter. Alexander is known for his support of monarchism and his humanitarian work.

Status at birthEdit

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 18 April.

After the Tehran Conference, the Allies shifted support from royalist Chetniks to communist-led 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 Communist Partisan leader, signed an agreement that was an attempt to merge the royal government and communist movement.[citation needed]

On 29 November 1943, AVNOJ (formed by the Partisans) declared themselves the sovereign communist 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 Alexander's birth, AVNOJ named the country Democratic Federal Yugoslavia. On 29 November 1945, the country was declared a communist republic and changed its name to People's Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.[4]

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

As of 8 July 2015 the High Court in Belgrade found that decree 392, issued by the Presidency of the Presidium of the National Assembly on 3 August 1947, which deprived King Peter II and other members of the House of Karađorđević of their citizenship, was null and void from the moment of its adoption, in the parts pertaining to Crown Prince Alexander, and that all of its legal consequences are thus null and void.[7]

Birth and childhoodEdit

Alexander was born in Suite 212 of Claridge's Hotel in Brook Street, Mayfair, London. The British Government is said to have temporarily ceded sovereignty over the suite in which the birth occurred to Yugoslavia so that the crown prince would be born on Yugoslav territory,[2][8] though the story may be apocryphal, as there exists no documentary record of this. Another part of the story says that a box of soil from the homeland was placed under the bed, so the Prince could be born on Yugoslav soil.[9]

He was the only child of King Peter II and Queen Alexandra of Yugoslavia. He was christened at Westminster Abbey. His godparents were members of the British royal family, King George VI and Princess Elizabeth, now Queen Elizabeth II.[2]

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, Princess Aspasia of Greece and Denmark. He was educated at Trinity School, Institut Le Rosey, Culver Military Academy, Gordonstoun, Millfield and Mons Officer Cadet School, Aldershot, and pursued a career in the British military.

Military serviceEdit

Alexander graduated from the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in 1966 and was commissioned as an officer into the British Army's 16th/5th The Queen's Royal Lancers regiment, rising to the rank of captain. His tours of duty included West Germany, Italy, the Middle East, and Northern Ireland. After leaving the army in 1972, Alexander, who speaks several languages, pursued a career in international business.[10]


Alexander with his wife Katherine.

On 1 July 1972 at Villamanrique de la Condesa, near Seville, Spain, he married Princess Maria da Gloria of Orléans-Braganza, from the Brazilian imperial family. They are 4th cousins once removed as both are descendants of Prince Ferdinand of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (1785–1851) and his wife Princess Maria Antonia von Koháry (1797–1862). They have three sons: Peter (born 5 February 1980), and fraternal twins: Philip and Alexander (both born 15 January 1982).

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, although forfeiture of succession rights on the basis of marriage to a Roman Catholic was retroactively rescinded in 2015. Alexander is also descended from Queen Victoria's eldest daughter Victoria.[11] 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 YugoslaviaEdit

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 opposition to Slobodan Milošević and moved to Yugoslavia after Milošević had been deposed in 2000.

On 27 February 2001,[12] the parliament of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY) passed legislation conferring citizenship on members of the Karađorđević family. The legislation may also have effectively annulled a decree stripping the family of its citizenship of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRY) in 1947.

The 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 United Nations as a new state on that basis). Therefore, the jurisdiction of a new state to annul an action of a different former state was questioned. In effect, the Karađorđević family had FRY citizenship conferred upon them, not "restored" as such.

The FRY legislation also addresses restoration of property to the Karađorđević family. In March 2001, the property seized from his family, including royal palaces, was returned for residential purposes with property ownership to be decided by parliament at some later date.[citation needed]

He currently lives in the Royal Palace (Kraljevski Dvor) in Dedinje which he has lived there since 17 July 2001 which is an exclusive area of Belgrade. The Palace, which was completed in 1929, is one of two royal residences in the Royal Compound; the other is the White Palace, which was completed in 1936.

Belief in constitutional monarchyEdit

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".[13]

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.[14][15] 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 has vowed to stay out of politics. He and Princess Katherine spend considerable time engaging in humanitarian work.

The Crown Prince has, however, 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:[16]

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 found 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:[17]

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.[18] 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.[19] On 27 July 2015, newspaper Blic published a poll "Da li Srbija treba da bude monarhija?" ("Should Serbia be a monarchy?"); 49.8% respondents expressed support in a reconstitution of monarchy, 44.6% were opposed and 5.5% were indifferent.[20]

On 16 December 2017, Alexander attended with his wife the state funeral of his first cousin once removed, King Michael of Romania in Bucharest, along with other heads of European royal families and invited guests.[21][22]



  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 Karađorđević family of citizenship (translation)". The Royal Family of Serbia.
  6. ^ "The royal family was stripped of their property (translation)". The Royal Family of Serbia.
  7. ^ Rehabilitation of Crown Prince Alexander
  8. ^ Tomlinson, Richard (2 February 1993). "Obituary: Queen Alexandra of Yugoslavia". The Independent.
  9. ^ "Did a London hotel room become part of Yugoslavia? - BBC News". Retrieved 18 July 2016.
  10. ^ The Royal Family of Serbia
  11. ^ Louda; Maclagan (1981), p. 286 Table 144
  12. ^ News Report of B92 as reproduced on Royal Family website Archived 12 December 2013 at the Wayback Machine
  13. ^ McKinsey, Kitty (27 June 1997). "Kings Try for Comeback". San Francisco Chronicle. Archived from the original on 13 November 2007.
  14. ^ Letter from Patriarch Pavle to HRH Crown Prince Alexander II, 29 November 2003
  15. ^ Luxmoore, Jonathan (8 December 2003). "Serbian Orthodox Leader Calls For Monarchy To Be Reintroduced". Ecumenical News International. Archived from the original on 10 October 2006.
  16. ^ "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. Archived from the original on 10 October 2006.
  17. ^ "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. Archived from the original on 26 May 2012.
  18. ^ Roberts, Michael (5 September 2011). "64% of Serbians polled vote Monarchy over Republic". Business News. Archived from the original on 11 July 2011.
  19. ^ 39 percent of Serbians in favor of monarchy, poll shows Archived 2 May 2013 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 2013-05-12.
  20. ^ ANKETA Da li Srbija treba da bude monarhija?. Blic. (in Serbian). July 2015.
  21. ^
  22. ^
  23. ^ "Crown Prince Alexander Receives Legion d'Honneur Order Commander Rank". The Royal Family of Serbi. 18 May 2015. Retrieved 1 May 2021.

Books, letters and articlesEdit

External linksEdit

Alexander, Crown Prince of Yugoslavia
Born: 17 July 1945
Titles in pretence
Title last held by
Peter I of Serbia
as King of Serbia
King of Serbia
4 February 2003 – present
Reason for succession failure:
Title abolished, merger of Kingdom of Serbia into Kingdom of Yugoslavia
Crown Prince Peter
Yugoslavian royalty
Preceded by
Peter II of Yugoslavia
as King of Yugoslavia
King of Yugoslavia
3 November 1970 – 4 February 2003
Reason for succession failure:
Kingdom abolished in 1945
Breakup of Yugoslavia