News 21 Oct 16

Serbia Prepares for First Royal Wedding in Decades

The Serbian royal family is inviting guests from home and abroad – reportedly including British royalty – to attend the 'traditional Serbian' wedding this month of one of the late King Alexander's grandsons.

Ivana Nikolic
BIRN
Belgrade
The royal wedding will take place on Sunday, October 23. Photo: Milana Bosnic.

Prince Mihailo Karadjordjevic, a grandson of King Alexander I, is preparing a Serbian church wedding after he and his wife married in a civil ceremony in London.

The wedding will take place on Sunday, October 23, at St George’s Church in Oplenac, near Topola in central Serbia, where members of the Karadjordjevic dynasty are buried, and which is also the royal family’s home region.

It is the first royal wedding to take place in Serbia since 1922 when King Alexander married Princess Marie of Romania.

The reception will then take place at the White Palace, the residence of Crown Prince Alexander in the Belgrade suburb of Dedinje.

Prince Mihailo, the son of the late Prince Tomislav and Princess Linda, who is of British origin, is married to Ljubica Ljubisavljevic, who holds a BA from Belgrade University's pharmacy faculty.

Born in London in 1985, Mihailo returned to Serbia in his twenties, explaining that he was always attached to the country of his ancestors. Soon after he moved to Serbia, he “fell in love with this country, our people and the spirit we have”, he told the Serbian newspaper Svet.

His father, Prince Tomislav, was the second son of King Alexander I, who was killed in Marseille, France, in 1934. Tomislav left the then Kingdom of Yugoslavia for studies in Britain, only to return in 1991.

Prince Tomislav spent the last years of his life in Serbia, and was also buried at St George’s Church in Oplenac. Several thousand people attended his funeral on July 16, 2000.

Like all the members of the Karadjordjevic family, his property was confiscated and he was deprived of his citizenship by the post-war Communist authorities. He was rehabilitated in 2013.  

Apart from members of the royal family and their friends, there will be plenty of guests both from Serbia and abroad, the White Palace has already announced.

According to media reports, a British royal will attend the event as well. This would be the second British royal visit to Serbia this year after Prince Charles and his wife, the Duchess of Cornwall, visited Belgrade on March 16 during their tour of the former Yugoslavia.

The March visit was reminder of the ties that once binded the royal houses of Windsor and Karadjordjevic.

The connection dates back to 1923, when Charles’ grandmother, Elizabeth, then Duchess of York, and her husband, the future George VI, visited Belgrade – the first British royals to do so.

They made the trip for the christening of King Alexander of Yugoslavia’s first child, Peter, and for the marriage of his cousin, Prince Paul, to Olga of Greece. Elizabeth became Peter’s godmother.

Despite the close ties, the two families were set forced apart by the Second World War and, more recently, by opposing views on Kosovo, Serbia's former province which declared independence in 2008.

Many said that Prince Charles’s visit in March was aimed in part at restoring those damaged relations.

This article was published in BIRN's bi-weekly newspaper Belgrade Insight. Here is where to find a copy.

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