After members of the Petrovic dynasty were granted Montenegrin citizenship, the interior minister said that the consequences of what he sees as the violent annexation of country in 1918 have been put to rest.
On Wednesday, Ivan Brajovic, Montenegro's interior minister, met Prince Nikola Petrovic Njegos, the grandson of King Nikola, who ruled the country between 1860 and 1918.
The background to their meeting was a decision to grant Montenegrin citizenship to four descendants of the Petrovic family.
“The legal status of the dynasty's descendants, and the role of the dynasty in Montenegro’s history has been recognised by contemporary Montenegrin society, correcting the consequences of the country's violent annexation in 1918,“ Brajovic said.
He added that the country could only meet the challenges of its future by becoming aware of its past, and by addressing the decades of injustice suffered by the dynasty.
The Kingdom of Montenegro was united with Serbia in November 1918, days before the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes was established, in a way that is widely regarded today as illegitimate and illegal.
The committee in charge of unifying the two then independent states organized a parallel parliament in Montenegro to push through the decision to unite the country with Serbia under Serbia's Karadjordjevic dynasty and to dethrone the Montenegrin Petrovic dynasty.
During Wednesday's meeting, Prince Nikola Petrovic Njegos said that he was pleased with the way the Montenegrin authorities had treated the Petrovic family's descendants.
He also welcomed the announcement that one of the dynasty's castles in Podgorica was to be renovated.
“Emotionally, it is deeply significant that, after...years of exile, a Petrovic can once again sleep in his own home in Montenegro," Prince Nikola said.
After the restoration of independence in 2006, Montenegro took a number of steps to improve the status of the descendants of its royal house, whose bishops and rulers had made their mark not only on politics and history but also the cultural heritage of this small Balkan country.
In July 2011, its parliament enabled the “Moral and historical rehabilitation of Petrovic Njegos dynasty", by passing a law that strengthened the legal status of its descendants.
The law gave the Petrovic family members the right to become Montenegrin citizens, while not having to renounce other passports.
It also allowed members of the dynasty to carry out some ceremonial and other non-political activities in place of the country's elected officials.
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