Yugoslavian Royalty: Peter II

Figure 1.--Crown Prince Peter is seen here in a 1929 photograph wear a rather British looking outfit of tie and short pants. He would have been about 6 years old. His younger brother Tomislav is about 1-year old and wears a smock.

King Alexander's son, Crown Prince Peter, was only 11 years old at the time of his death when he became King. Three Regents were appointed. His great-uncle Prince Paul--married to Princess Olga of the Hellenes (Greece)-- became the Prince Regent. Constant pressure from The German Government after the NAZI rise to power brought Yugoslavia increasingly into the German orbit through a series of trade and diplomatic agreements. This policy was unpopular, especially with the Serbs.


King Peter's father was King Alexander I (1888-1934). King Alexander was a competent military commander and war hero. He was also politically astute to rule Yugoslavia with its tumultuos factions. Prince Peter's Great Uncle, Prince Paul, served as Regent. He was, however, much less prepared and capable than Peter's father had to contend with the rise of NAZI power in the Balkans as well as domestiv dissent. Prince Peter's mother was Princess Marie (Mignon) Hohenzollern of Romania (1900- ).


Prince Peter had two younger brothers, Prince Tomislav and Prince Andrej.

Tomislav (1928-2000)

Prince Tomislav was born on January 19, 1928. His father was King Aleksandar I Karađorđević (1888-1934). His mother was Queen Maria (1900-1961), the second daughter of Romanian King Ferdinand Hohenzollern (1865-1927) and Romanian Queen Maria (1875-1938). Prince Tomislav was baptized on January 25 in the New Palace in Belgrade, by the British Crown's Minister at the Palace, Kennard, representing King George V. He used water from the Vardar and Danube rivers and the Adriatic Sea. Prince Tomislav received his primary education at the Royal Palace in Belgrade Palace. He followed his older brother ro England and attended Sandroyd School in Cobham (1937-41). He was thus already in England when the NAZIs invaded his country (April 1941). His mother and older brpther joined him in England where they helped forn the Yugoslav Government in exile. Prince Tomislav attended Oundle School during the War (1941-46) and Clare College, Cambridge (1946-47). The new Yugoslav Communist Government deposed the Prince's brother King Peter II (November 1945). The Government later revoked the citzenship and confiscated the family's property (March 8, 1947). The Prince after finishing Cambridge decided to be a fruit grower. He persued courses at an agricultural college. During the summers he worked as an ordinary field hand in Kent. He purchased an orchard in West Sussex where he decided to grow apples (1950). His orchard eventually has 17,000 trees on 80 hectares of land. Prince Tomislav married Princess Margarita of Baden, in Salem (Baden) (June 7, 1957). They had two children, Prince Nikola (1958) and Princess Katarina (1959). The Prince divorced (1982) and mairred Linda Mary Bonney. They had two sons, Prince George (1984) and Prince Michael (1985). Prince Tomislav was active anong the Serb emigre commity in Britain. Many Yugoslavs had to leave Yugoslavoa after the War because Tito's Communist Government targeted Chetniks and individuals known to be loyal to the Royal Goverrnment, including low-level individuals like policemen nd teachers. The Prince organized a variety of celebrations and events at his farm. He was also active in Serbian charitable and humanitarian organizations. He was president of the Yugoslav Committee for Providing Aid to Old Warriors, the Protector of the Lazarica Church in Birmingham and the President of the Committee for the Restoration of the Hilandar Monastery on Mt. Athos. The Prince was appointed an official of the British Order of the Knights of St. John. The Prince was also active in the Serbian Orthodox Church. The Prince supported the the Patriarchate in Belgrade among the Serb emigre community during the during the schism in the Serbian Orthodox Church (196?-82). T Serbian Democratic Party offere King Petar I Foundation Complex in Oplenac, Serbia, which a center for Yigoslav royalists. He visited with Serb soldiers in Republika Srpska and the Republic of Serb Krajina during the Yugoslav wars. He nd his wife, Princess Linda, brought aid. There was some interest in making him Prince of the Serb-held part of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Serbs committed terrible atrocities during te Yugoslav wars. I have no information, however, connecting the Prince with these attricities. Serb Krajina was overwealmed by Croat forces (August 1995). The Prince accused Serbian president Slobodan Milošević of betraying the Republic of Krajina. Milošević retaliated by limiting his access to the media. The Prince's health began to decline. His doctors recommended surgery abroad. This was just when NATO launched a bombing campaign to end Serb attrocities in Kosovo (March 24, 1999). Prince Tomislav died July 12, 2000. He was intered in the family crypt at Oplenac.

