BELGRADE – Crown Prince Alexander Karadjordjevic did not immediately react to the decision of the Agency for Restitution which rejected the request of his family to regain palace complex in Dedinje. It seemed that he accepted the decision. However, Prince said for Serbian Daily “Novosti” that he will continue to fight for his inheritance, although he believes that it will be hard to get it.
“We are waiting to get back what was taken from us with illegal (Edvard) Kardelj’s order from 1947,” he said. “We have good lawyers. If we do not find understanding within our justice system, there is nothing else but to turn to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg. Our justice system must have a hearing for human rights and democracy when it comes to Karadjordjevic family. I believe that the state will find a good solution for us.”
Karadjordjevic family seek for the property that was, after the death of King Alexander, with inheritance decision dated 27 October 1938, divided in three equal parts, and the request for the restitution was filed by ten successors of King Peter and Princes Tomislav and Andrej. The palace complex in Dedinje, which includes the Royal and White Palace and estate of 135 hectares, was exempt from restitution because it was declared as cultural monument.
“Injustice has reunited our family,” said Prince. “We were not surprised by Agency’s decision, because the Palace complex is a cultural monument. But Agency’s decision to seize the Palace complex from us without compensation is violation of the European Convention on Human Rights. In addition, when the Palaces in Dedinje were declared as a cultural monument, the procedure was not complied with, and our lawyers are dealing with it.”
When asked if he would reconcile with the possible decision that he might only get the right to use the royal complex, Alexandar Karadjordjevic said:
“I want this complex to have a future. The White Palace is collapsing. It has not had water for years, the heating does not work, there are difficulties with electricity. The situation in the Royal Palace is somewhat better. I wonder who paid the bills and costs for the maintenance of the palaces until we moved in and why is it a problem today, and back then it was not? If something does not change, in several years the palaces will completely collapse. If the state does not have the money for their maintenance, it should give them back to our family.”
Prince Karadjordjevic recalls that he invested a lot of his money into maintenance of the palaces.
“We can no longer spend our money on what is not ours,” he said. “It is certain that we would not allow the White Palace to collapse, if they would give it back to us. We would preserve what our ancestors left to us. But, chances for this to happen are small. Our family was not deprived only of the palace complex in Dedinje. The list of the property that was taken from us is long. I believe that, in the end, a fair solution will be found.”
Alexander Karadjordjevic has family ties with the British Prince Charles, which will visit Serbia on March 16 with his wife Camilla.
“Prince Charls will come to an official visit to Serbia and will meet with the Prime Minister Alexander Vucic,” said Karadjordjevic. “This is very good for our country. A sort of recognition. He was supposed to come at the end of the last year, but I think the British were not prepared for the visit. Queen Elisabeth is my godmother, and Prince Charles and I were school mates. We often meet. A few months ago I suggested to him to come and visit Serbia. He was here in 1978, on New Year’s Eve. He promised he would come again. And, a few weeks ago, they informed us they would come. Although during the visit he will also visit Croatia, Montenegro, Kosovo, when we meet for a tea at the White Palace, I will explain to him that Serbia must come first. Charles visited Hilandar on numerous occasions, and he also organized campains for voluntary contributions for the restoration of the monastery that was damaged by fire.”
Vucic’s message to Karadjordjevic: Pay the electricity bill
Prime Minister of Serbia, Aleksandar Vucic, said on Sunday to the Crown Prince Alexander Karadjordjevic, on the occasion of the announcement that he will sue the state, to pay the bills for electricity first.
“First pay for electricity you own to Serbia, and then sue whoever you want,” said the Prime Minister and added that he will try to politely answer the questions of the reporters on how he comments the announcement of the lawsuit by Karadjordjevic family.
He presented the fact that Karadjordjevic family owns to EDB and EPS (electric utility power company) about 70,000 euros for electricity.
According to him, the state gave the building to Karadjordjevic family to use, and the building is at brink of collapsing because it is not maintained.
“Pay the electricity bills,” underlined Vucic and noticed that “everybody want and like to attack the state, whenever it comes to their mind, along with mourning and lament, which is “a national sport in Serbia”.