Friday, May 31, 2013

Serbia: State Funeral for King Peter II and Others


Royal Family, President of Serbia, Prime Minister, Serbian Church and Serbian People attend State Funeral at Royal Mausoleum in Oplenac.

Belgrade, 26 May 2013 - Their Royal Highnesses Crown Prince Alexander II, Crown Princess Katherine, Hereditary Prince Peter, Prince Philip and Prince Alexander, Princess Linda, Prince Nicholas, Princess Katerina, Prince Vladimir and Princess Brigitta, Princess Lavinia, Mr. Austin Prichard-Levy and Luca Prichard-Levy, Prince Dimitri, Princess Elizabeth, Prince Michel, Prince Serge and Prince Dushan with H.E. Mr. Tomislav Nikolic, President of Serbia, H.E. Mr. Ivica Dacic, Prime Minister, H.E. Foreign Minister Mr. Ivan Mrkic, H.E. Prof. Dr. Slavica Djukic – Dejanovic, Minister of health, H.E. Mr. Velimir Ilic, Minister of Construction and Urbanism, H.E. Mr. Milorad Dodik, President of Republika Srpska, representatives of Parliament of Serbia, Serbian Army, members of other Royal Families, and a great number of citizens from all over Serbia, Republika Srpska and abroad, representatives of diplomatic corps, paid final respects to Their Majesties King Peter II, Queen Alexandra and Queen Maria and His Royal Highness Prince Andrej at St. George church Royal Mausoleum in Oplenac on May 26.

Also present Mr. and Mrs. David Andrews, son and daughter in law of HRH Crown Princess Katherine, Ms. Alison Andrews, daughter of HRH Crown Princess Katherine and her sons Mr. Nicholas Garfinkel and Mr. Michael Garfinkel, and Ms. Betty Roumeliotis, sister of HRH Crown Princess Katherine.

Among representatives of foreign Royal Families there were Their Majesties King Simeon and Queen Margarita of the Bulgarians, Their Majesties King Constantine and Queen Anne-Marie of the Hellenes, Their Royal Highnesses Crown Princess Margarita and Prince Radu of Romania, Their Imperial and Royal Highnesses Archduke Sandor and Archduchess Herta of Austria, His Highness Sheikh Abdulla Bin Hamad Al Khalifa of Bahrain, Their Royal Highnesses The Margraf and Margrafin of Baden, Their Serene Highnesses Prince Philipp Erasmus and Princess Isabelle of Liechtenstein, His Royal Highness Prince Mabandla Dlamini of Swaziland, Princess Ira Von Fürstenberg and His Serene Highness Prince Pierre D' Arenberg.

H. E. Mr. Michael Davenport, Ambassador of the United Kingdom and H.E. Ms. Mette Kjuel Nielsen, Ambassador of Kingdom of Denmark were also present in the church.

Before the ceremony started, His Royal Highness Hereditary Prince Peter placed the Crown of HM King Peter I, His Royal Highness Prince Philip placed the sceptre and orb, and His Royal Highness Prince Alexander placed a diamond sabre of HM King Alexander I on the coffin of HM King Peter II.
His Holiness Patriarch Irinej of Serbia, His Eminence Metropolitan Amfilohije of Montenegro and the Littoral, His Eminence Metropolitan of Dabar and Bosnia Nikolaj, Their Graces Bishop Lukijan of Budim, Bishop Jovan of Sumadija, Bishop Vasilije of Srem, Bishop Ignatije of Branicevo, Bishop Lukijan of Osijek pole and Baranja, Bishop Dositej of Britain and Scandinavia, Bishop Maxim of Western America, Bishop Joanikije of Budimlje and Niksic, Bishop Irinej of Australia and New Zealand, Bishop Atanasije of Hvosno, Archimandrite Metodije of Hilandar, officiated and attended the Holy Liturgy. 

The following Religious Leader were also present His Excellency Monsignor Stanislav Hocevar, Roman Catholic Metropolitan and Archbishop of Belgrade, Muhamed ef.Jusufspahic, Mufti of Serbia, Father Vitalij Tarasjev, representative of Moscow Patriarchate in Belgrade.

After the Liturgy and the Requiem, His Holiness, Patriarch Irinej of Serbia, said: “The honourable Serbian Royal House, and its Head Your Royal Highness Crown Prince Alexander II, in the light of divine force and truth, we are rectifying a great injustice today, human injustice that cried to the heavens. Descendents of Karadjordje, Father of Serbia, witnessed ocupation of their country, were forced to leave their beloved country, and to live in exile for decades. Today, when final wish of His Majesty King Peter I has been fulfilled, that his descendents live in their country with their people, and to be buried at St. George Church in Oplenac, we truly believe that souls of Karadjordje, Prince Alexander, King Peter I and King Alexander I rejoyce today. This is important day for Royal House of Kradjordjevic and their Head Crown Prince Alexander. Serbian children and Serbian people will gather around their graves to learn lessons of patriotism, love for their country, its history and culture.” 
Prime Minister of Serbia, H.E. Mr. Ivica Dacic, said: “A final piece of our history’s mosaic has been put in place today. We cannot change the past, but we rectify mistakes today. There are many ideologies, but there is just one Serbia. Therefore, it is very important that our people become united in the future. Long live Serbia!“

