TRH Crown Prince Alexander and Crown Princess Katherine together with TRH Princess Ljubica and Princess Natalija officially opened today the exhibition “135 Years of the Knightly King – Alexander of Yugoslavia Remembered for Eternity”, dedicated to the anniversary of Crown Prince’s grandfather’s birth, at the Royal Palace in Belgrade, Serbia.

The opening ceremony was attended by His Grace Bishop Dositej of Lipljan, Vicar Bishop of His Holiness Patriarch Porfirije, ef. Senad Halitović, Reis-ul-ulema of the Islamic community of Serbia, ef. Eldin Ašćerić, Secretary General at Islamic Community of Serbia, Muhamed ef Ziljkic, Mufti of Serbia and Vojvodina, numerous Ambassadors and other representatives of the diplomatic corps, Mr. Nikola Banjac, Special advisor of the Minister of Defence of Serbia and other representatives of the Governmental bodies, members of the Advisory Bodies of the Crown, representatives of cultural institutions, as well as many other distinguished guests from the spheres of business, art, culture, and the public life of Serbia.

“My grandfather, HM Knightly King Alexander I the Unifier, was a great visionary, a ruler in the service of the people and the homeland. He put his whole life into the foundations of the state he was building, and of which he was the main and first guardian. Devoted to work and his duties to the limit of endurance, he was a role model and ideal for many.

Although most usually remembered as a great warrior and military leader, who bravely led his army and shared the suffering with his soldiers, he was much more than that. A caring husband to my grandmother Queen Maria and a father to their sons. The patron of the arts and education, the lover of good literature, an intellectual with diverse interests. A diplomat, who guided the helm of our state through the more than turbulent seas of European and world international relations. After decades of lies, now finally all his greatness and merits, which were many, are being revealed and honoured”, stated Crown Prince in his speech.

The visitors of the exhibition had a unique chance to see selected portraits and photos of the Knightly King, but also copies of his personal notes, King’s Adjutant’s notes which cover some of the crucial moments in the life of the Royal Family, together with video material showing the late monarch. The location of the exhibition makes it even more special since the items are presented in the Royal Palace, a place that King Alexander I built as a home for his family, giving it his own personal touch. The authors of the exhibition are Mr. Dušan Babac, a member of the Privy Council, and Mr. Uroš Parezanović, Head of Public Relations and Protocol of the Royal Palace.

Mr. Parezanović said in his opening speech: “Everyone has the right to love King Alexander more or less, or not to love him at all. Everyone has the right to think what is on their heart. I don’t want everyone to think like me. I want us to be able to exchange opinions, to clash them if needed, but I also want this opinion, even if it is diametrically opposed to mine, to be formed on facts, and that they are available.

That’s why we fight for the truth because we don’t want to create a myth, but we don’t want lies either, but for the Knightly King to be remembered the way he deserves. With all his virtues and flaws, which he certainly had. We all know that “no man lives without making sins.” Although he was a King and a great ruler, he was still only a man. We do not want or even should try to make a saint out of him, because he was not one, but we remember with respect a great man, who, despite all the mistakes he made, had many more virtues, achievements, and accomplishments to which we must give the deserved respect.

Tonight, we all want to remember the one who, as a man of only 30 years, achieved what many before him only dreamed of for decades. The one who wanted to overcome centuries-old hatred and, although an excellent war and military leader, instead of war trenches, built bridges. Who had a vision of unity that transcends religious and national divisions.”

Prof. Dr. Čedomir Antić, a member of the Crown Council and a historian, concluded the opening with his presentation, who spoke from an expert perspective about the life of King Alexander the First, referring to all the key moments in the life of our ruler. He concluded his address by saying “King Aleksandar is one of the greatest Serbian rulers, he stands next to Supreme Leader Karađorđe, Prince Miloš, Emperor Dušan, Stefan Nemanja, and he leaves behind a great legacy, which was paid dearly”. Professor Antić is also the author of the text of the brochure accompanying the exhibition at the Royal Palace.

The exhibition “135 Years of the Knightly King – Alexander of Yugoslavia Remembered for Eternity” will be open to visitors on weekdays until 28 December, between 11:00 am and 2:00 pm, with the prior announcement to HRH Crown Prince Alexander’s Office, by phone +38111306 4000 or via e-mail: [email protected].

We are grateful to the Archive of Yugoslavia and the Archive of Yugoslav Cinematheques for their great support in the realisation of this exhibition.

We are concluding with the words of Crown Prince Alexander: “It is important to keep the memory of great people like the Knightly King the Unifier, my grandfather, Alexander I, and this exhibition is another contribution to our national culture of remembrance.”