Andrej (1929- )


Prince Peter was born in the Royal Palace in Belgrade 1923. British King King George V was his godfather. We know very little about his childhood. We note an image of him camping. His rather elaborate tent had the royal insignia. He had two younger brothers, but the age difference meant that they were not the right age for playmates. The decsesion was made to send him to England for school. We suspedct tht security was a factor. Thus part of his childhood was a awAy from home. He was at his British school when his father was assasinated. Hde was only 11 years old and returned to Yugoslavia.

Childhood Clothing

Our information on Prince Peter's clothes is still limited. We have sime information based on the photographs we have collected. We see the princes wearing a range of different outfits. As infants the boys wore smocks. As young boys they wore short pants, sometimes suspender shorts. While camping they wore short pnts sand knee socks. During the summer they wore sandals without socks. They also wore short pants suits. The boys also had soldier outfits. Available images show him dressed rather like a little British boy. He attended prep school in England which means that he wore a school uniform. When he returned to Belgrade fir his father's funeral he wore an outfit with some mikitary touches.


We do not yet know much about Prince Peter's education. As a young boy he was educated by tutors in the Royal Palace. We have no details on who the tiutors were or what kind of student Peter was. He then was sent to Sandroyd School, a prep school in Wiltshire. We do not know when he was sent or just why. There was a connection to the British royal family. Nor do we know how he got along at Sandroyd. We know he was there in 1934. His father King Alexandeerhad planned to visit his son after an official state visit to Paris. The King was assinated in Marseilles before even reaching Paris. the king had intended to see his son, Crown Prince Peter left England immediately afterhis father was assasinated (1934). He was 11 years old at the time. He atteded his father's funeral with his mother. When King Peter returned to England after the NAZI invasion in Wold War II (1941). He completed his education at Cambridge.

King Alexander's Assasination (1934)

King Alexander was assassinated in Marseilles (October 9, 1934). Alexander was arriving in Marseille for a state visit to the Third French Republic. The two coubtries were allies as part of the Little Entente. While being driven through the streets, a gunman stepped forward and shot both Alexandwr and French Foreign Minister Louis Barthou as well as the chauffeur. It was all caught on film and was featured in movie newsreels around the world. The assasin was struck down at the scene by a mounted French policeman and then attacked by the croed. The French police apparently panicked and fired wildly, killing and wounding bystanders. As aesult significant discrepancies emerged in the balistic assessment. There were variations in reports on the number and direction of shots fired. The press immidiately began writing about Balkan terrorism and blood oaths. It was not lost upon the French that Wotld war I had been ignited by Balkan terrorism. The assasin was a Macedonian terrorist working with Croatian extremists. There are reports of Hungarian and Italian support, but very little has ever been provem. Italy's Dictator Benito Mussolini had designs on the Balkans and Yugoslavia, the region's largest state stood in his way. It was thus in Italy's interests to destabilize Yugoslavia. The investigation proved complicated. The assassin carried a Czech passport identifying him as Petrus Kalemen. There were clains thst he was a Czech, Hungarian, and Croat. A tatoo on his arm caused considerable interest. It included a skull and crossbones and some capital letters. A Yugoslav journalist claimed it was the symbol of the MRO. Fingerprint evidence eventually identified the Assasin as Vlado Chernozemski, Mihailov associate. Other individuals were arrested, all Croats. They implicated Ante Pavelic, the head of a Croatian Ustashe--an outlawed Croation terrorist group. Hungarian complicity was suggested because the conspirators had trained there before the Hungarian Government closed down the refuge camps there. Italy and Germany did not cooperate in the investigation. And with the rise of appeasement sentiment, there was not great desire by the French to push either country. King Alexander was buried in the Memorial Church of St. George. It had been built by his father. The Kings' 11-year old son, Crown Prince Peter, succeeded his father. Pribce Peter at the time was at school in Britain. His father was planning to visit him after meetings in Paris. As a result of his youth, Alexander's first cousin Prince Pavle Karadjordjevic oversaw a regency.

Prince Paul: Regency

King Alexander's son, Crown Prince Peter, was only 11 years old at the time of his death when he became King. Peter became Peter II of Yugoslavia. As Peter was still a young boy, a regency had to be established. Three Regents were appointed. His great-uncle Prince Paul became the Prince Regent. Prince Paul was married to Princess Olga of the Hellenes (Greece). She was a daughter of the late Prince Nicholaos of Greece, and a grand-daughter of the late King George I of Greece. He was no, however, politically experienced. Not only was Yugoslavia a difficukt country to rule in the best of times. And the 1930s was not the best of times. Hitler seized power in Germany (1933). The counties of the Balkans were gradually forced into the NAZI orbit. Prince Paul resisted more than most other Balkan countries. Constant pressure from The German Government after the NAZI rise to power brought Yugoslavia increasingly into the German orbit through a series of trade and diplomatic agreements. Germany even after World war I was the largest economy in Europe. Neigboring countries had to trade with Germany and the NAZIs were able to use this economic power to force concessions from countries like Yugoslavia. After World War I began, especially the fall of France (1940), the NAZIs were able to flagerently threaten military action. This policy was unpopular, especially with the Serbs who had fought Austria and Germany in World War I. Prince Paul attempted to resist the NAZIs. I am not sure to what extent Prince Paul involved King Peter in government activities. Prince Paul finally was called to Berchesgarten and forced by Hitler to accept his terms. This caused a violent reaction in Yugoslavia. Students rioted in Belgrade. lPrince Paul was unseated, leading to a German invasion.