H.E. President of Serbia Mr. Tomislav Nikolic, said: “Our nation's history, beside glorious deeds, patriotism, fight for justice and truth, records conflicts, as well. That is one of the reasons that our country has had bad destiny. More Serbs died of acts of their brothers, than from foreign occupiers, and we must not forget that fact. Destiny of Karadjordje, his descendents and his family, represent sublimation of all ours divisions and disasters. We cannot have luxury of divisions and injustice any more.  Serbs have respected justice as highest virtue from the ancient times. Therefor we are rectifying immense injustic at the grave of Supreme Leader Karadjordje today.  And we are making another step toward unity“.  

HRH Crown Prince Alexander II, son of Their Majesties King Peter II and Queen Alexandra, and grandson of HM Queen Maria, delivered a moving speech: “We are gathered today here in Oplenac to pay our last respects and bid farewell to King Peter II, Queen Alexandra, Queen Maria and Prince Andrej. The Karadjordjevic's, whose destiny throughout history has been closely tied to the destiny of the entire nation, as well as to the establishment of the modern Serbian State. Their lives are the reflection of what happened to their people and their homeland. Their wanderings and their exile lasted for too long. They lived and died in different parts of the world.

Today they are here in Oplenac, among their family and among their Serbs. For me, as the Head of the Royal Family and for my whole family this a great day. Sad, but solemn. Full of emotions and reverence. Full of personal memories. This is not only a historic moment for Royal Family, but also for the whole Serbian nation and the State of Serbia.”

TRH Crown Prince Alexander, Crown Princess Katherine, Hereditary Prince Peter, Prince Philip and Prince Alexander will host a reception on this solemn occasion for the Royal Family, state officials, church dignitaries, members of foreign Royal families and ambassadors at the White Palace 8 pm this evening.

HRH Crown Prince Alexander II and the Royal Family would like to express their gratitude to H.E. Mr. Tomislav Nikolic President of Serbia, H.E. Mr. Ivica Dacic, Prime Minister of Serbia and Minister of the Interior, His Holiness Patriarch Irinej of Serbia and Serbian Orthodox Church, the State Commission for the transfer of remains of members of Royal Family and Prof. Dr. Oliver Antic, special advisor to President of Serbia, H.E. Mr. Ivan Mrkic, Minister of foreign affairs of Serbia, His Grace Bishop Longin of the Diocese of New Gracanica and Midwestern America in Illionois United States of America, H.E. Mr. Vladimir Petrovic, ambassador of Serbia to the United States of America, H.E. Mr. Dragan Zupanjevac, ambassador of Serbia to Greece, H.E. Dr. Dejan Popovic, ambassador of Serbia to the United Kingdom, Mr. Desko Nikitovic, Consul General of Serbia in Chicago United States of America, The Government of Greece, H.E. Ambassador Dionyssios Kodellas from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Greece, Mr. Tom Karacic, lawyer from Chicago, Mr Dusan Djordjevic of Sveta Gora in Chicago, and so many others from Serbia and abroad who contributed that this event of tremendous importance for Serbia and its citizens was made possible.

If you look closely, I am immediately behind the priests in the lower left corner.
(Had a fantastic view!) 

Prince Alexander places the crown on his great-grandmother Marie's coffin. 

Crown Prince Alexander giving a speech after the State Funeral. 

Oplenac, Topola, Serbia. 

 A panoramic view of the state funeral mass.

 Crown Prince Alexander bids farewell to his parents, grandmother and uncle.

 Crown Prince Alexander and the President of Serbia arrive.
(If you look closely, I am to the left center of the images)

 The President and Prime Minister of Serbia, Crown Prince Alexander,
Crown Princess Katherine, Hereditary Prince Peter, Prince Philip, PrinceAlexander, Prince Vladimir.
Behind one can see Prince Radu of Romania, next to his wife Crown Princess Margarita.

Hereditary Prince Peter.

Prince Philip.

Prince Michael of Serbia and Arturo Beéche at the White Palace,
Belgrade, Serbia.
(Courtesy of HRH Prince Michel)

©Most of the images used in this report were provided by the office of HRH Crown Prince Alexander and hence are protected by copyright law.

Arturo Beéche, Publisher
The EuroHistory Journal
Kensington House Books
6300 Kensington Avenue
East Richmond Heights CA 94805-1618
Phone: 510-236-1730

1 comment:

  1. I live in Illinois, United States. I have visited the St. Sava Orthodox Church in Libertyville. It is the most beautiful church I have ever been in. I feel very honored to have King Peter buried in our state. I have followed his story of coming home. It is wonderful to know that he has been able to go back to his homeland and be reunited with his family. I am writing a story of his childhood and his return home for a column I have. Would you mind if I used one photo of the 4 caskets for my story. I have photos from here when I visited. I would make sure to put you credit on the photo. Angie Johnson