Is the Serbian Throne vacant?
When King Peter II passed away, his only son, Crown Prince Alexander, became the new King. The transition of the Kingship was immediate, it was without any conditions and irrevocable. As long as the King is alive, King Peter II only heir is Crown Prince Alexander, regardless of whether he is of age or not. At the moment of the death of the Crown Prince Alexander’s father King Peter II, Crown Prince Alexander became the King and head of the Royal Family.
The Head of the Royal Family and the personality of the King and his function are united in the same person. HRH Crown Prince Alexander II does not officially use at this time the title of King, but this has absolutely no bearings on his status and rights. The position and the right pertaining to the King can only be renounced through an official act of abdication, in which case the Crown Prince automatically becomes the new King.
How does one succeed to the Throne in Serbia?
The inheritance is passed on according to primogeniture, the principle of the first-born male, from the father to the eldest son, as long as the direct line of inheritance exists. In case the direct line becomes extinct, the principle of primogeniture is to be re-established according to the order of birth among the brothers of the last Monarch. This means that the order of birth among the children of the Monarch controls the order of their right to the Throne. In that sense there is no freedom of election or free will as such. In case of a formal abdication by any member of The Royal Family (regarding his position in the order of succession), that position is automatically transferred to the member of the Royal Family next in line according to the order of birth. Extraordinarily, this procedure can be rearranged by the decision of the Monarch who has no immediate heirs.
As of January 2013, the situation regarding the order of succession within The Royal Family of Serbia is the following:
1. HRH Crown Prince Peter (5 February, 1980)
2. HRH Prince Philip (15 January, 1982)
3. HRH Prince Alexander (15 January 1982)
4. HRH Prince Nicolas (15 January 1958)
5. HRH Prince George (25 May 1984)
6. HRH Prince Michael (15 December 1985)
7. HRH Prince Vladimir (11 March 1964)
8. HRH Prince Dimitri (21 April 1965)
What is the present situation regarding the Royal Family of Serbia?
The Royal Family of Karadjordjevic has its senior line, which comes directly from Karadjordje, via his son Prince (Knjaz) Alexander, grandson King Peter I, great-grandson King Alexander I, great-great-grandson King Peter II and great-great-great-grandson - the current Head of the Royal Family is Crown Prince Alexander II. This senior line also includes all direct descendants of any of the Kings from the Royal Family of Karadjordje, which presently refers to direct descendants of the King Alexander I and King Peter II. The senior line of the Royal Family branches is threefold. HRH Crown Prince Alexander II represents the late King Peter II branch, which is the ruling branch, today, his sons (Princes - Kraljevici) Prince Peter, Prince Philip and Prince Alexander and his wife Crown Princess Katherine.
The late Prince (Kraljevic) Tomislav's branch is represented by his sons Prince Nicolas with his wife Princess Ljiljana and daughter Princess Maria, Prince George and Prince Michael, daughter Princess Katarina (Lady Desmond de Silva) and the Princess-Dowager Linda.
The late Prince (Kraljevic) Andrej's branch is represented by his sons Prince Vladimir with his wife Princess Brigitta and brother Prince Dimitri, and daughters Princess Tatjana and Princess Lavinia, and also his wife Princess Dowager Eva Maria.
The junior line, which has no dynastic rights, of the Karadjordjevic Royal Family originates from Karadjordje, and it is inherited via his son Prince (Knez) Alexander, his son Prince (Knez) Arsen and grandson Prince (Knez) Paul, up to the great-grandson Prince (Knez) Alexander. The junior line today is represented by HRH Prince (Knez) Alexander with his wife Princess Barbara, his sons Princes Dimitri, Prince Michel, Prince Serge, Prince Dusan, his daughter Princess Helen as well as his sister Princess (Kneginja) Elizabeth.
What are the obligations of the Head of the Royal Family towards the members, and what are the obligations of the members of the Royal Family towards the Head?
The Head of the Royal Family Crown Prince Alexander has indisputable authority over all Royal Family members, and their overall status of the Royal Family results from his will.