World War II

All but one of Yugoslavs neighbors by 1941 were under NAZI domination or influence. Prince Paul to avoid bloodshed felt obliged to sign a formal pact with Germany and Italy. Shortly afterwards, however, on March, 27 1941, he was unseated in a coup and the young King Peter II was declared of age. Within a week, Germany, Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary, and Italy invaded Yugoslavia and the government was forced to surrender. While a military disaster for the Yugoslavs, the Germans action in forced them to delay the planned invasion of Russia. The precious weeks of delay was a critical element in the German failure to smash the Red Army before the onset of winter in 1941. King Peter II, with the Yugoslav Government, made his way via Athens, Jerusalem and Cairo to London where he joined numerous other governments in exile from NAZI occupied Europe. The Germans divided Yugoslavia to satisfy Italian, Bulgarian, Hungarian, and demands and established a puppet Croat state proclaimed. The atrocities which followed, primarily directed at the Serbs is an important element in the emnity which emerged after the breakup of Yugoslavia in 1992. After the collapse of the Yugoslavian army in 1941, two rival resistance groups to the occupying forces eventually formed. The first was the Royalist Chetniks, led by the loyalist General Draza Mihailovic, Minister for Defense in the exile government. The other was the revolutionary Partisans led by the communist Josip Broz, known to the world later as Tito. A bitter civil war followed as the same time they fought the Germans. Yugosalvia became one of the most terrible killingfields of World War II he Allies, having initially supported Mihailovic, then threw their support behind Tito. Yugoslavia was the only occupied country to liberate pats of the country with partisan forces. The Germans were finally cleared from the country when Partisans entered Belgrade during 1944 in the wake of Soviet tank brigades and established a Communist Government, but one independent from Moscow.


King Peter married Princess Alexandra of Greece while in London (1944). Alexandra (1921- ), was the daughter of King Alexander of Greece and Aspasia Manos.


A son, Crown Prince Alexander, was born in London (1945).


King Peter did nit return to Yigoslavia after liberation. Tito ordered the arrest of Chetniks and supporters of the Royal Givernment. Many were shot or confined to long terms in brutal concentration camps. The King in the finl months of the War, ebcouraged by the British Government for diplomtic reasons, transferred power to a regency controlled by Partisan leader Josip Broz Tito. The Constituent Assembly of the new Communist Government officially deposed King Peter and abolished the monarchy (November 29, 1945). This was done without a referendum and Yugoslavia remained a totalitarian single party state for more than four decades. The Government revoked the citzenship of the entire royal family and confiscated their property (March 8, 1947). King Peter never abdicated. He moved to the United States

Later Life

King Peter after the War moved to the United States. He passed away quitely in died in Denver, Colorado (November 3, 1970). He was buried at the St. Sava Monastery Church at Libertyville, Illinois. He is the only European monarch buried in America.

Crown Prince Alexander (1945- )

Crown Prince Alexander continues to claim the Serbian throne. After World War II his father, King Peter II was barred by the new Communist Government from returning. They ended the monarchy, but King Peter never abdicated. The royal family lived in exile in many countries (United States, France, Italy and England). Crown Prince Alexander was educated at Le Rosey (Switzerland), Culver Military Academy (United States, Gordonstoun School (Scotland) and Millfield (England). This allowed him to master several languages. He attended the British Royal Military Academy and was awarded a commissioned an officer in the British Army (1966). The Crown Prince served in the 16th/5th The Queen's Royal Lancers and was primoted to Captain. He served in the Middle East, Northern Ireland, Italy and West Germany. He left the Army in 1972 to pursued a career in international business. The Crown Prince, after his father died in 1970, decided not to use the title of king.He thought it would have no real meaning in exile. He did not, however, renounce his title, or the dynastic right to the throne. Yugoslavia of course no longer exists, but the Crown Prince maintains his claim to the Serbian crown. He lived in England for many years, but eventually moved to Serbia and in 2002 was living in Belgrade.


Karageorgevitch, Peter. "King's Heritage: The Memoirs of King Peter II of Yugoslavia," International Affairs (Royal Institute of International Affairs) Vol. 32, No. 1 (Jan., 1956), pp. 104-105.


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Created: December 8, 1998
Last updated: 3:55 AM 6/19/2007