photo: © Royal Family of Serbia
Crown Prince Alexander II of Serbia
Crown Prince Alexander II of Serbia is the son of King Peter II of Yugoslavia and Princess Alexandra of Greece, and is the current pretender to the former Serbian throne. He was born on July 17, 1945 in Suite 212 of Claridge’s Hotel in London where his parents were living in exile. Under the orders of Prime Minister Winston Churchill, the British government ceded sovereignty of the suite to Yugoslavia for the day, so the new Crown Prince could be born on Yugoslav soil. He was baptised at Westminster Abbey, and his godparents were King George VI and then-Princess Elizabeth of the United Kingdom (now Queen Elizabeth II).
Just four months after his birth, Yugoslavia was declared a republic, his father deposed and the family stripped of their citizenship and properties. They settled various places, including France, Switzerland and eventually the United States. Alexander’s parents’ marriage was increasingly strained, with constant struggles to find sources of income, King Peter’s numerous affairs, as well as his mother’s fragile health. Because of this, Alexander was raised predominantly by his maternal grandmother, Aspasia Manos (widow of King Alexander of Greece).
He attended the Institut Le Rosey in Switzerland, Culver Military Academy in the United States, Gordonstoun in Scotland, and Millfield in England. He then attended the Mons Officer Cadet School in England, earning his commission in the British Army in 1966. He served in the 16th/5th The Queen’s Royal Lancers, with tours in West Germany, Italy, the Middle East and Northern Ireland before leaving the military in 1972 to pursue a career in International Business.
Prince Alexander, Prince Philip and Hereditary Prince Peter. photo: © Royal Family of Serbia
Crown Prince Alexander was married to Princess Maria da Gloria of Orléans Bragança from July 1, 1972 until they divorced on February 19, 1985. They have three sons:
The Crown Prince remarried to Katherine Clairy Batis in a civil ceremony held September 20, 1985, with a religious ceremony the following day at St Sava Serbian Orthodox Church in London. The new Crown Princess has two children from a previous marriage.
Alexander and his family visited Yugoslavia for the first time in 1991, and returned for several more visits in the next decade. Following the uprisings in 2000, they took up permanent residence in the country, still called Yugoslavia at the time. In February 2001, the government granted the family Yugoslavian citizenship (which had been stripped from them in 1947), and the following month returned use of many of the royal family’s former properties. Alexander and his family took up residence at the Royal Palace, part of the Royal Compound in the Dedinje area of Belgrade.
Although the country (known as Serbia since 2003) is still a republic, Crown Prince Alexander remains an advocate for the restoration of the monarchy. While keeping out of the political arena, the Crown Prince focuses his time and efforts on humanitarian issues and encouraging peace amongst the various political factions in the country. He travels extensively throughout the world, and is often in attendance at major royal functions in Europe. Through his descent from Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom, King Christian IX of Denmark and Tsar Nicholas I of Russia, he is related to many of Europe’s other royal families.
The Crown Prince and Crown Princess at Queen Elizabeth’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations, 2012. photo: Zimbio
Read more about the Serbian Royal Family here!