The Head of the Royal Family Crown Prince Alexander has the duty to protect the members of the Family and members are obliged to respect his position and his decisions.
The relationships among the members of the Royal Family are regulated by the Family Rules ("Pravilnik") for the members of the Family as prescribed by the Monarch.
The honour of the Head of the Family is the honour of the whole Royal Family, the Throne and the Crown. The violation of the honour of the Head of the Royal Family is equal to the violation of the Royal Family, the Throne and the Crown. In case of serious violation of the honour of the Royal Family, the Head may take the decision to suspend titles and ranks of the Royal Family members, including the act of expulsion from the Royal Family, and such a decision obliges the whole Royal Family until the procedure according to the "Pravilnik" is finalized. The validity and the ways of implementation of the "Pravilnik' procedures is independent of the factual power of the King.
The Head of the Royal Family is Crown Prince Alexander; he is the source of legalization of all the Family members; without the Head there is no Royal Family, nor could its members have the privilege of rank and the title by themselves.
Who has the right to a title and a rank?
Any Royal Family member can have a title and a rank. The "title'' includes such qualifications as "Royal Highness" that, according to the current practice, can be ascribed to every member of the Royal Family. The "rank" is given to some members of the family by the decision of the Head and according to the "Pravilnik" procedures, based on their birthright or the will of the Head of the Royal Family. According to the "Pravilnik", all sons of the Monarch are "Kraljevici" (Princes Royal) and the other Royal Family members are "Knezevi" (Princes) and "Kneginje" (Princesses). However, since the latest version of the "Pravilnik" dates from 1930, when the number of Royal Family members was significantly smaller, the current practice on this issue, as implemented by the Crown, is somewhat different. Therefore, the sons of the Head are referred to as "Kraljevici", the heir to the Crown is the Prince-Heir (or "Kraljevic-naslednik"), and all the members of the senior line of the Royal Family have the rank of "Princ" or "Princeza".
The members of the junior line have the right to the rank of "Knez" and "Kneginja". (Note: "Knez" is similar to German "Furst", while Trine" is "Prince".)
The Female descendants of the Royal Family have the right to a title and a rank based on their membership in the Royal Family only until their marriage. Afterwards, it is current practice that the Head of the Royal Family allows usage of personal title and rank to female members of the Royal Family, but without the right to transfer it to spouses or issue.
Are Serbian Monarchs crowned?
The practice so far on this issue has been different. The Serbian Monarchs have so far, as a rule, always been anointed (the only exception was Knjaz Milan Obrenovic II, who was ill when he succeeded to the Throne), but King Peter I was the only one crowned and anointed.
King Alexander I and King Peter II were neither crowned nor anointed.
The act of anointment is the Holy Sacrament while the act of crowning is a ritual. The Royal insignia were prepared for the crowning of King Peter I in 1904 and are presently kept at the Historical Museum of Serbia in Belgrade. The insignia include the Royal Crown, Scepter, Orb and the Coronation Mantle (a robe lined with ermine).
Does the existence of a Regent automatically mean that there is no King?
Regents rule the country only in the name of the King, but not instead of the King. The privileges pertaining to a King cannot be transferred to a Regent nor can it be done with the prerogatives of the Crown. The special privileges of a Regent do not, in any way, violate nor substitute the privileges of the King. Accordingly, the existence of the regency does not mean the vacancy of the Throne.
Did King Peter II abdicate?
King Peter II did not abdicate. The act of abdication is an official act and it must be submitted in a written form, properly witnessed and verified. At the moment of the official submitting of the act of abdication of a King, as a rule, the Crown Prince immediately takes over the function and the authority of the King.
Are there any living direct descendants of other national royal families in Serbia?
There are no living direct descendants of other national royal families in Serbia. HRH Crown Prince Alexander II is, in many ways, a direct descendant from pre-Nemanjic Serbian rulers as well as from early Nemanjic's (from Stefan Nemanja to King Dragutin) and the early Kotromanic's of Bosnia.
The Montenegrin Royal family of Petrovic-Njegos is directly present in the person of Prince Nikola Petrovic-Njegos and his children Prince Boris and Princess Altinaj, and, in the female line, in the existing generations of the Karadjordjevic family.
