Upon the final return to the homeland in 2001, Crown Prince Alexander, as the head of the House of Karadjordjevic, was given the right by the government to live in the Royal Compound in Dedinje, the White and the Old Palace, built by his grandfather, King Alexander the Unifier. Although both Palaces are confiscated property of the Karadjordjevics, the Crown Prince invested enormous personal resources into abandoned and dilapidated buildings, with nearly 7,000 square meters, out of which 135 hectares of parks that were overgrown, which represent Serbian Versailles. In less than a year the two Palace buildings were capacitated for receptions and charity events. For three years of independent financing of the Palaces, Crown Prince Alexander and Crown Princess Katherine organized, except for domestic guests, a series of receptions for high-level delegations from abroad, foreign embassies, and their guests, received a number of crowned heads, presidents and former presidents and thus significantly contributed to improving the image of Serbia in the international community.
It is less known that HRH Crown Prince Alexander and Crown Princess Katherine have been persistently, for years, helping thousands of children, war orphans and children without parents, giving them in the White Palace Christmas and Easter presents. Through the myriad of humanitarian activities significant funds have been raised and to help flood victims, allocated to children’s homes, thanks to the Crown Princess’ engagement children have been sent to summer camps in Greece, free of charge. Along with caring for children, the Crown Prince’s Foundation for Education and Culture has been awarding special scholarships to the best students from Serbian universities and providing dozens of scholarships to several European and American universities, including 40 scholarships for master studies in England, at the University of Nottingham. The Crown Prince’s Foundation has organized the participation of our students in a number of summer schools and helped establishing of the first Centres for Career Development in the four state universities. Every year in June 600 vukovci from Serbia and Republika Srpska come with their families to the White Palace where they are recognized for their great academic achievement.
The Crown Prince opened the Royal Compound for tourism and visits, it was in the past a “forbidden zone”. In Serbia, where all major museums have been closed for more than a decade, the White and the Old Palace, which already on the architectural level are the monuments of the highest category, with their collections of paintings representing foreign and domestic authors, from Nicolas Poussin, Palma il Vecchio, Canaletto and Rubens’ school, to Aivazovsky, Eugene Delacroix, Paja Jovanovic, Vlaho Bukovac, Spiro Bocaric, along with a series of sculptures in the open air by Mestrovic, today qualify as the best Serbian museum accessible to a wide audience. At the initiative of Crown Prince Alexander many valuable works of art have been restored, at the expense of friendly countries’ governments.
At the initiative of HRH Crown Prince Alexander free tours of the Royal Compound were initiated for the first time every year for children, pensioners, students, etc. In the past decade, accompanied by the Palace guide, numerous visitors saw the Compound, about 330,000 of them from Serbia. The Tourist Organization of Belgrade has guided numerous foreign visitors, close to 30,000, during most of the year.
The Crown Prince’s wife, Crown Princess Katherine, has achieved gigantic results in the humanitarian field; for 14 years medical and other equipment for our hospitals and health centres, has been coming to Serbia every year, a total of over 14 million euros! The Crown Princess’ humanitarian organization has donated over 200 incubators, mammograms and other essential, expensive medical equipment to Serbian medical institutions, has organized free surgery for sick children and has brought foreign surgeons to operate in Belgrade, on the patients with most serious conditions. With the support of HRH Crown Prince Alexander, six congresses of physicians have been organized, including the gathering for about 500 oncologists and establishing free practice for Serbian doctors at the best American hospitals (MD Anderson, Sloan Kettering, Mayo, Harvard), etc. Humanitarian activities, which have been going on continuously since the return of HRH Crown Prince Alexander in the homeland, have saved thousands of lives and a large number of patients, the poor and people with disabilities have been helped.
In order to cover the enormous costs, which is, even with the annual state support, impossible to do, the Crown Prince and Crown Princess sold their large house in London, acquired through decades long work and invested the money in maintaining the Palace, which is still the property of the state. Therefore, it makes no sense to respond to ugly tabloid headlines in our newspapers about the financial difficulties in the maintenance of the Royal Compound, but only to list the major activities of TRH Crown Prince Alexander and Crown Princess Katherine, who with their devotion and love for the people Serbia and are entirely at the service of our country.