What are the advisory bodies of the Crown?
According to the Act of Foundation dated 15 February 1992, the advisory bodies of the Crown are: the Privy Council, the Crown Council and the Crown Cabinet (formed later).The Privy Council is a Council inner body, with up to 10 members (not counting the members of the Royal Family appointed by the Crown), who are nominated by the Crown for an indefinite period of time. The Privy Council deals in everyday duties of the Crown.
The Crown Council is a larger body, with up to 30 members, who are appointed by the Crown to a life-long mandate. This body deals with strategic matters of paramount importance for the people, state and the Crown. The members of the Council are appointed by the Crown from the list of candidates prepared by the Council members themselves. The Crown can, if need be, make the appointment "in pectore", meaning that the appointment is to be made in discretion and is known to only the Crown and the person appointed in that way. Exceptionally, the Crown can call for a conference of all its counselling bodies, which are then transformed into the Crown Assembly.
The Crown presides over all the Crown bodies, names the Chancellor for coordination purposes or delegates the duties of a Chancellor to a Privy Council member. The power of the Crown is manifested in the person of the Head of the Royal Family.
Members of the Privy Council are HRH Hereditary Prince Peter, HRH Prince Philip, HRH Prince Alexander, Arch. Dragomir Acovic, Mr. Djordje Novakovic, The Hon. Branko Terzic, Mr. Dusan T. Batakovic, and Mr. Dusan Babac.
Members of the Crown Council are Mr. Matija Beckovic, Prof. Dr Miroslav Gasic, Dr Dragoljub Kavran, Mr. Dusan Kovacevic, Mr. Predrag Markovic, Prof. Dr Nikola Moravcevic, Prof. Emeritus Dr Pavle Nikolic. Prof. Dr Predrag Palavestra, Dr Milan Parivodic, Prof. Emeritus Dr Slobodan Perovic, Prof. Dr Bogoljub Sijakovic, Mrs. Svetlana Velmar Jankovic and Prof. Emeritus Dr Dragomir Vitorovic.
Members of the Crown Cabinet are Mr. Zoran Trifunovic, Dr Igor Georgijev, Mr. Djurdje Ninkovic, Mr. Djordje Djurisic, Mr. Mirko Petrovic, Mr. Vladan Zivulovic, Mr. Vladimir Gajic, Mr. Miodrag Savicevic, Prof Dr Kosta Cavoski, Mr. Cedomir Antic, Mr. Vladan Vukosavljevic and Mr. Dragoslav Micic
Has the Crown conferred after 1970 any title of nobility or rank?
No. After the death of the late King Peter II, no title or rank was conferred to anyone.
Only the three sons (Prince Peter, Prince Philip and Prince Alexander) of HRH Crown Prince Alexander II were born into titles and rank.
Furthermore, the Crown accepted that female members of The Royal Family who were born Princesses of the Blood could continue to use their titles and rank even after their marriage was consumed, and in case they divorced as well. Their favour is personal and non-transferable either to their consorts or to their posterity.
Since the Crown is the only source of all honours within The Royal Family, no title or rank is valid unless granted or confirmed by the Head of the Royal Family.
Are the contents of The Royal Palaces within Dedinje Complex free to remove or dispose with?
The contents of The Royal Palaces within the Dedinje Complex are fully protected by the existing laws of Serbia, and contents cannot be removed without the mutual consent of the Government of Serbia and HRH Crown Prince Alexander II.
Prior to the moving of HRH Crown Prince Alexander II into his ancestral home, a complete inventory of The Royal Palaces was made and signed by empowered representatives of the Federal Government and of the Crown. Everything was recorded by video camera and photography, and all the records deposited in three examples with 1) the Government, 2) Crown and 3) one national institution of highest renown.
Will any of the artworks in The Royal Palaces within Dedinje Complex be restored?
The project of the restoration and conservation is being defined in close cooperation with the Serbian Ministry of Culture, the National Museum, the National Library and the Museum of Applied Arts, and is being implemented in a manner and form that these highest and the most authoritative professional institutions of our Nation propose.
Ms Davorjanka Paunovic (1921-1946) was buried nearby The White Palace in 1946. Her destiny was tragic and the Crown sees her as a testimony of long passed times and only unless her family requests removal of her remains to some other location, they will remain right where they are.
Who built the Royal Palaces at Dedinje?
The Royal Palace of Dedinje was built by HM King Alexander I, the Grandfather of the HRH Crown Prince Alexander II. It served as his Family Home, and The Royal Couple, with their eldest son (the future King Peter II), Prince Tomislav and Prince Andrej moved into it from The New Palace of Belgrade, which until then served as The Royal Private Residence of the King. In 1933, HM King Alexander decreed that the New Palace of Belgrade (presently used as the Official Residence of the President of Serbia) would in future serve as the National Museum, and the Palace was accordingly remodelled.
In 1934, HM King Alexander I started construction of a new structure known later as The White Palace (Beli Dvor), which was intended by HM King Alexander I to serve as the private residence for his three sons Crown Prince Peter, Prince Tomislav and Prince Andrej. Following the assassination of King Alexander I in Marseilles, construction continued and the Whitw Palace was finished in 1936.
The White Palace once finished was used on temporary loan from 1936 until 1941 by HRH Prince Paul and his family. Prince Paul was the senior among the three Regents of the Realm, during HM King Peter II minority.
The New Palace of Belgrade, at that time already home of the National Museum, was from 1936 given a new name: Prince Paul's Museum.
What is the property status of the Royal Palaces of Dedinje Complex?
The property status of The Royal Palace (Kraljevski Dvor) and The White Palace (Beli Dvor) in Belgrade (Dedinje) and compound following the death of His Majesty King Alexander I during the Regency administration of HRH Prince Paul, Dr. Radenko Stankovic and Dr. Ivo Perovic, the City of Belgrade District Court, competent for the inheritance of the deceased King Alexander I, issued on the 27 October 1938 Decree No. 0.428/34, determining the outcome of the real estate and movable property of King Alexander I, which is specified in more detail in the above mentioned Decree of the District Court for the City of Belgrade.
The Decree lists in clauses 1 to 7 all the real estate at Dedinje stating the parcel numbers from the Real Estate Register, including the Palace (Old Palace) with surrounding terrain, yard and forest, as well as the building "Beli Dvor (White Palace)" with the appertaining houses. The aforementioned Decree of the City of the Belgrade District Court pronounced as the heirs of the entire private real estate and movable property of the deceased King Alexander I the Unifier, his underage sons: HM King Peter II, HRH Prince Tomislav and HRH Prince Andrej, in equal parts. This Decree became official law on the 4 March 1939.
All properties of The Royal Family were confiscated on the basis of the Edict of the Presidency Presidium of the People's Assembly of the Federal Peoples Republic of Yugoslavia (FPRY) Pov. No. 1433 of 2 August 1947 which, in caluse 6, under paragraph a., states that the "Palaces Dedinje and Beli Dvor" - "are registered in Real Estate Municipality Belgrade 7 in the names of Peter, Tomislav and Andrej Karadjordjevic, real estate excerpt 82, 86 and 89 on 9 parcels".
The aforementioned Decree was abolished in 2001 by the Law on the Abolishment of the Edict of Confiscation of Citizenship and Property from the Karadjordjevic Family. This law determined that the conditions for the return of the confiscated property would be regulated by a special law. The above status remains unchanged up to the present.
What is the truth about some members of The Royal Family belonging to secret societies?
Since this question and the controversy usually relate to the issue of Freemasonry and the Order of the Temple, it is important to know that HRH Crown Prince Alexander II is not, and has never been, a member of any obedience of Freemasons, or of any of the many organizations and sects claiming the succession of the historical Order of the Temple of Solomon.
It is difficult to say if and who among the various members of The Royal Family might belong (or did belong) to any of the hundreds of secret societies. According to the spirit of The Family Rules any such membership should require sanction from the Head of the Royal Family, but such requests were never received or approved.